Vertere Sabre Cartridge Lab Report

Lab Report

Joining that rarefied club of 'high-end' MM pick-ups, the Sabre makes a compelling case for the genre. Rated at 4mV (re. 1kHz/5cm/sec), the Sabre's delivery is healthier still at 4.95mV, putting it right up with the beefiest of Ortofon's longstanding 2M series [HFN Oct '08, Mar '11 and Jun '21]. The channel balance is below average at 0.9dB (left channel higher than the right here) but stereo separation is exceptional at >30dB through the midrange. Neither is the compliance quite as 'stiff' as its rated 10cu might suggest. In practice the suspension is a softer 15cu, rendering the Sabre's 10g bodyweight better suited to low/medium mass tonearms while also aiding its tracking performance. It holds tight to ~75µm via the left/right channels while just nudging over 1% THD through the toughest +18dB groove modulation (re. 315Hz/5cm/sec) – at 2g downforce it will surely remain secure through the most ferocious of grooves!

An alloy pipe cantilever remains common in MM designs where, in more sophisticated designs, the resonance of the tube and finite mass of the stylus may be employed constructively to 'tune' the HF response of the generator mechanism. So it is here as the mechanism offers fine vertical/lateral symmetry [red/black traces, Graph 1] – promising a uniform soundfield – while the loss in presence output and HF roll-off is countered by a boost at 13-14kHz. Equalised distortion is similarly 'symmetrical' but rises to ~12% around 6-7kHz [stereo trace, Graph 2; –8dB re. 5cm/sec] as the 2nd harmonic coincides with this peak in output. The drop in distortion above 10kHz simply reflects the loss in the Sabre's higher treble output [Graph 1]. Finally, the Sabre's unspecified VTA looks close to 26° – an 'average' figure these days. PM


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


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

Generator type/weight Moving-magnet / 10.3g
Recommended tracking force 19-21mN (20mN)
Sensitivity/balance (re. 5cm/sec) 4.95mV / 0.9dB
Compliance (vertical/lateral) 15cu / 14cu
Vertical tracking angle 26 degrees
L/R Tracking ability 75μm / 75μm
L/R Distortion (–8dB, 20Hz-20kHz) 1.3–11.8% / 1.1–10.5%
L/R Frequency resp. (20Hz-20kHz) +0.1 to –12.1dB / +0.1 to –10.9dB
Stereo separation (1kHz / 20kHz) 36dB / 24dB
Price £845

Vertere Ltd
Supplied by: Vertere Ltd
0203 176 4888