First impressions of the Nagaoka MP-110 phono cartridge

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dividebytube, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Grand Rapids, MI
    The Nagaoka MP-110 - at least partnered with my Dual CS-5000 - sounds quite refined for $99. Of course my previous cart, the Audio Technica AT95E was no great shakes, but it's amazing how an extra $50 really improves the overall sound. The best part is the tracking which is some of the best I've heard in this price range. Ye olde pops 'n' ticks/surface noise are very reduced through this cart. And inner groove distortion is extremely diminished... for example listening to the last track of my MFSL Frank Sinatra's Nice 'n' Easy, doesn't have any of that audible grit that I heard before with the AT95E.

    I played a rather beat up Japanese copy of This Mortal Coil - It'll End in Tears - lots of empty space with the music - and the reduced vinyl noise really helped in my enjoyment of this album.

    Midrange is a tad warmer than reality but the treble, oddly enough, has a forwardness (hello fake detail?) that isn't unpleasant but still noticeable. Bass, at least through the small woofers of my B&W Matrix 805 speakers - was tight and controlled.

    More later after some more break-in.
    Cyclone Ranger, dbsea, DoF and 4 others like this.
  2. CCrider92

    CCrider92 Forum Resident

    Cape Cod, MA
    I agree - I found all the same things about 3 years ago.
  3. JazzPolice

    JazzPolice Well-Known Member

    I've seen frequency graphs on this model which confirm the tilt upward in the high frequencies.
    ArdenHiFi likes this.
  4. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I still use mine and I'm happy I have it. There are certain records that just sound better with it. However, IGD is still a bit bothersome.

    If you think the MP-110 has helped with IGD, wait until you get something with a microline stylus! My MP-500 eliminates it on 90% of records; my Shure M97xE with Jico SAS eliminates it on 99.9% of records.
  5. Ortofun

    Ortofun Well-Known Member

    Have always heard good things about Nagaoka carts, I installed a Nagaoka cart on a mates Denon, and was impressed with It's performance.
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  6. shaizada

    shaizada Forum Resident

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on the Nagaoka MP-500 vs. the M97xe with JICO stylus? Thanks for sharing any thoughts!

    I use an MP-110 as well and am very impressed with it (loading it at 100k vs 47k through the EAR 324 phono section). I didn't like the cartridge at 47k as it had a weird sounding forward tilt in the upper mid to treble area.
  7. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    Overall, between the MP-500 and the M97xE w/ Jico, I'd have to go with the M97xE w/ Jico. Don't get me wrong, I love my MP-500 and think there are records that sound just fantastic with it, but the M97xE w/ Jico performs better with IGD. And it comes in at like half the price of the MP-500.
  8. Tyler Eaves

    Tyler Eaves Forum Resident

    Greenville, NC
    Another nice thing about the MP-110 is that when you're due for a new stylus you can pick up the MP-200 stylus for ~$160 and have something that's 90-95% of a $350 MP-200.
    6DeadWax5 and Ben Adams like this.
  9. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    There's no knocking the interchangeability of the Nagaoka styli and carts.

    My MP-110 stylus sounds great on my MP-500 cart. Increased extension, not as much definition as the MP-500, but nicely controls surface noise. That's my current configuration for beater LPs.
  10. shaizada

    shaizada Forum Resident

    I like it! I use the MP-110 for the same beater LP's. The noise suppression is fantastic!

    Quick question about the JICO SAS...I have mine sitting in the box and I haven't loaded it up yet. Do I have to re-align the cartridge again with the new stylus?
  11. samn

    samn New Member

    My MP110 just arrived and I replaced Elys2 on my RP3. Prior to that the RP3 came with Bias2 as standard. It had sibilance and mistracking and worst part IGD. With Elys2...presumably with its 3 screws should help to make it aligns properly and perfectly. Unfortunately, though it did reduce some of Bias2 issues but the sense of unhappiness with its sound was still there. IGD remained the same.

    After reading these forums, I learnt about MP110. Many praised for its value for money and low surface noise. What intrigued me most is its warmth in producing the sound. I have at the front Audiolab 8000Q+M which are famously known for picking up details and some say clinical sound running through Mission M66i.

    Since I installed MP110 on RP3 with Fono Mini, the 1st LP I played was the Double 180g LP of Daft Punk Random Access Memories. Wow...that's all I got to say and thanks to Kazu for giving me the tips to use Rega Stevenson Protractor and VTF at 1.8g. It was breeze to have the nag installed by using tweezer and flat screwdriver. However, I don't see the need to have a spacer or a shim as the tonearm is aligned straight against the LP.

    IGD is no longer a nightmare and I am enjoying the vinyl again with new perspective as if opening up a new window with a breathtaking view.
    mikeyt and Vinyl Fan 1973 like this.
  12. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    I had the same experience, and after trying the MP110, I was sold. I doubt I'll try another cart, I may move up the Nagaoka line, but I'm pretty sure I'll stick with them. The cart does so many things well, and for the money, it's a little work horse. The only adjustment I made after a few months, was increase the tracking force, to my ears the cart sounded even better when I increased to almost 2.0g. I think I started at 1.75, and I just worked my way up to about 1.95g.
  13. Paul K

    Paul K Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    I liked it but sibilance did my head in with it..,
    Now happy with the AT33PTG/ll which is the most perfect cart I have ever put on a Rega.
    samn likes this.
  14. samn

    samn New Member

    Sibilance is a subjective subject. After playing few lps, I noticed sibilance is more noticeable with old lps against new lps. Even listening to CDs, you may find sibilance as well. It is all about the chain in our systems. Not forgetting the alignments of carts and tonearms.

