having enjoyed the AS cartridge Archon since quite a while I was tempted comparing it with it’s senior brother Astron.
The latter one is a very special variant of the Archon. Only 18 units in a limited series were produced and sold.
The specs of both carts are the same:
– source impedance – 5 Ohm
– loading at high-gain Phono stage ca. 150 – 250 Ohm (100 Ohm is the technical matching point)
– Output ca. 0,48 mV
-tracking force 1.75 g
Nevertheless the Astron is different in some way:
– the selected best generators 1-10 of the production in 2015 are used
– selected in regard of very good channel separation, a homogenous magnetic field, frequency curve
– body is resonance damped by surface refraction, epoxy filling and 24 ct gold inlays
– inside gel damped at three neuralgic points, extremely vibration damped.
I was curious finding out the differences between the two brothers. My Astron cart is the master cart of the limited series, the first one and the model for the series – 00/18.
the phono chain consisted of the Continuum Criterion, the SAEC WE 8000 arm, Crystal Cable Dreamline tonearm cable, Boulder 8000 phono stage (with two individual resistor plates carrying 200 Ohm metal film resistors).
I prefer the 200 Ohm solution rather than the 100 Ohm resistor despite the 100 Ohm would have been the technical correct one. I found that at 200 Ohm the music flows a little softer, loosing just a little control.
both AS carts were adjusted precisely by using the UNI-Din Protractor of Acoustical Systems. In my opinion it is one of the most precise instruments for adjusting, using the SAEC WE 8000 template to take up the needle.
While the Archon is one of my preferred carts in terms of fine stage, details, control and dynamics the Astron provides a little more distant perspective. The music is very clearly positioned on the stage, the excellent detail solution and it’s strong sound colors are even more highlighted. This cart sounds sovereign and easygoing, a little softer than the Archon. But these are nuances. I would not omit mentioning that both carts are strong contenders to the Top Lyras from my point of view, the Archon in the direction of the Atlas, the Astron in the direction of the Olympos.