View Full Version : Does Headshell Matter?


mcnail
11-09-2008, 02:12 AM
So I need a new headshell for a new cartridge (I had been using an ortofon all in one piece), and I wondered if headshells affect sound quality at all.

I can buy a genuine new Technics one for probably $30, or just get one thats exactly like it but doesn't say Technics on it for $9.

thedelihaus
11-09-2008, 02:24 AM
the only difference between the Technics model and the no-name model is the "Technics" branded logo and $21.

There could be differences, but the technics one I have and the two no-name ones are nearly identical. I can get nit-picky about some of my gear but I don't sweat these headshels as it's nominal a difference.

SaSi
11-09-2008, 02:25 AM
I have a bought one genuine Technics headshell that happened to sell low on ebay (low means $20) but also bought another 4 generic headshells that look the same less the name for $9 each.

As I have different carts on each headshell, it's impossible to say if the shell makes a difference as the cart makes for most or all of it.

What I can say is that I can hear excellent sound coming from an Ortofon MC20 cart mounted on a generic shell. Quality wise, they are almost the same. The shell and mount are great but the lead cables are a bit too thick for my taste on the aftermarket one, requiring attention during bending them while mounting the cart.

Having said that, an AKG SME mount shell I also have has the thinest and nicest lead cables of all, rendering even the genuine Technics shell in the same league as the after market versions.

Celt
11-09-2008, 04:50 AM
I played around with three different generic headshells several years ago. One was made of fairly thick plastic with no lip and the other two were aluminum. The two metal headshells were of different thicknesses. The thinnest was highly resonant and undesirable. (I tossed it.) Other than weight, I couldn't really tell any difference between the remaining two. The plastic headshell was the lighter of the two and ended up mounting the heaviest cartridge on it to give me a little more room in arm balancing.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 07:52 AM
Yes, I think headshells matter, and make a difference. Things like rigidity and weight will effect performance, as will the leads (which can be replaced on most headshells).

That said, there are some really good generic versions of the standard Technics headshells out there, and I don't think that they will perform any differently than the original. Lately, someone at the popular auction site has been selling generic Technics headshells in a choice of colours, which look like they've been coated in enamel paint. Those I would avoid.

Another factor to consider is that not all headshells work with all cartridges. The Technics slotted style is one of the most flexible out of the ones I own and will mate well with most cartridges, being fairly light-weight (about 8 grams) and not having any lip around the bottom plane which would limit cartridge size.

Also, headshells are not all the same height; when mounted on an arm, the bottom plane where the cartridge mounts are different heights above the platter. I've had mismatches where a shorter cartridge on a taller headshell left the needle so high I couldn't dial in the correct vertical tracking angle (VTA). It has been non-Technics-style headshells that I have not been able to use with shorter cartridges (like the AT71ELC) on my Technics turntable.

ETI_5000
11-09-2008, 08:23 AM
The headshell is thought to be a factor in the sound of turntables, and the same general rules apply as to turntables – a rigid, non-resonant material. Light weight is also handy if using the most common MM cartridges, to match their higher compliances. The best material was found to be magnesium, and among the best headshells were the Denon and ADC magnesium ones. I have a Denon PCL-5 magnesium headshell, which, despite being quite solid (no holes) and non-resonant, weighs only 6 grams. Compared to most aluminium alloy headshells it is really dead - suspend it on a string and tap it with a bit of metal, and it rings far less than the other alloy headshells I have, which must benefit sound. Audio Technica, and the other large Japanese audio manufacturer Nagaoka, also made a range of magnesium headshells, but only the heavier varieties (10 grams or more) seem to be readily available today. Some hardliners used to cut off the fingerlifts from their headshells, to prevent them resonating.

Most Japanese manufacturers also tried other headshell materials, such as plastic or carbon fibre, in an effort to keep mass down, but some of those materials were found to be not rigid enough. Some manufacturers, such as Ortofon, who were the original designers (for their tonearms) of the standard plug in headshell later used on many turntables and tonearms, made one piece headshell/cartridge combinations, such as their Ortofon Concorde models. Shure also delved into that area, but their headshell cartridge combinations had the advantage over Ortofon’s, in that the cartridge could be adjusted forward or back for different tonearms to get the overhang alignment correct.

