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Allnic Audio Puritas Moving Coil Cartridge Review

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Allnic Audio Puritas Moving Coil Phono Cartridge

Puritas means the purest of pure. I’ve been told that Allnic’s C.E.O. Kang Su Park hand-builds these beauties as a passion and a labor of love. The cartridge is housed in an unassuming thin, light wooden body.  Inside, the coils are more like a Neumann’s cutting head than a more conventional moving coil cartridge. It uses a no compromise coil/magnets assembly.

In my review of the Allnic Verito Z cartridge I explained how Mr. Park believes that vinyl should be reproduced by a cartridge and stylus made as close as possible to the way the cutter head mechanism was made. To the subject of this review, the Puritas moving coil cartridge, he has added a solid boron cantilever, a new coil core material, and a solid ebony body. It uses high purity copper coil-wire that is the thinnest I have ever seen.

I used the Puritas in the new AMG Viella 12 inch tonearm mounted on the AMG Viella V12 turntable. The Puritas was very straightforward to mount and fine-tune. It has a recommended tracking force between 1.8 and 2.2 grams, and I found 2.1 to be perfect in my system. I plugged it into the Allnic AUT2000 step up transformer (review to come) connected to the moving magnet input of my Shindo Giscours. I also used it with the Allnic H-3000V Phono Stage (review also to come) both with the Shindo Giscours and the Allnic L5000 DHT Line Stage (also in for review).

The rest of the reference system consisted of my Wavac EC-300B amp powering a pair of Teresonic Ingenium XR Silver speakers, using Lowther DX4 Silver drivers. I used Shindo Silver cables at first then changed to the incredible new High Fidelity Cables by Rick Schultz. For power conditioning I used the Shindo MR. T and a HB Cable Design PowerStar Horizon. Power cords were from Shindo and Sablon. As far as break in goes the Puritas sounded nice after a couple of albums, but after about 50 hour it really all came together. It continued to improve and became stabilized after about 100 hours.

Listening

I liked the Puritas in all the combinations I used it in, but it sounded its best with the Allnic H-3000V, partially because of the ability to get the loading and gain just right. Of course, it was also because of how incredible the H-3000V sounds.

Treble

I’d like to start by talking about the top-end of the Puritas because it is here that it easily surpasses the Verito Z. It may not be more extended, but I know the Puritas is more detailed, more alive, sweeter, and just plainly more beautiful. There are several instruments I always listen for when evaluating the way equipment reproduces the treble. On many of my favorite jazz LPs, I was very impressed with how much sparkle, shimmer, and decay I could hear with this cartridge.

On both classical music, bluegrass, and Gypsy Jazz I found that both violins/fiddles sounded very sweet and airy with the Puritas. With classical music, massed violins were beautiful. It has always amazed me when at the Symphony that you can hear a triangle over the whole orchestra. The Puritas also allows the triangle to rise beautifully above the orchestra.

Midrange

As I always say, the midrange is the heart of the music and if a cartridge doesn’t get the midrange right, your system just won’t sound much like live music. The midrange of the Puritas raised the bar with its ability to bring music to life. I said of the Veirto Z that the “transients are very, very fast in fact, but at the same time allowing the timber and tone of the instruments to sound so correct.  The midrange of the Verito Z is alive and big while revelatory of the vivid colors of live music.” Somehow, the Puritas does all these things, but with more ease and more beauty. It excels at unraveling the layers of the music during complex musical passages.

Nothing is as important to me in an audio system as its ability to play back voices that are natural, clear and articulate. With both male and female vocals, the Puritas was wonderful in a way that made them sound alive. I was very pleased with how it handled the air and breath of voices in such a way that there seemed to be a whole person singing.

Bass

This is the part of the frequency rang that I hear the biggest improvement for the Puritas over the Veirto Z. One of the most important things in natural sounding bass is texture and air. They are both played so well with the Puritas. Don’t take this to mean it doesn’t have plenty of slam or plays very deep, as I was shocked at how well it performed in these areas.  I already thought the bass was one of the strongest points in my system, but the Puritas made it even more like the bass I hear when listening to live music.

Dynamics and Micro-Dynamics

Years ago, there was a reviewer who used to talk about “Wow Factor” of the speakers he was reviewing. Well, here is a cartridge with “Wow Factor” —  the sound is explosively dynamic. Like the Miyabi Standard cartridge, the Puritas has this simply amazing ability to accelerate. It can go from completely quiet to full tilt in an instant and it achieves this in such a completely effortless manner that you don’t think about dynamics.

Of course, this ability to accelerate also gives you incredibly alive micro-dynamics. Transients are quick and accurate. Plucked strings sound so lifelike it is a little startling at first. I’m always happy when a component can get both the macro-  and micro-dynamics so right.

Allnic Audio Puritas Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Rear ViewSoundstage and Space

I’ve never heard an Allnic product that didn’t excel when it comes to soundstaging. The Puritas has the ability to place instruments in their own space in an incredibly palpable way. If soundstaging is really important to you, then you need to hear what Allnic products can do, and this is certainly true with this phono cartridge

One of my all-time favorite cartridges is the Miyabi Standard and its ability to make very different sounding albums more musically satisfying and enjoyable than they had been before. The Puritas also does this, maybe even better. I find myself so caught up in the performance that I am much less likely to care about the audio.

Like the Shindo cartridge, the Puritas has that wonderfully relaxed and natural sound. It’s amazing that it can bring the best of the Shindo and Miyabi Standard into one cartridge. The Puritas, combined with the new High Fidelity Cables, results in a transformation of the listening room into whatever the space was where the recording was made.

This allowed me to listen more like I would to live music than recorded music. If you don’t know that you listen to live music differently from recorded music, I bet you do, unless you’re a complete audio nerd. When you listen to live music, you rarely have to think about the music. Instead, you become part of the music, and with the Puritas in my system that’s exactly what I did.

Specific Examples

Rob Wasserman Duets

This is one of my favorite albums. I love to hear the standup bass played well. Wasserman’s bass playing is superb and with the Puritas I’ve never heard Wasseman’s bass sound better. It sounded fast, but with plenty of decay and air. My favorite cut is Wasserman and Jennifer Warnes’ version of “Ballad of the Runaway Horse.” With the Puritas, her voice sounds more believable and more full of emotion than I have ever heard. It simply sounded alive.

Sauerkraut and Solar Energy

This Flying Fish album with Norman Blake, Tut Taylor, Sam Bush, Butch Robins, Vassar Clements, David Holland, and Jethro Burns is DAWG music at its best. The cuts “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Sauerkraut and Solar Energy” sounded so fast, so tight, and most of all, so right. Unless you go to hear a great live performance, you will never hear a better stand-up bass. This is demanding music that requires great attack and decay and it truly comes to life.

Pop, Pop 

Rickie Lee Jones’ iconic album sounded so good. On this album Rickie Lee’s vocals can get a little shrilled, but not with the Puritas. The detail, information, and soundstage were also superb.

Conclusion

The Allnic Puritas is a great cartridge. It is as refined as the Benz Micro Ebony TR, and has that incredible way of making music sound alive that the Miyabi Standard has. So, it combines the best of my two favorite cartridges. It is also as transparent as either and produces a slightly better soundstage. It does all this and has more output and thus is more flexible in what preamps you can use with it. If you can afford both though, it sounded its best with Allnic’s own H-3000V, as did the Miyabi and Ebony TR.

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