MY SONIC LAB, “Matsudaira’s dream

The “My” in the name refers to the initials of its designer: Mr. Y. Matsudaira who founded the company after an illustrious career spanning over forty years designing cartridges, phono stages and tonearms .

He started at Tokyo Sound Co. in 1959 and moved to Supex Co in 1967. In the 70’s, he was invited to be part of an independent development team for masterpieces by the top-brand phono cartridges  like Koetsu, Miyabi etc. He joined Audio Craft Co in 1981 as chief engineer and presented such exquisite works as the AC-3 stereo cartridge, the AC-3300/4400 tonearms, the AR-110/110L turntables, the TS-200 MC transformer, the PE-6000 Signature phono amp.

Mr. Matsudaira realised his long cherished dream, when he formed “My Sonic Lab” in 2003, and introduced the EMINENT high-output, low-impedance MC cartridge and the matching MC transformer Stage 202.

With My Sonic Lab, Mr. Matsudaira has fulfilled his design goals of producing a moving coil cartridge with very low internal impedance. With this design, Mr. Matsudaira feels that the energy producing potential of an MC cartridge is fully realised.

Mr. Matsudaira uses an ultra high-μ material that he has named SH-μX. This material allows My Sonic Lab to significantly reduce the amount of coil wire required to give a decent output level. With the reduction in the amount of coil wire comes greater low-level resolution.

My Sonic Lab cartridges achieve their reputation as absolute reference standard components because of their ability to excel in all aspects of analogue sound reproduction and audiophiles often describe them as having that elusive “magic”. It’s all there …energy, dynamics, detail, nuance, liquidity. Once you have heard one of these in a well set-up system, you will realise that only someone of Mr. Matsudaira’s experience and heritage can produce something this special.

Further Reading
EMINENT EX
The goal of any MC cartridge design is to achieve high energy (maximise output) from a low impedance circuit. (i.e. the least number of coil windings)

Historically there has been a trade off between higher output cartridges (e.g. 0.3mV to 0.7mV) which yield less resolution and low level detail, compared to those with an output of 0.1mV to 0.25mV. With the limitations of most of today’s phono stages the trend has been to use higher output MC cartridges at the expense of ultimate resolution.

Utilising Mr. Matsudaira’s vast experience, MSL has solved this problem by producing a cartridge with minimal coil windings (for high resolution) yet with high output gains of 0.3mV to 0.5mV, thus unleashing the musical energy during playback, yet retaining the subtle nuances and resolution. Neodymium magnets have improved this situation but MSL have also designed a high efficiency magnetic circuit, achieving their goal in the MSL Eminent EX with it’s very low internal impedance of 0.9 Ω yet with a higher output of 0.4mV.

Physical

Body: Aluminium

Cantilever: Super duralumin

Stylus: Semi-line contact (3μmx 30μm)  Coils/Core: Magnet: Neodymium # 50

Terminal pins: Polished Rhodium-plated

Weight: 10.5g

Electrical:

Output Voltage: 0.4 mV / 1 kHz / 5cm / sec DC resistance 1 ohm (DCR)

Internal Impedance: 0.9 ohm (DCR)

Frequency Response: 10 ~ 50kHz

Channel Balance: < 0.5dB (1kHz)

Channel Separation: > 30dB (1kHz)

Dynamic:

Tracking ability:           @315Hz at 2g tracking force

Dynamic Compliance:          10 μm / mN

Set Up:

Recommended loading: > 100 ohms

Recommended tracking force: 1.9 ~ 2.2g

£3120
HYPER EMINENT
The Hyper Eminent MC cartridge sits between the Eminent EX and the Ultra Eminent models and is designed to further reduce cartridge resonance at the base of the head and vibration to the suspension system. This is achieved with the use of a higher hardness base and Ultra duralumin (A7075) cantilever and a surface hardening process to further enhance this effect.

This material was originally produced for aeronautics where emphasis was placed on resistance so could not be lacquered. As surface treatments are difficult to achieve causing a high failure rate, an exclusive ion-bonding process that achieves surface rigidity of over 1500 hp. was introduced to obtain the sound quality required for Hyper Eminent.

Despite a time-intensive process, the housing was changed to improve the anti-vibration system, resulting in a high quality product, regardless of cost.

Physical

Body:

Cantilever: Ultra duralumin (A7075).

