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  1. #1
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    turntable upgrade

    I think my Michel Focus is the weakest link in my system and I'm wondering about replacing or upgrading it. It has a Linn arm and cartridge (the bendy chrome Basik and a K9).

    The question is what will give the most improvement for up to about 500 extra?

    It's playing into a gram amp 2 SE, Bel Canto pre/power and WB Arcs. Musical tastes are mainly rock and folk. I have wondered about putting a better arm and cartridge on but would that be wasted on what is a pretty ancient budget tt?

  2. #2
    Super Wammer JANDL100's Avatar
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    Unless you want to change the whole tt system, a better cart would be top of my list. The K9 is just an AT-95, I believe. Most things are better than that, tbh.

    How about a nice high output MC cartridge? - a Denon or Ortofon that suits your budget, maybe?
    At the moment, your amp and speakers outclass your tt by a long way!
    Those would cost you way less than 500, and unless the money is burning a hole in your pocket, you can get away with paying a lot less than that and still be amazed at the improved sound, imho.
    Last edited by JANDL100; 22-01-2012 at 09:16 PM.
    Life's too short for boring hifi!

  3. #3
    S'Wammer
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    +1 for Jerry's suggestion. Many years ago I changed a K9 to a Denon DL110 on a Linn Basik+ arm (but not on a Michell tt) and was surprised by the difference it made. I'm not sure it would be worth getting a better arm unless you change your tt.

  4. #4
    Super Wammer paulf-2007's Avatar
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    You may have to check the compliance match with your arm but an SAE 1000LT I believe currently on the bay of e for $199, 2.5mV output and excellent imo. These are nos made by Coral in Japan. Highly regarded by some.
    Mark levinson red rose rosebud II, J Soundlabs 300B, denon 1930 DVD/sacd, garrard 401, collaro 2010, lenco, yaqin phono, partridge step up, technics direct drive top load cassette, Nigel's speed controller, leema splx10

  5. #5
    Wammer lazycat's Avatar
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    -1 for the suggestions.

    The basik arm was never made for MC carts. A new cart may sound better but you'll never the best out of it. Nothing wrong with an AT95E, it's even better if you get an HE stylus.
    Look at this or a new Nagaoka MP 110. Spending more with this arm would be a waste of money IMHO.

    Has the deck been serviced recently? A clean bearing and fresh oil/belt would prob. be a good start. (as well as a new cart)

    Otherwise take your deck along to a Rega dealer and listen to the new RP3 to see what 500 gets you today.

    Just make sure they don't use a Rega cartridge...... they are a bit dull.

  6. #6
    Super Dooper Wammer Cable Monkey's Avatar
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    I think a Linn LVV would be considered a bottle neck on most decks. They can sound ok when in good condition and certainly one I heard on a deck I sold on with a Denon DL110 on sounded pretty good to me, but that is in the context of the condition of the arm, in particular its bearings which I believe to be very delicate and once shot are not worth repairing. If you are restricted to a Linn fit arm (which I think you may be) then an Akito is a step in the right direction though in my opinion a very expensive one. A half decent mk1 should enable you to get a decent quality MM cartridge to suit. Once again though you have to get a good arm so your source would need to be reliable (read not Ebay unless a major dealer). Finally you could find an original Focus arm. Rewired these are pretty good (they are old so a rewire would extend the life of the arm) and would enhance the value of the whole package.
    So to summarise:
    Existing arm and different/fresher cartridge such as DL110 if bearings are good.
    Move up the Linn food chain to Akito plus a different/fresher cartridge.
    Find an original Michell unipivot arm as fitted to the Focus plus new cartridge.
    Finally (not discussed above) another Linn fit arm such as a Jelco or Project arm (910/911mm mounting distance).
    Let me get this straight. You take a perfectly good CD and put it in a DVD player??!!

  7. #7
    Wammer v1nn1e's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Pac67
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    I don't think your TT is the weak link, I think your arm and cart aren't allowing you to hear the full potential of the TT. Why not consider something a little more revealing than the Linn basic arm and fit a decent cart. The K9 is an ok-ish cart but pretty dull IMHO; it doesn't major on detail or dynamics. Fit an SME M2, Clearaudio Satisfy or Nima arm to that deck and add a decent MM cart and it'd really sing. At the end of the say if you decide to upgrade the deck, you can take the arm/cart with you so you've lost nothing.

  9. #9
    Super Wammer stewartwen's Avatar
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    + 1 for the Nima!
    I am just a soul boy at heart.

  10. #10
    Wam Fooodly doo di da vacdac's Avatar
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    Hi, bearing in mind the votes already accrued for the Nima tone-arm Unilet/Custom cable are doing Roksan Radius5 turntable Nima arm packages for 549 brand new (maple finish only) & will include an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge for a further 50, this would get you going, slightly over budget admittedly, but you could then either enjoy the Michell in a for fun only context, sell it or perhaps consider it as a future project for tweaking. Best of luck whichever way you go Regards, Chris
    Gyro, Jelly750d, Oyaide MJ-12, AT33EV/OC9ml ii/F3iii, Rondo Red carts, Icon audio PS 1.2 phono, C.A. Stream Magic 6, TEAC cd,(Synology DS213/Acer timeline X lappy. Alva Nanoface) M.F. A1fbp pre XTZ ap100 power, XTZ99.36 speaks, x-can v8 & x10v3, AKG 272hd

  11. #11
    Super Wammer bmtell's Avatar
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    The Radius sounds like a very good deal.

  12. #12
    Pac67
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    The radius looks like stonking deal if you want to go for new. I had a serious look at the radius before buying the Gyro but was put off by the drive pulley assembly under the platter. It was poorly engineered and slipped until up to speed and seemed quite fragile in build which put me off it, but it sounded pretty good. They may have addressed the pulley assembly and improved it from the MK1 model by now though as it was six years ago last time I looked at one.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the advice. I really like the aesthetics of the Focus so an arm/cartridge update is very tempting. Ive not heard of Nima before so I'll have to investigate these. I'd also thought that going up the Linn arm chain seemed expensive so was resisting this, but since there is not a separate armboard I think I am stuck with a Linn fixing arm.

    Paul

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