SH Spotlight If you have a turntable you need to play your mono records in true MONO. How to do it cheaply..

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, May 14, 2006.

  1. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    Location:
    DC area
    Best bet? Perhaps. Worst bang for the buck? Almost certainly...by a large margin.
     
  2. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Not at all.

    The $150 Grado ME+ is a wonderful sounding mono cartridge. While giving the listener a great sense of what a mono cartridge can do, it also gives you a taste of that, famed, glorious Grado midrange.
     
    teag likes this.
  3. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    Location:
    DC area
    How is spending $150 to get a taste of the Grado sound better bang for the buck than a spending $15 on 2 Y connectors or $35 on a passive switch box - and using one's real Grado stereo cart (or other high quality stereo cart)?

    Not to mention having to either buy a new arm for the mono cart or re-set up your cart everytime you want to listen to a mono LP (or vice versa).

    Worst bang for the buck? Almost certainly...by a large margin.
     
  4. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Because it sounds better.
     
  5. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    Location:
    DC area
    Assuming that's true (and it's highly debatable that it is), that still makes the suggested solution a terrible bang for the buck. Not to mention utterly inefficient.
     
    Jackson likes this.
  6. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Because the sound coming directly out of a mono cartridge will be better than going through extra wire and a connector, merely combining the two channels in the process.

    As much as it might be a pain, it IS possible to install a mono cartridge in place of a stereo one on a single arm, and enjoy mono records for a while. It will give you practice in installing cartridges as well. :)
     
  7. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    Location:
    DC area
    Let me repeat...bang for the buck. I never said it wasn't possible.

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that using a mono cart sounds better not just in theory, but in practice, the cost-benefit return (both monetary and effort) is, at best, very small.
     
    Jackson likes this.
  8. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Again, not so. Terrible bang for the buck if it sounds better? That doesn't make sense.

    And you argue that the notion is debatable. Have you tried it yourself? Teag and I have. I have a y-connector in my collection to show for it. I have also tried 5 different mono cartridges in my system. Any questions?

    That's not to say that I don't have it easier having a second armwand. I do. If you don't have a spare cartridge head or tonearm, it's much more of a pain to try a mono cartridge, but using a mono cartridge sounds better than merely joining the channels through a y-connector.

    Let me add this -

    How much better, you may ask? At one time, I owned both the Grado ME+ and the $1000 stereo Master. The Master was clearly a better cartridge. But astonishingly, mono records sounded better through the $150 ME+ than the Master.

    I didn't have a y-connector to try back then, but a real mono cartridge makes a difference.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
    teag likes this.
  9. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Degradation with extra wire and a connector? Thankfully I haven't experienced such problems.
     
    john morris, telepicker97 and marcb like this.
  10. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    Location:
    DC area
    I'm glad you're happy with the improvement you perceive from your financial and time investment.
     
  11. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Or haven't noticed them.
     
  12. lukpac

    lukpac Senior Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Or haven't experienced them.
     
  13. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Thank you. Of course, YMMV. But my point is that a y-connector is not necessarily the same as a mono cartridge. It gives you a good taste of it, though. If you like what you hear, you might then figure out eventually how incorporate a separate mono cartridge.

    And whether anyone here does it or not is not personal. I just encourage those who are curious to experiment.
     
  14. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Either is possible. :hugs:
     
  15. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    Must be a shame to look at listening to music like a business venture.

    As I said before:

    Sorry if it doesn't fit your situation that a mono cartridge sounds better. If people believe the cable is enough, great. Leave it at that and enjoy it.

    For me its not an "opinion". I have experienced both and the mono cartridge presents mono recordings better than this cable rig. Believe what you want to believe.
     
    AnalogJ likes this.
  16. teag

    teag Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    I believe haven't been exposed to both situations is a better description.

    Interesting how people can have such strong opinions on something they have never even tried. Its like someone who never went to Hawaii and saying they like Vegas better (or vice versa). They have no real clue about Hawaii but because they went to Vegas and liked it, and maybe it is cheaper, it is better.

    Whatever gets you through the night I guess.
     
    AnalogJ likes this.
  17. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    I don't get how anyone could argue with this. It makes perfect sense to me that a dedicated mono cart would be better than summing the stereo signal. If I owned more mono LPs I'd make the investment myself. But as things stand for the number of mono LPs I play, the cables are a better match for my budget. :whistle:
     
    marcb and teag like this.
  18. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Yes, and it is difficult to put a monetary value on someone else's experience. Hawaii is absolutely glorious and a priceless experience. I used to be cynical about Hawaii before I visited it. Now Kauai is one of my favorite places on earth.

    The added rhythmic and image solidity with a mono cartridge in my system is palpable and exciting. I can hear that the added pathway reduces the quality of the sound.

    I have the benefit of having a second tonearm. That cost plus the cost of an extra cartridge, I deemed, was worth it to me. I had a chance to hear it for myself.

    I don't expect anyone to merely believe me. I do hope everyone will venture out to find a way to hear it for themselves so they can decide for themselves.

    But if you're not even open to exploring the notion, not inquisitive, and have your mind closed, why are you here?
     
  19. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Sure, that's understandable.

    But I did it the other way. I had the chance to hear a mono cartridge in someone else's system. I was so taken with what I was hearing that I started to go out seeking mono records once I bought a cartridge. That I loved older jazz and musical theater helps. And mono classical is pretty cheap. I got an original 1956 of the CSO and Reiner doing Also Sprach Zarasusthra. A rare original stereo was going for $500. I bought a NM mono for $8.

    And 2 decades ago, I started to buy mono Beatles records.
     
  20. William A Childers

    William A Childers Member

    Location:
    Orange Park
    Exactly my sentiments. I know I'm the new guy here, but I've been to a few rodeos and dedicated anything is always better, from my experience.

    Anyway, I forgot to mention the cool thing about Grover's Y-cable that he's designing.. It's going to have the same build design as his top-of-the-line Empress cables, and he's going to do it with one cable set. He said since there aren't any high quality (copper) female RCA connectors--just cheap brass ones--that I would be experiencing some signal loss using the two Y's linked together (another reason a dedicated cartridge would be better), so he's designing them to be one set doing the summing.

    Again, anyone who can't work in a dedicated mono cartridge, but wants to experience higher quality sound from mono recordings, should contact Grover about this special Y-cable. The man makes some of the best cables in the world, at any price.
     
    AnalogJ likes this.
  21. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Well said.
     
  22. 99thfloor

    99thfloor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    An X-cable, in other words. :cool:
     
  23. William A Childers

    William A Childers Member

    Location:
    Orange Park
    Yes, thanks!
     
  24. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    [​IMG]

    X-Cable? Like this?
     
    Gabe Walters likes this.
  25. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    The answer surely is a detachable head shell with pre aligned Mono cartridge in a spare. For me with SME 300 series and an AT33 mono that would be around £400.
     

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