Cartridges

Nathan

New member
Jun 23, 2016
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So I am a subscriber to the law of dismissing returns when you start spending money on upgrades but that doesn't stop me looking.

One area that is not as flamed as cables is cartridges which can be aneurism inducingly expensive.

Question is therefore as you price up are they worth it? I'm guessing there's a limit when you notice the return. So without going to MC cartridges as that will require an MC adapter and a divorce is there a noticable increase in quality as you spend more - assuming you set it up right? For reference my cartridge is the factory fitted Ortofon 2M Silver which is 75 quid on its own. Is there a significant increase if you step up a level?
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Nathan said:
So I am a subscriber to the law of dismissing returns when you start spending money on upgrades but that doesn't stop me looking.

One area that is not as flamed as cables is cartridges which can be aneurism inducingly expensive.

Question is therefore as you price up are they worth it? I'm guessing there's a limit when you notice the return. So without going to MC cartridges as that will require an MC adapter and a divorce is there a noticable increase in quality as you spend more - assuming you set it up right? For reference my cartridge is the factory fitted Ortofon 2M Silver which is 75 quid on its own. Is there a significant increase if you step up a level?

Without wanting to make your '**** list' the answer is yes, with a proviso, providing your ancillary equipment is up to it.

The Silver is a slightly modified Red which is the basic model in the range.

Most money normally goes on the stylus profile.
 
Feb 18, 2015
59
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18,545
Definitely the wisest way to spend your cash for a worthwhile Sq upgrade...if you stay with ortofon....then the bronze would be the most logical step up as the blue (which I've had)will probably not be such noticeable improvement although still an improvement none the less.Also there are great carts from nagaoka,audiotechnica . you have a very good turntable and I wouldn't think twice on spending £500 on a cart for it.....but that's when you seriously want to be thinking about the mc route along with a appropriate phono stage.It does start getting expensive though.But to kick things off I'll recommend the nagaoka mp300 for a bit of justice to that deck.lol.
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Mark Rose-Smith said:
Definitely the wisest way to spend your cash for a worthwhile Sq upgrade...if you stay with ortofon....then the bronze would be the most logical step up as the blue (which I've had)will probably not be such noticeable improvement although still an improvement none the less.Also there are great carts from nagaoka,audiotechnica . you have a very good turntable and I wouldn't think twice on spending £500 on a cart for it.....but that's when you seriously want to be thinking about the mc route along with a appropriate phono stage.It does start getting expensive though.But to kick things off I'll recommend the nagaoka mp300 for a bit of justice to that deck.lol.

Nagaoka ? That's you on the list for sure. ;-)
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Mark Rose-Smith said:
Happy to make anybody's sh.t list if it helps improve there listening pleasure.lol.

Just thought I'd mention again the not so recent price-hike from Nagaoka has made them not so imminently recommendable as before. The MP300 is now about £590 which brings it into contention with a good few others. (Unless you buy direct from Japan of course)
 

Nathan

New member
Jun 23, 2016
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Wow - £ per gram makes these pretty pricey!

Having had a look at a few reviews, would you suggest jumping right up to one that costs several hundred (Nagaoka or Ort Black) or try out the Bronze first?

And yes, you're all on my list now.
 
Feb 18, 2015
59
1
18,545
Yeah Al your right.those nags have went right up in price....that's why I ended up going with the at moving coil cart or else I would have chosen one of those nags mp 300-500.Quite happy with my at33ptg mk2 but don't know how it compares to one of the mm nags or ortofon black or bronze.Unless you buy,it's a pretty slim chance you're going to get a demo of one of these or any cart for that matter.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
I would say jump at least two levels from your current cart for a definite and discernable upgrade.

My favourite amongst the Ortofon range was the Bronze, quieter on surface noise than the Black. Depends on the presentation you prefer, if you like in yer face forward presentation then that's the Ortofon. I made the move to Nagaoaka and much prefer its more subtle approach.

The 2M Black is a cracking cart but for my ears it is bested by the Nagaoka. If you go for the Bronze then you can always upgrade with a Black stylus as a later date. If you go for the MP300 the same applies regarding the MP500.

But as Al said the prices for Nagaoka have increased somewhat over the last eighteen months, they are fantastic carts but may not now give the best bang for your buck. Al's the man for better priced alternatives
 

audioaddict

New member
Nov 1, 2011
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so without starting a big barney......how far should i go for a cartridge on my technics and best brand to match it
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
audioaddict said:
so without starting a big barney......how far should i go for a cartridge on my technics and best brand to match it

I can only offer Ortofon advice re your direct drive. I would say the 2M Blue is probably as far as I would go. I did have the Black fitted to my Pioneer clone but feel that it was wasted after I heard what it could do when mated to a better tonearm. I could never get the Nagaoaka to fit properly using Stevenson alignment on the Pioneer so it never did sound its best.

Got some friends who have AT direct drive clones and they rate the Audio Technica carts very highly.
 

audioaddict

New member
Nov 1, 2011
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yes standard tonearm and a cheap audiotechnica cartridge at mo.........does a decent job mind considering its cheap price
 

audioaddict

New member
Nov 1, 2011
114
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DougK said:
audioaddict said:
so without starting a big barney......how far should i go for a cartridge on my technics and best brand to match it

I can only offer Ortofon advice re your direct drive. I would say the 2M Blue is probably as far as I would go. I did have the Black fitted to my Pioneer clone but feel that it was wasted after I heard what it could do when mated to a better tonearm. I could never get the Nagaoaka to fit properly using Stevenson alignment on the Pioneer so it never did sound its best.

