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[FS] Miyajima ETR-Mono step-up transformer

Discussion in 'classifieds' started by montesquieu, May 2, 2020.

  1. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    Here’s an opportunity for any one who is either experienced with mono, or just simply mono-curious, to jump in at the very top of the mono game.

    I am selling my Miyajima ETR-Mono step-up transformer. I use this with my three Miyajima mono cartridges (Zero A and B with 1.0mil and 0.7mil tip for very early mono and later mono/reissues respectively, plus a Kotetu 78 for shellac 78s), but I have used it previously with any number of other mono cartridges and it handles them all really well. My next favourite mono cartridge after the Miyajimas is the My Sonic Lab Eminent Solo, but this is also suitable for from Lyra, Koetsu, Ikeda, and Audio Technica mono cartridges, as well as some from Ortofon. It has a 'pass' function allowing it to be bypassed where required, eg for some high output MC Ortofon SPU mono cartridges that can be run directly into MM inputs

    The main benefit of a dedicated single coil 'real' mono cartridge is that it only moves and picks up signal in the horizontal plane, not only does it not reproduce noise embedded in the vertical plane used for stereo recordings, it can’t even detect it. This delivers a quietness and a musical coherence when reproducing mono records that simply isn’t available when using a stereo cartridge, even one notionally far more expensive. I have demonstrated this many times in my setup here.

    The Miyajima ETR-Mono is something of a Swiss Army knife of step-ups, having four input coil taps on the primary coil, four output taps on the secondary, and four available loading resistor options, plus pass for 47k ohms, giving the option of 80 individual configurations.

    This all sounds complicated, but in fact it’s quite straightforward to set. Input settings on the primary coil (showing number of turns) are are determined by the coil impedance of the cartridge to be used:

    80 2-5 Ω
    120 6-12 Ω (best suited for the Zero)
    160 12-20 Ω
    200 20-40 Ω

    Matching these with the secondary output provide a huge variety of gain settings suitable for a phono stage and preamp combination of all sort of different gain structures:

    1:30 (ideal match for the Zero in most setups, though other gain settings can be used)

    Made available because I'm consolidating on my new two-input Allnic HA5000 head amp, which is the natural partner to my Allnic H7000V phono stage - though I have to say I have some misgivings about moving on from the ETR-Mono.

    The ETR-Mono was purchased though the Miyajima UK dealer network (from Ammonite Audio - who I can thoroughly recommend if you need a mono cartridge to go with it - Hugo is one of the very very few dealers out there who understands mono properly) and comes in the original box with paperwork. Current price is £1395, I’m looking for £875 for this including the courier charge. No pickup unfortunately at this time. It's pictured on the right. The ETR-Stereo may also be avaialble at a future date.

    schneiderhan, Tarzan and Nagraboy like this.
  2. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    Some additional pictures:




  3. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    Just to clarify - the signal entering this SUT is mixed down into a mono signal (which of course would have no effect with a single coil mono cartridge which is always a pure mono signal, but could be useful if using a stereo cartridge on the input), goes through the single step-up transformer, in through one of the four coil primaries and out through one of the four secondaries, with pass also an option - and is output as a mono signal to two RCA connectors, left and right.

    You don't need an all mono system to use it, indeed the solidity and width of the mono image it generated with a mono cartridge (compared to the thinness of a mono signal reproduced in stereo) has to be experienced to be believed.

    If you have mono records in your collecton - whether they be 50s jazz. 50s or 60s pop, or late 40s-mid 60s classical, you are really missing something if you try and reproduce it with a stereo mc cartridge and step up.
  4. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Fabulous. Miyajima are such a gem of a company and do everything with a unique perspective. Let me know if you do decide to sell the stereo version.
  5. montesquieu

    montesquieu pfm Member

    An early Japanese pressing of Sonny Rollins 'The Bridge' just arrived.

    I have the stereo version in a recent re-release, and by 1962 standards it's not bad at all - the playing of course is superb, the recording full-range and detailed, and the soundstage is far better than a lot of early stereo; this will be the version most people own. However, played with a Miyajima Zero 1.0, the mono version simply knocks spots off it for vibrancy and musicality, and yes, for coherence of soundstage and overall 'togetherness'.

    Some early stereo jazz is truly dreadful, with instruments stuck in corners and a massive hole in the middle. Much of it isn't too bad, even if the placement is a bit distracting by later standards. But in worst case scenario, quite a few 'stereo' pressings out there of jazz classics are not really stereo at all, but reprocessed mono. (I found out recently that my Sonny Clark Cool Struttin' pressing is in that bracket).

    By 1962, when The Bridge was recorded, there had really only been stereo releases for about 4 years. On the other hand, mono recording had four decades of expertise behind it by then ... the electrical recording era goes back to the mid-1920s.

    The same applies to a large extent on classical, though on the whole early stereo classical is less weird in its soundstaging than jazz or pop because by and large orchestral layout is consistent. But lot of chamber music, and vocals, and piano music, and orchestral work with soloists, benefits from the mastery of the layered mono sound - the front to back soundstage - that is the glory of the mono LP from the late 40s onwards. But I even have 78s where you can hear front to back layering and - incredibly - the effect of room acoustics.

    Lots of people kid themselves that a standard narrow-tipped stereo cartridge used with a mono button is adequate for replay of mono recordings. But it really isn't. Played with the Miyajima Madake instead of the Zero (three times the Zero's list price ... a top mono cartridge is really in bargain territory compared to its stereo equivalent) it sounds flat, dull and noisy in the groove. Switching to the mono cartridge, properly used through the ETR-Mono, is transformational.

    To anyone here who is tempted I can only say - you won't regret the plunge.


    Last edited: May 23, 2020
  6. Down in Devon

    Down in Devon New Member

    I have one of these, and despite my Hashimoto HM7s being a good electrical match for my Miyajima Zero the Mono SUT was a good step up (!)
    It has a nice range of adjustment so I suspect would work similarly well with other mono cartridges.

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