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Vinyl Asylum: REVIEW: Pickering TL-2S Phono Cartridge by OMalley

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REVIEW: Pickering TL-2S Phono Cartridge

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Model: TL-2S
Category: Phono Cartridge
Suggested Retail Price: ~$150
Description: Pickering TL-2S Moving Magnet P-mount Cartidge /w adapter
Manufacturer URL: Not Available

Review by OMalley on March 02, 2008 at 14:10:29
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for the TL-2S

Word was that this Pickering TL-2S was better than a bunch of cartridges including the DL-103. I bought one to see. It is a P-mount /w adapter. If I ever get a Technics it will be a plug and play situation. A Shibata type stylus of unknown lifespan proprietively named DTL2-S. The cartridge is loaded on the bugle preamp at 47k ohm / 14pF capacitance. I don't what the tonearm cable's capacitance is.

Dave Pogue tells me I should be using a wispy weight tonearm so I dropped the heavy weights off the counterweight. I don't know if it made any difference, and I am tracking at 1.1grams. The cartridge db informs that this rb250 should mate perfectly with the TL-2S ....

Does Piaf's voice nicely. Really engaging. A lot of love. The sound is thick, has impact.

Does Abbey Lincoln's voice nicely. In this recording some detail can be fetched out, some nuance, whereas the Piaf being a messy live recording, etc. The impact of the horns is fatter, rounder, but with nice ... impact. Midrange punch. There is a drop back from clear detail that the 103 gives up. Things went from a clear picture to a more colored display. Sort of like big screen living color which was more lurid than real but I loved that kind of thing.

I have an Unplayable records pile; Brutal in fact. Wasn't able to listen to full first side of Beethoven's Archduke trio. A shame. Casals, Sandor Veigh, Horszowski, I don't hope to find this record again.
Buck Clayton, still very bad but being that the music overrode the brutal noise, I flipped that thru both sides. Yeah! Perfect pounding for this rekkid. I don't know but jazz seems to overcome record noise as long as there is no introspective piano playing. It's gotta jam to beat the snapClickPoP.
Kabalevsky 24 preludes, Nadia Reisenberg, piano: Listenable. OK, nice, occasional pop. This record is redeemed but there is no such thing as 'air' with this cartridge, no shimmer, no extension. The sound is more intimate, closer, sort of like a zoom lens has been used which shortens the field of perspect making everything cosier. Nice weight, nice ambience.
Beethoven's Emporer Emil Gilels, piano: Nice string tone....but the busy top end falls all apart. Too bad. Still unplayable.
I had these sitting waiting for a small stylus to make them play. I am losing hope.

Stones' Exile on Main Street. The best rock and roll record ever made. There is no scrotum tightening bass but THIS is what this cartridge is made for. Extension, detail, nuance, forget it - IMPACT is what we want with the Stones. The bass is boomy. All at the same time I would like

whatever venue that Exile came over.

An uncleaned copy of Nick Drake's Pink Moon: Couldn't wait, had to play it. Exceeds expectations. Very nice string tone on guitar, the music rises off the record nicely. Piano notes have clean play. I am glad I found this 1989 UK re-issue for $60. It is the most I have ever payed for a record and I had $cheapo$ regrets until the first 3 seconds expired.

Attempt at a summery:
Great for old/used records, bad recordings[read save by the colored presentation] and rises to the occasions with well recorded pressings. I just had a loss of love over my Denon DL-160. It played sweetly when I had the cj PV10BL. Now that the Hagerman Clarinet replaced it the 160 is too thin and energetic. I would prefer this Pickering over the 160 now in my system. There are base similarities with the 103, sort of like distant cousins, but the 103 excels in all departments: extension, detail, air, bass, impact. Why have the Pickering TL-2S, then? What it does with it's lurid midrange is why. I will think of it as a dumbed down version of the 103 with the equalization centered midrange-wise. Very worthy for the $20 I paid. I think I will spring for a new stylus from KAB at about $80. The only risk is that the rich midrange may prove to be too much over time but this richness helps to tame some of the overeagerness of the NAD533 [read Rega P2].

I don't care much about music.
What I like is sounds. ~ Dizzy Gillespie

Product Weakness: top and bottom
Product Strengths: Midrange

Associated Equipment for this Review:

Amplifier: cj sonographe sa250
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Hagerman Clarinet / Bugle phono
Sources (CDP/Turntable): NAD533
Speakers: Paradigm Studio v2
Cables/Interconnects: ...
Music Used (Genre/Selections): ...
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Pickering TL-2S Phono Cartridge - OMalley 14:10:29 03/2/08 ( 29)