Telos

My Sonic Lab



The “My” in the company name My Sonic Lab refers to the initials of its designer, Mr. Y. Matsudaira who founded the company after an illustrious career as a cartridge, phono stage, and tonearm designer spanning over forty years.

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 the masterpieces of the top-brand phono cartridges (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.

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

With My Sonic Lab, Mr. Matsudaira is fulfilling 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.


Cartridges:  Eminent

Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge 0.5mV

The My Sonic Lab Eminent is the entry model in the My Sonic Lab Eminent Series of MC phono cartridges.

This model is not sold within Japan, only outside Japan.

An Epoch-Making Low-Impedance MC Phono Cartridge
The ultimate target of MC cartridge is to derive "High" energy from "Low" impedance circuitry. For this purpose, so far many manufacturers, small or large, have employed various sorts of materials and devices such as:

  • Purification of wire material

  • New material for housing

  • Selection of cantilever material

  • High-energy magnet

  • Polish on stylus tip

But actually for these 30 years, nothing has been noticeably improved in respect of technical data; to the contrary something adverse has been done in the light of the above-mentioned principle "output voltage vs. internal impedance".

Certainly, compared to the samarium or cerium cobalt magnet used 30 years ago, the neodynium magnet forming today's mainstream is enhanced by as much as 3 times in terms of energy product, but it does not help augment the output voltage.

Through long experience, MySonic Lab's ultimate goal was set up to clear the barriers:

2 ohms at internal impedance & 0.5mV at output voltage, and our bold challenge started here to work out a solution to this theme; that means, the high source impedance (resistive components of coil) causes considerable consumption of the generated energy in the inside of the coils, whilst small output voltage yields transmission loss to the next stages including interconnections, thus inevitably deteriorating signal quality and increasing noise components.

Nevertheless, it is mechanically and physically impossible to increment the output voltage of today's MC cartridge up to the 3mV - 5mV level due to load amount imposed on the vibration system.

In view of usual workable range of the step-up and head-amp devices, it was considered to be reasonable to set up the output voltage at 0.3mV - 0.5mV. How to reduce the impedance with such output level?

The first task tackled was to design high-efficiency magnetic circuitry. The reason why the high energy product inherent in today's magnet cannot be utilised lies in the magnetic saturation of the pole piece & material, and whatever material you may select, you are unable to get over the barrier unless saturation flux density is augmented.

After years' exhaustive R & D efforts, finally developed is our exclusive ultra-hi-μ core material named the SH-μX. This SH-μX boasting of such huge saturation flux density and initial permeability exceeding 3 times more than those of conventional Hi-u core brings forth unprecedented high-efficiency magnetic characteristics, which permits remarkable reduction in the number of coil winds, thus suppressing the inner loss down to the minimum, while its high output voltage makes it possible to reproduce an  overwhelming energy sensation and extraordinary high resolution throughout whole spectrum of audio bandwidth.

My Sonic Lab Eminent Specifications:

  • Type :                            Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Frequency response :     10 - 50,000 Hz
  • Output voltage :              0.5mV/1kHz
  • Internal impedance :       1.8 Ω
  • Loading :                       100 - 800Ω (specifically, about 400Ω is recommended)
  • Core material :               SH-μX
  • Magnet :                        Neodynium #50
  • Stylus pressure :            2 - 2.2g
  • Cantilever :                    Super-duralmine dual structure
  • Stylus tip :                     Semi-line contact (3μm x 30μm)
  • Channel balance :          within 0.5dB (1kHz)
  • Crosstalk :                     more than 30dB (1kHz)
  • Terminals :                    shiny rhodium-plated pins
  • Weight :                        9g

hi-fi+ logo

Eminent Review

issue No. 37
by Jason Hector

"This is a powerful MC with impressive low-level resolution and a sense of speed that is quite rare."

"It's crisp and clear yet also muscular and hard hitting ..."

"... the guitar and bass portrayed with a chunkiness that makes them seem all the more real."

"There's no shortage of power and weight"

"There's no denying the strong sense of pace that the Eminent brings to the party and the degree to which it responds to each recording. This is a first class moving coil that deserves to be a front-runner for any one with this sort of budget."

