Which cart ignored pops/crackle on LPs the most you've experienced?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Strat-Mangler, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Always interesting to find out which carts have this or that advantage over others.

    But assuming sound quality is good (not required to be the best), which cart ignored pops/crackle (and whatever other defects LPs might have) the most that you've experienced ever?

    Anticipating some interesting answers. :)
  2. Troyh

    Troyh Forum Resident

    For me, the Nagaoka MP 110 is a worthy performer. As a part time dealer, I have to plow through a lot of records. This performs pretty great for what I ask it to do!
    CCrider92 and c-eling like this.
  3. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Grand Rapids, MI
    I second this experience with the Nagaoka.

    The Shure M97xe that I'm currently using isn't as good as the Nag in this regard, but it's not bad either.
    CCrider92 likes this.
  4. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident

    Baltimore MD
    third the Nagaoka MP-110. Please note it does take some break in time to settle in and smooth out a little. (little bright at first). Great for minimizing groove noise.
    CCrider92 likes this.
  5. crispi

    crispi Sound Archaeologist

    After having tried a Goldring 1042, an Audio Technica 440 and 33PTG2, an Ortofon 2M Red, 2M Blue, 2M Bronze and 2M Black (the worst of all in that regard), and a Denon DL-110, the one cart that gives me the most pleasure from my beat up vinyl is the Shure M97xe (stock stylus, not Jico!). It focuses on the midrange and picks up less surface noise that all others. I haven't tried the Nagaoka, though.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
    Mlle. Aurora and CCrider92 like this.
  6. Obtuse1

    Obtuse1 Forum Resident

    I have both and can confirm. The Nagaoka is better at taming noise, but is not as detailed as the Shure. I mainly use the Shure with a Jico SAS stylus, but sometimes swap in the stock stylus on noisier LPs and 45s. If that doesn't do the trick, the Nagaoka gets put into service.
    dbsea, Mlle. Aurora and CCrider92 like this.
  7. Rentz

    Rentz Forum Resident

    clearly i need to try the nagoaka, i cant say which cart is best since none of mine do great but the cheap 95e and the shure 44-7 seem to pickup every imperfection
    CCrider92 likes this.
  8. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    In principle a cartridge should pick up what´s on the record. I can´t say that ignoring pops and clicks is a good way.
    ubiknik, Cliff, Trashman and 3 others like this.
  9. Eigenvector

    Eigenvector Forum Resident

    Southeast PA
    For me, my Shure V15VxMR with stock stylus is my "quietest" cartridge with regard to surface noise. Too bad it's almost impossible to get NOS styli for a reasonable price. I'm on my last one and I'll be investigating Jico styli next.

    For comparison, I've owned many other cartridges by Audio Technica, Grado, Ortofon and other Shures but the V15VxMR was the best for me with regard to rejecting surface noise. It's also one of my favorite sounding cartridges too. YMMV.
  10. eirismania

    eirismania Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Interesting. Could you rate the other cartridges in order? I'm particularly interested in knowing your opinion about the Goldring vs the Ortofon Black. Thanks!
  11. Wasatch

    Wasatch Music Lover!

    The DV 17D3 Karat is pretty forgiving.
  12. thxdave

    thxdave Forum Resident

    As to the original question, what has the most effect on defect playback.....the cartridge or the stylus shape?
  13. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Burnout from the smoke pit


    I agree with this. I put about 2,000 hours on a 2m Black and despite the claims of high SN, I simply played good records and I never had a problem. Then a funny thing happened...I bought a record on Discogs that was listed as NM and it played VG (it also looked VG), it was unplayable with the Black for me. That very weekend I swapped the Black for a Lyra Delos. That same record played about 50 to 70% quieter with the Delos and certainly nothing was lost in SQ.
    Cliff and Strat-Mangler like this.
  14. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Easily the Koetsu Black.

