Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

What cartridge for Technics sl-1200mkII?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by decapg, Mar 6, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. decapg

    decapg New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    I currently have a denon dl-103 mc cart but have been hearing from people that it would not be a good match for the low mass arm of the 1200. Surely I can sell the Denon and buy something else. My budget is $200, anyone have any suggestions to which cart that would best pair with a technics sl-1200?
     
  2. 81828384

    81828384 Forum Resident

    Really? The DL-103 is the cart I've ended up with on my 1200, and I think its a great match. In fact I've got a Bugle on the way adjusted for maximum performance with the DL-103. I'm trying to build the ultimate budget rig. :righton:

    Other carts to consider are the AT440MLa, which can still be had for <$100 from LP Gear. The KAB/Ortofon Pros30 is another good cart that runs just north of $200, and as a bonus you don't have to align it since its integrated. Just plug into the tonearm, adjust VTF and tonearm height, and you are good to go.

    I'm sure others have more suggestions, but those are the carts I've had experience with on the 1200.
     
  3. thinker10

    thinker10 Forum Resident

    The Technics arm is not low mass.

    It's 12 grams with the original headshell

    The M5G headshell come with a screw-on 4 grams weight, making the arm mass 16 grams.

    If thats not heavy enough and I think it should be then some Audio-Technics weight in at 15 grams instead of 7.5 grams

    Thanks

    Thanks
     
    eusebiodiaz likes this.
  4. Mogul

    Mogul Forum Resident

    I'm looking for an AT440MLa for my P1, but LP Gear is out of stock. Any suggestions on where to find it at a similar price?
     
  5. Before an intelligent answer to your question can be provided, more info is needed. For example, what type of records do you play...older 10" mono LP's, older 12" stereo LP's, 45's, new production pristine stereo LP's, other?

    I have found that no one cartridge will do an adequate job on all types of records. Therefore, you may need more than one cartridge.

    HG
     
  6. DrJ

    DrJ Senior Member

    Location:
    Davis, CA, USA
    Great comments Hegeman's Ghost. We need more info to be helpful.

    One general comment I'd make though decapg - stay clear of elliptical styli. I have not heard one yet that tracks well toward the inner groove, no matter what you're playing, and mistracking means groove damage.
     
  7. phallumontis

    phallumontis Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    :righton:

    I installed an AT440MLa on a friend's 1200 and it has worked out very well for him. It's a somewhat bright-sounding cartridge (though it mellows after about 40-50 hours of use), but it tracks like a champ and the micro-line stylus brings incredible detail out of the groove, especially at this price point. I know that "tracks like a champ" has been used ad infinitum to describe this cartridge on this forum, but it's true. Inner-groove distortion is simply not an issue with it.

    Try to find one for a good price, though. LPGear is out of stock, and Needle Doctor is currently charging an exorbitant $200. You shouldn't have to pay more than $100 for the cartridge new. Keep an eye out in the classifieds section; they pop up there occasionally, and it's where I bought the one that my friend is now enjoying.
     
  8. Chad Etchison

    Chad Etchison New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Hard to beat the venerable 103, especially if you have a suitable SUT and you're tracking weight is at least 2.5 grams. The cart also really likes two-piece arms, does your arm have a detachable headshell?

    I would stay put unless you're dying to try something else. The 103 is so cheap new, you won't get much for it on the used market. Once it dies you can send the body to Peter at Soundsmith and he will re-tip it with a ruby cantilever and special diamond, then you've got a world-class cart at a low price.

    I do not agree with the above comment on elliptical styli, this idea (that elliptical does not function well) is being re-thought, check out the Asylum for more info or go to the JE Labs page that I link everyone to all the time.
     
  9. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
  10. phallumontis

    phallumontis Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for the link, Dave. They also stock the AT95E for $10 less than LPGear. Nice!
     
  11. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    You're welcome...:cool:
     
  12. roberts67

    roberts67 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    I have both!

    I have the DL103R on my MMF-5 and an AT440MLA on my SR-222. They both sound really good. The Denon sounds a little more natural in my main system. I could live with either one. I would not consider the AT440MLA an upgrade from the DL103R. Peace. Robert
     
  13. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Just got the ZU version of the Denon 103, but haven't mounted it up yet....

    Supposed to be very good. I'm going to put it on my AT PL120, so I'll let you know!
     
  14. DjBryan

    DjBryan New Member

    Location:
    USA
    Just bought a shure 97, I'm someday gonna hook it up
     
  15. Ere

    Ere Senior Member

    Location:
    Silver Spring MD
    I'm still learning about styli and want to get good sound out of my Technics 1200 Mk II, so perhaps you can help me out here.

