Noriyuki Miyajima has earned a worldwide reputation for his superb artisanal phono cartridges. The Infinity Mono is the company’s new top monaural model.
Miyajima’s new Infinity Mono is a further enhancement of the brand’s Zero monaural cartridge – which is quite an achievement given that the Zero is considered by some to be one of the finest cartridges currently available.
Miyajima has increased the size and weight of the Infinity compared to the Zero and has also optimised the single coil generator. The result is a sizeable cartridge, at 24mm wide by around 28mm deep and weighing in at just shy of 15g. And yet even with such a substantial body, it delivers a wonderfully nimble and lively sound.
Why go mono, and what makes a Miyajima mono cartridge so good?
Over the years, and in a world where more is more, mono got a bad rap. Why have one channel when you can have two? And yet a good quality mono recording, played faithfully, is something that every audiophile should hear. There is a directness of presentation, a focus, a clarity, a level of detail. But chances are you won’t hear much of this if listening with a stereo cartridge – or even a lesser quality mono one.
Miyajima mono cartridges are true mono designs, which are mechanically different from a stereo cartridge. A true mono cartridge operates in the lateral plane only, with no vertical compliance. This insensitivity to vertical movement manifests as very low groove noise, as well as highly faithful tracking of the groove modulations. In contrast, many other mono cartridges are actually modified stereo designs that have some degree of vertical compliance, so they will pick up vertical groove movement.
Like all of Miyajima’s mono designs, the Infinity Mono features Miyajima’s ingenious vertical axis concentration moving coil generator system, which ensures that the cartridge responds accurately to the horizontal modulation of a mono signal. It is designed from the ground up for mono only replay, to deliver a full-bodied and supremely musical sound; one that recalls vintage audio systems yet with the high resolution and articulate frequency extremes of the finest modern cartridges.
The Infinity Mono is available in two versions:
- With a 1.0 mil conical stylus, suitable for wider groove mono records made from a stamper cut with a true mono cutting stylus (typically mono records made from the late 1940s to the late 1960s – and as analogue as analogue can get).
- With a 0.7 mil conical stylus, suitable for mono records made from a stamper cut with a stereo cutting stylus (generally mono records made from the late 1960s, including most modern mono reissues).
If you’re planning to play records from both periods, the 0.7 mil stylus is recommended although both styli will play all mono records – and far better than any stereo cartridge.
Like every single Miyajima cartridge, the Infinity Mono is crafted entirely in-house in Japan by Miyajima’s small, dedicated team.
Note: A true mono cartridge should be used solely with monaural records, not stereo.