Cartridge Comparisons on YouTube

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by floweringtoilet, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I just posted a comparison between my Denon DL-110 and Nagaoka MP-110.



    I see lots of cartridge comparison videos on YouTube, but unfortunately on many of them the poster failed to level match the tracks. One cart will be louder than the other and then everyone chimes in about how much better the louder cart sounds. I level matched this to within 1/10th of a dB.

    I posted one other comparing the Denon to an Audio-Technica CN5625AL with Bliss Elliptical stylus upgrade. Unfortunately, that's all the carts I have, so I won't be posting any others in the near future.

    Phono Cartridge Shoot Out: Audio-Technica CN5625AL with Bliss Elliptical vs Denon DL-110

    Interested to hear impressions from folks here.
     
    Donniej, Jelloalien, Robert C and 7 others like this.
  2. I also make comparisons in my channel (mostly LP pressings, although I have one cartridge comparison video), and what you say is a common complaint. My point of view is that output level differences are part of the many things that characterize anything audio-related. It's a bit of info that should be shared with those interested in the comparison. Unfortunately, and as you say, louder = better to many people (I've noticed that brighter = better to many as well).

    When I make a comparison, I record all the samples in one single waveform and split it as needed. That way I'm sure that, if one sounds louder than the other, it's not because I made some accidental or wrong level adjustments on my phono stage when creating a new waveform. As a listener, I guess I'm in the minority that has perfectly clear that louder is not necessarily better. And if I find that level differences make the comparison difficult for me, I either use the volume control or download the audio and match levels using software.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  3. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    There's a certain guy out there were his reviews I believe are somewhat flawed due to source recordings as well. For crying out loud he reviewed the Lounge using a digital cut Pet Shop Boy album, then said the Shiit sounded better while playing an acoustic album :crazy: He's seems to be reviewing these carts with a hodgepodge mix of albums, not setting a standard 5 or so and each cart played on the exact album.
    Maybe he's gotten better. I haven't watched any of his new vids.
     
  4. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've seen his videos. For myself I'd just rather do as good a job as I can to make sure the comparison is fair and then let the viewer decide what they think sounds better.
     
    HiFi Guy and c-eling like this.
  5. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Whether an LP is pressed hotter than another is a relevant data point, so I can see the argument for leaving level difference alone there. I don't think cartridge output level is as relevant. I'd rather hear them level matched. There's one video that compares a Nagaoka MP-110 to an MP-500. The MP-500 track is about 3 dB louder, even though the cart is spec'd for a lower output than the MP-110. Seems like that's just a screw up to me.
     
    Leonthepro and HiFi Guy like this.
  6. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    The first one DL110 is a bit cleaner. Both tracks are a bit too much of bass to be neutral which may be the RIAA stage or a different master of the record.

    The second one, I think the AT is not loaded properly. It is too dark sounding. Also there is a bit of channel balance issue of the AT, and more distortion.
     
  7. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here's the one I mentioned earlier that I consider flawed. It compares the Nagaoka MP-110 to the MP-500. But the MP-500 track is about 3 dB louder than the one recorded using the MP-110. I downloaded the video, and once I equalized the volume the differences were much more subtle.

     
    Leonthepro and c-eling like this.
  8. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, keep in mind, this is a $40 cartridge.
     
  9. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    The mV's play a big part agreed.
    My Ortofon Blue is at 5.5, while my previous cart AT 150MLX was at 4.
    Doing transfers the difference was quite noticeable, especially picking up on pop's and clicks between the two.
    My Ortofon Serato S-120 is a whopping 10, I can't even do transfers with my 2i2 without overloading it :laugh:
     
    floweringtoilet likes this.
  10. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here's round two of the battle of the 110's, using The Cure's "Caterpillar."



    I'll probably post a couple other examples using different types of music.
     
    Robert C and zombiemodernist like this.
  11. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    waterford, mi
    I vote Denon DL-110 as best
     
  12. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Some Jazz for Round Three: Red Norvo performing "Red Sails" from OJC LP "Music To Listen To Red Norvo By."

     
  13. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    And some Classical for Round Four: Antal Dorati directing Philharmonia Hugarica, performing Respighi: Suite Number 2 for Orchestra: "Campanae Parisienses" based on dance by Bernando Gianoncelli, Mercrury Living Presence LP, Golden Imports series. I'll probably stop there, as I think it's a sufficiently diverse group of songs. Although if someone has a request I'm happy to entertain it.

