Origin Live Cartridge Enabler - Feedback from purchasers
Author: Brian Date Posted:5 April 2019
The announcement of the Origin Live Cartridge Enabler in the March newsletter sparked a flurry of orders. Mark Baker of Origin Live claimed it is an amazing bit of kit for the money. I was keen to get some feedback from the initial purchasers so emailed them questioning the installation process and results obtained.
Several had not yet installed it. One had installed it hoping that it would solve a problem with acoustic feedback at high volumes - it didn't, so he took it off.
The others who had installed it gave the following comments (verbatim). My thanks to all who responded.
"I have installed the Enabler, and am delightfully surprised!
Installation was easy.
Sound much more defined, and base/bass clearer.
Excellent value and such a big improvement for so little money.
My (very) high-end cartridge is in hospital after a wrestling match with my wife’s dusting cloth (awaiting a full recovery, (the cart, not my wife)). I scratched around and found a very old $300 AT mc cart. The Enabler made a big difference, making it much closer to the ClearAudio than it deserved to be. I will certainly let you know what the Enabler does to it."
"Yes it's been installed. Reasonably straightforward, but I needed slightly longer screws. Fortunately I had some spares.
It has been installed with a Sumiko Blue Point Special EVO111 on a Michell Gyrodec with Syrinx PU3 arm. VTA was virtually unchanged, so I have not needed to raise the arm. (Maybe it can be fine-tuned a little.)
The sound at first seemed to be much the same, but as I listened more, it became obvious that the midrange and base were fuller. The sound before was somewhat bright on top. That brightness is still there but with the fuller midrange it is overall a more rounded sound. It is definitely an improvement, and a worthwhile upgrade.
A good quality, and much more expensive moving coil setup is definitely superior. So the Enabler is no substitute for a top mc."
"I installed the enabler with minimal fuss, my cartridge has threads for the holding bolt so was a matter of getting some slightly
Longer bolts and installing the cartridge and resetting tracking weight, height and alignment as per usual.
For the record the arm is the Originlive conqueror mk 2 with a Dynavector dvxx2 mk2 cartridge on a Linn lp12 based t/t.
I have to admit I did not think there would be any noticeable improvements but I was pleasantly surprised.
I would describe it as a slightly lower noise floor leaving a little more detail to be heard and a little bit darker background.
Overall I would say it was a worth while improvement for little money."
I’m very happy with the results of installing the Enabler though my situation is not really standard. I have a Morch DP8 /12” arm. This has a very thin and narrow headshell and basically the cartridge is mounted not through the headshell but through the very slim finger lift on either side of the headshell. This gave me concerns so I mounted an Isokinetic graphite isolator with quite a significant improvement ( no criticism of the arm,it’s fabulous ). When I saw your recent newsletter and noticed The Enabler at a very reasonable price I wondered if more improvement could be gained so after purchase I sandwiched it between cartridge ( Van den Hull Colibri ) and the Isokinetik so the whole surface area would be covered. . Sure enough, I got a slightly clearer sound . improvements in micro information and tighter instrumentation. The Morch is a very thought out and engineered arm with no obvious resonances but I still gained an improvement using the Enabler. I should imagine, but cannot testify , that a more budget rig would benefit even more than on my rig. I’m helping a friend to set up a Garrard 301/ SME 3009 rig and I’ll be suggesting that an Enabler should be used as that arm certainly needs some vibration control !
"Yes I have fitted the enabler and yes this a excellent up grade for the money
A little difficult to fit it would be nice if my allan screws were 2mm longer
To my ears the sound was a little smoother and darker, the sound stage appeared a little bigger. I have ordered new longer bolts. I was a little shy to over tighten, not to damage the cartridge bolts being too short."
"Hi,have installed the Enabler,no problems, but not the washers as I have a rebated headshell.Immediately could tell a 'difference' in the sound after first couple of albums.After the early intense listening sessions first up it became obvious there is, in my estimation, a definite improvement.The improvements for me are , wider sound stage with space and separation around instruments,noticeable dynamic range increase (a pleasant surprise for an old pair of ears like mine!!) , meaning a more relaxed enjoyment of the music from both and a general sense of hearing more of original recording than before.
I definitely recommend the product and is probably the best improvement per dollar ever to my system .Thank you Origin Live and Decibel Hi Fi."