-Don

SA-708
11-09-2008, 08:50 AM
I have an Ortofon Concorde 10 (one of the older, lightweight Concordes that came with the alternate counterweight instead of the weight ring at the base of the cartridge). I also thought that it wasn't adjustable for length, until I learned the trick here at AudioKarma.

There's a small hole on the top of the cartridge, near where the fingerlift attaches. This is a small screw. I was able to get my smallest jeweller's screwdriver into the hole and turn the screw. Once it was loose, I was able to adjust the length (pulling it out about 3mm to get the length of the cartridge to 52mm for my Technics turntable) and azimuth.

Also, I've got an AT MG-10 headshell, which I use with a Grado Black. There's no need to cut off the fingerlift; it is attached with a screw. The disadvantage of the MG-10 design is that there are four tapped pairs of holes on the underside, which doesn't allow for adjustment of overhang. The Grado Black happens to be a very close match to the Technics 52mm overhang length in the second-from-the-front pair of holes.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 08:51 AM
Found some photos on my hard drive.


http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116834&stc=1&d=1226238765

The cartridge before I adjusted the length. There's no "wasp waist" between the metal ring and the rest of the cartridge.


http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=116836&stc=1&d=1226239091

Post-adjustment. You can see the screw hole on top, and also the "wasp waist" from where I pulled it out longer, above the fingerlift.

Autobot
11-09-2008, 08:57 AM
So I need a new headshell for a new cartridge (I had been using an ortofon all in one piece), and I wondered if headshells affect sound quality at all.

I can buy a genuine new Technics one for probably $30, or just get one thats exactly like it but doesn't say Technics on it for $9.

on My Technics I definitely could hear the difference from the factory and the Zupreme head shell.
One of the better tweeks for my SL-1210 M5G highly recommended.

http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LG&Product_Code=LPGZHEAD&Category_Code=HEADSHELLS

http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/Z_Headshell.gif

Better detail, deeper bass and tracking more accurate cartridge alignment.

NOTE:
for cartridges 8 grams or over will require that you install the auxiliary counterweight that came with the table at the rear of the tonearm.
if you no longer have the weight you can get one for 4.95 at

click here http://www.kabusa.com/m1200.htm scroll down to 1200 Tonearms And Accessories and on the right side you will see this

http://www.kabusa.com/GIF/auxwt.jpg

Also the overhang gauge will need a bit of modifying.

http://www.kabusa.com/GIF/ohang.jpg

Just slide a serrated knife through the top slot and saw till there is a slot at the bottom so the headshell slides in all the way flush.
this takes a few minutes to do but necessary.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 09:09 AM
12 grams (for the Zupreme headshell above) seems too heavy for the Technics arm, depending on the cartridge compliance I suppose. I went the other direction with my AT150MLX cartridge (spec weight 8.3g), using a nice cast ADC headshell that weighs around 6 grams, which seems to perform better than the cartridge mounted on the stock Technics headshell (8 grams IIRC).

Did you happen to try those fancy headshell leads with a Technics headshell, to see how much of the performance improvement was the headshell and how much was the wire? What cartridge(s) are you using on that headshell?

SA-708
11-09-2008, 11:24 AM
Back to the original poster: The Ortofon all-in-one Concorde bodies do work in hi-fi (as opposed to DJ) applications, if you switch to a hi-fi stylus like the 10/20/30/40 series. For example, KAB USA sells "custom integrated cartridges" that are Ortofon Concorde S bodies with 30 or 40 stylii installed. http://www.kabusa.com/ortofon.htm#integrated

BrocLuno
11-09-2008, 11:50 AM
How heavy is your cartridge? Generic headshells are around 6.8 grams so if you have a heavy cartridge, they can certainly help in overall arm mass to match resonant frequencies and keep the counterweight in closer to the gymbal. Many cast headshells sart at 8 grams and go up quickly to 13~15. They're great for low compliance cartridges and ones that need higher tracking forces. But, if you are mounting a cartridge that tracks at around 1.5 grams, lighter is better :)

ETI_5000
11-09-2008, 11:51 AM
I have an Ortofon Concorde 10 (one of the older, lightweight Concordes that came with the alternate counterweight instead of the weight ring at the base of the cartridge). I also thought that it wasn't adjustable for length, until I learned the trick here at AudioKarma.

There's a small hole on the top of the cartridge, near where the fingerlift attaches. This is a small screw. I was able to get my smallest jeweller's screwdriver into the hole and turn the screw. Once it was loose, I was able to adjust the length (pulling it out about 3mm to get the length of the cartridge to 52mm for my Technics turntable) and azimuth.