Got some friends who have AT direct drive clones and they rate the Audio Technica carts very highly.
2m blue......ok will check one out........as much as i love my technics id be the first to defend any 1200 knockers that its far better than people think, but also admit its not the be all and end all of turntables so not going to go cartridge mad........i am seriously considering a listen to the project classic..........is the arm on your pioneer better than the 1200s
 

Al ears

Well-known member
audioaddict said:
DougK said:
audioaddict said:
so without starting a big barney......how far should i go for a cartridge on my technics and best brand to match it

I can only offer Ortofon advice re your direct drive. I would say the 2M Blue is probably as far as I would go. I did have the Black fitted to my Pioneer clone but feel that it was wasted after I heard what it could do when mated to a better tonearm. I could never get the Nagaoaka to fit properly using Stevenson alignment on the Pioneer so it never did sound its best.

Got some friends who have AT direct drive clones and they rate the Audio Technica carts very highly.
2m blue......ok will check one out........as much as i love my technics id be the first to defend any 1200 knockers that its far better than people think, but also admit its not the be all and end all of turntables so not going to go cartridge mad........i am seriously considering a listen to the project classic..........is the arm on your pioneer better than the 1200s

Mkgh have a couple of other suggestions for cartridge but would need a rough idea of your budget.
 

audioaddict

New member
Nov 1, 2011
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well without going mad i,d say upto £150 although if i can get an expensive one in a sale that would be a result
 

bigfish786

Moderator
Jan 29, 2013
849
744
19,770
There's so much to learn about carts and styli. I've only just scratched the surface (pardon the pun) Trying to find what makes a good or great cart,

from the cut of the diamond, to cantilever metals, and a load of other things that can make a difference to the sound quality.

I like to experiment, so have begun buying used styli, to try for myself, to see what is out there. And discover what you can get for your money.
 

Al ears

Well-known member
bigfish786 said:
There's so much to learn about carts and styli. I've only just scratched the surface (pardon the pun) Trying to find what makes a good or great cart,

from the cut of the diamond, to cantilever metals, and a load of other things that can make a difference to the sound quality.

I like to experiment, so have begun buying used styli, to try for myself, to see what is out there. And discover what you can get for your money.

Bigfish has a point however this is fine if you have a big bank balance for buying new or taking a chance on buying used as, as he does. It's an approach I would urge caution doing, those 100 hours cartridges can turn out to be rather knackered dogs so you never know what they were like when new.

Many will find that cartridges are the one thing you can never get to audition.

What you basically need is a stylus of a design that gets the most out of a vinyl groove and a cartridge that tracks well .

I would suggest you start under your budget and go for something like the Audio Technica AT440MLB, this is a brilliant all-rounder for the money and although it might not look much, you'll have to spend a lot more to better it. Many suggest Ortofons but I have not really got on with the cheaper versions in their particular ranges and the really good ones are over your budget.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
audioaddict said:
2m blue......ok will check one out........as much as i love my technics id be the first to defend any 1200 knockers that its far better than people think, but also admit its not the be all and end all of turntables so not going to go cartridge mad........i am seriously considering a listen to the project classic..........is the arm on your pioneer better than the 1200s

When the Pioneer was released copious reviews stated that it sounded more hi-fi than the Technics. I don't bash Technics, as far as I'm concerned they are the muts nuts of the affordable direct-drive world, all the Hanpin clones pale in comparison on the engineering and QC front.

It wasn't until I bought the Marantz deck that I realised just what the 2M Black was capable of but eventually settled on a Nagoaka instead - personal preference. My experience is limited to Orto and Nag... Al's your man on here... plus there are plenty of other Technics users on here so they be able to offer some advice too.

You do have one major plus point in your favour - a removeable headshell! Something I really miss as it's so easy to compare carts if you have spare headshells.
 

Al ears

Well-known member
DougK said:
audioaddict said:
2m blue......ok will check one out........as much as i love my technics id be the first to defend any 1200 knockers that its far better than people think, but also admit its not the be all and end all of turntables so not going to go cartridge mad........i am seriously considering a listen to the project classic..........is the arm on your pioneer better than the 1200s

When the Pioneer was released copious reviews stated that it sounded more hi-fi than the Technics. I don't bash Technics, as far as I'm concerned they are the muts nuts of the affordable direct-drive world, all the Hanpin clones pale in comparison on the engineering and QC front.

It wasn't until I bought the Marantz deck that I realised just what the 2M Black was capable of but eventually settled on a Nagoaka instead - personal preference. My experience is limited to Orto and Nag... Al's your man on here... plus there are plenty of other Technics users on here so they be able to offer some advice too.

You do have one major plus point in your favour - a removeable headshell! Something I really miss as it's so easy to compare carts if you have spare headshells.

Good point regarding headshell. Always good to have a couple spare as they can be cheap and save a lot of hassle when cartridge swapping.
 

stevebrock

New member
Nov 13, 2009
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Buy the best Nagaoka or AT Cartridge you can afford - both are great vfm at this end of the market (£150)
 

audioaddict

New member
Nov 1, 2011
114
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any particular models i should look at steve, thanks guys for all the advice. i have posted a new t/t thread as i may be looking to go belt drive for reasons explained in new thread.
 

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