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The treble is slightly warm but just enough for the recordings to sound beautiful. Yes beautiful is the best word. The Waza and SPU Synergy A were sweet. They sounded great but had inferior treble resolution. Here the most expensive Miyajima is far better. With it we can hear that the re-issue of Diana Krall’s All for You from the Original Recordings Group—a really splendid effort by the way—has one birthmark. The vocals are slightly too flat and light. It was perfectly audible too that the sibilants were just a bit underlined. The new pressing handles this well but coming from the Tormé to the Krall disc was enlightening. Diana’s vocal were recorded worse. It’s not as bad as I am making it sound (the disc sounds very good) but compared to when Mel swings with a full beautiful voice, the Krall album finds itself outdone.
With the Waza and SPU Synergy A pickups and most others at this price, the differences are not as unanimous. Yes we can hear more treble with the Krall but why is not clear. If it turns out that a cartridge can properly track changes in timbre in the appropriate harmonic proportions, then it usually is too bright and has no trace of the midrange saturation the Shilabe has. Listening to black licorice with this Japanese cartridge one doesn’t feel ‘directed’ at any part of the sound spectrum and most specifically not at the treble. The treble is merely the midrange extended upward and has a similar character and temperature.
It is very analog in the sense of being continuous, saturated and very natural. But—and this I wish to stress—it differentiates and shows up treble modulations better than even expensive CD players. For example vinyl issued from a digital 24-bit/44.1kHz master tape [Mikołaj Bugajak, Strange Sounds and Inconceivable Deeds] is brilliant. The cymbals from the “DDINC 02” had great presence, fullness and power. Still it could also be heard that they were not as resolved as those on albums where masters had been analog tapes. It was interesting how this was not audible because of an outright change in timbre or dynamics. Instead it telegraphed as a slight fogging. With CD and from 24/44.1 files it was not as audible - as though their minor compression and limited frequency response didn't allow for all of it to be conveyed.
In conclusion the Shilabe is a remarkable cartridge. It seems warm but is simultaneously resolved. There is beautiful deep bass and a strong slightly warm midrange. Noting else can really be added or subtracted. Unless I told you that beside the Air Tight PC-1 Supreme (but that's another story) the Shilabe is really the best cartridge I’ve ever heard? Or that I liked it extremely much? Or that when we fit a turntable with it we forget about technology and concentrate on the music? Or that it will become a part of my reference system? Well I’m telling you now...
opinia @ highfidelity.pl
Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Type: Stereo analog pickup
Impedance: About 16Ω
Output voltage: About 0.23mV
Frequency response: 20Hz-32kHz
Tracking force: 2.5g-3.2g (recommended 3g)
Compliance: About 10×10-6 cm/dyne
Weight: About 10.4g
Body: African Blackwood