Stylus: Semi-line contact (3μmx 30μm)

Coils/Core: SH-μX

Magnet: Neodymium #50

Terminal pins: Polished Rhodium-plated

Weight: 9.5g

Electrical:

Output Voltage: 0.5mV at 1kHz

Internal Impedance: 1.8 ohm (DCR)

Frequency Response: 10 ~ 50kHz

Channel Balance: < 0.5dB (1kHz)

Channel Separation: > 30dB (1kHz)

Dynamic:

Tracking ability:       @315Hz at 2g tracking force

Dynamic Compliance:

Set Up:

Recommended loading: 100 – 800Ω (specifically, about 400Ω is recommended)

Recommended tracking force: 1.9 ~ 2.2g

£4550
SIGNATURE GOLD
The Signature Gold MC Cartridge won the Gran Prix prize in 2012 (cartridge division) of the Stereo Sound magazine, the most authoritative audio magazine in Japan. When very experienced critics agree on the high quality of a product, this surely inspires confidence.

In terms of construction, the MSL Signature Gold damper system has been updated, with a larger core creating a generator with a much higher efficiency.

It is a step up from the Ultra Eminent with improved sonic qualities presenting outstanding dynamics, naturalness, transparency because of it’s ability to extract the huge amount of information that lays within the vinyl surface thus imbuing the listener with an emotional connection to the music.

Features:

  1. SH-µX core having intrinsic ultra Hi-Bs & Hi-µ: An astounding high-efficiency output 0.5mV with 1.4O ohm internal impedance was created thanks to the elaborate high-efficiency magnetic circuitry composed of their exclusive core with minimal windings of the coil wire.
  2. Semi-line contact stylus: Outstanding trackability, without tracking distortion by means of microscopic 0.1mm-square diamond tip of 3 x 30µmm semi-line contact.
  3. Ultra-hard cantilever: A specially hardened duralmin pipe is employed to reproduce powerful yet minute and delicate nuances of musical expression
  4. The hyper-solid duralmin base makes the cartridge totally variation-proof and free from resonances.
  5. Dramatically reinforced magnetism was obtained by means of a refined core whose cross-sectional dimensions are enlarged by as much as 10%, compared to the current versions, at the cross-sectional dimensions.
Physical

Body:

Cantilever: Double super-duraluminum.

Stylus: Semi-line contact (3μmx 30μm)

Coils/Core:

Magnet: Neodymium #50

Terminal pins: Polished Rhodium-plated

Weight: 10g

Electrical:

Output Voltage: 0.5mV at 1kHz

Internal Impedance: 1.4 ohm (DCR)

Frequency Response: 10 ~ 50kHz

Channel Balance: < 0.5dB (1kHz)

Channel Separation: > 30dB (1kHz)

Dynamic:

Tracking ability @315Hz at 2g tracking force

Dynamic Compliance:

Set Up:

Recommended loading: > 10 ohms

Recommended tracking force: 1.9 ~ 2.2g

£7100
SIGNATURE PLATINUM
The flagship MSL Signature Platinum cartridge builds on the attributes of MSL Signature Gold. The listener will experience a more precise sound, with a greater sense of speed and superior responsiveness than with the gentler, perhaps more self-indulgent Signature Gold.

This has been achieved by employing a harder titanium high strength base (surface hardened even further by Black IP processing) together with a lightweight but stiffer boron cantilever.

The boron cantilever offers faster energy/sound transfer which renders a more precise reproduction.

The sound provides pure emotion, outstanding fine-tuning, authority, balance and transparency with ease which will delight the listener and distinguish this pickup as one of the finest in the world.

Physical

Body: Titanium

Cantilever: Boron.

Stylus: Semi-line contact (3μmx 30μm)

Coils/Core: Magnet: Neodymium magnet with special pure copper core (SH-μX)

Terminal pins: Polished Rhodium-plated

Weight: 10g

Electrical:

Output Voltage: 0.5mV at 1kHz

Internal Impedance: 1.4 ohm (DCR)

Frequency Response: 10 ~ 50kHz

Channel Balance: < 0.5dB (1kHz)

Channel Separation: > 30dB (1kHz)

Dynamic:

Tracking ability:           @315Hz at 2g tracking force

Dynamic Compliance: 10 μm / mN

Set Up:

Recommended loading: > 100 ohms

Recommended tracking force: 1.9 ~ 2.2g

£8800