The new Zephyr MK III has achieved what no other cartridge has done since its inception; rapid recognition as a leading force in phono cartridge design and performance. It also follows Soundsmith's tradition for their complete line of cartridges - full restoration and stylus rebuilding when the time comes at 20% of its price ~ $299 for rebuild. And Soundsmith can do it many times over for you. Imagine that - A new Zephyr MKIII cartridge for $299, every time it's needed.
The Soundsmith Zephyr MkIII enjoys a great history, starting with the well loved VPI Zephyr original, which evolved into the well known Zephyr MKII. In their effort to bring you even higher definition without increase in cost, Soundsmith introduces the NEW Zephyr MKIII. It features a newly developed aluminum alloy - the same one they are now using in the Paua MKII, just released. This new metal alloy has unique dualistic properties, providing stiffness in the ranges required as well as damping exactly where its needed - and by the proper amount - in the most critical parts of the sonic spectrum. The result is a cartridge that will slam your Rock and Roll while providing a new level of linearity and clarity for the most complex classical and jazz passages.
Attached to Soundsmith's new cantilever material is a tiny new super low mass "High Profile" Contact Line diamond they have developed for the new Zephyr MKIII. This stylus traces more of the groove walls than a standard contact line, but avoids some of the alignment pitfalls that can occur with a high profile contact line design, allowing more azimuth alignment forgiveness than is normally possible with such designs.
These improvements are paired with technology borrowed from Soundsmith's higher end line; "Trickle Down" technology from a unique Dynamic Energy Management System (DEMS) developed by Soundsmith that moves the damped energy and propagates it properly within the cartridge body. This is a similar system employed in the Soundsmith's well received and reviewed high end Sussurro Cartridge.
The new Zephyr MKIII is capable of truly remarkable separation and sound stage imaging at a level not previously achievable in a modestly priced design. The composite body and unique DEMS design work in tandem to contribute to the Zephyr MkIII's ability to produce high-end performance from a moderately priced cartridge. Be prepared to sit back and realize......you may have never really heard your record collection before.
The Zephyr MkIII will provide a level of clarity and beauty that will make you take out your record collection and listen to it all over again.
As always from Soundsmith, all their fixed coil designs are available in dual-coil mono.
I love the fact that I can get this level of performance from a phonograph cartridge without needing a step-up transformer to accomplish it. It's a satisfying and liberating feeling!
New ES Series DEMS Design
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 their 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 affecting 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.
|Type||Fixed Coil / Moving Iron|
|Stylus||Ultra Low Mass Nude High Profile Contact Line|
|Radius of Curvature||6 x 17 µm|
|Cantilever||New Soundsmith Aluminun Aluminum Alloy|
|Recommended Tracking Force||1.8 - 2.2 g|
|Effective Tip Mass||0.28 mg|
|Frequence Response||15 - 45,000 Hz ± 2.0 dB|
|Channel Separation @ 1000 Hz|| > 28 dB
N/A (Mono version)
|Channel Separation @ 50 - 15,000 Hz|| > 25 dB
N/A (Mono version)
|Channel Difference|| < 1.0 dB
< 0.5 dB (Dual Mono w/optimal VTF setting)
|Output Voltage @ 5cm/sec||> 2.40 mV (HIGH)|
|DC Resistance (DCR)||680Ω|
|Coil Inductance per channel||190 mH|
|Suggested Preamp Gain||38 - 44 dB|
|Cartridge Weight||12.2 g (ES series)|
|Recommended Load Resistance||≥ 47kΩ|
|Recommended Load Capacitance||n/a|