From Ortofon OM20 to NAGAOKA MP-150H

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by insoc123, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. insoc123

    insoc123 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Costa Rica
    Hello. I upgraded my Orbit Plus turntable (originally with a OM5e stylus) to a OM20 stylus and also added an external phono stage iFi Micro iPhono 2. The difference was quite audible, the sound is much clearer and precise, BUT, the "problem", believe it or not, is that NOW the sound I'm getting from my turntable is quite similar to the sound I get via TIDAL HI RES with my NAD M10 as a preamp. Although quite similar, the digital sound has a little more punch and a little more detail so as much as the turntable is doing a great job almost equaling the digital sound, I see NO point having a quite similar BUT NO BETTER sound than the digital counterpart.

    So, before giving up on my attempts of having a turntable as part of my equipments, I've read that what happened to me with the OM20 Ortofon is "normal" and that in order to get the WARM, DISTINCTIVE, LUSH and UNIQUE sound of vinly, I need to have a so called "musical" cartridge/stylus and that such sound could be achieved with a NAGAOKA MP-150H cartridge/stylus.

    What do you think about it? Would the sound with that change be as different in comparison with what I have today? Do you think it's worth a try or should I just forget about these whole "vinyl sound" and carry on? Thank you very much!
     
  2. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    I can tell you I had the OM20 and I didn't like it, it was one of the most boring cartridges I've ever had. I have not tried the Nagaoka, it is possibly a better sounding cartridge. It's easy to enjoy vinyl and get very good sound without spending a fortune but if you have some clear expectations like getting better sound than what Tidal is offering you then you might need to invest more. I haven't looked at your profile but even the speakers you use might affect the way you perceive one source or the other. The pressings you choose are very important too, what kind of pressings do you use?
     
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  3. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    MI
    I liked the OM10 on GFs turntable, but not near as good as my TT set up. OM series are for light weight tonearms. Is the MP-150H compatible?
     
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  4. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Depends. U-Turn says their newer tonearm (the OA2), which they started using in October 2016, is compatible with cartridges up to 7.2 grams, and the Naga mp150 (and its little bro cart the mp110) are 6.5 grams.

    BUT, the older pre-Oct-2016 arm is only for carts up to 6 grams. :(

    And if he buys and uses the Naga headshell, is it significantly heavier than the U-Turn one? If so, maybe stick with the U-Turn one.
    .
     
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  5. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    To the OP: It looks like you’ve thrown considerable money into your analog front-end, with the goal of having it sound better than your digital one.

    While analog can indeed sound better than digital (and even arguably a lot better), it pays to remember that analog has a ‘low floor, but a high ceiling’.

    IOW, cheap turntable/arm/cart/phono-stage combinations tend to sound, well, cheap. And not as good as digital. Though you do have what is probably the best of the cheap turntables (U-Turn Orbit), it may not be quite up to giving you what you really want. Even with a really good cart (which the Naga 150 definitely is).

    But the turntable matters more than the cartridge. Unfortunately, TTs are kinda weird in that they don’t really start sounding much better than entry-level until you get to the $700 to $1000 class... stuff like the Pioneer PLX-1000, Rega Planar 3, or Schiit Sol.

    Or, more cost-effectively, a used Technics SL1200Mk2 or later model (Mk3, Mk5)... probably can find one in good condition for $400-500 if you hunt around (Guitar Center, Craigslist).

    A truly good ‘table will impact your sound more than a new cart will. Even, again, a cart like the Naga mp150 (probably the best cart in its price range, with a great, musical sound... not really ‘digital-sounding’ at all).

    The Naga mp110 is also quite good and only $149. Warm, punchy, rockin’ rhythmic sound (it can groove), but with less detail than its big brother.

    TT setup also matters, your ‘table needs to be well-isolated to sound its best. Many ppl forget this.

    If there’s a takeaway here, think about the ‘table first, then the cart. You won’t be able to hear all the cart can do until it’s on a worthy (and isolated) ‘table.

    If you hear all the cart can do and it’s still not what you want, then go for a different and better cart. Though I guess the Naga mp110 is cheap enough that you can just grab one if you’re jonesin’ for a new cart.
    .
     
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  6. insoc123

    insoc123 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Costa Rica

    Oh boy, just when I thought my vinyl-sound journey was over and the money spending in that matter would end, you now come and suggest me to buy a better $ turntable! LOL! I really appreciate your advice. It's not the first time I read about the "buy a better turntable"... Somehow I just don't want to believe that given the same cartridge/stylus and phono stage, sound could great differ between one turntable and another one. I tend to believe that the most defining part of the sound is the cartridge/stylus.

