It’s upgrade time for TheNightOwl… The fundraiser is now closed


Hello Friends,

Over the last couple years, several of you have made a donation to me in support of my vinyl rips. Some of you have been kind and generous enough to donate several times. I’d like to send a sincere thank you to each of you for your support – especially to those who have donated more than once. Hopefully, you’re all enjoying the rips.

Now, with your help, I’d like to take them to the next level…

Since my last upgrade, in July of 2012, I have made no improvements to my equipment. All the money I’ve received in donations has gone toward new vinyl, sleeves, cleaning supplies, etc. I’ve been more than happy with my setup, and judging from the comments I’ve gotten since then, a lot of you have felt the same way.

Over the last few months, I’ve been thinking about switching from my current Shure V15VxMR / Jico SAS moving magnet (MM) combination to a moving coil (MC) cartridge. I posted topics in the black-circles forum and also on the Hoffman boards asking for opinions on whether I should switch to a MC cartridge. I got quite a bit of response from both sides of the fence. The thing I heard the most from people with MC cartridges was that they produce more detailed sound, you can hear more of what’s in the grooves, etc. Still, I was undecided.

Then, I got an email from a fellow ripper (who uses a MC cartridge – the Audio Technica AT33PTG/II). He had downloaded my recent rip of the new 200g version of King Crimson’s – Lark’s Tongue in Aspic. He said he loved my rip and bought a copy of the album for himself. A week or so later, he sent me another email and said that he thought his rip of the same album sounded better – more detail and more “low end energy” that wasn’t present on my rip. He offered to send me a copy of his rip, if I wanted to hear the difference. As much as I wanted to be happy with the equipment that I thought was awesome for the last 18 months or so, my interest was piqued. So I said “sure, send me a rip of side two & I’ll compare it to my rip”…

After adjusting the volume on the two rips to be as close as possible to each other, I proceeded to play both rips at a significant volume. Sure enough, there was noticeably more detail on Larks’ Tongue Part 2 (the percussion was much more pronounced and realistic sounding) and there was more low end. The lows weren’t muddy at all, but more lively, more dynamic, if you will. I had always heard than MC cartridges were brighter overall, compared to MM cartridges. This was not the case. The highs were clean and crisp, not overpowering.

When I went back to my rip, it sounded slightly bright by comparison and the low end dynamics that I heard on the MC rip were diminished as well. As much as I didn’t want to like the MC rip more, I was convinced. The MC rip sounded better.

As I said at the beginning of this email, I feel the time has come to take my rips to the next level – with an upgrade to a moving coil cartridge. The benefit to you (of course) is improved rips. I’ve done quite a bit of research in the last few weeks and have come to the conclusion that the AT33PTG/II is an almost perfect match for my current tonearm and preamp. No additional components would be required. Analog technology is not ‘plug and play’ by any means, but the combination of this cart with what I already have is about as close to a perfect match as one could hope for.

So, if you’re still reading this, here comes the hard part… I’d like to ask you for your additional financial support in helping me purchase this cartridge. Depending on where it’s purchased, the cost is $460-500 and it’s only available in Japan. Under no circumstances do I want you to feel any obligation to make any donation for this purchase. It’s entirely voluntary on your part.

I truly feel that this will improve the sound quality of my rips. Below, you can see the various features and specifications..

Improved boron pure tapered cantilever and lighter vibration system.
High performance and life long Micro linear stylus (average 1000hours) .
High separation and wide response dual moving coil.
Anti-vibration designed Potassium titanate mixed rigid synthetic resin VC mold.
High rigidly body was designed aluminum alloy based rigid resin and anti-parasitic resonance.

Model Type: MC
Playback frequency range: 15 – 50,000 Hz
Output Voltage: 0.3mV (1kHz, 3.54cm/sec.)
Channel: 30dB (1kHz)
Output Balance: 0.5dB (1kHz)
Needle pressure: 1.8 – 2.2g (2.0g standard)
Coil impedance: 10 ohm (1kHz)
DC resistance: 10 ohm
Load resistance: Above 100 ohm
Coil: 22µH (1kHz)
Static compliance: 40 x 10-6cm/dyne
Dynamic compliance: 10 x 10-6cm/dyne (100Hz)
Needle shape: Micro Linear
Vertical Tracking Angle: 23 degree
Dimensions: H16 x W16.6 x D26.5mm
Mass: 6.9g

If you would be interested in contributing to the purchase of this cartridge, please click on the button below to make your contributions. When the PayPal screen comes up, please put “cartridge” in the ‘purpose’ field so that your donation will be allotted properly.

As I have done in the past, here’s what I intend to do for this fundraiser:

– My plan right now is to keep this fundraiser open for 2 weeks (or until enough money has been raised).
– All donations will be acknowledged with a personal email upon receipt, as always.
– At the end of the first week, I’ll send an update out to everyone who has donated to let them know of the current total. I will also post a running total here on
– At the end of the 2 weeks (or sooner, if the goal is met before then), the order will be placed, regardless of how much money is raised.
– If we don’t raise enough for the cartridge by the end of the 2 weeks, refunds will be available.

I think that’s it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this email, I greatly appreciate every contribution I receive (especially from those of you who have donated more than once).

Thank you once again for your time and continued support.


Total as of 19 Feb: WE DID IT!!! The order has been placed and the new cart should be here within a couple weeks.

I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who donated. It really means a lot!

5 thoughts on “It’s upgrade time for TheNightOwl… The fundraiser is now closed

  1. Money (a little, but everthing should help) is on its way.
    If you don’t reach the goal: no refund needed. Spent it on vinyl. (Or a couple of drinks, just for all your trouble).

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