I’ve heard of demagnetising a cassette tape head…but a cartridge? Paul Rigby reviews the ABCD-1 Demagnetizer
The general concept of noise produced by magnets and magnetism is not new. The effects of magnetic-derived noise are an insidious irritation for hi-fi users too, although most users don’t even know that it’s there: not until its gone, that is. I’ve even experienced how magnetic forces can effect CD and vinyl discs (there are gadgets on the market to remove it too). The stuff is sonically destructive as it restricts your sound stage and smothers detail. One of the most ignored sources of magnetic interference are from the magnets in your cartridge. Yes, they are tiny but don’t forget how much the cartridge signal (and, hence, magnetic noise) is amplified.
This is where Aesthetix (who make rather wonderful pre-amps — I use one for my reference system) and its moving coil cartridge Demagnetizer comes in. The petite ABCD-1 is a relatively heavy, solidly built, rather prosaically presented black box. On the rear are two RCA sockets. You insert the phono cables, from your turntable, into these. On the front is a push button power (with light) switch plus an activation switch (with light).
Once you plug in your turntable, you power up the box and then press the Activate button once (or more, you may find the performance improves with multiples ‘treatments’).
During tests with various rock and jazz vinyl, the ABCD-1 removed a lot of noise from the soundstage as a whole as well as adding space and air around the central stereo image, giving the presentation an extra ‘epic’ feel. Low frequencies were also tightened while the very lowest bass offered more character and heft.
There is a scratch I have at the back of my neck which says that the price is too high but, because they’re the only real game in town, Aesthetix is milking this product a bit. I’d have been happier with a figure towards the £100. I do wonder how many people will take the plunge at this price. Which is a shame because I was impressed with the sonic results from the ABCD-1. Well worth a quick demo but, remember, moving coil cartridges only need apply.
AESTHETIX ABCD-1 CARTRIDGE DEMAGNETIZER
Tel: 01539 7973
GOOD: easy to install, simple to operate, improves sound quality