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Affordable but great cartridge suggestion for a Technics 1200G?


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2 hours ago, Pinkie said:

Apologies for derailing the thread into a discussion of tonearms.

I made the mistake of interpreting "what, exactly is wrong with the arm?" as a question. When it would appear it was intended as an authoritative declamation.

Culturecrammer would appear to be the only person to have been eligible to answer your question, having tried your cartridge in the arm and another in the range he is recommending. Radiant Red has tried cartridges in the arm, although not all those he suggests. Mostly you have a beauty parade of favourite cartridges from people who have never heard them in a 1200G

So I'll add, pretty obviously, that I think the dynavector XX2 mk2 is lovely, but only in a system which doesn't suffocate it. I don't think I would get the full love from a stock 1200G.  My friend who has one and fits his arms to them appears to think likewise.  

Nobody (and that appears to include Technics) has quoted the effective mass of the arm, but there appears to be an assumption it is 12g. That puts the system resonance for your 2m black close to 8hz - but the assumption appears to be that works fine

The EPC310 quotes a weight of 6g and a compliance of 12cu at 100hz, so about 20 cu at 10hz. So about the same system resonance as with your Ortofon. You're welcome to borrow it and try it - it's sitting in a shoebox. It will give you an idea of how a decent moving coil sounds in your system. 

The forum Lovejoy's, all Hi-fi divi's who know how things perform without hearing them, or seeing them could doubtless tell you about it but if you prefer to listen just ask.  It's another cartridge though that has more to give in a better arm.

I hope you find what you're looking for

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Yes I did hear the SL1200G as I was interested to buy one. I heard it with an Ortofon and a Dynavector cartridge. 

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You’ve just described 99.9% of tonearms ever made!

Way over budget but we get it that you are in love with Arthur 😂😂😂

I have no interest in changing the arm, not for a long time thanks!  

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1 hour ago, radiant red said:

Before you judge others here that HAVE actually tried what they have suggested, I’ll remind you above how you derailed the thread by your first post!! 
That, was NOT what the op was asking.

You fail to realise that there is a multitude of talented people on this forum that have a wealth of experience in the field the op has asked about. 
Your persistence in derailing  the thread with your narrow minded vision is tedious.

so, when an op asks about upgrading his cartridge, the first thing you do is slag off his tonearm... have a think about it Pinkie 👍🏻 

I've thought about it.  I made the suggestion because I honestly think it would be the best bang for buck based on my experience of using it in my own system which frankly I would have expected to benefit less than others.  And the OP can find out for himself risk free.  I didn't slag off his tonearm.  I made a realistic assessment of it and considered the context that the OP already has a perfectly good cartridge.  That tonearm may be made of magnesium, and genuinely improved on the old Mk1-5, but it is a DJ S bent pipe in an arm employing the traditional Technics gimbal suspension construction , not because an SME 309 clone would be inferior sonically, but for the same reason it is the only audiophile turntable with a pitch slider next to the arm.  Marketing - and retro-compatability.

But what do I know about it?  Tonearms make no difference, and bolt in a Hana.  Job done.  No need to contemplate that something I have tried might really help the OP get what he wants. Expectation bias informs you I'm Arthur fixated, and an innovation you've never seen or heard wouldn't be a better solution than shoving in a major league MC. Oh to have the gift

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You call “the arm is not great” a realistic assessment? 
Your just dribbling on about funk, NOT the subject in question! No one has said tonearms make no difference but the op had £500 and the proceeds from his other cartridges to get to the desired amount and not what you were saying. 
tedious is what it has become. 

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I had the 2m Black for a year or so, quite a few years back (bought the Black within a few months of it being released). As many have said, it was fussy about VTA. Probably fussy about loading, too, but I had a Graham Slee phono stage at the time that was fixed at 100k, and the idea didn't occur to me. I did find that it needed a bit more body, generally, but that the upper registers were very, very good once it had been set up optimally. If I had that scenario again, knowing what I know now, I'd have persevered a bit longer with the Black.

