Miyajima, the Japanese company best known for its stunningly crafted artisan phono cartridges, has created a beautifully simple yet highly effective little audio accessory for vinyl lovers – and it costs less than your average record!
When it comes to audio accessories, it pays to be selective. While we’d all love to have every last piece of kit in our pursuit of sonic perfection, few of us have an unlimited budget so it’s worth investing in those areas of the audio signal chain that make the most difference. And when the price is a mere £10, why wouldn’t you?
Admittedly, this one won’t be for everybody, it being aimed at audiophiles who have a tonearm with a removable headshell. The headshell in question will have a traditional (SME / Ortofon-type) bayonet mount, which in turn will typically include a rubber, silicone or similar non-rigid washer at the point of tonearm connection. Such washers, being non-rigid, allow for a slight degree of movement. Slight it may be, but this is one of those unforgiving areas in the audio signal chain where the tiniest interference of the delicate audio signal can have quite a significant effect beyond the point of amplification. This, then, is where fine details really matter.
Miyajima’s new three-point contact metal washer is one such fine detail. This tiny split washer (the split serving to clear the locating / bayonet-locking pin that’s part of the headshell fixing) is ultra-thin and features three indentations. The indentations are designed to enable a more rigid and less flexible joint, coupling the headshell and cartridge more tightly to the tonearm and thereby providing a more mechanically secure connection. At the same time, the three-point contact ensures optimal mechanical grounding between headshell and tonearm, improving damping and reducing resonance.
This smallest of upgrades has been shown to clearly improve sound quality, with noted benefits including tighter bass and a more vibrant, dynamic and expressive presentation.
So, whether your tonearm is a true vintage model (think 1960s/70s SME) or you’re a fan of the modern ‘old-school’ designs (Glanz, Jelco, Ortofon, Schick, Timestep), then swap your soft washer for Miyajima’s metal one for an instant, and ‘so cheap it’s almost almost free’, upgrade.