"I have installed the enabler and found it simple to install. I marked the spot where the cartridge
screws were with a piece of insulating tape on top of the headshell.
I was surprised at the results simply music sounded more natural
especially on classical records. This applied to right across the range
bass extension mid range and outstanding treble.
Also I found improvement in the sound stage. It gives the cartridge the
isolation from the headshell to perform at its very best. My son Robert
got the same results on his Thorens Turntable and we also tested it my
friends Denon direct drive again same results."
Following up your email on the new Origin Live Cartridge Enabler recently purchased and Cartridge Man Isolator I purchased from you a few years ago I have swapped to the OL Enabler and can now comment on my findings after a few days of listening.
To give some context, my system consists of : Clearaudio Ambient (CMB) turntable, Clearaudio Universal tone arm, Shelter 7000 mc cartridge, Tom Evans Groove phono stage (using Pulse power supply to give a DIY Groove Plus), Tom Evan Vibe preamp with Pulse power supply, Antique Sound Labs Hurricane Mono Blocks ( Recapped and using Tung Sol KT 120 and Psvane CV 181 tubes), Harbeth SHL 5 speakers, Furman IT REF 16EI Power Conditioner
A few weeks ago after a prolonged period (years) using the Cartridge Man Isolator I decided to try my Shelter cartridge and Clearaudio arm without the Cartridge Man Isolator. There was no moment of truth or large differences but without the Isolator the music sounded more raw and powerful but there was reduced definition and refinement and more background and record noise. Conversely with the Cartridge Man Isolator in place the music sounded more refined with better defined detail and less background and record noise but there was less raw energy. After a week or two without the Cartridge Man Isolator I decided to put it back in the system deciding I had a preference for the benefits compared to the compromises it brought.
Step forward a few weeks and I have now installed the OL Cartridge Enabler so I can now comment on what I found. My initial thinking, based on the Cartridge Man isolator experience, was there might not be much difference and it would probably sound more or less the same as the Cartridge Man Isolator. I was wrong. The OL Enabler retains and improves the benefits of the Cartridge Man Isolator around better defined detail and removal of background noise plus added some new benefits. These added benefits included increased energy and speed of the music (leading edge sharpness?) plus strikingly the overall soundstage sounded larger and better integrated. All the separation and imaging was there and improved and as a whole the soundstage took on a more striking concert hall effect. Overall these benefits are quite noticeable and the the OL Enabler is definitely a keeper in my system.
I started with the Enabler included headshell - it sounded fine. The track I was using is the "Ten to Two Blues" on side two of the Acoustic Research Demonstration Record. It starts off with a piercing trumpet solo on the left channel and then adds double bass, drums and piano. I then changed to the standard headshell, put in the stylus assembly and played the beginning of the track again. It sounded clearer. In particular the tapping of the cymbals seemed more distinct. So I went back to the Enabled headshell. The sound was fuller, more realistic of a live performance. Back to the standard headshell - I realised that the clarity I noticed previously was actually due the overall sound being thinner, less involving. So without the extensive listening of some of the purchaser comments above I have to confirm that the Enabler does make a difference, and to my ears it is a positive one, so the Enabler is staying in my system. For the modest investment, it's a great tweak, and I am happy to include it in the Decibel Endorsed category of products.
.. this is a nice improvement to my turntableBy: Ian Smith on 26 April 2019Brian wrote - Several had not yet installed it. One of those several was me (as I was away with work commitments and have been until Easter) Nothing spectacular with my setup, AT-LP3 which came originally with their AT91R Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge That was replaced some years ago with an AT95E Dual Magnet Cartridge with a surprising improvement in all round sound performance. Vinyl just sounded better with that change .... so would the Cartridge Enabler also give an improvement? The answer is .. yes. Using my favourite test piece of vinyl (the RPO plays PINK FLOYD) the sound now has more vibrancy, a better sense of space and volume. At low volumes, clarity is definitely improved (in back to back - without/with tests) and this just gets better as the volume is turned up. The bass has better depth, mid range sound leaps at you (the soaring guitars on the album mixed with violins come alive) and at the high end, the treble has .. more treble. After installing the Cartridge Enabler into the AT headshell (not with washers though as the headshell has recesses for the screw heads) I am pleasantly pleased with the sound improvement (nice price too) . I kept turning the volume up and backing away across the family room, amazed in the sound improvement of this record. All from one small addition in the Cartridge Enabler...