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Cartridge upgrade

NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
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Hello all.

I'm looking for a few pointers given my limited knowledge. I have owned a Rega Planar 1 for coming up for a year. I love it (and my system in general) but having got the bug, I'm thinking that a worthy investment would be a few quid in a better cartridge than the standard, supplied Rega Carbon Cartridge. I want to keep it under £100 and have in mind a Rega Bias 2. To me it seems to make sense to stay on brand for compatibility issues (no idea if this is a valid reason).

My query is two fold:

1) Is this indeed the natural upgrade or am I being too 'safe'?
2) Is this something I could fit myself and if so, is it straight swap territory or will adjustments be required - or am I better advised waiting until it is possible to take it in to my dealer and get it installed professionally?

Thanks for thoughts on the matter.
 

Al ears

Moderator
It is an upgrade but not massive and, if you don't know what you are doing, best left to a dealer as it will require alignment and the tonearm will need rebalancing to compensate for the cartridge change and get the tracking force right
 

NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
19
4
25
It is an upgrade but not massive and, if you don't know what you are doing, best left to a dealer as it will require alignment and the Tibetan will need rebalancing to compensate for the cartridge change.
Thank-you for your response. I kind of thought I'm best keeping my mitts off and letting a professional do it.

I kind of expected that there wouldn't be a massive enhancement but for a relatively small amount (I've been saving for it) I might take a punt and give it a go once my dealer is open to workshop transactions again.

Cheers,
 
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Earsome

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
21
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I just upgraded my cartridge from an old Ortofon MM to a Moving Coil by Dynavector. Tiny wires to unclip, two bolts to unscrew -fiddly and nerve-racking but quite possible - a small pair of pliers is handy.

You can manage alignment https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge-alignment-protractors.shtml

Balancing was not a problem - the cartridge will give the correct tracking weight. It's all part of owning a turntable! A moving coil cartridge is the next leap I think - if you have the input.
 

NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
19
4
25
I just upgraded my cartridge from an old Ortofon MM to a Moving Coil by Dynavector. Tiny wires to unclip, two bolts to unscrew -fiddly and nerve-racking but quite possible - a small pair of pliers is handy.

You can manage alignment https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge-alignment-protractors.shtml

Balancing was not a problem - the cartridge will give the correct tracking weight. It's all part of owning a turntable! A moving coil cartridge is the next leap I think - if you have the input.
Ta, I'll have a read through that link though I think your suggestion might be a bit ambitious for me at present - not lease because my amp as a MM phono stage so I understand I'd then also need a separate phono stage too? I shall certainly read into MC cartridges though as I know little about them.

Cheers.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Ta, I'll have a read through that link though I think your suggestion might be a bit ambitious for me at present - not lease because my amp as a MM phono stage so I understand I'd then also need a separate phono stage too? I shall certainly read into MC cartridges though as I know little about them.

Cheers.
Best avoided unless you have a good amount to spend as you will need a seperate phono preamp as well because high output moving could are not worth owning.
No idea what "the cartridge will give the correct tracking weight" actually means.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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331
19,270
The snag is that the Planar 1 isn’t designed for alternative cartridges because it has a fixed tracking weight - to make it easy to setup. The bias isn’t adjustable either. But that makes it tricky to improve.
I have read that a Nagaoka MP110 is a good upgrade because it presumably weighs the appropriate weight so that it tracks ok. I can’t verify that.

Pace the suggestion above, in my view a moving coil cartridge is totally unsuitable for a P1.

A call to a Rega dealer would be a good move I reckon!
 
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NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
19
4
25
Best avoided unless you have a good amount to spend as you will need a seperate phono preamp as well because high output moving could are not worth owning.
No idea what "the cartridge will give the correct tracking weight" actually means.
Yes, I think I'll keep things simple and stick to MM upgrades.
 

NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
19
4
25
The snag is that the Planar 1 isn’t designed for alternative cartridges because it has a fixed tracking weight - to make it easy to setup. The bias isn’t adjustable either. But that makes it tricky to improve.
I have read that a Nagaoka MP110 is a good upgrade because it presumably weighs the appropriate weight so that it tracks ok. I can’t verify that.

Pace the suggestion above, in my view a moving coil cartridge is totally unsuitable for a P1.

A call to a Rega dealer would be a good move I reckon!
Yes, I've dropped my dealer an email. They are closed for all but online web purchases at the moment but there's no rush. I'll see what they come back with.

Thanks
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,807
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19,870
Agree with the others, fitting a cartridge can be tricky. Also to justify a MC cart you would need to spend many hundreds of pounds.

As @nopiano has suggested a fixed arm makes the task doubly difficult.

When I had the Pro-ject Xpression 1 I upgraded to a ClearAudio that yielded impressive results, but I could adhust the weight of the arm, bias etc.
 

NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
19
4
25
Agree with the others, fitting a cartridge can be tricky. Also to justify a MC cart you would need to spend many hundreds of pounds.

As @nopiano has suggested a fixed arm makes the task doubly difficult.

When I had the Pro-ject Xpression 1 I upgraded to a ClearAudio that yielded impressive results, but I could adhust the weight of the arm, bias etc.
Yes, I think I’ll see what the dealer says about it. Given the limitations, I’ll keep leaving it be as an option too. Cheers
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
550
331
19,270
Any cartridge on this list will fit any turntable ever made
Rega you will need shims or Vta adjusters or just upgrade the carbon stylus with a Jico stylus

Best cartridges 2021: budget and premium options for your turntable | What Hi-Fi?
“Fitting” isn’t the issue, because all cartridges use standard 1/2 inch spacing. It’s compatibility and being able to adjust the non-adjustable P1 counterweight to achieve the correct downforce.

Poor advice I’m afraid, though doubtless well intentioned.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
“Fitting” isn’t the issue, because all cartridges use standard 1/2 inch spacing. It’s compatibility and being able to adjust the non-adjustable P1 counterweight to achieve the correct downforce.

Poor advice I’m afraid, though doubtless well intentioned.
It might be sensible, if wanting to upgrade this turntable, is to do exactly that. Buy something that is more flexible
 

NorthEastVinyl

Active member
Dec 10, 2020
19
4
25
It might be sensible, if wanting to upgrade this turntable, is to do exactly that. Buy something that is more flexible
Yes, it does appear that way doesn’t it. I’m generally happy with what I have and just thought it worth looking into marginal gains. However, given what I’ve learned from this thread and another potential upgrade I posted about, I think I may be better to largely stick with what I have and look at upgrades of components in the future. As far as Imm concerned this forum seems to do exactly what I’d like it to do. As a novice I’ve found it really helpful in aiding my decision making, so thanks all.
 
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daytona600

Well-known member
Oct 5, 2012
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“Fitting” isn’t the issue, because all cartridges use standard 1/2 inch spacing
Not all cartridges use 1/2 inch spacing
millions of turntables use plug in cartridges , and T4P plug in
ortofon-concorde-std.jpg
 

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