SH Spotlight Newbies getting started playing vinyl, please avoid mistracking & resulting groove damage!!!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. boggs

    boggs Multichannel Machiavellian

    One thing to be aware of, is that there are some poor pressing out there that may still sound bad no matter what system they are played on. No amount of tracking can fix bad product, unfortunately.
  2. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    A good priced cartridge -- at Just $100. Best upgrade ---as Steve said, cartridge cartridge cartridge! Rated the highest at that price, and you won't find a better for five times the price & plenty of great reviews:

  3. Though I always used a protractor with my previous Clearaudio ‘table (the Clearaudio protractor, which is excellent), it does not work on the tonearm on my SL-1200G. For this ‘table I’ve only ever used the Technics white plastic guage. Is there something else you use for 1200s?
  4. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    I use the Shure protractor for Baerwald alignment. The one which came with the M 97xE.
  5. Interesting, because that would be different from the Technics 1200 alignment, right? Is the cartridge straight in the headshell when you do that? What differences do you find compared with the Technics alignment?
  6. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    Yes, it is straight. I find a little bit better tracking on the inner grooves and consistent sound across the record on my Technics. The Stevenson is still recommended equally. Both get you where you need to go.
    snorker likes this.
  7. G E

    G E Forum Resident

    Just read the original post by our host.

    Garrard turntables circa 1970-1972 ... ick ... I used lawn mowing money to get my first "big" turntable.

    Don't recall the exact model number but I believe the number "30" featured. I don't recall the cart either but one of those shures you got for a penny when you bought the turntable.

    But I do remember one thing like it was just yesterday: IGD or inner groove distortion. I heard it immediately and nothing could be done to stop it with that player. I tried twisting the rubber counterweight - while adjusting for accurate tracking force. Morr tracking force. Less tracking force. Nothing worked. Whatever.

    Less than a year later I traded in for credit toward a Pioneer pl-12d. Just like out host! I loved that table and so did my friends. Several bought them too.

    I played it to death. The motor burned out about 1980. I also had a wonderful Grace F9d cart on it for the last 5 years.

    It was replaced with a Harmon Kardan hk720 table and a Grado "Longhorn". It featured a brass stabilizer bar epoxied to the front of the cart. Like the pole a high wire artist carries. You can still get them and here's a link. No connection except happy customer:

    Longhorn Phono Cartridges

    I had that until 4-5 years ago when I got back onto vinyl after fooling around with hi-res digital formats.

    That table is the Well Tempered Amadeus with Grado Refetence Master. This thing is insanely great.

    My friend down the street has a Transrotor- a magnet drive job - and it's way more insane. But both tables sound great.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  8. G E

    G E Forum Resident

    Something to mention about the current Well Tempered line- it's impossible to screw up cart installation.

    The head shell angle is preordained. You just make sure the golf ball is roughly centered in the cup. And take care to set VTA that is favorable for your cart. This lack of choice upsets more than a few audiophiles but I find it a refreshing approach. The results speak for themselves.

    Btw, the tonearm attaches to a golf ball that is suspended by monofilament line and rests in a cup filled with silicone. I'm not making this up. Google it.
    Doctorwu likes this.
  9. Doctorwu

    Doctorwu Forum Resident

    As an owner of a well tempered simplex TT i can attest to that, it does help a LOT with the OCD aspect of installing a cart, for awhile i was obsessed with centering the golf ball (what a weird sentence...) but i have it under control now :)
  10. tables_turning

    tables_turning In The Groove

    Mid Atlantic, USA
    I'm really liking the sound from my old Shure M93 cart. Where did this model fall in Shure's line, and is it generally considered to be adequate for casual listening applications?
  11. rocknsoul74

    rocknsoul74 Forum Resident

    Can you recommend a few good styluses on the market right now, from the least expensive to a few midrange and even a few expensive ones? It may help those who are getting into records.

    You don't have to spend a fortune. I have an Uturn Orbit and the cart it came with, the Orotfon Om5e, not an expensive cart. The combo of these two track like a champ. I was surprised, because after suffering with IGD on my Technics SL-1200 and an Ortofon OM-10, I thought I would not be impressed by the Om5e, but I am. As much as I tried to adjust everything I could on the Technichs/OM10, I could never get rid of IGD. Even though the OM5e is slightly cheaper, it is a dream on the Unturn, without ever having to fiddle with it; it worked great out of the box. I guess some combos work better than others. My SL-1200 currently has a Nagoaka MP-110 and it took care of all the problems I had with the OM10. NO IGD on either turntable.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  12. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    I'm currently using the ATN100/E, upgraded from the stock green cart (AT95) last year. I like it, but it's been getting a good amount of use and sounds like the stylus now needs replaced. How would you say this Ortofon stacks up to the 100/E?

    Posed this question recently in this thread, and a poster stated that the Ortofon doesn't offer as much "bang for your buck in terms of stylus profile" compared to the AT carts.

    Another stylus replacement question - AT95E / ATN100/E
  13. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Hearing In Stereo Since 1959

    Salem, MA
    Won't find a better cartridge at 5 times the price?? You sure can.

    A Grado Platinum, or a Denon DL-103, for example, each well under $500.
    George Blair likes this.
  14. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    Still ...a great cartridge for us that are not complete audiophiles.
  15. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    I find it to be quite amazingly good, though I can't say comparison wise. I only know the upgrade to Red was like night and day. A sweet cartridge for $100.
    Chrome_Head likes this.
  16. You can even find a far, far superior Ortofon for about $350. The OM 40, which features an advanced FG70 stylus, is superior to the 2M Black with its (relatively) inferior Shibata for about half the price. The OM 20 is also better than the 2M Red for only $189.
    McLover and Heckto35 like this.
  17. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    OK. I give in. Still, the Red is a very good cartridge for $100--can I say it is hard to find a better at that price?