This is an accurate assessment of the entry level MySonic Lab cartridge. Superb value moving coil!



Cartridges:  Eminent EX

Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge 0.4mV

After years of exhaustive R & D efforts, MySonic developed an exclusive ultra-hi-μ core material named the SH-μX. The SH-μX boasts a huge saturation flux density and initial permeability exceeding 3 times more than those of conventional Hi-μ core materials.

The SH-μX delivers high-efficiency magnetic fields allowing a reduction in the number of coil windings, thus reducing inner loss to a minimum, while its high output voltage makes it possible to reproduce musical energy fully.

In most low-output MC cartridge designs (typically 0.1mV to 0.7mV output), a higher output like 0.3mV to 0.7mV has more coil windings inside the cartridge, which typically yields less resolution and low-level detail.

A lower output like 0.1mV to 0.25mV would have lesser coil windings, yielding better resolution and low-level detail.

This is the standard in most MC low-output MC cartridge designs. With the limitations of most of today's phono stages, however, it is easier to get more energy or liveliness in the music with a low-output MC cartridge having a gain of 0.3mV to 0.7mV, at the expense of ultimate resolution.

If one has to maximize the potential of an MC cartridge having a low output like 0.1mV to 0.25mv for example, one needs a superb high gain phono stage with enough gain and excellent noise control.

My Sonic Lab broke the barrier instead of going with the standard. From Matsudaira-san's long years of experience, he designed his low-output cartridges to have minimal coil windings for high resolution and yet have high-output gains of 0.3mV to 0.5mV output for easily unleashing music's energy during playback. An excellent balance.

The ultimate target of MC cartridge is to derive "High" energy from "Low" impedance circuitry.

For this purpose, many manufacturers, small or large, so far have employed various sorts of materials and devices such as:

  • Selection of cantilever material
  • Purification of wire material
  • High-energy magnet
  • New material for housing
  • Polish on stylus tip

But actually for these 30 years, nothing has been noticeably improved in respect of technical data; on the contrary, something adverse has been done in the light of the above-mentioned principle "output voltage vs. internal impedance".

Compared to the samarium or cerium cobalt magnet used 30 years ago, the neodynium magnet forming today's mainstream is enhanced by as much as 3 times in terms of energy product, but it does not help augment the output voltage.

Through our long experience, our ultimate goal was set up to clear the barriers, the limitations.

2 ohms at internal impedance and 0.5mV at output voltage - a bold challenge. With this in mind, we started to work out a solution to this theme; that means, the high source impedance (resistive components of coil) causes considerable consumption of the generated energy in the inside of the coils, while a small output voltage yields transmission loss to the next stages including interconnects, thus inevitably deteriorating signal quality and increasing noise in components.

Nevertheless, it is mechanically and physically impossible to increment the output voltage of today's MC cartridge up to the 3mV to 5mV level due to the load amount imposed on the vibration system.

In view of the usual workable range of the step-up and head-amp devices, it was considered to be reasonable to set up the output voltage at 0.3mV to 0.5mV. How does one reduce the impedance with such output level?

The first task tackled was to design a high-efficiency magnetic circuitry. The reason why the high energy product inherent in today's magnet cannot be utilised lies in the magnetic saturation of the pole piece and material, and whatever material you may select, one is unable to get over the barrier unless saturation flux density is augmented.

My Sonic Lab Eminent EX Specifications :

 

  • Type :                            Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Frequency response :   10 - 50,000 Hz
  • Output voltage :            0.4mV/1kHz
  • Internal impedance :     0.9 Ω
  • Loading :                       100 - 800Ω (specifically, about 400Ω is recommended)
  • Core material :               SH-μX
  • Magnet :                        Neodynium #50
  • Stylus pressure :            1.9 - 2.2g
  • Cantilever :                    Super-duralmine dual structure
  • Stylus tip :                     Semi-line contact (3μm x 30μm)
  • Channel balance :          within 0.5dB (1kHz)
  • Crosstalk :                     more than 30dB (1kHz)
  • Terminals :                    shiny rhodium-plated pins
  • Weight :                        9.5g

 

My Sonic Lab Eminent EX

Stereophile

Analog Corner

Stereophile Recommended Component Class A

"If I had to describe the Eminent EX in one word, it would be power … Its personality was punchy, explosive, and deliberate from top to bottom, and produced great dynamic authority and forward thrust."

