25 September 2023
The new cartridge "AcquaMarina" (AM) is finally available.
The goal I set myself with AM is to offer an MC cartridge that exceeds the performances of the excellent CL103R diesis and stands in the category of great pick-ups, both for price and performance, yet keeping an affordable price, thanks to direct distribution, which is the foundation of Clinamen’s artisan activity. Indeed, AM is sold for 2,370 Euros, which is a competitive price compared to its rivals; but the customer will be the judge of that after a listening test.
AM is designed for medium-high mass tonearms, given its medium/medium-low compliance. Personally, my favorite choice is tonearms with reasonably high mass and not very compliance pick-ups. With a test record that allows to verify the resonance of the tonearm/pick-up system (it is much easier to carry out this test than to use the formula, which can never truly describe what happens dynamically) you should take care in verifying that lateral and vertical resonance fall between 8-->10 Hz. It is also acceptable between 10-->12 Hz.
The cartridge is a moving coil with magnets of rare-earth elements and windings of Cu 4N coiled on a ferromagnetic support. We have chosen low (but not too low) impedance coiling, at 6 Ohm. This allows us to just about reach the output tension of 0.30 mV @ 5 cm/sec and to prevent the AM interfacing from being critical.
The pick-up is designed to be interfaced with a transformer step-up; I suggest a step-up value around 25 times. The pick-up must see through the transformer a load of between 8 and 12 times its internal impedance (thus between 50 Ohm and 80 Ohm).
AM is manually assembled, thus tolerances and reciprocal alignments of the elements are perfect. This allows us to fully express the potential of the design. Far too often we see commercial pick-ups that could potentially sound great but unfortunately we are lucky if we can buy an item that is also ‘well assembled’. With AM you don’t run this risk; each pick-up is handmade and undergoes break-in and tests.
The ability for tracking and resolution of details is entrusted to extreme performance mobile equipment; it uses a single crystal ruby cantilever; at its end a Micro Ridge stylus is mounted (not glued). On one hand this requires a perfect shaping but on the other hand the tracking abilities of the pick-up are excellent. The Micro Ridge stylus is not too sensitive to the background noise of the vinyl but it shines in reading the tiniest details cut in the record.
The rigidity and lightness of the ruby cantilever carry the movements from the stylus to the mobile equipment with extreme precision, the latter being coiled around a ferromagnetic structure. The induction of the gap is extremely high and it is supplied by a magnet of rare-earth elements. Be careful not to bring metallic objects close to the pick-up, because it will attract them even at unlikely distances (a few centimeters!). I also suggest you use nonmagnetic tools.
The body of the cartridge is made of ERGAL 7075 for CNC cutting. The sides are always thicker than 2mm; internally the resonance of the metal is controlled through the laying of a muffling resin on almost the entire internal surface. There are holes on the body of the box in order to avoid any form of air compression inside and to help the fast decline of any resonance. On the front of the box the Clinamen logo is laser engraved on a Kevazinga wood veneer, encased in an elegant recess especially created.
The mobile equipment and the gap where it works are protected from dust and dirt by a sheet of rice paper.
AM is equipped with a case made of laser engraved ennobled multilayer beech with an internal false bottom. In the internal bottom you will find technical data, a Clinamen sticker and all the small accessories necessary for the assembling, including a quality brush for the stylus’s carbon fiber bristles, to be used with extreme care.
An elegant stylus-guard is supplied with the cartridge, which I only use when the pick-up is not in use. Indeed, the operations of insertion and removal are always potentially dangerous.
AM is protected for a year from manufacturing defects. The stylus can of course be replaced for wear and tear or accidental breakage for the price of 600 Euros. The pick-up needs at least 50 hours break-in in order to express 80% of its performance potential. Electromechanic objects (electronic tubes, speakers, cartridges) always benefit from a long break-in period.
- moving coil cartridge
- Magnet: rare earth
- output voltage: 0.28 mVrms @ 5 cm/sec
- Internal resistance of the coils: 6.2 ohms
- Coil material: Cu - 4N
- Recommended tracking weight: 2.2 g +/-0.1 g
- estimated suspension compliance: 15 mm/N @10 Hz
- Recommended step up ratio of transformer : between 1:20 and 1:25
- Recommended load impedance (reflected load through SUT): between 50 and 80 ohms
- Cartridge weight: 14.4 g
- cantilever: Solid ruby
- stylus: monoblock diamond with Micro Ridge cut
- cartridge body: CNC machined from ERGAL 7075, internally damped with resins
- Stylus guard: included, printed with additive technique
- Selling price: 2370 euros plus shipping
- 1 year warranty on manufacturing defects (breakage of the cantilever is out of warranty)
- cost of complete restyling: 600 euro