Also, I've got an AT MG-10 headshell, which I use with a Grado Black. There's no need to cut off the fingerlift; it is attached with a screw. The disadvantage of the MG-10 design is that there are four tapped pairs of holes on the underside, which doesn't allow for adjustment of overhang.

Yes, I've got an AT MG-10 - I was aware that the fingerlift is removable, but that's not the case with all headshells, which is why people used to cut them off other headshells. The MG-10 actually works OK with some recent Denon MC cartridges, such as my DL-304, which has elogated holes along the side, so overhang can be adjusted OK, but they aren't good with many other cartridges, unless the holes are in the right place. I did find it hard getting hold of screws the right length for the Denon, to tell the truth - I think AT are better at designing cartridges than headshells. The screws they supplied, which are in a range of lengths, were either too long, or too short - grrrr:thumbsdn:.

However, I wasn't ware that the Ortofon all in one cartridge/headshell combos could be adjusted - you learn something every day! Not that I've ever seen one, but I'll know how to adjust it if I end up with one.

-Don

WmAx
11-09-2008, 11:58 AM
Most headshells provide for substantial resonance, being made too thin with low rigidity. Also, the connection joint is another weakness degrading measured resonance performance of arm tubes. The Zupreme headshell that another poster posted looks to be a vastly more rigid design as compared to the standard stock Technics units. It may very well improve the performance of the system.

-Chris

ETI_5000
11-09-2008, 12:02 PM
Back to the original poster: The Ortofon all-in-one Concorde bodies do work in hi-fi (as opposed to DJ) applications, if you switch to a hi-fi stylus like the 10/20/30/40 series. For example, KAB USA sells "custom integrated cartridges" that are Ortofon Concorde S bodies with 30 or 40 stylii installed. http://www.kabusa.com/ortofon.htm#integrated

Actually, the original Concordes were released as hi-fi cartridge/headshells, with the same styli as their standard cartridges, long before DJ versions were released. The majority of cartridges or headshells which were sold by all manufacturers in and prior to the 80's were for home hi-fi use, so that's what they concentrated on.

-Don

SA-708
11-09-2008, 12:16 PM
That's what I have, an old LM-era Ortofon Concorde 10 (but using a 20 stylus), in the photos above where I adjusted the length. They were sold with a lighter weight optional counterweight, which I also have. In order to use it on my SL-1700Mk2 I have to swap to the Ortofon counterweight and set it using my Shure SFG-2 scale. With the stock counterweight, it won't balance.

The newer Concordes are designed to be used on the 1200 (and other DJ knockoffs) with the 52mm overhang distance, and extra weight at the base of the cart so they'll work with the stock counterweight. I don't think the length on them adjusts like the older ones, as that length has become the DJ standard.

That doesn't stop some from swapping out the DJ spherical stylus that comes on these, for an elliptical or fine-line, for use on their 1200-series turntable. Never tried that option myself, as I'm happy with my old-school Concorde.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 12:31 PM
Most headshells provide for substantial resonance, being made too thin with low rigidity. Also, the connection joint is another weakness degrading measured resonance performance of arm tubes. The Zupreme headshell that another poster posted looks to be a vastly more rigid design as compared to the standard stock Technics units. It may very well improve the performance of the system.

-Chris

I don't think I have had problems with my stock Technics headshells as far as rigidity. I'm usually more concerned about the stamped-out-of-aluminum ones, and tend to use cast headshells.

Is it the holes in the Technics that make it appear less rigid, or the thickness of the material, or both? How about this ADC cast-metal headshell? Does it look rigid? I'm not being a smart-ass; these are genuine questions.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=111982&d=1223433565

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=111934&stc=1&d=1223420743

WmAx
11-09-2008, 12:40 PM
I don't think I have had problems with my stock Technics headshells as far as rigidity. I'm usually more concerned about the stamped-out-of-aluminum ones, and tend to use cast headshells.

Is it the holes in the Technics that make it appear less rigid, or the thickness of the material, or both? How about this ADC cast-metal headshell? Does it look rigid? I'm not being a smart-ass; these are genuine questions.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=111982&d=1223433565

Assuming that headshell in the picture is as solid/thick as it appears, then it is more rigid than most of the stock Technics units, I would wager. I mean, really, given the large extended length and lack of re-enforcement/bracing structures of these units, the metal should be around 2mm thick or greater in order to provide significant rigidity. The common Technics headshells I have seen are commonly very thin/weak units. However, even with a better headshell, the arm itself on thise Technics decks seems to be a significant weak point, at least measurably.