"My Sonic Lab’s Eminent EX is among the finest, most skillfully balanced cartridges I’ve heard."

- Michael Fremer, June, 2010



Cartridges:  Eminent Solo

Mono Moving Coil Cartridge 0.4mV

Superb Mono MC cartridge using the same engine as the highly regarded Eminent from MySonic Lab.

My Sonic Lab Eminent Solo MC Specifications :

  • Type :                            Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Frequency response :   10 - 30,000 Hz
  • Output voltage :            0.4mV/1kHz
  • Internal impedance :     1.2 Ω
  • Loading :                      
  • Core material :               SH-μX
  • Magnet :                     
  • Stylus pressure :            2.7g to 3.3g
  • Cantilever :                    Super-duralmine dual structure
  • Stylus tip radius :          1 mil (25μm)
  • Coils :                            double-wound (2 coils), blocks the common ground between channels, no room for raised loop circuit
  • Terminals :                    shiny rhodium-plated pins
  • Weight :                        9.5g

Only a handful af mono cartridges in the market do justice to the format. This is one of them. A worthy choice for those collectors of classic mono recordings. Once you heard a decent mono recording its hard to reconcile how far we have come in the stereo age. Generating an emotional connection to the performers is so easy on Mono........



Cartridges:  Hyper Eminent

Stereo MC Cartridge 0.5mV

The My Sonic Lab Hyper Eminent is the middle model in the entire My Sonic Lab range of MC cartridges.

This model sits between the Eminent and Ultra Eminent series.

The Hyper Eminent, in order to obtain further sonic experience from the Eminent series, is aimed at the pursuit of precision mechanism and reduction or elimination of suspension system vibration modes. The base unit and higher hardness Ultra duralumin (A7075) cantilever is adopted, and with just this single material change, natural resonances in the cartridge system are reduced.

Furthermore, measures were taken to further strengthen the sandwich effect by applying a surface-hardening process. This was aircraft-grade in material and strength.  This introduced a problem in the plating, as a hard surface treatment yield rate (yield rate) will not be up to the standard for the Hyper Eminent, and changing the process will be too expensive.  Instead, we introduced a special ion-hardening treatment, achieving a surface hardness over Hv1500.

The housing was also improved in relation to the anti-vibration system established, although in a more time-intensive process

My Sonic Lab Hyper Eminent Specifications :

  • Type :                            Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Frequency response :     10 - 50,000 Hz
  • Output voltage :              0.5mV/1kHz
  • Internal impedance :       1.8 Ω
  • Loading :                       100 - 800Ω (specifically, about 400Ω is recommended)
  • Core material :               SH-μX
  • Magnet :                        Neodynium #50
  • Stylus pressure :            1.9 - 2.2g
  • Cantilever :                     Ultra duralumin (A7075)
  • Stylus tip :                     Semi-line contact (3μm x 30μm)
  • Channel balance :           within 0.5dB (1kHz)
  • Crosstalk :                     more than 30dB (1kHz)
  • Terminals :                     shiny rhodium-plated pins
  • Weight :                         9.5g

The Absolute Sound

Golden Ear Awards 2009

Harry Pearson

"This can truly be the best and finest moving coil cartridge on the market today. It 's almost ideal in all important parameters, including one that no other head (I heard) can achieve."



Cartridges:  Signature Gold

Stereo Ultra Performance Moving Coil 0.5mV

High output under low impedance … the Signature Gold makes a brilliant debut, developed with an optimum combination of all relevant factors, particularly the balance between output and impedance.

Sonically this cartridge is at the pinnacle of musical information retrieval from LP's.

My Sonic Lab Signature Gold :

1. SH-µX core having intrinsic ultra Hi-Bs & Hi-µ: An astounding high-efficiency output 0.5mV under 1.4O inner resistance was created thanks to the elaborated high-efficiency magnetic circuitry composed of our exclusive core with the least required windings of the coil wire.

