Shelter 7000 MC phono cartridge

Written by on June 4, 2012 in Latest Auditions - No comments

Let no one ever tell you it is only the very top phono cartridges that can bring about the ultimate vinyl thrill. Let no one also ever tell you spending more than R5000 on a Moving Coil cartridge is a waste of money.

At $3350, the new Shelter 7000 may be the most expensive phono cartridge you’ve ever heard of, or it could be seen as a relative bargain considering there are cartridges out there for triple this amount. Be it as it may, the Shelter 7000 is an incredible cartridge irrespective from what angle it is perceived.

This cartridge is beautifully relaxing in presentation. Its top end simply flows like liquid without trading in any speed. In fact, the speed and agility is top notch and it extends with detail at the frequency extremes. Bass is full, well toned and the foundation is rock solid. The overall sound is that of great refinement and upon first listen confirms a top ranking position.

With a healthy 0,5mV output, it responds well to a high quality MM input with more than 55dB of clean gain. It also makes for a good range of tonal perspectives provided the phono preamp offers a wide enough range of load and capacitance settings. My favorite trick is to run medium output MC cartridges on the Manley Steelhead’s MM input to allow access to the 47kohm load setting.

The soundstage simply opens up remarkably projecting palpable images way beyond speaker positions. The Shelter responded extremely well to this unusual treatment and for all but the very bloomy recordings I used it in wide open 47kohm load. At the Steelhead’s 60dBd gain setting there is enough volume to allow comfortable listening with my Audio Research preamp at 60-70 out of 103 volume steps which is close to unity gain for this unit.

I found the Shelter 7000 a cartridge with infinite tweaking possibilities. One can really tune this one to suit almost any taste and any system. It responds very well to VTA adjustment and by raising the arm in minor steps one can hear the tonal balance lighting up. I ended up preferring a slightly raised arm to sufficiently bring the plot to light, but going further toward a one degree change in SRA made it sound a little bright on my system.

Does this cartridge mounted on my Linn record player kick the best CD’s butt? Definitely! Does it warrant the $3350 asking price? Beyond doubt!

For price in ZAR, please contact us. We have new stock available.

About the Author

Audio Engineer, Critic & Retailer twenty years in the making.

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