WHAT'S REAL SOUND? - Proposition from designer

Sound is really a miracle. I often took in sounds having completely different atmosphere through comparison tests of amplifiers and cartridges designed to have similar frequency and distortion each other. Sometime a low power tube amplifier produced more powerful but delicate and vivid sounds than a solid state amplifier supposed to have better response data. Thus, a mystery and esoteric exist in sound, which cannot described only by characteristics data.

Have you ever checked the sound balance betweeen the left and right channels of your phono cartridge in balance of voluminous sound over bass, mid, treble and entire frequency ranges? Can you recognise respective independent sound from each left and right channel by rotating the balance control knob of your amplifier? In most cases you might have noticed that on the right channel it tended to be sound balanced to high frequency range side with bright and high pitch tone, whereas the left channel to low frequency with heavy, bold and low pitch tone, just like a 10-year younger singer on the right and 10-year older on the left. Furthermore, I would say neither the right nor the left channel sound keeps the sound balance equivalent to the original sound, and you might also find that. Such actually happens, although every physical data is equivalent at both channels of an inspected cartridge.

This problem will never been solved as long as development is done for data. I admit that the quality or performance or components used in cartridges have been improved under guidelines based on measured data, for example, from a conical tip to an elliptical, to a line-contact tip, and finally to the ultimate "microridge" stylus, and from an alluminium alloy cantilever to a space age material "boron" and finally to diamond cantilever. All these were to decrease mass and to increase rigidity for wide freequency range and lower distortion rate achievement. But I wonder what kind of measures were taken to improve basical sound territory. Do you agree to this important fact that the left and right channel sounds differ in quality?

Our ZYX Company declares from our past experience that in evaluation of sound we put only about 10% importance on data. The rest 90% portion which should originally be the factor to determine sound have long been researched by us. We studied into causes making differences in sound quality on the left and right channels, and investigated how to improve them to ascertain factors which determine the sound.

We made improvements over 15 items in generator, and succeeded in development of an MC cartridge which does reproduce original stereo sound with a perfect sound balance between the left and right channels; namely having the equivalent keys from the left and right channels to the original keys . Our cartridges are all produced with this ultimate generator system and other mechanical parts made of the best obtainable today to offer the real highest definition sound quality.


Before we consider a sound, lelt's observe a phenomenon in another science. For xample, on a color TV tube (CRT) we find the three primary colors of red, blue and green being neatly arrayed. By interlacing picture patterns formed of these 3 colors and having them radiated, variety of visible colors are reproduced on the tube. The same theory applies to a color printing, where the three primary colors are red, blue and yellow. We know that colors by nature vary to different ones when mixed with primary colors as the central figures.

Now let's go back to sound. Suppose an orchestral performance is recorded through a single microphone. Audio signals picked up by the microphone stream into a single electrical signal, wherein sounds of each instrumental group are packed just like compounded colors. Nevertheless, by converting the electrical signals into sound through a speaker, sounds native to each instrument can clearly be comprehended such as a voice, piano, trumpet, violin, etc. This is supposed to be not strange, but from a viewpoint of color, it is quite strange. Then, we understand a sound has some particular nature, which must be three dimentional, judging from the fact that sounds cannot be compounded.

Assuming frequency as X-axis and amplitude (level) as Y-axis, another dimension exists as Z-axis in sound, which is distinctly considered as a time factor. Color is a flat two dimensional composed of tint as X-axis and value as Y-axis. In case of sound, however, it cannot be compounded due to the time axis factor or stereophonic information, and this very time axis information is the factor to determine sound.

Through several years of investigation, it was found that various evils especially those affecting time axis during power generating process where mechanically recorded audio signals on a record groove are converted into electrical signals influence reproduced sound quality very much. The evils include reverse power generation, eddy current and sometimes dynamic inductive magnetic field, all which cause disorder in time axis of the generated signals. This may be called a time distorition, too. The difference in sound quality on each left and right channels as described in the previous column is one of the symptoms occured when an evil signal affected the generator coils of both channels which are arranged 90 deg. crossed each other, forming a resultantly different vector.

You will instantly understand the importance of the time axis information or in other words the importance of music reproduction without time distortion when you listen to our cartridges. Of course, the territories where X and Y information can be taken as data are also important, but the Z-axis factor is exactly what should be the most basic and essential factor in evaluating audio equipment performance.

