Soundsmith Aida ES Moving Iron Cartridge
MC refinement with MM slam. Made in the USA. Rebuildable with a two-year warranty.
The Aida cartridge is a Stereophile A-rated cartridge, meaning it is in the "price is no object" category and was the cheapest cartridge there.
Soundsmith carefully hand-builds every cartridge, tests them, and keeps accurate records by serial number of their performance. Those that meet or exceed specifications are sold, and the ones that don't are broken down and recycled.
Soundsmith took moving iron technology and perfected it. This design offers lower effective moving mass, causing the stylus to stay in better contact with the groove walls. High-gain moving coil preamps are not required, as the Aida is designed to be used with a moving magnet preamp.
The ES line employs a significant evolution of the DEMS system design (Dynamic Energy Management System). This directs internal vibrational forces without reflection and disperses them properly to the tonearm. The absence of reflections enables the stylus to stay in far greater contact with the groove walls — a critically important technical refinement. Increased liquidity and reduced “grain,” without loss of detail are some of the immediately discernible advantages of Soundsmith’s new ES models.
The new line also features azimuth adjustment built-in to each cartridge, as well as the option for electrical isolation for hum-prone systems.
The sleek new ES body design is far more than a cosmetic upgrade; the new shape is a departure from the reflective and “boxy” design of many cartridges whose internal construction contributes to uncontrolled vibrational issues adversely affecting performance.
Stylus: Contact-line nude
Cantilever: Laser drilled sapphire
Recommended Tracking Force (Med. Compliance, Spl Order High Compliance): 1.3-1.6 g, 1-1.2 g
Effective Tip Mass: 0.30 mg
Compliance (Med., High): 22 µm/mN, 28 µm/mN
Recommended Loading: >/= 47 kohms
Frequency Response (± 2.5 dB): 20-20,000 Hz
Output (5 cm/sec.): >2.12 mV
Cartridge Weight: 9.2 g