Thinking of doing a cartridge switch out .. thoughts?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by MikeJedi, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Hi SH family!

    Long time LP guy here.. just running some thoughts out.. my wife thinks i am crazy but no more crazy than the typical audio/LP enthuisiast! LOL ! Recently, i switched from my long time Parasound Zphono to a Vincent Tubed Phono PHO 700 along with my Denon DL 110 which is great.. before the Denon, i had a AT440mla which i sold to a buddy as it was getting too bright for me.. but i did enjoy it for awhile .. switched to the Denon dl110 and enjoyed it on my parasound zphono for quite awhile.. but wanted a little more richness in the sound... went to the Vincent.. but feel after having it with the Denon for some time... I am getting upgradeitus and am very curious to see what the new AT540ML would sound like with my tubed phono stage.. (will keep the Denon in reserve in case i want to set it up again)..... Does anyone have any experience with the AT540ml or any AT similar carts like that with a tubed stage..? My thinking is that they would be a great match together with the richness of the tubes and the slightly brighter presentation of the AT (although from what i understand some of what i have read on here is that the new 540ML is not as bright as the old AT440 , which is probably a good thing.. but still retaining that basic AT house sound...) Also the VM540ML also has the 4.0 mv which should mate probably much better with my Vincent 40 db MM output... i think my Parasound MM was 46 which might have been another reason the 440mla probably wasn't as good a match too much gain .. and the Denon might just be ever so slightly underrmatched (1.6mv) to the Vincent....... .........any input would be great.. thanks guys!

    Mike
     
  2. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Tomorrow I'll be installing at AT33EV MC cart which will run into my all tube phono pre, an Icon Audio PS2. I'll be sure to report back.

    The AT33EV is replacing a Denon 301 mkII that has developed a strong channel imbalance when playing stereo, mono is normal. The Denon is a really great sounding MC cart that has had only around 250 hours of play, it's too bad it has this issue.

    BTW, I have s Vincent Pho 8 in another system snd really like it. I was thinking about getting the Pho 700 until this PS2 came up for sale, far too great a bargain to pass up and a real game changer for the quality of my vinyl playback.
     
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  3. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I read a lot about brightness with Audio Technicas. I have experimented with capitance and loading and find thst most cartridges can be "Tamed" if that's the right word
    They are very detailed and I would have thought a superb match in your system. .
     
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  4. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    You have had denon AT why not try something different? There are DV ex 10x5 Grado and Ortofon - like a bronze or OM 30. Branch out.
     
  5. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Bronze seems nice but the budget would get blown looks to be a nice match to my Vincent Tubed Stage I am for the money probably going to try the new VM540ML with my Vincent and sl1200mk5 .. But still haven't decided quite yet but am leaning in that direction based on the tubed stage mating with a slightly brighter sounding cart...as the ATs are well regarded with the nice micro line stylus.. Although I have read a lot of good about the bronze as well.. Some say the bronze and the better AT micro line are similar in sound ...
     
  6. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    If you have a 1200 then I highly recommend the KAB ProS30. It is under 300 from what I recall and is my number 2 cart - perhaps tied with my DV. And comes w head shell and no alignment necessary. It is also at the same level as the Bronze as bronze and OM 30 are equivalent.
     
    johnny q likes this.
  7. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Interesting didn't realize that the ortofon pro has Audiophike sound like the bronze I also see LP gear has some AT150MLX left too altho at the same price point as the bronze ....And the have some AT440mla left too .. But I have to assume the AT440mlb is the exact same for 80 dollars less .. Lol
     
  8. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Yes - I prefer the ProS30 over my 440mla.
     
    johnny q likes this.
  9. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Enjoying the OM30 today. [​IMG]
     
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  10. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    OK I think I am just going to go for it and order a brand new AT440Mlb since it's the exact same as the old A maybe slightly better spec wise and probably the exact same as the newer 540.. For 199 on Amazon it's a great price and I feel it will be a nice Match for my richer Sounding tubed Vincent Phono pre ... Wish me luck ... ;)
     
  11. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Just curious if you had gotten around to hearing your new set up , interested in hearing your thoughts ? Hope you enjoy ! I am leaning in ordering a new AT440mlb to go with my Vincent Pho 700 ....
     
