Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by JK47, Jan 12, 2016.
Audio Technica vm740ml
Ever since I got an AT440mla, I've become a fan of their supposed house sound. A contrast to the few Grado wood bodies I have.
What would you like to know?
I have a London Decca Reference. Total bitch to setup...
I have the ortofon vivo red mc. Musical cart for not too much money. It just flows. I also have a nagaoka mp200 which I haven't burned in yet. It's bright out of the box, I couldn't believe it because these nagaokas aren't known to be bright.
Was all set to look for a low hours ART 9 for sale and then read a good thread on Audiogon about the Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star and particularly liked the fact that it could effectively be renewed for $350 unlike an MC.
Then when attempting to clear/sought out all my excess audio gear and there's an awful lot of the stuff I found something I had entirely forgotten about - the Pickering 7500S but not the dedicated PLZ pre-preamp.
Read loads of stuff on Audiogon /Audio Circle/Audio Karma about it and the stylus is fine which is good because the original stylus is now unobtainum it's impossible to find a Stereohedron replacement stylus. OK, fine, problem is I cannot locate the PLZ pre. After 30 + years the 4 x caps will have to be replaced and as the 100 Ohm setting is poo-pooed, everyone suggesting that 1000 Ohm aka 1 K + is far better I just happen to have plenty of 1K Z foils. I've got lods of removal boxes to go through.
I also found an Acutex 312, brand new, still boxed, bought it for a song maybe 15 years ago. So, maybe not shelling out for either an ART 9 or the Soundsmith Zephyr was a good financial thing - vamos a ver.
I had a Denon 103R on my VPI Classic but the IGD on some of my albums was driving me nuts so I picked up a Denon 301mkII for cheap. In addition to the complete disappearance of IGD on even my hardest to track albums, I’m shocked by the reduction in regular surface noise. I had assumed that a hyperelliptical or whatever the hell tip the 301 has would have picked up more, not less, surface noice than the conical on the 103.
That said, I think I might still prefer the sound of the 103R, when not mistracking like crazy, to the 301, but time will tell. If only Denon still made the 103D or 103M...
Finally found the box with the PLZ pre-preamp. Why I never used this with the Pickering 7500S all those years ago, I don't know. I measured all the caps and resistors. The resistors must have been carefully chosen - they are spot on. The caps are all electrolytics, are at least 30 years old and cheap so I will replqae these.
I just received the Panasonic FR caps to replace all the electros in my 2 Kenwood d/d t/ts, cost about £6/$7.50 per deck. Also found the Russian co. that bought all Samsung/Kenwood spares so, could replace all the transistors, diodes as well to effectively creating 2 new Kenwood t/ts.
Fitting a new lightweight h/shell will lowew the effective mass of the arm which should be better for both the AT 33 EV and the Pickering 7500S cartridges - vamos a ver.
I’m looking for advice on two things:
1. Are mono cartridges a good idea for my Beatles, Dylan and various soul records that are mono pressings? Anybody try the cheaper Grado?
2. I have a Technics SL-1210GR. Is it a worthwhile upgrade to get a fancy carbon fiber headshell?
I had the same question and own the Technics SL-1200GR with the Ortofon 2m Black. I opted for the Mofi Studio Phonostage with the mono button. Seems to work perfectly for me. From what I've read the contemporary carts use the same stylus as the stereo ones, just wired for mono... could be wrong though.
I've been wanting to build a mono setup for my mom for her mono records and this is what I found out from my research.
The best possible way to track a groove is with the needle moving horizontally and the worst way is moving vertically. When stereo came about instead of having one channel etched horizontally and the other etched vertically, they compromised with both etched at 45 deg. It works very well, but not as much as we know it could perform.
While a stereo cartridge can read a mono record, it's not something it was designed for and it's worth getting a mono cartridge(ie only reads horizontal) if you have a rather large mono collection.
Whether a $$$$ stereo cart is better than a $$ mono cart is something only the more experienced members can answer here.
Cheap Grados are POS carts. Expensive Grados have their place, but not on the Technics tables. The brighter MM carts from AT ($100-$200 - cheap but very good for this application) or Ortofon, e.g. 2M Black (or Blue) gel best with the Technics.
The cheap mono carts are stereo ones wired to work mono. Real mono records should only track horizontally. I think the Ortofon 2M Mono might fit the bill at the low-end of pricing. Otherwise Miyajima Zero at $1300. Mono records are pretty special.
Fancy carbon headshell maybe different sound, slightly. Better things to worry about.
I have limited experience, a range of MM from AT. The best of the MMs was the AT 440mla. Then I found a low hours Cartridge Man Music Maker III and I have never looked back. Both musical and correct. It easily beat the 440 mla. The nice thing was that it was at home on both my Technics SL and my AR ES-1.