     
    Daddy Dom likes this.
  14. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Thanks for this, I had been under the impression that the 500 just opened up the soundstage more in this video for a long while now. Would be nice if there was a proper comparison.
     
  15. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    First off, great job, with level matching here! I own both carts and find these videos to sum up the differences to a very satisfactory level.

    In my system, I really do prefer the Denon, especially with tracks like this Cure cut. While I think both carts sound good on the other 3 samples, this is where the Nag really starts to fall apart. You captured the edginess in Smith’s vocals that the Nag exaggerated and the constrained soundstage, and slightly dark gloss that the Nagaoka put over the midrange. Tracking is the Achilles heel of the Nag, it just can’t keep itself as composed on lots of these 80s alternative tracks that tend to be cut hot and bright with difficult to track vocals. The slightly colored sound is much more unobtrusive on well recorded 70s rock like Fleetwood Mac, which is also easier for the Nag to track well. The certain YouTube reviewer mentioned above keeps claiming the Nag has minimal to no sibilant/edginess issues, but does not venture into playing everyday challenging rock music.

    All in all for a cheap cart, the Nag slays the competition. The Denon is just about 25% better. The extra boost in openness and transparency helps each record sound unique vs homogenized which is a priority to me since I listen to many different genres.
     
    Doc Diego likes this.
  16. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    After listening Id say 5% better at most. If this is the difference you mentioned before then I cant say subscribe to that notion. Of course the Denon will track better though, it has thinner dimensions. Thats different from saying the Nag is lacking as a tracker.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  17. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Well AT95 is as well, but I've heard it sound much better than the AT example above.
     
  18. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Big difference IMO. The 110 has channel balance issues, and the clarity in the highs are better with the 500. The 500 has less distortion and better clarity overall.
     
  19. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Did you compare with corrected levels or is that what you infer through just the video?
     
  20. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    Well I tried both changing output and without, the impression is the same. 110 leans a bit to the right compared to the 500, and there is a more clarity in s-sound and cymbals of the 500. The difference is evident, IMO.
     
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  21. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Forum Resident

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    The Nag MP-110 vs the DL-110. I listened to all the other tracks, and this MP-110 is much more equalised to the DL-110 with respect to channel balance. No obvious difference to me. The DL-110 is slightly brighter and has a nudge more clarity, but it is a close call.
     
  22. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    Interesting that you say brighter, can you elaborate on that?
     
  23. zombiemodernist

    zombiemodernist Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Northeastern USA
    Haha, I may have overstated it but remember that here we are comparing compressed YouTube samples. I think these samples reveals their tonality is pretty similar along with their dynamic extension, and ability to repress surfaces noise. I would like to note that there is clear (if subtle) mistracking of Smith’s vocals on “Caterpillar” having heard it many times digitally and on record. Having the advantage to listen to these in my system I can say that the Denon is a bit more “open” than conveyed here.

    Where I really get my feeling that the cart is a decent step up from the Nag is only through an audiotory audit of my collection. Across the few hundred records I have played between both carts, the Denon is less offensive in trackability on a significant pile of problem records. You’re not going to hear all that that unless @floweringtoilet pulls a significant library of torture test tracks. Morrissey, Bernard Sumner, Kate Bush, Elisabeth Fraser, Robert Smith, Bjork, Mark Bolan, heck even Kanye West are all difficult voices to track IME. Unfortunately my taste means this direction and the Denon is better suited for the job.

    For me the Denon is not past the point of diminishing return, recognizing that the Nag is already pretty great. Of course the move between the Nag and say an AT-95e may be greater than the Denon and the Nag, but sadly that’s the way it goes up the cart food chain.
     
    4011021 likes this.
  24. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    If there are specific tracks from The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, and/or T-Rex you'd like me to post let me know (I have quite a few LPs by each). Kate Bush I only have 'The Whole Story' and the AF 'Hounds Of Love' on LP, but would be happy to put up something from that. Nothing by Bjork or Kanye on LP, sorry.
     
  25. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    To be clear, I never said the 500 wasn't better (it is, IMO), only that the difference in quality becomes much more subtle when volume is equalized. I am not sure either cart is set up to show it off at its best in that recording. Certainly the 500 doesn't need the advantage of being 3 dB louder.
     
    The FRiNgE likes this.

Share This Page