  12. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had a mishap installing, one of the leads to the tonearm wires broke off, the last of the four I attached. I'll be off to the local tech first thing Tuesday morning for a repair, and since it's there I'll have him install as well. It will be a few days yet before I hear anything.

    To be continued.....
     
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  13. ZenMango

    ZenMango Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Florida
    +1 on the DV 10x5. I'm running one in my 2nd system through a tubed stage and sounds beautiful.
     
    MikeJedi likes this.
  14. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Well , for the the money, i figured it was worth it , so i took a plunge on the AT440mlb , For 199.00 shipped Prime on Amazon, not bad... ! I figure this should mate much better with my Vincent Tubed Phono Pre! Wish me luck guys.. !! I will let ya know what happens after i hook it up.. if it does well.. I will keep my DL110 in reserve for the future (probably someday when i have changed other components and/or go back to an even higher end Solid State Phono Stage) In the meanwhile.. this should be fun! :)
     
  15. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I went ahead and bought a turntable on Craigslist to tide me over until mine is repaired. I got lucky and found a minty vintage Kenwood KD-700D, it's around 35 years old, from an audiophile line Kenwood briefly did circa 1981. It's a direct drive table, manual but for an electronic cue lift and auto lift/stop at the end of a side (loving that!).

    I first installed the Denon DL-301-mkII which sounded equivalent to it's sonics on the Music Hall MMF-7, and left it that way for several days. Then I mounted the AT33EV and while not radically different than the Denon there are some noticeable things. First off the AT is .1 mv less in output and that was readily was apparent to my ears. I'd left the volume and transimpedance settings as they were for the Denon when I first played with the AT33EV and the volume was clearly lower.

    I'd been playing Beth Orton's Daybreaker last so used that to premiere the AT cart. On that particular record the AT didn't impress with my equipment setting as they were, sounding less dynamic and a bit thin, so I set about tweaking things. Besides adjusting my Lounge Copla Step Up amp for more gain and bumping the amp's volume a bit as well, I also adjusted my subwoofer's volume level. The Denon DL-301mkII is very bass heavy, and while that's good in many respects I've found while using it that it can lay on a bit too much thickness to the sonics overall. It's the one thing that's kept me from really loving this cart Over time I learned to how to adjust for this characteristic of the Denon with my Luxman L-85v's wide array of tone controls, but it did cause me to have to tweak things a bit too often for different recordings, something I hadn't had to do much with my previous Goldring Eroica H MC cart.

    The AT33EV is a better balanced cart than the Denon, the bass output falls in line with the rest so I needed to adjust my sub's volume back up a bit which gave me very good but not overwhelming bass. Following that the first thing I noticed was more separation between the instruments and some additional detail that I didn't hear from the Denon. Following some tracks on the Orton LP I put on the 50th Anniversary pressing of Kind of Blue from the box set. Like so many of you I know how this record sounds in both mono and stereo and have certain things I look for when I use it after making a change to my system. Listening tot he first few minutes of "So What" with the AT33EV showed me that this cart is going to be just fine for my ears. Those first few deep bass notes had excellent dimension, sounding fully rounded and real, a good start. But its when the drum work began that's when I knew I'd really like this cart. The cymbals sounded authentic, all the subtleties of sound were right there, the drumming sounding like it was happening rin my room, I was smiling!

    I went on to play several more albums including several from the latest Neil Young Official Release box set ($59.99 at insound.com!), and a really wonderful jazz reissue from AP, Johnny Hartman's Once in Every Life. Everything's sounding so nice, my ears are happy; the AT33EV is a keeper. When I get my other table back I'll put the Denon back on and do some direct comparisons. I'd always had it in mind to have a dedicated mono table one day, time will tell which it's to be, the Kenwood or the Music Hall.
     