The Black is, I believe, relatively high compliance by modern standards (I had it in a Hadcock 242). I doubt that adding more mass (Houdini) is what it needs, but Pinkie said Arthur reckons that the Houdini can transform 85% of tonearms, which seems like a very big claim (I'd like to see some evidence for that because subjective reviews across different forums have been 'mixed') and Matt of Funk Firm claims that (with the addition of Houdini) "a Graham Phantom can sound almost indescernable (sic) from an RB250"...which is arguably an even bigger stretch.

Pinkie has lots of experience of PT & FF products through his 40 year friendship with Arthur...and it's nice to be nice to your friends. Matt is employed by FF and so has 'skin in the game'. Both are quite up front about those things. Repetition can become tiring, though, and I think that 'repetition thresholds' were used up a little by some of the shenanigans that appeared to go with the initial launch of the Houdini.

Edited by savvypaul
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Just for completeness, cos I said I would, on the subject of all arms resonating, but the problem being big spikes
this is FXR and another popular quality "reference" tonearm
fxr.JPG.133754646757585f3fc7572769fae902.JPG
338822410_arm2.JPG.5412bf9af29e09ceeefde58d8323ff34.JPG

So, come on then - what’s ‘Arm 2’?
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I'm going to leave this thread alone.  I'll respond to @savvypaul  and @Beobloke  on the Houdini thread. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a brief update.  After chatting with a few people that know the 1200G it was suggested that I try the modified Audio Technica AT 540 ML that https://theaudiofiles.co.uk have created, it's a custom CNC'd aluminium body.  For less than 300 quid it seemed like it would be worth a try as if it was as good as promised I could upgrade to SLC stylus..  

At first I was impressed at it's clarity then for a week rather disappointed as it didn't really make records very enjoyable.  Just as well I stuck with it.  It's now sounding rather gorgeous.  One of the beauties of this TT is the ease of swapping carts and I have swapped backwards and forwards with my 2M Black and an older AT MC cart so the changes are not a case of 'getting used to it'.

The only thing to note is that I swapped out my expensive phono cables for the stock ones supplied with the 1200G and that made everything more open and just nicer - I don't want to go down a cable thread but suspect the capacitance of these work better?  I also changed the included AT head shell for the standard one supplied with the 1200G.  Anyway, I will most likely get a Hana ML at some point but as I now have things, records sound fab so I'll just spend money on more records!

Oh, it's worth mentioning that in addition to this cart sounding great it's super quiet.  Older records that previously were not enjoyable due to surface noise and average condition may not sound exactly like new but some do and most are like a jump in grade, from VG to Excellent etc.  Imaging is superb and the soundstage is wide and has good depth.  B|

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Pleased that you are happy. Getting the right cartridge can be a challenge. 

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I can’t see any info about the modified 540 on the website.

It seems interesting, as I think the 540 and 740 share the same generator, only the body material changes. 

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11 hours ago, CageyH said:

I can’t see any info about the modified 540 on the website.

It seems interesting, as I think the 540 and 740 share the same generator, only the body material changes. 

They don't yet have this on their website - I just checked with them and the current run is about sold so they're not planning on doing any PR yet but this link to their AT 91 RigB upgrade explains what they do:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-RigB-Upgrade-metal-body-for-the-AT91-MM-Cartridge-AT91R-AT-3600L/233625105246?hash=item366524335e:g:R6QAAOSwLRde7mWm

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15 hours ago, RecordProd said:

They don't yet have this on their website - I just checked with them and the current run is about sold so they're not planning on doing any PR yet but this link to their AT 91 RigB upgrade explains what they do:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/The-RigB-Upgrade-metal-body-for-the-AT91-MM-Cartridge-AT91R-AT-3600L/233625105246?hash=item366524335e:g:R6QAAOSwLRde7mWm

TBH why would anyone bother to do this with an AT91?

I can understand with a better cart, but the most basic?

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, lazycat said:

TBH why would anyone bother to do this with an AT91?

I can understand with a better cart, but the most basic?

No idea, apparently it elevates the performance way beyond but anyway, their 540ML, on my system, sounds pretty epic.  For the money it's remarkable so maybe they have worked out how to take these and do something special with them.  They're not alone, don't companies like Clearaudio take AT carts and repackage them?  

Edited by RecordProd
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