Looking for a LOMC cartridge that sings at 100 ohm input impedance

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LostArk, Jul 21, 2021.

  1. LostArk

    LostArk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Since I use an integrated without gain or loading adjustment, I need a cart that will play nice with the fixed 100 ohm input impedance and 3 microvolt minimum sensitivity of my phono stage. Budget under $2k, but the cheaper the better. Micro line stylus and boron cantilever preferred, but I'm open minded. Oh, and my tonearm is going to be a Jelco SA-250 if that matters. Thanks!
     
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  2. Brand X

    Brand X Active Member

    Location:
    Northeast US
    The Dynavector xx2mkII fits all your requirements, I think. I love mine. I got it from kron at Audiogon, I think I paid $1200 for it (graymarket price). List price in the US is $2k, but I'm sure a dealer would give it to to for less than that. I used it for a while direct into the non-adjustable phono stage in my Luxman integrated and it sounded great.
     
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  3. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    John Curl believes that the vast majority of MC cartridges are suited for 100 ohm loading and I think he is is right. What kind of sound are you looking for? This is a more important parameter than the loading.
    There are many fine cartridges in your price range. I have heard and/or own Ortofon Quintet Black, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, AT ART9, Hana MH, Lyra Delos, and many more.
    They all play nice with 100 ohms but they sound different. It really depends what kind of sound you are looking for.
     
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  4. MarkD51

    MarkD51 Well-Known Member

    Be careful with certain sellers, and yeah, I have heard of someone on Audiogon selling fugazy (fake) Benz Micro Cartridges also. What you'll find out, is you have no warrantee, and zero trade in value.
    Same with overseas sellers. If the price sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

    I'm running a ZYX Airy 3X with the Silver Base at 9g, will work with the Jelco Arm, which probably will exceed your price cap new at current day street price, has low output of ,24mv, but due to their testing methods is comparable with other MC Cartridges at about ,34mv. I have mine loaded at 100 ohms. A simply killer Cartridge.

    Bought mine from Mehran at Sorasound in Chicago, who is the authorized USA ZYX Distributor.

    He might have a very low hour demo in stock within your price range. And he'll back it with a money back, he's good to do business with.
     
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  5. LostArk

    LostArk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Good to know. I'm upgrading to a Luxman L-509X soon, which has somewhat different character from the Marantz warmth I'm used to. I find the Luxman to be neutral and clear, while remaining musical — none of the boring, flat lack of engagement I normally associate with neutrality. So I guess I'd prefer a cartridge that brings a touch of warmth to the table, without rolling off highs or introducing any muddiness. I still want the clarity of the Luxman to be able to shine. I really like the characteristics of Nagaoka carts, but I want to see what LOMC is all about. I think AT carts are fine performers but they always remind me of listening to CD, too clinical. Likewise, I enjoy my Grado Green but it's a touch too warm. Looking for middle ground between AT and Grado, I guess?
     
    5-String likes this.
  6. Keith Beddard

    Keith Beddard Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Conventional wisdom would say look for a cart that has a listed internal impedance of 8-10 ohms, as that same wisdom suggests loading of 10X the internal impedance.

    Then just make sure the compliance is a match for your arm and voila - done.
     
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  7. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    My suggestion is this and please take what I am saying with a grain of salt because all my observations are system dependent and are based on how these cartridges sound in my system.
    I would look at either the Ortofon Quintet Black or the Cadenza Blue. Their sound is somewhere between an AT and a Grado, they have the right amount of warmth in the highs and mid range without being overly warm.

    The Cadenza is superior to the Quintet but the Quintet is a very nice cartridge. They are both very evenly balanced but the Cadenza will give you more of everything. More refinement, more details, more wide soundstage.
    The Quintet has all these great qualities but if you directly compare the two, and I have done this numerous times, the Cadenza takes you to the next level.
    I have found that Lyras, Hanas and ATs sound more forward in my system than the Ortofon and I would avoid them if you are looking for a little extra warmth without getting into Grado territory.
    Again, all these imho and in my system.
     
    LostArk likes this.
  8. Brand X

    Brand X Active Member

    Location:
    Northeast US
    I think you're gong to like that upgrade, LostArk. I went from a Marantz PM8005 to a Luxman L-507uX and the difference made me very happy indeed.
     
    LostArk likes this.
  9. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Lots of great carts that meet the electrical requirements. I'm using an AT33PTGII which is way below your budget at a street price of circa $500. 10 ohm internal impedance so it's find at 100 ohm loading. o.3mV output. Boron cantilever. Microline stylus.

    But that tone arm is a tad heavyish at 13.4 g effective mass, so that cart's circa 20×10-6cm/dyne compliance at 10 Hz (or maybe more) and 7 gram weight might be a little too much for that arm, giving you a subsonic resonance at in the 7-8 Hz range. In your search you might want to focus on carts with the electrical characteristics you need -- like 10 ohm or less internal impedance -- but also compliance more in the vicinity of 10×10-6cm/dyne at 10 Hz
     
    bever70 likes this.
  10. Davey

    Davey NP: Merope ~ Salos

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    I think the AT LOMC carts are all too high compliance for the Jelco arms anyway, but it's always been hard to determine the real effective mass of the arms, there's conflicting information, everything from about 14 to 20 grams, and surprisingly little test information supplied by users. The compliance mismatches can be somewhat remedied with the oil damping on the Jelco SA-750, but the SA-250 doesn't have it.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  11. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    One one thread, you don't trust rules of thumb or tonearm / cartridge compliance theory, but on another you trust the 10x rule of thumb. :D

    I've found for many AT carts, at least on most systems I've tried them on, they tend to like much more than 10x the internal impedance. Not sure if you're finding the same on your system.
     