-Chris

ETI_5000
11-09-2008, 12:46 PM
That's what I have, an old LM-era Ortofon Concorde 10 (but using a 20 stylus), in the photos above where I adjusted the length. They were sold with a lighter weight optional counterweight, which I also have. In order to use it on my SL-1700Mk2 I have to swap to the Ortofon counterweight and set it using my Shure SFG-2 scale. With the stock counterweight, it won't balance.

Yes, I thought it looked like the older variety when I looked at your pics. I think Ortofon had complaints about balancing tonearms with the LM series of cartridges, which only weighed 2.6g, because they then brought out the near identical OM (Optimum Match) series in about 1986 or 87, which came with a removable weight. If you remove the weight, they only weigh about 2.5g, whereas if you leave the weight in, they weigh about 5g. That way, they have the optimum match with all arms (supposedly). According to my 1982 Turntable Stereo Buyer's Guide, they had the Concorde 10, 20 and 30, which only weighed 6.5g for the headshell/cartridge combo, and also had a heavier Concorde Standard and Concorde EC10, which were entry level models, and weighed 15g each.

-Don

ETI_5000
11-09-2008, 01:00 PM
However, even with a better headshell, the arm itself on thise Technics decks seems to be a significant weak point, at least measurably.
-Chris

Yes, that's why they designed better arms for most of their later models, and introduced the P-mount system. All manufacturers, including Technics, realised that sitting a relatively heavy weight (the tonearm locking ring) on the end of the arm wasn't a good idea, so they introduced lighter, more rigid straight arms with integral headshells, leading to things like the Rega RB-300 models, and the recent SME models. The only reason the Technics s-shaped arms are still around is due to DJ's who are after strength and the ability to change cartridges quickly when they break stylii or cantilevers through their abuse!:D It would have been phased out long ago if they hadn't used it, as it was a 1970's updated model based on Ortofon's 1960's technology, with problems (weight at the wrong end, and lack of rigidity) that had been superseded by newer designs in the late 1970's.

-Don

Autobot
11-09-2008, 01:59 PM
12 grams (for the Zupreme headshell above) seems too heavy for the Technics arm, depending on the cartridge compliance I suppose. I went the other direction with my AT150MLX cartridge (spec weight 8.3g), using a nice cast ADC headshell that weighs around 6 grams, which seems to perform better than the cartridge mounted on the stock Technics headshell (8 grams IIRC).

Did you happen to try those fancy headshell leads with a Technics headshell, to see how much of the performance improvement was the headshell and how much was the wire? What cartridge(s) are you using on that headshell?

yes the head shell is heavy if the cart is 8g or heaver the tonearm will need the auxiliary counterweight installed.

Then its no problem
I did not try the leads on the technics factory shell because the fixed horizontal was off from the factory it was slightly off.

I now have two of the Zupreme head shells one I have a Audio-Technica OC9 ML/II I set tracking at 1.26g and the other is a Shure V15VxMr I set tracking at 1.0g.

Separately I also have a KAB PRO S-40 its OK sounding and not a bad cart all in all but IMO not as accurate sounding as my the Shure is.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 02:45 PM
yes the head shell is heavy if the cart is 8g or heaver the tonearm will need the auxiliary counterweight installed.

Then its no problem

I'm not so much concerned so much about being able to balance the arm, as with the possibility of creating cartridge/arm mismatches through adding 4 grams of mass to the end of the tonearm. With higher compliance cartridges (particularly heavy ones), the resonant frequency of the 1200 arm could drop below the optimum range. By using a lighter headshell with my AT150MLX I was able to drop some mass from the arm (I'm pretty sure the 12g effective mass figure for the arm is based on using the stock 8g headshell) and thereby raise the resonant frequency (I still need to get a good test record to see where I ended up). This is another factor to take into consideration when selecting a headshell.

