The Zephyr Star, which weighs 10.27 grams, features a Sapphire cantilever …..laser drilled to accept the Selected Contact Line low mass nude stylus, and borrows much of its internal technology from the $4800 Sussurro cartridge that I reviewed some time ago in Stereophile. The Zephyr Star’s compliance is suitably low at 10µm/mN, its rated channel separation at 1K is rated at greater than 28dB and 25dB between 50Hz and 15kHz.
The name is an acronym for “Moving Iron for Moving Coil preamps). In other words, with its .4mV output, the MIMC should be used with a moving coil phono preamp capable of producing between 58-64dBs of gain.
Stylus: Selected Contact Line low mass Nude Stylus
Radius of curvature: 6 x 17 μm
Cantilever:Laser Drilled Sapphire
Recommended tracking force: 1.8 to 2.2 grams
Effective tip mass: 0.32 mg
Compliance: 10 μm/mN (low compliance)
Frequency response: 15-45,000 Hz ± 2.0 dB
Channel separation (stereo only): 1000 Hz >28 dB, 50-15,000 >25 dB
Channel difference: <1.0 dB (Stereo), <0.5 dB (Dual Mono operation- w/optimal VTF setting)
Output Voltage: ≥0.4 mV
DC Resistance (DCR): 10-11 Ω each channel
Coil: 2.75 mH each channel
Suggested Preamp Gain: 58-64 dB
Soundsmith Recommends: MCP2 Variable Loading Preamp
Cartridge weight: 10.25 grams
Stylus to Mounting Hole Offset: ≈ 10mm (0.4″)
Loading: ≥ 470
At the under $2000 price point, the new low output Soundsmith Zephyr MIMIC Star is an overachiever that gives you a glimpse of the best in terms of non-mechanical, artifact-free performance, for a small percentage of the state of the art asking price. With measured 36dB chancel separation the Zephyr Star’s spatial performance is up there with the best at any price, as is its smooth, reasonably fast and non-mechanical overall demeanor.
If you crave more tightly drawn, solid and compacted images, sharper, faster, better focused transients and blacker backgrounds they can be found, but at a far higher price-point. Soundsmith’s new Zephyr Star is a star. Read More