Soundsmith Carmen Mk II ES
New ES Series DEMS Design
Made in the USA. Rebuild Price? ~ $150 ~ Less Than 20% of MSRP, as always! - The Carmen features a 2-year warranty to the original owner.
A free flowing design, Carmen is highly resolving, with an unparalleled purity of tone and an ultra-smooth presentation. Just slightly lush, with a well-developed midrange, Carmen ultimately seduces you into long, late listening sessions. As dawn approaches and the lead-out groove begins its rumble, you will find yourself desperately fumbling for another record, just to keep the magic alive for one more side.
Carmen is a very special cartridge and the stylus is a large part of what makes it special. Starting with a very high-purity stone, Carmen's diamond is a 50x occlusion free diamond. A true elliptical design, Soundsmith grinds the entire diamond not just the front and rear, giving Carmen a huge resolution advantage over other elliptical designs and a smoothness of tone that is unique in this price range.
Carmen is a medium weight cartridge at 6.8 g making it compatible with a broad variety of tonearms and thanks to its 2.2 mV output, Carmen works well with most MM phono preamps. All Soundsmith cartridges are Made in the USA.
What is DEMS?
“Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.” – Peter Ledermann.
2018’s RMAF show was the official launch of Soundsmith’s new ES series of cartridges, where the attendees experienced the latest exploration into overlooked areas of cartridge design and solutions from Soundsmith.
The ES line features not only a dramatic new look, but is a significant evolution of the DEMS system design (Dynamic Energy Management System). The new Soundsmith ES cartridge designs are a significant advancement in cartridge performance due to their ability to direct internal vibrational forces without reflection and disperse them properly to the tone arm. The absence of reflections enables the stylus to stay in far greater statistical 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.
Every cartridge in Soundsmith’s lineup will now feature our sleek new ES body design. The upgrade is far more than cosmetic; the new shape is a departure from the reflective and “boxy” design of many cartridges whose internal construction contribute to uncontrolled vibrational issues adversely effecting performance. Peter says, “Think of how singing in an open field compares with singing in a shower.” Soundsmith has always challenged conventions, looking deeper into nuances of cartridge design that dramatically affect immediate and long term performance. These have included extreme reductions of moving mass and the use of novel materials and designs. The new ES lineup is a continuation of that research and development.
Stylus: Nude Elliptical, 0.120mm SQ
Radius of curvature: 6 x 17 μm
Cantilever: Aluminum Alloy
Recommended tracking force: 1.3 - 1.6 g (standard medium Compliance)
Effective tip mass: 0.35 mg
Compliance: 22 μm/mN (medium)
Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz ± 2.5 dB
Channel separation (stereo only): 1000 Hz >26 dB, 50-15,000 >20 dB
Channel difference: <1.6 dB (Stereo)
Output voltage: 2.12 mV
Cartridge weight: 6.8 grams
Stylus to Mounting Hole Offset: ≈ 10mm (0.4")
Loading: ≥ 47 kΩ