2. Semi-line contact stylus: An amazing trackability was procured without tracking distortion by means of microscopic 0.1mm-square diamond tip of 3 x 30µmm semi-line contact.

3. Ultra-hard cantilever: Specially hardened duralmin pipe employed this time enables 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. The dramatically reinforced magnetism was obtained by means of refined core whose cross-sectional dimensions are enlarged by as much as 10%, compared to the current versions, at the cross-sectional dimensions.

 

 

Signature Gold Specifications :

Type: Ultra-low impedance MC cartridge

Frequency response: 10 ~ 50kHz

Output voltage: 0.5mV

Inner impedance: 1.4O (DCR)

Magnet: Neodymium #50

Stylus pressure: 1.9 ~ 2.2g

Channel balance: within 0.5dB (1kHz)

Crosstalk: more than 30dB

Terminal pins: shining Rhodium-plated

Weight: ca. 10g

The My Sonic Lab Signature Gold phono cartridge won the Grand Prix Prize 2012 (in the Cartridge division) of the Stereo Sound magazine, the most authoritative audio magazine in Japan.

When very experienced critics unanimously agree on the high quality of a product, one can certainly be confident about it.

MY Sonic’s peerless masterpiece the Signature Gold has achieved a dramatic improvement of sonic quality!
 
The 1st product “Eminent” was a big surprise to all. Despite its orthodox Ortofon configuration, its original, exclusive magnetic material employed in the coil core made it possible to ensure a higher output even under a low impedance, that is to say, MySonic designs are an epoch-making creation. This is a cartridge boasting an unprecedented level of efficiency in magnetic core coil/dynamo section.

In the Signature Gold the damper system has been updated with a larger core which leads to higher generation efficiency.

Construction-wise too it’s an improved version over the Ultra Eminent EX, but the longest stride is a betterment in sonic quality.

This time the degree of “upgrade” is truly outstanding in creating and emotional connection to the music through a tremendous and unsurpassed amount of musical information coming through from the vinyl surface.
 
This is a breakthrough in cartridge technology!



Step-up Transformers:  Stage 303 Step-Up

MC Step-Up Transformer

The Stage 303 is a high-quality step-up transformer to enhance the output signal level of low-impedance (1Ω~6Ω)MC cartridges up to that of standard high-output cartridges.

Step-up Transformer for Low-Impedance MC Cartridges.

The EMINENT - an epoch-making MC cartridge developed by My Sonic Lab offers an unprecedented 1.8Ω low impedance. To make the most of the high output energy under such an amazingly low impedance, the MC transformer of low internal loss plays the most suitable and effective role, which has been a common knowledge among all the designers & engineers versed in MC cartridges.

As a matter of course, no problem is envisaged in terms of step-up ratio or amplification voltage when used in combination with normal low-impedance MC transformer or good head-amp, but in the case of an MC cartridge featuring low internal impedance, you can expect an ideal reproduction only with a low-loss MC transformer designed in the same concept.

For this reason, we decided to introduce the matching MC transformer named the "Stage 303". This Stage 303 uses unusual stout wires, Φ0.55mm at the primary side & Φ0.18mm at the secondary, for which we need larger core to provide wider winding space.

On the other hand, large core causes ferrite loss due to longer magnetic paths, thus inevitably deteriorating response speed to weak signals. To solve this problem, the magnetic characteristics of the core had to be ameliorated.

Eventually developed is our super Hi-μ core material "PC-SX" offering such stupendous magnetic characteristics that are 6.5 times larger in initial permeability & more than 1.5 times higher in magnetic flux density compared to conventional JIS PC material.

Our exclusive core thus avoiding deterioration of response speed ensures distortion-free reproduction with good phase characteristics as well as affluent dynamics.

The Stage 303 derives the full potential of any low-impedance cartridges not to mention the EMINENT.