I would suggest a disc recording should not be considered as "sound recording" but as "time recording" , where a time of performance is recorded and in line with the time which passed at a constant speed, X and Y factors are stereophonically recorded. Therefore, a proper reproduction namely a reproduction of the original sound at the time of actual live performance can never be obtained without reproducing properly original time.


Time passes at a constant speed without stopping. And music is exactly the time information itself. Further time axis components in the musical factors have important relations with sound quality of respective audio system. Joy and profoundness of audio is to corss-examine the time factor. Clear recovery of the time will reproduce clear sound.

It is a proper disposal to divide time axis of audio electrical signals to approximately 40,000 bits a second in such holy time territory, being too much intent on converting audio into digital codes? This idea neglects the nature (three dimentional information having X-, Y-, and Z- components) of sound, if various characteristic (in the data territory expressed only by X and Y components) are judged equivalent when the artificial digital signals are concerned back to analog signals. Time axis (Z-axis) of digital audio is reproduced by array of time pieces divided, while time should not be counted like 1,2,3.... by its nature.

Furthermore, it should be noted that each digital code divided on a constant time base contains simply two dimentional information (X, Y) (y component averaged within a divided time) because the time axis Z is being held. This terrible fact! As aforementioned, it just contains similar information components like color, and sound native to each musical instrument mutually intermingles each other only to be diversified to different sounds. Diversified sound, which has never existed in the world of nature, is abnormal and one of revenes against human who behaved against provision of nature.

Digitally coded music is formed when converted back to false analog audio by sequentially linking the diversified sounds. When a music is played by a single performer, such diversified sound will never be produced. But in majority of music sound reproduction, such evil naturally occurs. Many of Europe and America made high end speaker systems do not reproduce stereophonic sphere such as being wrapped peculiar to omni directivity, but concentrate sound image to be center between the left and right speakers when digital audio is played through generally used omni directional speakers. And we hear more complaints about digital sound quality such as no softness, hard, metallic, dull, rough, lesstrailing, lack of atmosphere, harsh, weak rise, etc., all these are derived from the quality changed sound due to compound. Won't a listener, especially a youngster whose brain should still grow, be affected by such unnatural deteriorated sound?

More than 100 years have passed since Thomas Edison invented sound recording. We may not be able to swim against the stream of time when music reproduction has been realized by simplifying through digitalization of sound which had been quite difficult by the technology of previous times, however, after all, digital simply means codes.

We need to understand again the greatness of Edison now. Really high technology has to be freely used to in pursuit of quality of three dimentional sound factors without profaning a holy territory of time. We need to rise above time, otherwise we will take longer time to finish and appreciate the journey.

A. "REAL STEREO" Generator System

In order to eliminate the causes of "time distortion" in a cartridge's generator system, it is necessary to consider not only from the mechanical viewpoint, but also from the electrical viewpoint. After many years of development, I have found 15 points, attention to each of which is vital during the designing of a cartridge, if "time distortion" is to be avoided. For both MC and MM cartridges, 15 vital design points apply, however they are not the same in each case.

Only in our ZYX series have these points being correctly identified and attended to, and thus only the ZYX series can playback REAL STEREO. The 15 vital design points for an MC cartridge are as follows:

1. Magnetic pole direction
2. Coil winding direction
3. Coil winding method
4. Prevention of dynamic induced current in the coil bobbin
5. Prevention of dynamic induced current in the magnetic circuit
6. Method of prevention of dynamic induced current
7. Prevention of dynamic induced magnetic flux in the magnetic circuit
8. Grounding of coil bobbin (yes or no and method thereof)
9. Grounding of yokes (yes or no and method thereof)
10. Grounding of magnet (yes or no and method thereof)
11. Sitting of output terminals
12. Case material (methallic or non-metallic)
13. Grounding of case (yes or no and method thereof)
14. Electrical connection between cartridge case and headshell
15. Direction of wire drawing
(At present 7 patents are pending.)

Let us consider the coil winding method, item 3. The normal method used is shown in Fig. 1. It is mechanically symmetrical around a vertical axis, however electrically it is assymmetrical, as a vertical movement produces left and right channel signals that are in anti-phase. The method used in ZYS models is shown in Fig. 2 and is far superior.

The winding is electrically symmetrical around the horizontal axis, as the signals in each channel are in-phase with each other. This symmetry is more easily understood if we consider how the two methods of winding would be connected for monaural. Conventional and ZYX coils are shown monaurally connected in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4 respectively. Note with ZYX coil, how the wires do not cross over each other, thus avoiding any coupling effects.