VPI Goldy Cartridge DIY or OEM?


Do-it-yourself or buy from an OEM (original equipment manufacturer)? That's the question faced by every 'analogue' brand thinking of adding an MM or MC cartridge to its product offering. These days, frankly, a ground-up DIY engineering effort is impractical unless you are embracing an 'alternative' technology for the high-end – such as DS Audio with its 'optical' pick-ups [HFN Nov '15, Dec '17, Jan '19, Feb '21, Oct '21 and Dec 22] or Soundsmith with its strain-gauge models [HFN May '21]. But this is rare – Technics, for example, once had a dedicated cartridge division responsible for classic designs like the EPC-205 [HFN Dec '80 & Sep '18] but even this mighty brand, now having returned with its direct-drive turntables [HFN Jun '18] and with on-going expertise in designing micro-actuators for its Panasonic Lumix camera division, still has no plans to resurrect its pick-ups. Or at least at the time of writing...

Naturally, there are long-standing artisan producers including vdH, Koetsu, Lyra, Dynavector, etc, who have weathered the ups and downs of vinyl's journey while diamond/micro-engineering specialist Namiki still supports the audiophile industry with a precision-cut diamond styli and novel cantilever solutions. UK turntable brand AVID is offering three fine pick-ups via a similar route [HFN Nov '20, Apr '21 & May '22] while other brands choose to work directly – and very transparently – with one of the 'big two' cartridge brands (Ortofon and Audio-Technica) and have them produce one or more 'tweaked' versions of existing MM/MCs. Pro-Ject's bespoke 'Pick it' interpretations of Ortofon's popular pick-ups are probably the best-known examples, so VPI is in good company here! PM

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