Denoting a subject of study; a branch of knowledge 


To describe, educate and clarify, using diagrams and text, the technical specifications and terminology relating to the subject of Hifi.  

Welcome to Hifiology - The Listening Suite 

When I was younger my main reason for purchasing a hifi was to listen to my music collection at an improved level of performance compared to at the time my inexpensive record player with built in speaker.

I always remember the excitement of listening to my Uncles stereo hifi system, recordings that I’d listened to for years through that tiny built in mono speaker now revealed an increased clarity and detail that I’d never thought possible.

A door had opened to a world of musicality and emotion that eventually led to a career in professional audio recording and live performance.

Choosing Hifi components can be bewildering and confusing, there’s just so much to choose from.

I remember the bewilderment and confusion trying to choose the Hifi components that would eventually become my first hifi system.

The technical specifications and terminology where overwhelming and at times difficult to understand.

The most important thing I learned is that the components are all interrelated and based upon their individual performance either add or subtract to the overall musical performance of a system.

These articles are to help provide a clearer understanding and appreciation of the various Hifi components, which when combined, create a Hifi system.

I hope you enjoy.

David Browne

The Listening Suite


Music Players + Hifi System Components


Hifiology Articles

Record Player, Record Deck, Turntable 


The Platter (Main Platter or Sub Platter) 

Heavy or Light Platter on Heavy or Light Chassis

Suspended or Rigid Chassis Design

Platter Bearing, Platter Mats, Record Clamp or Weight, Outer Ring Clamps

Belt, Belt Drive / Direct Drive, Plinth Mounted Motor / Outboard Motor, The Plinth 

Where to Place Your Turntable


The Stylus - Shapes, Types


Why are some Styli & Cartridges more expensive than others ?

Shapes & Types, Conical / Spherical, Elliptical / Hyperelliptical Bi or Dual Radial 

Advanced Stylus Shapes, Line Contact, Fine Line, Micro-Line, Micro-Ridge, Shibata, Stereohedron 

Reasons for Investing and Upgrading your Cartridge and Stylus

The Vinyl Groove, The Cutting Engineer, RIAA Equalisation Curve


The Stylus - Needle in the Groove


Stylus alignment settings Zenith, Azimuth, SRA / VTA, VTF, Antiskating / Bias


The Cartridge - Moving Magnet or Coil 


How a cartridge operates

The Moving Magnet & Moving Coil Cartridge

Moving Magnet & Moving Coil Designs

There are three types of Moving Coil Cartridges, Low, Medium, High output


The Cartridge - The Assembly

An electromagnetic generator otherwise known as a cartridge, can be divided into 4 separate sections.

(1) Physical - Cartridge Body, Cartridge Weight

(2) Mechanical - Stylus Type, Stylus Radius, Cantilever Material, Tracking Force, Tracking Ability, Compliance

(3) Electrical - Cartridge Type, Cartridge Output Voltage, Cartridge Output Impedance, 

     Phono Stage Load Impedance / Resistance and Capacitance

(4) Audio - Frequency Response, Channel Balance, Channel Separation


The Tonearm - Shapes & Sizes 

Tonearm Sections 

(1) The cartridge mounting point or head shell position.

(2) The arm or wand.

(3) Tonearm Bearing or Unipivot point.

(4) Counter weight.

Tonearm Designs: 9” 10” 12” I, J or S type

Tonearm Bearing Designs, Parallel, Gimbal - Ball, Knife and Jewelled, UniPivot, Magnetic


The Tonearm - Geometry & terms

Cartridge & Stylus Alignment, Tangential or Zero Tracking Error, Geometrical Arcs 

Löfgren A/B - Baerwald - Stevenson Inner & Outer Null Points

Pivot to Spindle Distance, Effective Length, Overhang

Zenith Offset Angle, Linear Offset, Inner & Outer Groove Radius


The Phonostage

The Vinyl Groove, The Cutting Engineer and the RIAA Pre-Emphasis Equalisation Curve

The Equaliser Section and the RIAA De-Emphasis Playback Equalisation Curve 

Line Amplifier Section and Electrical Specifications

Input Settings for a Moving Magnet & Moving Coil Cartridge, 

Impedance / Resistance, Capacitance & Gain Settings, Adjusting The Settings

Room Acoustics and how they effect your choice of settings

Low and Medium Output Moving Coil Cartridges & Step-Up Transformers

Why use a Step-Up Transformer