Turntable / cartridge percentage

D

Dayvan cowboy

Guest
Is there a set equation of what price cartridge you put and a tt , for instance if you have a rega p1 you wouldn't put a £2000 cartridge on it would you ? So what sort of budget for a good cartridge on let's say a £400 2nd hand deck ???

 

kneesup

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 26, 2013
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AKA
Richard
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The very expert Johnnie 7 of Audio Origami has a rule of thumb he advised me to follow:

"One third on the deck; one third on the arm; one third on the cart."

And I have. And it works fabulously.

Hope that helps.

 

Tel

Wammer
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Aug 13, 2006
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Hove Actually
AKA
Kevin
There is no set equation.

Mine is 50% on the cart 35% on the TT 15% on the arm

And the SUT costs almost as much as the TT and arm put together.

Like all generalisations of percentages, there are no rules.

A good arm will carry a full range of carts, I have had everything from a relatively cheap MM cart to an Io on mine.

 

kernow

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Dec 25, 2009
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Shaun
HiFi Trade?
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  2. No
£1250 (new) tt, tt Psu £250 (used), 950 (used) arm, 275 (new) cart because I break one about every 6 months :?

 

graham67

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Wammer
May 19, 2010
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Hi Dayvan,

no easy answer there, it will depend more on the arm, deck and what works best with both.

For example I recently bought one of those cheap NOS nagaoka MP10 for £20 which is a bargain for a cart worth closer to £80 as the current model. The MP-10 works a treat on my Thoren 166 with a stock TP-55 arm, with a nice solid sound. It was a big improvement on the perennial fave cheapie cart AT-95.

Although the thorens did sound better with an exxy AT OC-9 fitted, the difference was not night and day.

With a better arm, I am sure the Thorens could take a better cart, but to me a sub £100 cart such as the Nag MP10 seems a sensible match, playing to the strengths of the deck rather than exposing its weaknesses as a better cart might.

 

kneesup

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 26, 2013
777
22
48
Wiltshire
AKA
Richard
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
The very expert Johnnie 7 of Audio Origami has a rule of thumb he advised me to follow:"One third on the deck; one third on the arm; one third on the cart."

And I have. And it works fabulously.

Hope that helps.
Deck: plinth, external PSU, spindle and housing, platter and sub-platter, mat, bearing, belts and pulley, motor: £435 (mat, belts, pulley and bearing new)

Arm: £570 (new)

Cart: £500 (new)

Plus a £365 new phono stage and excellent ICs

Crackerjack

 
D

Dayvan cowboy

Guest
:^ Graham , this TT lark does seem to have a bit more to it than just pop a cd in the draw and press play , but I have to say I'm really enjoying it , even though I haven't even got my TT back from repairs yet :D , I do have lots of vinyl turning up ready though ...

- - - Updated - - -

Ooh yeah phono amp , that's next ...

 

rabski

Everything in moderation
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Dec 2, 2006
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Richard
HiFi Trade?
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As long as the deck is decent enough (stable speed and free of rumble and feedback), the arm and cartridge need to work together in terms of compliance, etc.

My turntable has run with a cartridge that cost four times the price of the arm/tt together, an SUT that was close to the value of the cartridge and a phono stage that was similarly costly. It worked stunningly well together.

As long as the arm and cartridge don't mismatch, I sometimes suspect we put too much into the turntable at the cost of what really matters. It's like amplifiers and speakers. A better amp will do justice to an extremely good pair of speakers, but overall, the real bang per buck is in the speakers. Really good speakers + crap amp = better than decent amp and decent speakers.

 

RobHolt

Wammer
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Aug 28, 2006
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Rob
I agree with Richard and tend to treat the TT/arm/cart as a whole, rather like a CD player. The three elements form a complex machine with many interactions, so I agree that if the TT has good basic speed and noise performance, anything is possible using different combinations of TT/arm/cart.

I think if you put a £2k SOTA MC on a RP3 it'll sound like a £2k cartridge. Not identical to running it on a different TT/arm but different doesn't always mean better. Would it perform on a rumbly old BSR, clearly no.

Similarly, something like a £2k SME V isn't mechanically superior in ways which matter to audio compared to a £300 Rega RB301 - it's just a different interactive blend from the build and materials used. Different resonant signature etc. You might love one and dislike the other, but that's down to how the designer has blended aspects of the construction and materials, not the price tag.