    BGLeduc and snorker like this.
  18. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ Hearing In Stereo Since 1959

    Salem, MA
    Why do you say the "relatively inferior Shibata"? I'm not saying it isn't or it is. I'm just wondering why you say so. The Shibata has its own sound signature. Some like it. Some don't. But it tracks like amazingly well.
    Heckto35 likes this.
  19. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forever Changing

    ORTOFON RED: A few reviews, not if you are an audiophile freak, but for a great cartridge upgrade on a budget. ANYWAY, I'M JUST SAYING IT WAS A MASSIVE UPGRADE TO THE CARTRIDGE THAT CAME WITH THE TT. Of course you may not think much of my TT either, but my Audio Technica LP120 does a perfectly fine job with my powerful vintage Yamaha amp/receiver...out of which I can get all the subtle nuanced bass and treble adjustments I desire.


    The Ortophon Company was founded by Danish engineers almost a hundred years ago as the Electrical Phono Film Company, with the goal of expanding the world of high-quality audio recording and developing the world’s first synchronized sound film systems. After a century of development and innovation, their HiFi products remain some of the most sought after on the market.

    Features and Performance

    The 2M series is designed to give listeners faithful reproduction of their music regardless of their budget. The 2M red gives you an exceptionally warm and balanced tone with a full mid-range. The improved engine gives it a higher output than other models in its price range and its sensitivity makes it especially great for vocal music of all genres.

    Though the sound is your main concern, this cartridge is also easy to align and installs simply and snugly on standard tonearms. It’s a versatile cartridge, good all-purpose use and giving you an open, spacious sound that will fill your listening room. It’s among the best phono cartridge not only $200 but under $100 as well.

    This cartridge captures the texture and nuance of your records with the same accuracy as cartridges that cost two to three times as much, making it perhaps the best-valued replacement phono cartridge on the market. It was developed in collaboration with the Danish company Moller Jensen and inspired by the clean precision of the diamond.

    The Fine Line diamond stylus (
    see full specs) gives it incredibly clean and precise sound reproduction. It mounts easily to any standard tonearm, weighted and sized to be compatible with the most popular turntables. All in all, this is among the best turntable cartridges for the budding audiophile looking to upgrade his listening experience.

    Five Best Cartridges to Boost Your Turntable’s Performance On A Budget

    #1 Ortofon 2M Red

    Based on the photos that pop up in the Twitter feed, it is clear that many of you use members of the Pro-Ject Debut, Essential and Genie family as your turntables and this is a no bad thing. These brilliantly effective decks are capable of fine performance and many of them are rather handsome things as well. As a rule of thumb almost all of these decks come fitted with the Ortofon OM5 cartridge which is a very fine performer- with one useful benefit.
    Ortofon makes a truly biblical range of turntable cartridges and if you have a turntable with an OM5 type cartridge, you can effectively 'straight swap' it for the 2M family as a quick and simple upgrade. If the arm works with one, it is almost certain to work with the other. And the benefits to doing so are considerable. The 2M range is a clean sheet design intended to deliver the highest performance possible at a sensible price. The faceted design is intended to reduce resonances and they use slit pole pins derived from moving coil cartridges to keep stray currents at bay.
    The result of all this frenzied effort is a cartridge that pulls a phenomenal amount of detail out of the groove and manages to sound bigger and more controlled than its little brother. The 2M Red is the least expensive of the family but it manages to sound very grown up and it works brilliantly with a wide variety of musical styles. Furthermore, as an Ortofon, you get all the tools you need to get it installed and setup and you can buy replacement styli to keep it going for years. It also has different mounting options for separate headshell and P-Mount arms. What more could you ask for?

    Chrome_Head likes this.
  20. George Blair

    George Blair Senior Member

    Portland, OR
    The 2m Blue is much better than the Red - at just over $200.
  21. Looks at the specs of the Shibata vs. the FG70. The Shibata is either 6x50 uM or 6x75 uM. Fritz Gyger FG70 is 5x70uM. Ortofon also uses a 5x100 uM Fritz Gyger on their high-end cartridges (longer contact patch, but same minor radius). The smaller side radius means better groove tracing and less distortion, particularly on inner grooves. Micro ridge, Micro Line and the like have an even smaller side radius, though 5uM should be sufficient to trace everything. The Shibata is still quite good, just not as good as some of the later designs.
    Heckto35 likes this.
  22. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA.
    Yeah, I have the exact same TT, and about anything would be an improvement over the green AT95e cart that came with it. It does kind of sound like the 2m Red is on par with the ATN100/E, which I like a lot. The 100/E says it's discontinued on Amazon though, which is where I buy most of my stuff like this. I may give the 2m a chance, but I would also have to buy another stock AT headshell to fit it onto.
  23. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Lodi, New Jersey
    From what I can gather in very limited experience of just people's transfers posted online, doesn't the OM 40 stylus actually sound better in the 2m Bronze/Black body, with a seemingly flatter response? Obviously that would cost even more if you don't already have a Bronze or Black, though hearing (in different persons' setups) a Super OM 40 cartridge struck me as more pushed up in parts of the upper two octaves vs the OM 40 stylus on the Black cartridge. I'd like to hear a more direct comparison, with the same records, electronics/setup, etc., with just the cartridge itself being different.
    Heckto35 likes this.
  24. You don’t need to use the “Super.” KAB has the original OM body. Not sure if that makes a difference.

    I use a 40 stylus in a KAB Pro S on my Technics and it sounds very nice, when the capacitance is set properly.
    MMM likes this.
  25. slop101

    slop101 Guitar Geek

    So. Cal.
    So you're saying I should replace my Audio Technica ATN95E with the Ortofon Red? Will it fit on the same thing?

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