Optimise the Switch Settings of Your Diablo for Best Performance
The Diablo has four sets of switches on the bottom of the unit. We refer to these as DIP switches.
Each DIP has four individual switches: S1, S2, S3 and S4.
- DIP1 sets Left Channel cartridge loading
- DIP2 sets Right Channel cartridge loading
- DIP3 sets Left Channel amplifier gain
- DIP4 sets Right Channel amplifier gain
For both channels to balance it is important that DIP 1 is set identically to DIP2 , and that DIP3 is set identically to DIP4.
What are the Correct Loading Settings for My cartridge?
Please note that the Dino and Diablo Gain switches have different settings due to their different circuit architecture.
Every cartridge manufacturer provides a leaflet in the box which contains a table of technical specifications. There is a fairly long list of things like: channel balance, sensitivity, vertical tracking angle etc. The important ones for setting the Diablo are ‘Load resistance’ and ‘Load capacitance’.
Moving Magnet Cartridges:
For nearly all Moving Magnet cartridges the load resistance will be specified at 47K (47,000 ohms), and the load capacitance will be usually around 100pF (100 pico farads).
For MM with an output voltage below 5mV set the switches of DIP 1 and DIP 2 all to the ‘OFF’ position, DIP 3 and DIP 4 to S3 ON.
For MM with a high output voltage above 5mV set the switches of DIP 1and DIP 2 all to the ‘OFF’ position, DIP 3 and DIP 4 to S4 ON.
It is not really possible to experiment with alternative ‘cartridge loading’ settings for a Moving Magnet as either increasing the capacitance or decreasing the resistance will deaden the sound considerably. It is important that S1 on DIP 1 and DIP 2 are both set to the OFF position.
Moving Coil Cartridges:
Moving Coil cartridges are a different story. They have a wide range of desired loadings and the best recommendation will be indicated in the specifications.
As an example a setting of 100 ohms is common, so set the DIP switches on DIP 1 and DIP 2 as follows:
- DIP 1 and DIP 2 _ S1 ‘OFF’
- DIP 1 and DIP 2 _ S2 ‘OFF’
- DIP 1 and DIP2 _ S3 ‘ON’
- DIP 1 and DIP 2 _ S4 ‘OFF’
Setting the ‘Gain’ switches DIP 3 and DIP 4 is very dependent on the output voltage of your particular cartridge. As an example an output voltage of 500uV (0.5mV) would require the following settings:
- DIP 3 and DIP 4 _ S1 ‘ON’
- DIP 3 and DIP 4 _ S2 ‘OFF’
- DIP 3 and DIP4 _ S3 ‘OFF’
- DIP 3 and DIP 4 _ S4 ‘OFF’
Capacitance Loading for MC Cartridges:
The capacitance loading of either 100pf or 1000pF can be best determined by experimentation as there are no real hard and fast rules here, but generally speaking the lower the capacitance value the better.
The higher setting of 1000pF will tend to reduce the extreme high frequencies and/or reduce radio frequency noise.
Remember that the arm lead cables have their own capacitance which needs to be taken into account.
See the specifications for the recommended loading of your cartridge.
Playing around with these settings of a MC cartridge may be very beneficial, but equally important is setting the correct tracking weight and cartridge alignment. The slightest adjustments here will make very significant changes to the sound balance.