  12. LostArk

    LostArk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Yes, the technical data lists the effective mass as 14g "without cartridge," 21g with cartridge (6.5g), but I have no idea if that also includes head shell, so there is some doubt. Assuming 14g without cartridge, that's the number I should have in mind when thinking about compliance, no?
     
  13. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Another area (Effective Mass) that manufacturer's could do a better job of measuring / publishing in their specs. Proves a point I made earlier in another thread with you --- 14 t0 20 EM is quite a spread, so I guess in this case you choose not to believe the data from users / internet? :D

    Some do it well and publish, others don't. Data like EM and dynamic compliance at 10hz are two critical pieces of data for cartridge matching, and yet they are numbers most elusive at times. We (consumers) need to start asking cartridge / TT manufacturer's to start publishing this basic data. Come on Technics, why no EM on the 1200G / GR? :wtf:
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
    Davey likes this.
  14. Davey

    Davey NP: Merope ~ Salos

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    There are also emails from Jelco floating around that say the effective mass is 20 with headshell but without cartridge. But yes, if 14 is the value with headshell, then that is the number you would use, you would just add in the cartridge and mounting hardware weight.
     
  15. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Baseline assumption should always be that published EM numbers are calculated *with* headshell, unless otherwise stated. There are exceptions, but for the most part a safe assumption.
     
  16. Davey

    Davey NP: Merope ~ Salos

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The 14 to 20 values are from Jelco, so in this case, users are the only one you can believe, but there doesn't seem to be much user or professional reviewer test data out there (admittedly, I don't have a Jelco arm so haven't searched that hard for data either). I'd be much more inclined to get the SA-750 series over the SA-250, it's a lot better build quality, but the damping is a big plus too, makes it much more universal in the cartridges it can handle well.

    The EM chart from Jelco is below, this is said to be with the standard 12 gram headshells (except for the ST version with straight arm), other correspondence with Jelco has supplied different values ... but I would just assume it is a medium mass arm and choose cartridge accordingly, preferably one in the 15 cu @ 10Hz range...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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  17. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    The 10X load to source impedance guideline to minimize voltage loss is an absolutely useful rule of thumb I always follow with electronics. It's a minimum of course, you can easily go above 10X load impedance and that may even have considerable advantages. That's well established and matters of insertion loss are measurable.

    Of course, carts are a little different in that regard than active electronics because of the impact on the load resistance is not just on voltage loss but on the damping of the cart/preamp RLC circuit ringing. But with MCs, that resonance is up in RF range, so typically I haven't found the damping resistance to be all that critical. Of course it may be that some phono stages don't handle RF ringing very well. But I haven't found with MC carts that it makes an enormous difference what the load resistance is from 10X and up. If you get below 10X, and especially if you get anywhere close to the internal impedance, then, yeah. With such a low voltage source, minimizing voltage loss at the input is definitely a plus.

    The ideal low frequency resonance point of a arm/cart mass-spring system is not nearly so clear, if you've read Poul Ladegaard. It may be that most of the excitation of subsonic ringing in the arm-cart system is coming from a burred, unpolished vinyl surface it self -- not just from warps -- and its excitation can be minimized by a higher mechanical resonant frequency (just as the excitation from warps can be minimized by not playing warped records and using perimeter clamping). Ladegaard recommends as 15-18 Hz. I haven't been able to try that out in practice because I haven't had a arm cart combo that could get me into that range ever. But the measurements, observations, and suggestions in his paper are compelling. Either way, I think the biggest missing component is mechanical damping of the subsonic resonance. You don't see that a lot anymore in tonearm design.

    None of that has anything to do with trust.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
  18. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    With the notable difference being he 10x rule is way, way, way more inaccurate to real life than cartridge compliance rules of thumb.

    I use the 10x very loosely, because typically what I get is nowhere close. It's just a "don't go below" number. That's it.

    So I guess we all choose what we want to, balancing science, others feedback and personal experience. How about that!
     
  19. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    It's an insertion loss related minimum. The OP has a fixed 100 ohm input impedance to work with, so a matching cart would have a 10 ohm or less internal impedance to minimize insertion loss.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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  20. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Dynavector 20x2L. Perfect at 50 to 100
     
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  21. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    FYI the AT ART9XA / XI do not sound forward. Big misconception.
    Like a good tube amp they have a rich bottom end without losing detail, coloful midrange and ultra refined treble. Not a match for the OP's tonearm but that is another story.... :)
     
  22. 5-String

    5-String μηδὲν ἄγαν

    Location:
    Sunshine State
    I pointed out two times in my post that my observations are “system dependent and are based on how these cartridges sound in my system.” I also advised the op to “take what I am saying with a grain of salt”
    I can only speak about myself and my experience.
    I do not know what else to say to make it more clear....:shrug:

    I have not heard the ART9XA/XI.
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  23. mkane

    mkane Strictly Analog

    Location:
    Cloverdale, CA
    Shelter 501
     
  24. LostArk

    LostArk Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Why wouldn't the ART9XI work on the SA-250?
     
  25. Davey

    Davey NP: Merope ~ Salos

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    It's pretty high compliance for a modern LOMC cartridge, as are many of the MC carts in the AT line, that's what we were discussing some above. Look at this recent post where our friend @junkculture made some measurements on his AT carts with his Technics SL-1200GR ... The Technics SL-1200 GAE/G/GR general questions thread ... he found around 6.5Hz resonance, which assuming a 12g tonearm effective mass would put the calculated compliance in the 25-28cu range, about the same as the AT-OC9XML (my own measurements using similar methods but a different tonearm puts it a few cu lower), and that is with a lighter arm than your Jelco. You'd probably be below 6Hz with the Jelco, if the numbers are close to accurate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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