Autobot
11-09-2008, 03:42 PM
I'm not so much concerned so much about being able to balance the arm, as with the possibility of creating cartridge/arm mismatches through adding 4 grams of mass to the end of the tonearm. With higher compliance cartridges (particularly heavy ones), the resonant frequency of the 1200 arm could drop below the optimum range. By using a lighter headshell with my AT150MLX I was able to drop some mass from the arm (I'm pretty sure the 12g effective mass figure for the arm is based on using the stock 8g headshell) and thereby raise the resonant frequency (I still need to get a good test record to see where I ended up). This is another factor to take into consideration when selecting a headshell.

Well I don't know about all that, all I know is that it blew away the previous factory head shell with both of my cartridges. And everyone that has tried the Zupreme will all agree...at least the ones I recommend it to love theirs too.

I can only say what I have experienced with my SL-1210 M5G and it did indeed have a mojor imporvement over the factory shell.

I can only give it my highest recommendation for the 1200 and also recommend the KAB TD-1200 fluid damper.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 03:45 PM
All manufacturers, including Technics, realised that sitting a relatively heavy weight (the tonearm locking ring) on the end of the arm wasn't a good idea....

Compared to the weight of the headshell and cartridge, I don't think the locking ring adds that much weight to the end of the arm. I do think that the headshell/arm joint is the main cause of flexibility in the arm, more so than within the headshell itself, and have been contemplating ways to make it more rigid. Perhaps some Teflon tape around the barrel of the headshell, where it inserts into the arm.

Personally, I like being able to easily switch around amongst my collection of cartridges enough to stick with the removable headshell design.

SA-708
11-09-2008, 03:47 PM
I can only give it my highest recommendation for the 1200 and also recommend the KAB TD-1200 fluid damper.

Ahh, the fluid damper. That's helping you out as far as the tonearm resonance, I would guess. I've been contemplating one for my 1700 (the arm is close enough to the 1200 that it should work) but still haven't pulled the trigger.

Autobot
11-09-2008, 05:06 PM
Ahh, the fluid damper. That's helping you out as far as the tonearm resonance, I would guess. I've been contemplating one for my 1700 (the arm is close enough to the 1200 that it should work) but still haven't pulled the trigger.

The damper is a sweet tweak and worthy upgrade.
I TOO tossed the thought around for over a year then a friend bought a KAB table with it (he too have the Zupreme) and after his review on the damper I got one :thmbsp:

and it does looks like it will work with your arm.
I found the voices sound a lot more natural and there is more air around the vocals and instruments the decay is better too.
Really did not notice anymore bass though, but I already had a lot of that.

I also have the Technics super mat Kevin sells as well as the rubber clamp.

Next on my list is the KAB RC-1200 Threaded clamp

http://www.kabusa.com/GIF/rc1200.jpg

then the Isonoe Footers

http://www.kabusa.com/GIF/isonoe.jpg

and Sorbothane Boots

http://www.kabusa.com/GIF/isoapp.jpg

Asha
11-09-2008, 09:14 PM
I've been trying to decide on a replacement headshell for a Yamaha PX-2 I acquired not too long ago (my 1st TT). The more I read, the more complicated the decision becomes. I plan to use it with the AT440MLa, which I also just purchased after much reading. The stock headshell for the PX-2 weighs 8g and does not have a finger lift.

Can anyone here recommend a good option for this set-up?

BrocLuno
11-09-2008, 09:38 PM
I'm a bit concerned about the references to rigidity? The stamped aluminum shells are very rigid. Ever try to bend one? It's not easy or even possible with bare fingers. The cupped design means there is material in shear on all three planes. The inexpensive wires may be upgraded to LPGear SOAR wires for a few dollars more.

I'd like to know what part of the system is introducing these resonances? The cantilever and diamond tip weighs at most maybe a gram (most likely a 1/10 of that). The cartridge body maybe 6 or 7. The shell another 6 or 7. So that's .1 gram moving at the tip a few thousandths of an inch and pushing on an assembly that weighs in at 12~14 grams through an elastic suspension. Is that enough to induce resonance or deflection in a caged stucture?

I'm also concerned with the concept of having to add more weight to balance things. The laws of physics indicate that adding mass and moving it away from the pivot points will adversely impact tracking due to heightened inertia. I have shells that weigh in at 6 grams all the way to ones that weigh in at 13 grams (cast). I have not heard this "resonance" in any of them or observed any undue arm motions. Someone explain or show me where these forces are acting and how?

Patriot1776
11-09-2008, 10:23 PM
I'm wondering where I could find another poly-graphite headshell or two for my PL-730.

thedelihaus
11-09-2008, 10:42 PM
hmmm... The technics stock units I have, and the aftermarket units are of the cast variety (not stamped) and are identical in length, height, and almost 100% the same weight.

