vinyl4ever

Choosing a MM cartridge

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Aside from finding the sound that you like, does anyone on hear have a limit or ratio of cartridge cost to Turntable / Amp / Speakers etc.

I run a Sony PS 4750 through a STR7055 receiver and Celestion Ditton 33s. As you will tell its a vintage 70s set up.

Im looking to experiment with different MM cartridges and wondered what sort of price limit I should look to as a maximum. Not that I particularly want to spend my maximum

Thanks

Stewart

Stewart

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Perhaps buy a cartridge from a range wherein you can upgrade by changing the stylus.

I replaced an Audio Technica AT110 with a Goldring 1012. I then upgraded to a 1022 and then to a 1042. Same cartridge body. New stylus. Goldring aren't the only manufacturer to offer such an upgrade path.

I still have the 1042. It's a keeper. My most recent upgrade was a change of turntable instead. 😊

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Super Wammer
27 minutes ago, Sotosound said:

Perhaps buy a cartridge from a range wherein you can upgrade by changing the stylus.

I replaced an Audio Technica AT110 with a Goldring 1012. I then upgraded to a 1022 and then to a 1042. Same cartridge body. New stylus. Goldring aren't the only manufacturer to offer such an upgrade path.

I still have the 1042. It's a keeper. My most recent upgrade was a change of turntable instead. 😊

The 1042 is my benchmark for Moving Magnets - it just sounds right to my ears.  Ortofon offer a similar upgrade path with the Bronz sharing the same body as the Black and similarly I believe Audio Technica are the same where you can buy a cartridge and upgrade the stylus.

However, with your classic old kit it would be handy if you could take the TT and receiver to a dealer to compare as I have a feeling that the advantages of an expensive MM may not be fully achieved and you may find the top cartridges do not deliver their full performance and may not be a significant improvement over lower priced ones.  Without that comparison you will never know .. It is very hard to say what price range to choose - all I can tell you is a Fidelity Research FR1 Mk2 on a Thorens did not sound as good as  Linn with an SME 3009 and a VMS20E .. but the Thorens sounded better with the FR than it did with an Ortofon VMS20E  ... 

The answer therefore has more to do with what do you want to achieve and how much are you prepared to spend to achieve it .. What cartridge are you using now and what do you feel its shortcomings are?  That is the crux .. we can always achieve better perhaps but at the end of the day it is about how happy are we with the sound we get and are content.

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Have a read up on the Goldring E3.   Remarkable for £70.

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I know I'm going against the grain on this one, but I think ClearAudio Concept cartridge is one of the best sub-£200 I've heard. Owned one and Classic Wood cart prior to that, and they sound wonderful. 

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Although it's pure conjecture, I'm sure your kit is good enough to go up to a £300 catridge.

Over the past 9 years I've used Ortofon 2M's - Blue Bronze and Black and have no regrets, they have been excellent.

AT's recentish re-vamp of their range may offer better value for money now.

Have a look at their VM530 range, the stylii can be upgraded.

That said, I can recommend the 2M Bronze without reservation.

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Posted (edited)

As above post, I tried mc benz (the basic one) and a denon mc (one of the basics) for me they were really flat and uninvolving but just much preferred the ortofon 2m having had the blue and bronze. I bought all cartridges new, the one that sticks out was the ortofon 2m bronze I had on my Wilson benesch act 0.5 arm and circle deck - just a fantastic combination with a basic leema elements phono running though my audio analogue class a se and kef reference 205/2.....forget your sugden masterclass or living voice that stereo was a whole other world😉

Edited by 2010*zuma

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Thanks everyone for you input, most tof the cartridges I have are in the budget field.

AT95, Ortofon VMS 30, SHURE 95, Nagoaka MP11. Goldring system range. Basically all around.£70 mark.

Im looking at either an upgrade to a better cartridge lets say £120-200 or upgrade to a ext phono stage with current carts for time being.

Thanks

Stewart

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, vinyl4ever said:

Thanks everyone for you input, most tof the cartridges I have are in the budget field.

AT95, Ortofon VMS 30, SHURE 95, Nagoaka MP11. Goldring system range. Basically all around.£70 mark.

Im looking at either an upgrade to a better cartridge lets say £120-200 or upgrade to a ext phono stage with current carts for time being.

Thanks

Stewart
 

Some good advice above and your last post made me think of another to consider. The Shure M97xe.  Now discontinued as with all Shure cartridges, but more than a bit of Shure’s classic sound, which I consider essentially balanced and secure. This one has an optional little damper so higher mass arms are unlikely to be an issue.  

I’d also consider the Goldring 10xx range as they hail from the 90s I believe.  (I bought my 1006 in 1993).  Fitting a modern phono stage might well yield more detail but seems slightly against the vintage ethos! 

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I notice that Juno are doing the 1042 for £240 - which seems like a very good price, but would probably necessitate future upgrades elsewhere to exploit its full potential. My personal fave budget cart is the AT120e - abt £120 from Thomann IIRC - I've fitted this in various friends/relatives systems with excellent results - really good tracking, unfussy about  really precise mounting/setup, and really well balanced sound.

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Super Wammer

To keep in with the 'vintage' sound your predominantly working with. I would say look out for an A&R P77 there is also the C77 & E77 all the same body, and the top of the tree is the Mg body (plain, not fluted black can carrier) ie P77Mg. 

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Super Wammer

I like Nagaoka MP110 but dislike my Ortofon 2M Red and Blue on my 1980s Michel Focus S/Jelco 750D.   I found that the combination with Ortofon too forward sounding.

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8 hours ago, vinyl4ever said:

Thanks everyone for you input, most tof the cartridges I have are in the budget field.

AT95, Ortofon VMS 30, SHURE 95, Nagoaka MP11. Goldring system range. Basically all around.£70 mark.

Im looking at either an upgrade to a better cartridge lets say £120-200 or upgrade to a ext phono stage with current carts for time being.

Thanks

Stewart
 

The Ortofon isn't a budget cartridge. It's probably the best you have. Unfortunately it's close to 40 yrs old. If it hasn't had much wear then look at some phono stages on ebay - there are a few rega fono's at present which I can recommend.

Personally I'd try a new AT. If you like the sound of your AT95 go for the new AT-vm95ml. It has a decent tip and isn't too expensive.

 

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9 hours ago, Nopiano said:

Some good advice above and your last post made me think of another to consider. The Shure M97xe.  Now discontinued as with all Shure cartridges, but more than a bit of Shure’s classic sound, which I consider essentially balanced and secure. This one has an optional little damper so higher mass arms are unlikely to be an issue.  

I’d also consider the Goldring 10xx range as they hail from the 90s I believe.  (I bought my 1006 in 1993).  Fitting a modern phono stage might well yield more detail but seems slightly against the vintage ethos! 

Shure are a fabulous cart that few mention now. I used to have a M155E (IIRC) - it was my first proper magnetic cartridge back in the dim and distant. Overriding memory was the extremely high MVs. 

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