    I had taken away the impression from reading the KAB pages and looking at the various Stanton integrated cartridges, that elliptical styli were better than spherical for critical listening - perhaps because the carts specifically directed towards club DJs, for scratching, back queing, etc., were the spherical ones, and the ones KAB has retrofitted for critical listening are elliptical.

    Can someone explain the difference?
     
  16. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    This is going to get complicated with many differing opinions over which is "best"...! :)

    I'll start it off with this:

    In general, a conical (aka spherical) stylus is used for DJ'ing or with low-end record players. They tend not to track very well and generate higher levels of distortion especially when playing inner grooves. They usually don't handle sibilance all that well either. On the other hand, plenty of older 45s sound best with them.

    Note that there are one or two "audiophile" cartridges which use conical styli, like the Denon DL-103. Everything about the Denon stylus - the cut, polish, mounting, etc. - was fine-tuned years ago by Denon for maximum performance. But the DL-103 is the exception not the rule when it comes to conical styli.

    Elliptical styli are the next step up. They have a narrower profile and are often mated with better cantilevers. The result is often improved tracking ability and lower distortion resulting is less groove damage.

    Next up on the ladder are "line contact" styli. I'll let someone else delve into those. They are usually more expensive, more difficult to manufacture, and require even more attention to detail but the payoff is outstanding sound quality.
     
  17. motownboy

    motownboy Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington State
    It seems that the Audio Technica 440MLa is now about $50 more than a few months ago even at all the "discount houses" like J&R Music World and Amazon........... One would think that Opec not wanting to step up crude oil production had something to do with it!
     
  18. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    With the price increase for the 440MLa, I think it's probably worth it for many to go straight to the AT150MLX. That's one seriously good cart especially when loaded properly.
     
  19. olddude55

    olddude55 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Donora, PA
    Here are the cartridges I've used on my own SL-1210 over the last three years:

    Dynavector 10x5--decent cart but didn't track inner grooves all that well. I had about 400 hours on it (300 in a Moth Alamo S and 100 in the Technics) before I stopped using it.

    Shure M97xe--Lackluster, didn't track inner grooves very well. Not much detail, but accurate mids.

    Shure V-15 Type IV with JICO SAS stylus--tracked very well; lackluster but not as blah as the M97xe. I think the Technics arm is a bit to massive for this cart even with the KAB fluid damper.

    Denon DL-103--tried this one with the stock body, wooden body, and no body at all; with Denon SUT and Cinemag SUT; with more mass added to the arm and with less mass. It sounded best to my ears nude and mounted on a brass plate using the stock Technics headshell and no extra mass. Setting it up this way seemed to make it faster and a bit more open, but I never warmed up to this cart at all. Good mids, but the bass was muddy and the highs lacked detail. I couldn't get the conical stylus to track inner grooves to anything like my satisfaction. Sold it after 150 hours of use.

    Audio Technica AT440MLa--excellent tracking, wide and deep soundstage, loads of detail, and fast. Inner groove issues disappear, and records you don't play now because of groove damage will likely play just fine with the AT. On the downside, a bit bright, not as accurate as the Shures and the highs can sometimes sound white-noisy. Still, a lot to love here and the best cartridge out of the bunch by far IMO. Made me a line-contact stylus fanatic. I've got about 260 hours on the AT.

    I'm currently using a Grace F9E Ruby that was retipped by Soundsmith. I've only had it back since Monday, so it's too early for a full evaluation, but after seven hours of use, it pulls more detail out of the grooves than the AT, tracks inner grooves just as well (if not better) and it's faster. But the Grace has been out of production for a long time and you'll pay big bucks for an NOS copy.

    My own tastes run to fast cartridges that can handle all of the album side, even if the grooves go right up to the label. It doesn't matter to me how it sounds on the rest of the record if it can't track inner grooves.
     
  20. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Very cool. Did you get the $250 or $350 option?
     
  21. Chad Etchison

    Chad Etchison New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Yep, I agree, I meant conical in my earlier post, the Denon is an exception and exceptional.
     
  22. Chad Etchison

    Chad Etchison New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Cool, let us know for sure, that is a nice looking mod.
     
  23. Toka

    Toka Active Member

    Make sure you try in on the Continuum too!
     
  24. decapg

    decapg New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Canada
    Didn't know that the denon dl-103 was used with the sl-1200. I might keep it after all but if I have to spend a lot on a step up transformer i'm going to think twice. I'm planning on buying a pro-ject phonbox mkII which has 60db mc gain. Would the phono preamp be enough by itself or would I need a step up transformer? If so, how do you shop for a sut? Any suggestions?
     
  25. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Try a Stanton 681EEE. I have one and it's my favorite cart now. It was recommended to me by a recording engineer acquaintance of mine, and I love the sound. Good bass, smooth highs, full midrange, tracks great.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine