Headshells serve as a tuning element for your front end, and your experimentation can reap rewards.
They can change both the energy transfer characteristics between your cartridge and tonearm, as well as the effective mass, to better match your arm to a cartridge.
We cover some of our thoughts on selecting a headshell in this blog post. As we note there, some of the headshells below might not be our first choice, but taking our commentary into consideration, one of these might be the headshell for you.
Arché - $795
Revolutionary in its approach, the Arché allows for setting SRA at the headshell (+/- 2 degrees) - this, in addition to zenith and azimuth.
This allows the tonearm bearing's vertical position to be independent of the SRA setting, allowing you to optimize it's height relative to the record surface.
It also means that the only parameters you need to adjust when swapping cartridges are tracking force and anti-skate.
Additional cartridge plates can be purchased separately, allowing for quick cartridge swaps.
Fabricated from aircraft grade aluminum (AP7075) with titanium rails, careful attention is paid to rigidity and resonance control at every step - from manufacture to assembly.
Available in multiple finishes and 3 masses (11.8, 14, and 18 grams).
DS Audio HS-001 - $450
Machined from a solid billet of duraluminum, the litz leads are soldered to the headshell pins to eliminate one connection.
As we've noted elsewhere, it's unclear how much effect eliminating a connection has on the integrity of the signal, but at a minimum, take this is an indication of the attention to detail DS Audio takes with these headshells.
Unsoldered versions are available by special order.
A combination of dual alignment pins and a compression washer improves both the mechanical as well as electrical integrity of the headshell connection.
The HS-001 is on the lower mass side for high-performance headshells, but it is not low mass.
Paired with a light tonearm (e.g. Jelco 9", Schick 9.6"), the combined effective mass will be in the 12-14 gram range, which is consistent with the requirements of most medium to medium low compliance cartridges.
Mass: 10.5 g (excluding shell lead wire)
Shell lead wire: 4N litz φ 0.08 x 10 x 3 yore rings
Thomas Schick (graphite) - $295
The Thomas Schick headshell is graphite which is extremely rigid, and is the lightest headshell we offer.
It can be particularly useful in matching a medium compliance cartridge to an arm that would otherwise have too much mass.
My Sonic Lab SH-1Rh - $250
Fabricated from 6063S aluminum, these are an excellent match for the My Sonic Lab cartridges.
This headshell has three fixed overhang mounting positions and is best suited to the My Sonic Lab cartridges.
Mass is 14 grams.
Ortofon - $99 - $575
Key differentiating features include material, as well as whether azimuth is adjustable.
Scroll down for a feature summary and pricing.
Oaktree / Urushi Lacquer
Magnesium / Carbon Fiber
Aluminum / Zinc Alloy
Ikeda - coming soon
We'll have more to say about headshells designed by Ikeda-san in the coming days.