    It is not excellent cart but certainly an excellent upgrade from my previous Elys2 which costed double than the MP110. This is defying the law of saying expensive cart is better than cheaper cart.

    Between IGD and Sibilance, IGD was my main issue to resolve and I had found the solution with MP110. With it, the sibilance has improved significantly, though not eliminating the entire sibilance issue. Perhaps, by experimenting more, I could reduce the sibilance more eventually. Till then, I am happier.
    Vinyl Fan 1973 and Paul K like this.
  15. samn

    samn New Member

    I have the same thought too. Kazu has been kind for giving me the tips to install it. I'll rest for awhile and see how it goes from here.

    Now, everytime I play the lps, I can't wait to hear the outcome of IGD at the end of the lp. So far, only 1 old lp had IGD a little bit but the rest zero IGD.
    Vinyl Fan 1973 likes this.
  16. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    I'd say this cart pretty much illiminated IGD for me, but set up has a lot to do with it, increasing the track force helped I think. Sibilance still happens, but nothing like what I had before. Also, the cart breaks in very nicely.
    samn likes this.
  17. samn

    samn New Member

    I believed so. With Elys2 the counterweight (cw) was at the mid of stub. With MP110, my cw is almost at the end of stub when I first set it up. After few lps, I moved the cw in a bit. The VTF and Anti skate remains at 1.8g...the high pitch such as cymbals, acoustic guitar, tamborine begins to be more prominent and bass is tighter with wider soundstage. Sibilance has improved more.

    The good thing about Audiolab 8000Q has Gain Control (GC) Elys2 quoted 6.5mv and MP110 5mv. Hence, I increased the GC from 9db to 12db and I got the same volume at 9 o'clock.
    Vinyl Fan 1973 likes this.
  18. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    @ThirdBowl, just wanted to let you know that with a tiny alignment, most IGD disappeared on my Nagaoka MP-110 after this. Thumbs way up.
    CCrider92 and ThirdBowl like this.
  19. ThirdBowl

    ThirdBowl Have You Had Your Third Bowl Today?

    Santa Cruz, CA
    Thanks Ben! I appreciate the followup. Getting ready to pull the trigger on the MP-110.
    CCrider92 and Ben Adams like this.
  20. Robert James

    Robert James Forum Resident

    Thought I would chime in on this, as I am a relatively new Nagaoka MP-110 owner.

    I am *astonished* at how this good cartridge is, particularly given the price point (list price is $179 Canadian, although I bought mine from Audio Kazu in Japan for much cheaper).

    My sense of the sonic signature aligns with a lot of reviews of Nagaoka carts: warm; quiet in the groove; and significantly reduces surface noise on less than stellar records/pressings. While not exceedingly detailed, and perhaps a little rolled off at the frequency extremes, I do get a nice large soundstage with clear separation of instruments and voices across.

    Like a few others have stated above, if you take the time to align the cart carefully, there shouldn't be any issues with excessive sibilance or any IGD. I certainly am not experiencing anything like that in my setup. I've set the VTF at 1.8 grams.

    I am using it with an SME 3009 series II (original, not improved version) arm on a Thorens TD 125 mkII table. I found the large rectangular surface area of the mounting area of the cart didn't fit well in either of my SME headshells, so I mounted it on a Sumiko headshell instead.

    Previously I was using a Denon DL110. Truth be told, I love that cart and would gladly have bought another one, but I couldn't stomach the massive price increase for it, and wanted to try something else.

    Honestly, if you don't want to pay more than $200 for a cart, and you prefer warm/quiet carts to detailed/analytical carts, I would highly recommend you give the Nagaoka MP-110 a try.
    stuwee, marcfeld69 and CCrider92 like this.
  21. wrighty47

    wrighty47 Forum Resident

    Fitted a Mp110 to a RP1 about 14 days ago. Everything everyone says is spot on, except for one thing. I'm finding that the odd LP that played fine before (Rega Elyss) now either sticks or jumps. Anyone else have this problem?
  22. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Can anyone speak of the MP110 compared to a 2M bronze, specifically in relation to surface noise?
  23. 6DeadWax5

    6DeadWax5 Well-Known Member

    Exactly what I did. The 110 managed to do everything pretty good, but the 200 is better in every way.
  24. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    I too loved the MP-110, great performer best cart at $100, when I bought it 4 yrs ago. A yr later I jumped to the MP-200, much more refined high end sound and the best tracking cartridge ever!
    If I could only have MM/MI carts, it would be Nagaoka hands down.
  25. wrighty47

    wrighty47 Forum Resident

    No one else got one of these fitted to a Rega Rp1, or having the "sticking" problem. I've now found 4 LP's where this happens. All play fine on another TT, or with another cart. Same problem also occurs on a different RP1 that is also fitted with a MP-110.
    Anyone any ideas?

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