Looking for cartridge recommendations

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by stevemtno, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. stevemtno

    stevemtno Active Member

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm thinking of upgrading my turntable and cartridge, starting with the cartridge. My budget for a new cartridge is gonna be around $600. I want something that will produce excellent sound across the board, whether I'm listening to rock, jazz, blues, classical, R&B, acoustic, etc.. Pretty much anything.

    I'm looking for any recommendations, along with any specific reasons why. Also, if the cartridge will require a preamp, let me know that too.

    Thanks!

    SteveMTNO
  2. Shakey

    Shakey New Member

    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    I think you're running a pretty nice cartridge now. I don't know all the iterations of the Shure V15 but, maybe just keep it and change the stylus, if needed.
  3. laughalot

    laughalot Forum Resident

    +1 Another that you might look at is the Grado Sonata
  4. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    I had pretty good results running Sumiko BPS EVO III's on a Technics SL 1210 MKII. Was just listening to a needledrop I did on that table, when the Sumiko was fresh attached to it of a PAVEMENT LP and the results are stilll very good.
    I know the SHURE is a good cart, but why not buy one spare cart for another flavor.
    I heard good drops done with both an AT OC 09 (not sure if that is the correct type number); even better but a bit south of 600 bucks is the BENZ ACE S, the cart that is tempting me the most. Try the Sumiko it will work with any PHONO MM, since it is a HOMC and puts out a 2.5 mv signal, pretty safe for most Phono Pre-amps..

    check : http://www.needledoctor.com/Sumiko-Blue-Point-Special-Evo-III?sc=2&category=382

    Just checked the AT OC will need a good Phono MC Pre-amp and the BENZ ACE M or H will set you back 900 bucks, so best check how you like the EVO III.I think it is really nice, you hear an immediate upgrade in pretty much any regard, better highs, bass, clarity, space and an overall more involving performance compared to a regular ORTOFON Broadcast E RED...
    But then the SHURE MXv is no slouch either, maybe it needs bigger guns like the BENZ to get that level jump ?
  5. hazard

    hazard Well-Known Member

    I would take the Grado anyday at this price range. The Shure is accurate, but sterile. The Grado has soul. There are some moving coils which may be better than it, but then you need a better pre-amp ...
  6. laughalot

    laughalot Forum Resident

    I have the Grado Platinum and is sooooooooooo sweet, can only imagine what the Sonata or Master Reference must sound like
  7. dividebytube

    dividebytube Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Dynavector 10x5 is a nice compromise - it's a high output MC, so you won' t need any moving-coil step up devices. It also has a great detailed bass and excellent dynamics, so it suits rock n' roll music, along with other genres just fine.
  8. rcspkramp

    rcspkramp Active Member

    Location:
    Vancouver, WA USA
    Can't recommend a cartridge until you say what tone arm and what phono pre.
  9. stevemtno

    stevemtno Active Member

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Haven't really gotten as far as the turntable & tonearm yet. I'm not sure if I want to go the preamp route or just use the one in my receiver.

    Any preamp suggestions one way or the other (as in, should I use one or shouldn't I)? If I go with a MC cartridge, then I need a preamp, right?
  10. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Active Member

    Location:
    Washington NC
    I would START with a phono preamp before doing anything else. There are dozens of choices, new and used, that will beat the pants off the internal phono stage in your Sony.

    Nice read about the Jolida JD-9A tube phono stage, which sells for less than $500. The review talks about the difference from going from a receiver phono stage.

    http://www.audioasylum.com/reviews/Phono-Preamp/Jolida/JD-9A/vinyl/593867.html
  11. Paul G

    Paul G Active Member

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I see that your turntable is a Technics SL-1200Mk5. I suggest the Audio-Technica AT150MLX. Some here find that cartridge bright, but I find it an excellent match with my Technics SL-1200M3D. Some others on this board use the same combo and seem to like it. I used to run the Shure V15 on the Technics, and I think I made the right decision to switch to the AT150MLX.

    Paul
  12. stevemtno

    stevemtno Active Member

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    I don't really know anything about tubes. Any primers out there? I'm a little intimidated right now...
  13. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Active Member

    Location:
    Washington NC
    Nothing to be intimidated about and you don't have to get a tube preamp, that was just maybe a bad example. :shh:

    The point is, you will not even know how good your current turntable/cartridge can be until you get at least a "decent" phono preamp. You could improve on the internal stage you are using by spending far less on what you were talking about spending on a new cartridge, on a decent external phono preamp (solid state or tube :) ).

    Even something like the Rega Phono Mini for around $125 would easily best what you currently use.

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?preaphon&1321496420&/REGA-Fono-Mini
  14. LSGoCards7

    LSGoCards7 Active Member

    Location:
    Central Illinois
    I'd take a look at the Ortofon 2M series. I have the Black and love it!
  15. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Active Member

    Location:
    Washington NC
    Primer?