My Sonic Lab Stage 303 - SPECIFICATIONS :

Frequency bandwidth

10Hz - 100kHz (2Ω/47kΩ)

Step-up ratio

 22dB (2Ω/47kΩ, 1kHz)

Input impedance

1Ω - 6Ω (applicable cartridge impedance)

Load resistance

47kΩ 
Channel balance 0.1dB (1kHz)

Channel separation

more than 100dB (1kHz)

Connectors

Rhodium-plated (RCA & GND terminals)

Other features

: Floating selector, Hi-μ core PC-SX, Terminate resistor VISHAY S102K

Weight

1.8kgs

The Stage 303 has been developed to provide the most suitable and effective step-up performance to the Eminent, low-impedance MC cartridge from My Sonic Lab, but thanks to its inherently low internal loss characteristics an outstanding voltage enhancement is possible with other low-impedance cartridges as well.

However bear in mind that the higher the load impedance, the lower the step-up ratio due to the load impedance set at 2Ω for 22dB step-up ratio.

At the time of interconnection, you may choose the primary side (input) between the Floating Input circuitry (Floated Balance) and Unbalanced (GND) circuitry. MC cartridges employ the balanced output circuit without grounding and normally the selector is set at the "FLOATING" position. In case of noises caused by grounding conditions of tonearm & turntable, however, set the selector at the "GND" position.

The secondary side (output) configures the Floating Output circuit without grounding, allowing one to interconnect the output to an MM input of a phono amp by means of a high-quality line cable. This offers stable grounding connection.

These Step Up's are high quality devices in the best Japanese tradition of moving coil step up transformers. Lower noise floor and better dynamics.



Cartridges:  Ultra Eminent BC

Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge 0.3mV

The Ultra Eminent BC is said to be the first MC cart with the lowest possible internal impedance (0.6 ohm) with relatively high 0.3mV output. To quote Matsudaira-san, "a simple comparison of 2 ohms:0.5mV and 4 ohms:0.5mV shows that the power generation efficiency of the former is double that of the latter and with internal loss one half of the latter."

My Sonic Lab Ultra Eminent BC Specifications :

  • Type :                            Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Frequency response :   10 - 50,000 Hz
  • Output voltage :            0.3mV/1kHz
  • Internal impedance :     0.6 Ω
  • Loading :                       100 - 800Ω
  • Core material :               SH-μX
  • Magnet :                        Neodynium #50
  • Stylus pressure :            1.9 - 2.2g
  • Cantilever :                    Boron (φ0.3mm)
  • Stylus tip :                     Semi-line contact (3μm x 30μm)
  • Channel balance :          within 0.5dB (1kHz)
  • Crosstalk :                     more than 30dB (1kHz)
  • Terminals :                    shiny rhodium-plated pins
  • Weight :                        9.5g

Clear stereo separation, wide bandwidth, crisp precision and a huge dynamic range - alongside the less easily described attributes of 'musicality'. The  arguments for MM vs MC can be tossed out of the window when you find a cartridge this good!



Cartridges:  Ultra Eminent EX

Stereo Moving Coil Cartridge 0.3mV

The My Sonic Lab Ultra Eminent EX is a higher grade design than the regular Ultra Eminent and is not sold within Japan, only outside Japan.

My Sonic Lab Ultra Eminent EX

Specifications :

  • Type :                          Low-impedance moving coil cartridge
  • Frequency response :   10 - 50,000 Hz
  • Output voltage :            0.3mV/1kHz
  • Internal impedance :     0.6 Ω
  • Loading :                       100 - 800Ω (specifically, about 400Ω is recommended)
  • Core material :               SH-μX
  • Magnet :                        Neodynium #50
  • Stylus pressure :            1.9 - 2.2g
  • Cantilever :                    Boron
  • Stylus tip :                     Semi-line contact (3μm x 30μm)
  • Channel balance :          within 0.5dB (1kHz)
  • Crosstalk :                     more than 30dB (1kHz)
  • Terminals :                    shiny rhodium-plated pins
  • Weight :                        9.5g

In our experience with cartridges the abilty of the Ultra Eminent EX to create a believable music reproduction is unparalleled. Less Hollywood and more truth when referenced to Open Reel master tape. In particular, even the smallest details are extremely well defined and “clear” as with this super fast and linear cartridge. Its this astonishing ability to pull microdetail out and with such a low noise floor you have trouble determining this is "dirty" vinyl your hearing.

Only the Signature Gold goes further!