VPI Goldy Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

At the time of (lab) testing, VPI had published no information about its new A-T sourced Goldy MC. This put a little extra 'fun' into my detective work which suggested the Goldy was a close relative of the AT-OC9XSH [HFN Aug '19] albeit with a line contact stylus and slightly stiffer 18cu suspension compliance reminiscent of the older 'OC9s [HFN Jul '09 and Jan '11]. The asymmetry in L/R high frequency response is a key telltale of A-T's mechanism – the left channel drooping to –3.5dB/10kHz and –8.5dB/20kHz while the right shows a ~1dB depression through the presence band before lifting to +0.9dB/15kHz [dashed stereo trace, Graph 1]. Again, lateral cuts have a 'brighter' sound than vertical [black vs. red traces, Graph 1] bringing central stereo images (solo voices) forward while peripheral images are pushed slightly backward. We saw exactly the same trends with the AT-OC9XSH although the Goldy's overall balance is slightly 'sweeter'.

The 460µV output (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec), tight 0.37dB channel balance and 12ohm impedance are true to A-T's standard MC performance as is the precise 20° VTA. At a 2g downforce the Goldy sailed through the top 80µm groove pitch and navigated the maximum +15dB and +18dB test tracks (re. 0dB at 315Hz/5cm/sec) at just 0.72% and 0.93% distortion, respectively. Again, despite the Goldy's variance in L/R response, its tracking and distortion [see Graph 2] remains entirely balanced and 'symmetrical' between channels. In practice the Goldy offers slightly higher THD (vs. frequency and groove pitch) than the AT-OC9XSH but this is in keeping with its lower compliance, a 'tweak' that ensures improved compatibility with higher effective mass arms such as the VPI Fatboy [HFN Apr '19 & Dec '22]. PM


Freq. resp. curves (–8dB re. 5cm/sec) lateral (L+R, black) vs. vertical (L–R, red) vs. stereo (dashed)


Lateral (L+R, black infill) and vertical (L–R, red) tracing and generator distortion (2nd-4th harmonics) vs. frequency from 20Hz-20kHz (–8dB re. 5cm/sec)

Generator type/weight Moving-coil / 7.6g
Recommended tracking force 18-22mN (20mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 460µV / 0.37dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 16cu / 18cu
Vertical tracking angle 20 degrees
L/R Tracking ability >80μm / >80μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 1.0-9.1% / 0.25-0.65%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) +0.0 to –8.6dB / +0.9 to –1.9dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 35dB / 20dB
Price £1250

Audio-Technica Corp for VPI Industries Inc.
New Jersey, USA
Supplied by: Renaissance Audio, Scotland
0131 555 3922