What Is a High Compliance Phono Cartridge?
Compliance in phono cartridge refers to the stiffness or rigidity of the stylus cantilever which works as the device’s spring. There is the low compliance phono cartridge and the high compliance cartridge. While the low compliance cartridge is in form of a hard spring, that of high compliance is almost like a soft spring.
Based on phono cartridge reviews, High compliance is best used for stylus together with a low mass arm. High compliance doesn’t really fit with a high mass arm as this could pose a problem by reducing the performance of the bass and high frequencies. There are the medium mass arms which also tend to work well with high compliance. Phono cartridge reviews
A low compliance phono cartridge ranges from 5 to 10 µm/mN while a high compliance phono cartridge goes above 35 µm/mN. It is always best to have a mass arm match the compliance with damping. You can easily apply damping in different places through different means. VTF is an effective method to integrate damping and compliance. This method will suggest the perfect combination for the cartridge and the arm mass. I.e
High Mass = greater than 3g
Mid Mass = between 1.75g to 2.5g
Low Mass = Lesser than 1.5g.
These dampings help improve effectiveness even with cartridge and arm appropriately matched. Moreover, the phono cartridge capacitance must be strong enough to carry the work of the damping and compliance. This could bring us to a question like what is phono cartridge capacitance? Phono cartridge capacitance is made up of the arm cable wiring capacitance, plus a real capacitor in the input of the phono preamp. The resistor which is often 47k is a real resistor or combination of values also in the input of the phono preamp.
All of these components combined might make you wonder; how much should I spend on a phono cartridge? It is true that the phono cartridge is just a part of the whole turntable, but the components of the phono cartridge when arranged right mean a quality sound performance from the turntable itself.