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  16. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas

    Nice!!! I'm thinking I made a good decision to get the AT440mlb with my Vincent PHO 700 tubed phono The Denon dl110 definitely had a lot of bass which was nice but I think it was overkill with my tubed phono I think the new AT I got hole not exactly the same like yours still has those same kind of qualities to give me a more balanced sound !! Wish me luck !! I'm glad you are enjoying your new setup .. !! I love DD tables too hence my sl1200mk5 !!!
    ;)
     
  17. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    I think I might play my 440mla or my Precept 220 tonight. You gotta love removable headshells. Did you get your 440mlb?
     
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  18. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Getting it tomorrow .. Will be installing it on Sunday .... :)
     
  19. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    This is my first DD table, and I am happy indeed. At the moment I only have my solid state Lounge LCR phono stage in hand, my all tube Icon Audio PS2 is in for repair. The PS2 has a lot more gain plus all the great attributes that tubes offer. I'm definitely keen to hear the AT33EV through those tubes!
     
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  20. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Ugh set up my new AT440mlb Got it to work on my sl1200 and it sounds great but the cantilever is moving up and down on the record ! There must be a setting I screwed up somewhere I tried the height adjustment but that just made it skip .. I put it back sounds great again but again the cantilever is riding up and down on the record so I know that's wrong I must have a setting wrong somewhere on my table .. Agh I got it tuned the last time I had an AT440 I can't figure out what I screwed up :( any suggestions ? I know I am close
     
  21. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Well I got it so the cartridge moves normally from what I can see, the cantilever is not moving..good ! But on some records it plays and on others just can't stay in the groove but skips around ??! I don't remember being this hard to align my at440mla ? Ugh it seems no matter what combination I use it won't work Gonna keep trying though .. It's gotta work at some point
     
  22. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    So I set the VTF to 1.6 working better but now everything sounds flat and the Mids are sucked out . Seems like I gotta crank the volume .. Wow if this continues I think I'm gonna try a Ortofon blue.. I'm gonna try a few other things tho I've been at this half the day :(
     
  23. chromium

    chromium Member

    Location:
    Belgium
    :cry: That sucks... from reading your posts I thought you were really going to like the 440 MLb. Like you I had a MLa and thought it too bright, much to my delight the 440 MLb was an improvement and sounded a better (fuller !) to my ears. I currently have two of them running, one on my Technics SL-1500 and one on my Thorens TD-166. I also have a Denon DL 110 installed on my Thorens TD 160 and have been thinking on test driving the 440 MLB on that one as well.

    I run the one on my Technics at 1.4 but on my Thorens it needs 1.6.

    Does the stylus looks vertical from head-on ? Is your cantilever square to the cartridge ? Do you have another deck where you can try it out ?

    On a new stylus the suspension is still relatively rigid and undampened, but it shouldn't be as bad as you described.
     
  24. costerdock

    costerdock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    Did you use the white plastic alignment gauge to set the alignment? - is your arm parallel with the mat? (use an index card to set the VTA) At '0' VTF does the stylus hover in the air at the same level as the record? Is AK set to match?

    I run my 440MLA at about 1.5grams from what I remember.
     
  25. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    What is AK? I think I missed that one Lol .. Thanks .. Taking a small break right now Going back at it later this afternoon Thanks guys Going to look into some of the suggestions ! I just hope the cart isn't ruined in some way ... I hope the way the cantilever was moving initially didn't do any permanent damage .. Maybe I'm being neurotic but these cars can be delicate What's funny is when the cantilever was moving like that , that's when it sounded great! But it didn't look right So I fixed it so it looks right but it doesn't sound great as befor I do realize there is break in Hopefully I can get this together ! ;)
     

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