If there are newer knock-offs that are vastly different from the original design (I bought my multiples about 8 to 11 years ago), maybe there's need for concern.

But if you can visually inspect the headshell, I'd not worry about aftermarket vs. Technics if the aftermarket one is of same weight, size and quality.


This is not to say that there aren't IMPROVEMENTS to the stock and aftermarket headshells- obviously there are. And that means improvements over BOTH stock Technics labeled headshells and aftermarket copies.

But stock Technics headshell and (at least my version of the) aftermarket versions, if exact duplicates sans Technics logo, well, no noticeable difference to me.



For those who've seen stock Technics knock-offs that are of different weight and length and height, were they recent purchases? Where did you source them? This info would be good to know.

Autobot
11-10-2008, 11:05 AM
I'm a bit concerned about the references to rigidity? The stamped aluminum shells are very rigid. Ever try to bend one? It's not easy or even possible with bare fingers. The cupped design means there is material in shear on all three planes. The inexpensive wires may be upgraded to LPGear SOAR wires for a few dollars more.

I'd like to know what part of the system is introducing these resonances? The cantilever and diamond tip weighs at most maybe a gram (most likely a 1/10 of that). The cartridge body maybe 6 or 7. The shell another 6 or 7. So that's .1 gram moving at the tip a few thousandths of an inch and pushing on an assembly that weighs in at 12~14 grams through an elastic suspension. Is that enough to induce resonance or deflection in a caged stucture?

I'm also concerned with the concept of having to add more weight to balance things. The laws of physics indicate that adding mass and moving it away from the pivot points will adversely impact tracking due to heightened inertia. I have shells that weigh in at 6 grams all the way to ones that weigh in at 13 grams (cast). I have not heard this "resonance" in any of them or observed any undue arm motions. Someone explain or show me where these forces are acting and how?

Me too I have never fully understood it.
I found this but still dont
http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/howtos/tonearmcartridge.html

The Technics specs SL-1210 M5G
Applicable Cartridge Weight Range (with auxiliary weight)
(with auxiliary weight) 9.5g - 13g
17g - 20.5g (including headshell)

headshell #1
The Zupreme 12.0g
my Shure V15VxMR 6.6g
total 18.6g within range?

headshell #2
the Zupreme 12.0g
my Audio-Technica OC9 MLII 8.0g
total 20.0g (still within range by 0.5g)

WmAx
11-10-2008, 01:21 PM
The issue of resonance is a real one, at lest from the measurable aspect. A certain European magazine has consistently provided accelerometer readings of the tone arms on various machines for years, demonstrating the differences that exist in different designs. Multiple relatively low rigidity connection points like the Technics arms measure very poorly in this regard. Every joint from the headshell connection to counterweight joint, and the low rigidity tube, result in substantial multiple resonance points of high amplitude.

Now, what about audibility? I can't say. No one has yet bothered to correlate and overlay the resonance response with the primary signal response on a graph showing the relative differences vs. the signal. IF such a graph was produced, there is carefully produced perceptual research that can be used to determine audibility by examining the frequency, Q and relative level of each resonance in relation to the primary signal. If one record a pure impulse on a record(does such record exist?), that impulse could have a FFT applied to it to acquire a cumulative spectral display plot, which is basically a collection of multiple gate points analyzed and displayed in a 3d graph to observe frequency vs. Q vs level of resonance(s) in the signal. It may also be possible to derive an impulse response from a pink noise recording(which do exist), since pink noise is so similar to the MLS signals used to derive noise-immune impulse response from speaker systems in noisy environments, but i'm not absolutely sure that a standard pink noise recording will work for thjis purpose. If I had the disposable income, I would simply have a custom record cut with all of the test signals needed to do this resonance analysis properly, but alas, I don't.

As a practical end use test, I will recording the same musical tracks with a high end low resonance tone arm with the same cartridge on a Technics SL-1200 type arm(actually on a SL-Q2; but it is virtually the same arm, except it does not have the VTA adjustment on it's base). I will time synch/level match the tracks in software and then compare them blinded using ABX software to see if large, readily apparent differences exist. There should be notable differences that are easy to specify under blinded conditions if the tone arm resonance issue is a considerable one, considering the grade/design of arms being compared here.

-Chris