I think there are certainly base points below which performance isn't acceptable and that applies to all parts of the vinyl front end, and other parts of the chain.

 

jimification

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 2, 2012
34
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I'm relatively new to TT's, so really interested in this question. I have an old LP12 and the conventional "Linn philosophy" seems to be that the TT is much more important than arm and cartridge. I read, for example, that They used to demo an LP12 deck with cheap arm and cartridge against a cheap deck with an expensive arm and cartridge and the one with the LP12 deck would always sound much better. That appears to run counter to the Audio Origami advice of 1/3 1/3 1/3 as posted above, for example.

My own experience is very limited...upgrading the cartridge on my deck from an AT-95E (£35) to a DL-110 (£130) and I will say that made a pretty big difference. The other upgrade I've done is to change the TT main bearing / sub chassis from pre-Cirkus to Cirkus and that made a fair difference too, I think probably slightly less than the cartridge, though I'm assuming as you get closer to "faithful" reproduction in TTs, the differences get smaller and harder to achieve.

I'm interested to hear if anyone can quantify upgrades in comparrison. For example, I found my cartridge upgrade above to be a pretty good improvement for 4x the price. If I went up a similar step (say a £400 cart) could I expect a similar jump in SQ? or does diminishing returns kick in more heavily than that (obviously what you can hear from an upgrade is probably held back to a certain extent by any weak points in the system but encouraged to hear Rbo Holt say that a 2k cartridge on a P3 will still sound like a 2k cartridge).

One other point of consideration is wear - barring accidents I reckon I'd have to replace a cartridge every 2-3 years so might be inclined to invest a bit more of the percentage in parts of the system that don't wear out.

 

Tune

Wammer
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Dec 25, 2006
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There can't be a set formula IMHO.

There is a minimum amount below which it is impossible to buy a competent turntable and equally a maximum amount above which cartridge gains are miniscule and subjective at best.

 

The Strat

Wammer
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Aug 17, 2005
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Lindsay
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Roughly - 40%TT/40% Arm/20% Cartridge. The problem with spending big on a MC is that it will be proportionally expensive at re-tip time.

 

Helmut

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Jan 22, 2011
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There can't be a set formula IMHO.There is a minimum amount below which it is impossible to buy a competent turntable and equally a maximum amount above which cartridge gains are miniscule and subjective at best.
What would be the minimum, in your opinion?

 
G

Guest

Guest
Good question but look at this another way. If you buy a cd player you are pretty buggered in terms of playback because you cant change what's in the box . Well normal folk can't and your only way of improving things is with an external dac . With vinyl replay you can tailor to your hearts content . I say arm/cart matching is the key here if you have a good solid engineered deck . Matching by the way bears no resemblance to price matching . What sounds good is the criteria here

 

uncl_nigel

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Jun 23, 2008
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Nigel
My vinyl set up breaks down as

42% new phonostage

20% secondnand tt

18% new tonearm

6% new cartridge (I was a bit broke after the tt and arm)

6% NOS tonearm cable

8% new power cable for the phonostage

For reference approximately the same budget as my pre-power combo bought ex-dem and at least 2.5 times more than my DAC and CDT (bought secondhand and new respectively).

 

Tel

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 13, 2006
30,402
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Hove Actually
AKA
Kevin
I'm relatively new to TT's, so really interested in this question. I have an old LP12 and the conventional "Linn philosophy" seems to be that the TT is much more important than arm and cartridge. I read, for example, that They used to demo an LP12 deck with cheap arm and cartridge against a cheap deck with an expensive arm and cartridge and the one with the LP12 deck would always sound much better. That appears to run counter to the Audio Origami advice of 1/3 1/3 1/3 as posted above, for example.
Linn were selling LP12s

If you really believe in 'source first' the most important item would be the cartridge.

As I believe that in hifi systems the best 'bang for buck' is always the transducers, that would mean that cartridges and speakers are the where the smart money is.

 

pmac

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 19, 2005
14,252
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Roughly - 40%TT/40% Arm/20% Cartridge. The problem with spending big on a MC is that it will be proportionally expensive at re-tip time.
Not true Lindsay, have you seen the cost of Audio Note rebuilds? Way less than a lot of cheaper carts.

- - - Updated - - -

Linn were selling LP12sIf you really believe in 'source first' the most important item would be the cartridge.

As I believe that in hifi systems the best 'bang for buck' is always the transducers, that would mean that cartridges and speakers are the where the smart money is.
This too :^

 

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