    All you will need is another pair of RCA cables to go from the phono preamp outputs to an unused input on your receiver. Simply plug the RCA'S from the TT into the phono preamps inputs and you are ready to go. How is that for a primer! Then, you could easily try removing your TT RCA'S back to the "phono stage" input to compare.
  16. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Active Member

    Location:
    Washington NC
    I see you have a nice phono stage.

    Pro-ject Tube Box SE II with NOS Mullards (Soon to be a Decware ZP3)

    Have you ever heard your your TT setup using an internal phono stage before getting the Tube Box? :wave:

    Don't you think the OP should consider a preamp before spending $600 on a cartridge using a $30 internal phono stage?
  17. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    This is not easy, because you have a reasonable matched turntable set-up.

    My experience is that you will get a different sound from another cartridge, not necessarily better but different. Many of the selections so far are good, but don't mention that they all (except the Ortofon M series) require cartridge exchange to replace the stylus when it's worn out or damaged.

    Your Shure will be improved for $160 with a new Jico SAS stylus. Similar sound but better.

    Without seeing a total budget, your path forward is not clear. I'd recommend you get someone to visit you with a medium/high end turntable so you can hear how it compares to your Shure/Technics. Say a Rega P5 or P9, or if you can stretch to $3k a VPI Classic.

    It's more important to know where you want to get to, than just to want 'something better'. Saves a lot of time and money.

    Another well-liked cartridge for your Technics is the Nagaoka range, the MP11 and it's brothers. These also have replaceable styli.
  18. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Active Member

    Location:
    Washington NC
    :laughup:

    Yes, please spend 3k on TT so you can use that $30 internal stage to its maximum potential. :shrug:
  19. rcspkramp

    rcspkramp Active Member

    Location:
    Vancouver, WA USA
    That is one heck of a great cartridge.
  20. blakep

    blakep Well-Known Member

    You seem to be beating a dead horse here so I will help you out.

    Yes, the first thing the OP should address in this case is a new phono preamp. Running any kind of decent analog front end through a phono board which is an afterthought on an AV receiver is not a very good idea.

    He can't really hear what his current setup is capable of, as you have pointed out. Makes no sense to change out the cartridge before the phono preamp here.
  21. stevemtno

    stevemtno Active Member

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    A $30 phono board on a (at the time) $2000 receiver? Really? Ummm, I find that kinda hard to believe, but OK.

    So the consensus seems to be a new preamp before I go upgrading a cartridge & turntable. Any recommendations on a preamp, within the same $600 (or less) budget? And all I need is an open RCA input on the receiver, correct? Tubes or no tubes? And if go tubes, is there a recurring expense involved?

    Also, for the record, I'm not dissatisfied with the Technics/Shure combo I have now. Just have some extra $ burning a hole in my pocket.. :)
  22. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Don't knock it unless you designed it. You keep mentioning this $30 stage, yet the OP has a ($499 or so discount retail) receiver.

    I subscribe to the garbage in garbage out hierarchy.
  23. blakep

    blakep Well-Known Member

    Mikey: I definitely subscribe to the garbage in/garbage out view and I believe Chuck does as well. However, IMO the phono preamp really must be considered as an integral part of the analog front end, as important as, if not moreso than the cartridge, and I'd venture to say that it's much easier to get great performance out of some fairly inexpensive cartridges than it is to get great performance out of inexpensive phono preamps or onboard phono stages in many pieces of equipment.

    As such (this is a generalization), in most cases it makes much more sense to allocate a larger portion of funds to phono stage than it does to cartridge.

    The photo attached is of the OP's AV Receiver. Anything is possible, of course, but as a betting man do you think Sony put a lot of thought and money into the phono stage on this receiver?

    Attached Files:

  24. stevemtno

    stevemtno Active Member

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Actually, the list on the receiver (new, when I bought it) was $2000. I seriously doubt it came with a $30 phono stage...

    Still, recommendations for a preamp - tube or not - are appreciated.
  25. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    Don'tlet this negative attitude influence your actions. The fact SONY added a Phono input on a higher line AVR makes it more likely they did not use the cheapest model on stock, but something more solid from former receivers or something along those lines. If you like the performane now you will like it even more with a better cart. Still getting a Phono Pre is not a bad idea - for your 600 dollars you could get that SUMIKO EVO III I recommended AND a V-LPS- a combination I used for that PAVEMENT - LP needledrops.
    Of course you could spend the 600 on a Phono pre alone and get something better, but this should bring your sound just that step further you expect for your money....
    50 bucks price drop
    order it here for only 99 dollars
    http://www.listenup.com/Musical Fidelity V-LPS-p-VLPS-p-.html
    mates well with the 2.5 mv of most HOMC carts with it's stock 3.5 mv input...
    For that price you won't make a mistake..

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