Nothing in this world is perfect, but phono cartridges remain one of the most fragile links in an analogue reproduction chain. And unsurprisingly so, because the phono-cartridge designer's task (a blend of high-tech' and watchmaking) is staggeringly difficult.
It is a great credit to the designers of modern phono cartridges that any of them achieve the performance they do. To be able to transduce tiny currents in coils the size of a grain of rice by wiggling a mechanical stylus in wiggly plastic trench is wonderful enough at all. To be able to arrange the various masses and compliances so that the coils wiggle such that currents are induced equally in both stereo channels is quite staggering. But, even in the best cartridges, the balance is rarely better than ± 1dB and cartridge balance is designed to rectify these differences.
Cartridge balance is engaged as one of the options in the Phonograph EQ Preferences.
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