Comparing a $20 Phono Cartridge to a $250 Cartridge

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Rivcuban, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Location:
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    And YouTube videos and even audio samples won't always necessarily be transparent either, especially if the recording and the actual stereo equipment aren't good quality or is mismatched in any way (i.e., loading capacitance, equipment bottlenecks, etc).
     
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  2. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Very true. But when you upgrade to things like silicon rubber mats and quality cables, it does make a difference.
     
  3. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Also, the AT LP60 is the best budget turntable for the bedroom. If you fall asleep, at the end of the record the tone arm returns to its base and the turntable shuts off. Who can ask for more?
     
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  4. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    I love YouTube videso of audio clips, tells me every time how crappy the speakers are in my laptop!
     
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  5. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Yes, I've heard that about the Rega Planar. I bought one and I ended up returning it. The turntable wobbled and made noise. The biggest red flag was the RCA cords used...cheapo generic unshielded cables which were hard wired so you couldn't replace them with something better. I am so happy with my Pro-Ject. The cables that came with the TT were high quality and I was able to replace them with even higher quality cables.
     
  6. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    That is not true, the stock AT 3600l also uses a carbon fiber cantilever.
     
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  7. Gregalor

    Gregalor Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Other bottlenecks at play here. I suspect you could throw a $10,000 cartridge on and be erroneously convinced that the $20 cartridge sounds the same.
     
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  8. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    Buy a VM540ML and all cartridges that cost less will sound like junk. VM95ML is 90% of a VM540ML.
     
  9. Sounds_Good

    Sounds_Good Active Member

    Location:
    CA, USA
    A
    Why didn't you compare the carts on your better setup ?
    People have expressed surprise at how good the blue sounds as compared to the Red. So I do think something else is a factor here. There is probably one or more of your playback chain components that is not allowing the blue to shine through.

    for example <a href="Entry Level. Should I upgrade my cartridge or get a pre amp? ">this thread</a> going on right now in which the user saw a big improvement when just bypassing the preamp of the tt - which is actually a LP120.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  10. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I never said that the 2 cartridges sounded the same. I went from Ortofon Red to Ortofon Blue. There was a significant improvement over the Red. That said, the Ortofon Red is better than the AT cartridge. I'm just pointing out that the AT $20 cartridge sounds damn good for the money and would satisfy most people just getting in to vinyl.
     
  11. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Oh, no. I am extremely happy with my Ortofon Blue. It sounds amazing. It has the widest and most accurate soundstage I've ever heard. The detail is great. I'm just saying that the $20 cartridge sounds damn good for the money and it is a great cartridge for someone new to vinyl.
     
  12. Simoon

    Simoon Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    It may sound good for the price, but that is not all there is to rating a cartridge.

    I will vehemently agree with those that are warning against record damage with this table and cartridge.

    A conical stylus tracking at 3.5 grams is a sure fire way to damage records.

    The good thing is, there are better styli that can be used in that cartridge, that not only will treat records better, but improve sound quality.

    Here is an upgrade kit for the Audio Technica table, that includes a much improved stylus and better belt -

    Upgrade Kit for Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable
     
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  13. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    In that case, used vinyl wouldn't exist, because the vast majority of record players that people used in the '50s to '80s tracked much heavier than that, which surely would've ground the vinyl into powder after a few plays:

    "Less than 1/3 of an ounce (9.4 grams) pressure... reduces record wear":
    [​IMG]

    "8 to 9 grams is the normal pressure":
    [​IMG]

    "Stylus pressures up to 10 grams will not distort or wear your record":
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    This is quite a phenomenon. Mechanically, I don't know how this is possible. Are you able to explain how this is possible?
     
  15. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for the link Simoon. I will try it out.
     
  16. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I thought the same exact thing. Most of my records are from the 1960's. People played them on consoles with cheap conical cartridges that had a high tracking force. Some were played on those record players that were portable and looked like a suitcase. I find it unbelievable that the AT LP60's cartridge damages your records.
     
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  17. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    A well-polished conical stylus tracking at 3g won't damage your records that's a myth. In fact, a misaligned micro line stylus is capable of making more damage than a misaligned conical ever will. Conical styli are sturdy and don't require a millimetric setup. That's why conical or spherical styli are ideal for beginners in this hobby.
     
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  18. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    I could probably tell the difference quite easily as my tonearm is made out of tyrannosaurus embryo taint bone:)
     
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  19. Nathan Z

    Nathan Z Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I’m really not too sure, I’m just as confused as you. What I did see was users who would measure the tracking force at the time of buying and then again after they had played records. It had increased.
     
  20. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Makes sense. DJ cartridges are conical and records are pushed back and forth (scratching) and don't seem to wear out or damage them. I used to be a DJ using the AT SL1200 MKII with a Stanton conical DJ stylus. I played those records a lot of times. They sound just as good today as they did back then. At least, the few I have played. My musical taste has changed and I don't like that type of music anymore.
     
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  21. Simoon

    Simoon Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    The reason why records played on conical styli don't seem to have audible record wear, is because their cross sectional area caused them to track a smaller area of groove. So, when they are played on a better stylus profile (shibata, line contact, etc) with more contact area with the groove, this allows them to contact areas in the groove which have not been worn by a conical stylus.

    Also, since they have more contact area with the record, the tracking force is more spread out over a larger area, which also decreases record wear.

    But that doesn't mean that there is no damage.

    Notice how the line contact stylus in the image below contacts a lot more of the groove wall, allowing it to play areas not touched by the conical stylus. And notice how it contacts a larger area, thus dissipating the tracking force.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  22. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Makes sense that when there is more surface area of the stylus contact within a groove, the weight will be distributed over a larger area so there will be less groove wear. Watch this video and tell me what you think.

     
  23. Rivcuban

    Rivcuban Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    The big question is can 3.5 grams and increased skating damage a record even if the weight is concentrated in one small area? If true, obviously there would be less damage with an elliptical stylus because the same weight would be distributed over a larger area.
     
  24. not surprised at all. I play my records on 3 setups, one with a $25 shure m99, one with a Teac TN-300 with AT95e, and a Marantz TT15S1 with the Clearaudio wood virtuoso. At first the Shure had me concerned although the sound was pretty good, the AT95e was much closer to the Clearaudio. But after measuring several records before and after playing on the lesser cartridges, the grading on the Puffin phono pre showed the same, so I don't think a properly adjusted low end modern cartridge will wear down good records.
     
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  25. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    Don't panic. A clean, well-polished conical stylus won't wear prematurely your records. A worn/misaligned stylus (of any kind) wears out records very quickly tho.

    I recommend that you read this thread carefully, there you will find the answers to most of your questions.

    Do the more basic stylus shapes (conical and elliptical) cause records to get worn out quicker?
     
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