    BUT, been that I'm such an ignorant in these stuff (vinyl) I will be humble enough to admit I might be wrong and that experts (like you) know what they are talking about and as such, I'm willing to buy a new turntable. I think I'll buy a Technics one because is such a beloved brand that if these attempt doesn't do it for me either, I could sell it easily. I'm willing to buy it new. The SL-1200 MK7 is out of stock at BHPHOTO but the more expensive SL-1210GR is in stock. Is that 12010GR as good or even better than the MK7?

    One of my nightmares is being in the situation with the AUDIO TECHNICA LP120USBX turntable that I bought some days ago: I install it and one speaker was louder than the other one. I had the same results when last year I bought a old (mid 80s) JVC turntable... The thing is that I removed the cartridge from the LP120USBX, proceeded to install it on my Orbit Plus Turntable, no calibration, no nothing and the sound I got was perfectly distributed between the 2 speakers. No anti skate setting, no nothing. My nightmare would be that the turntables that unlike my Orbit Plus that has automatic anti skate, need to adjust the anti skate (tracking force) all have the same problem and I'm seeing that the Technics turntable also have the anti skate feature? What if the Technics turntable which the AUDIO TECHNICA LP120X looks the same, being the LP120X a cheap clone, has the same problem?

    My COMMON SENSE tells me that being the Technics the SUPERIOR turntable, it won't have the same problems as the cheaper Audio Technica LP120X but still have some doubts?

    LAST QUESTION please: To get a different sound in comparison to my ORTOFON OM20, to be closer to the so-called vinyl sound and to experience a really DIFFERENT SOUND than the sound I get via digital, being that my dream would be not to have a contest between the "best" sound between analog and digital but to have the analog as a different occasional sound that is sweet. musical and pleasant, would you recommend me the MP-150H? I like these option AMAZON is selling because I believe they include the headshell PREALIGNED, so it would be a matter of just PLUG AND PLAY it to the TECHNICS tone arm, right? https://www.amazon.com/NAGAOKA-MP-1...=p_85:2470955011&rnid=2470954011&rps=1&sr=8-1

    Thank you very much!!!!!!
     
  7. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    The prealignment is relative, it might be right for some TTs and wrong for others. The cartridge can sound different in different TT because the way they interact with different arms and the loading of the cables.
     
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  8. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    On either Technics ‘tables you mention, both are solid choices. As to just how much better the 1210GR is than the 1200Mk7, opinions vary, and I’d do search for threads here on that, AND listen to both ‘tables extensively in-store if at all possible (one of the main reasons to buy new, after all).

    On the Naga MP-150, no, it’s not digital-sounding... Nagaoka is known for its musical-sounding carts. The MP-110 is even a bit more ‘non-digital’ sounding, very much favoring boogie and rhythm over the last bit of detail (though the MP-150 is better, and should be at twice the price. It’s also easily upgradeable to the MP-200 via a stylus module swap).

    Note too that there are plenty of YouTube vids that demonstrate the sound of these carts. Yes, there are some significant limitations with YT vids (compression, crappy mics and mic positioning, sometimes bad systems), but it can give you some idea of the personality of said carts, at the very least.

    Don’t feel like a fool for going for a good TT... back in the day I ran a Linn Sondek (awesome ‘table) with a $20 Grado cart (maybe $50 in today’s dollars). It sounded great. :)

    After a long while, I eventually punted the $20 Grado for a $200 one ($500-ish in today’s $). It was a definite and noticeable upgrade, but not nearly as big as going from a run-of-the-mill ‘table to the Linn.

    Don’t get me wrong, carts can do wonderful things (Koetsus blow my mind, and should at the price), but they need a good foundation (‘table, tonearm) to really do what they’re capable of. Very good table + okay cart > than okay ‘table + great cart.

    Good luck, get your listening in/don’t rush any decisions, and let us know how it goes. :thumbsup:
    .
     
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  9. insoc123

    insoc123 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Costa Rica
    For additional information: My amplifiers are a NAD M22 V2 and a PRIMALUNA DIALOGUE PREMIUM HP POWER AMPLIFIER but I mostly use the tubes one, that is, the PRIMALUNA. My BELOVED speakers are the ATC SCM7 V3. I also have a pair of KEF R7 but I'm selling them.
     
  10. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    I haven't heard any of those components but it is all good quality stuff, to me, at first glance, it looks like the OM20 and the AT TT are not in the same league as the rest of your equipment. Nothing wrong with that if you just want them for casual use but if you expect to get more out of vinyl that is actually a weak point in your system.
     
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  11. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Consider also something like the Denon DL110 it's a high output MC, very popular cartridge.
     
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