    I will quote Art Dudley's words from the Stereophile review of the black, which I agree with wholeheartedly :

    The biggest surprise of all: I was shocked at how well the Koetsu Black handled surface noise. Never before had I heard anything surpass the excellent Lyra range of cartridges in that regard, and I certainly didn't expect a new standard to be set by a pickup with such an unexotic, if perfectly nice, stylus tip. But the Black was easily— easily—the smoothest- and least scratchy-sounding cartridge I've heard. I still have my original copy of Neil Young's After the Gold Rush (Reprise RS 6383), which I bought new more than 35 years ago, and which has been played with myriad different needles, starting with the one on my family's monophonic Webcor record player. The Koetsu Black made it sound so nice I actually started to cry.
    JohnO likes this.
  15. crispi

    crispi Sound Archaeologist

    Tonally, the Black was my favourite (at the time at least, my tastes changed in the mean-time). The Goldring (mine is a rebranded one, Transrotor Uccello, which is equivalent to the more expensive Goldring 1042 Reference) has a tad less bass, not as sharply defined treble and doesn't track as well, but still only a hair less exciting than the Black. However, the Black picks up an insane amount of groove noise. If you're a critical listener and, like me, do needledrops for archival purposes, the Black is a no-go. It was so extreme that brand new pressings that previously sounded fine, suddenly sounded like faulty pressings.

    If you like the sound of the 2Ms and are sensitive to groove noise, pick up a Bronze. I still have mine. It's a great cart.

    All the other carts didn't particularly stand out in terms of picking up noise, except that I remember that the Goldring picked up less groove wall noise on a vintage Bitches Brew 1A pressing than the AT33PTG2.

    A friend, who sent me the Shure cart, told me that that cart would probably be much more revered within audiophile circles would it not be so cheap. :)
    eirismania likes this.
  16. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    my AT150mlx cart. It doesn't ignore them, but seems to lift or push the clicks away from the music. That tells me that the cart is capable of depth.
  17. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Brooklyn New York
    I'll second this description.

    My Audio Technica AT70 with conical stylus is also good at surpressing s/n. And it's fantastic with old mono records providing the channels are summed.
    Hendertuckie likes this.
  18. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! ~~~Nyaaaaaannn~~~

    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I can vouch for the Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge as well, as it did reduce the surface noise that is audible on my other cartridges like my Stanton 681EEE II-S and Ortofon 2M Bronze. However, some of my used records on my Ortofon 2M Bronze also reduce surface noise from any cartridge with an elliptical stylus. In my opinion, YMMV depending on the grooves' condition of your records.
    CCrider92 likes this.
  19. CCrider92

    CCrider92 Forum Resident

    Cape Cod, MA
    I fully agree!!!
  20. Hendertuckie

    Hendertuckie Forum Resident

    Henderson, Nevada

    I am also in agreement on the AT150mlx.
    Grant likes this.
  21. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    According to this article by SoundSmith, it shouldn't be due to its design/stylus type.

    Stylus Shape Information | Soundsmith
  22. Shak Cohen

    Shak Cohen Forum Resident

    United Kingdom
    Most decent hi-fi cartridges (Audio Technica, Ortofon, Denon etc.) offer low to neglible surface noise providing:

    a) you're playing a record that is a good pressing, and is in at least EX condition
    b) the cartridge has been installed correctly (overhang, alignment, etc.) on the tonearm, and tracking force/anti-skating set correctly
    c) the phono stage you're using (and additional leads) is at least in the ballpark of the cartridge manufacturer's recommended capacitance (pf)
    d) the cartridge is a good match for the tonearm (mass)
    e) your speakers are a good match for your amplifier, and preferably, not overly bright or forward sounding.
    Grant likes this.
  23. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Any higher-end (1-2K range) carts you've found are good at ignoring surface noise?

    I'm acquiring knowledge for a future purchase. Currently on a Dynavector 20x2L.
  24. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    In my experience with cartridges, about surface noise:

    Outstanding: Koetsu
    Excellent: Lyra
    Very good: Denon 103, last model Shures (x series)
    Average: older Shures (Mxx, V15 not-x), your Dynavector, AT150MLX, AT95E, Grados (prestige and reference wood body)
    Below average: Ortofon 2M Black
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  25. Bathory

    Bathory 30 yr Single Malt, not just for breakfast anymore

    Stanton 680EL is nice at hiding the upper freq noise, Rice Krispies next to the mic sound.

    I use Ortofon Arkiv to record my records to my computer, but on older records, because this Arkiv cart is made for archiving, it also boosts the upper frequencies, which makes for more audible Rice Krispies, pops, crackling/shuffling noise from my speakers. I will switch to the Stanton or ortofon nightclub mkII TO REDUCE THE UPPER FREQ STATIC/crackling sound.

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