The cheap Grado moving iron carts may not be good, but the better moving iron like the Music Maker and, by reputation, the SoundSmith moving irons seem to offer a nice middle ground.
If you have any questions about our cartridge line, I would be more than happy to answer. We can build any model in mono too.
I like the way Ortofon does their stylus upgradeability on these. Tempted by the bronze on a Project debut acrylic, think that's pushing it? Save the pennies for Sol?
RED - BLUE BRONZE - BLACK
Testing recording just to mess around. Kinda captures it when listening on Lyr3(JJ)/M1060(fazored)/HD650 and sounds good, surprised it's a bit annoying on Val2/HD650.
Some vol adjusting... was easy to overdrive the mic. -- you can hear it's a diamond dragging over plastic in the peak highs -- don't get me wrong, nooooot bad in real life!
I dipped into the Soundsmith line with their Otello (“entry level”). It is my favorite cartridge in my small inventory. Easy to set up, rich sound and fine detail retrieval. I can get it re-tipped for around $100.
Cartridges are almost like cars - once you find a brand you like, it is hard to move off. I’m so pleased with Soundsmith and the Otello, that I’m considering a Carmen or Zephyr. Knowing that I can get them re-tipped for 20% of the MSRP is comforting. The 2-year warranty is nice, and the responsive customer service is a plus, too.
The Soundsmith website has a lot of useful articles, too - setting anti-skate, explaining difference between MM, MC, and MI, etc.
Soundsmith is a good choice. I have a Boheme that I bought here from a member. It’s OOP now, but they will still re-tip it. They will retip other manufacturer’s cartridges too. With their own, you know you are getting a close to brand new cartridge, which stopped the heart attack every time someone got to close to the turntable. Note: there can be a wait, so keep the Otello around.
The cartridges are often on sale here, including right now: https://elusivedisc.com/turntable-c...iOiAiS1k4eFBBIn0=#/sort:calculated_price:desc
There are deals on used cartridges on places like A-Gon. It’s dicey because some folks don’t know if they’ve damaged theirs by accident. But if you find someone with a lot of feedback who clearly knows turntables, you can do well (and again, if it’s a Soundsmith, worst case you can probably get it re-tipped).
Once I receive my new cart, I'll send the Otello in to be re-tipped shortly after. I'll use the Otello as my back-up when the time comes for either the Carmen or Zephyr to be re-tipped.
I clicked on the link you provided and noticed the vendor has the Aida discounted to the same price as the Zephyr... wow!
what cart are you coming from and what does SS do better?
I also have:
Shure V15 Type III w/JICO SAS Stylus - Very polite presentation. Whenever I listen to it, I am left wanting more punch at times. Otello gives me the "punchiness" I like without being obnoxiously in my face - see Ortofon 2M Red, below. Replaceable stylus is a plus (considering purchasing a replacement w/sapphire cantilever when the time comes).
Audio Technica VM750SH - I like this almost as much as the Soundsmith. It is a bit more analytical than the Otello, but has enough smooth musicality to make me enjoy it. Replaceable stylus is a plus.
Ortofon 2M Red - Hot, in your face, aggressive, unrefined. Gets tiring listening to it for more than one side of an LP. Love the build quality and ease of set-up, though. I could buy a 2M Blue stylus, but I haven't gotten around to it.
The downsides to the Otello (not much has to do with its presentation, though):
Although you can get it re-tipped for about $100, wait times are long - as opposed to just buying a replacement stylus for the other MM carts above.
Value is not really there initially. Bonded elliptical stylus on a $479 dollar cart? Ouch. And, although I know measurements aren't the be all, end all, the Otello's specs don't (on paper) measure up to the VM750SH - a cart that costs $80 less. To be fair, after the first re-tip/stylus replacement, the Otello's value comes through, as its re-tip costs $100 and a new Stylus for the VM750SH costs $279. Assuming I want to re-tip/replace instead of fiddling with something new.
So... I'll stick with the Otello and re-tip it when the time comes (tough to beat $100, as long as I have something to use while I wait for the work to be done), but when it comes time to replace the stylus in the VM750SH, I'll need to think about it. $279 goes a long way to moving up in the MM world, or giving in to my curiosity and picking up a decent MC cart.
In my firsthand opinion & experience, by price range, a practical guide:
$0-$119 - Sumiko Pearl
$120-$499 - Save your money, all have significant flaws in some area
$500-$649 - Ortofon Quintet Blue
$650-$899 - Goldring Eroica LX
$900-$1299 - Ortofon Cadenza Red
$1300+ - Save your money, the improvements become so small it is no longer worthwhile
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