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Philips 312 Cart help

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Philips 312 Cart help

Postby cabt » 07 Aug 2009 17:26

Hi all, I have been wanting to get into vinly and recenlty got my hands on a 312 and dug up some old (two to be exact) Pickering XV15/625 carts that I had in my parents basement (not kept in the best of enviromnets). I tried the carts/stylus in different combos and they sound a tocuh harsh with little to no low end. I was wondering if I should invest in:

A. New stylus to replace the 625 as it may well be worn or shot

B. New xv15 with 625

C. A whole new Cart combo altogher (Suggestions are very welcome and I am not married to any brand...just want the best sound combo with this table for under $100 if I need to go this route).

The Pickering, I think, was off of an old Garrard my parents had which is long since gone. The TT works great as the stylus that came on it sounds wonderful, but alas, it went back to the original owner.

Your help is grearly appreciated.

Cheers.

-Clayton
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Postby Alec124c41 » 08 Aug 2009 02:35

The first question is, do you have an amp with a Phono stage built into it? If not, you need to get a Phono preamp, which will correct the RIAA spectral curve, as well as bump up your signal. Without this correction, you get no bass and too much treble. Phonopreamps.com TC-750 would be a decent start, but is by no means the best on the market. :twisted:

Cheers,
Alec
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Postby cabt » 10 Aug 2009 13:57

Sorry....should have clarified...yes I do have phono in (running an Integra DTR 7.9 receiver).....as mentioned, the cart/stylus that was on the 312 sounded great, but I had to give it back to the previous owner....mine are likely shot as they have been resting in a garage/basement for about 10 years in an open box. Key question is....Is it worth reviving the Pickering (can a cart itself go bad or will a new stylus solve the issue) or is there a better match for a flat curve solution to this TT? Thanks!
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Postby Ton_Bos » 10 Aug 2009 14:20

I used to have a Philips GA212 (nearly identical to the GA312) in the mid-70s, and ran it for a few years with the Pickering XV15/625E. As far as I recall it sounded fine, definitely no lack of bass.

The cartridge it still available on eBay - someone in the UK is selling off his stock for a very reasonable price.

If you decide to get a new cartridge, you require one with a fairly high compliance, like the Pickering. These are out of fashion, but Audio Technica makes a few models that might fit the bill, the AT-110 and AT-120. These are readily available and not expensive. I haven't tried them out myself, I should add, although I intend to do so - I bought a GA312 some time ago. These cartridges have a good reputation.
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Postby cabt » 10 Aug 2009 14:29

Thanks for the reply and the info.....I know a stylus can go bad (or be made bad with abuse) but will a cart go bad? In theory can I just buy a new stylus (I saw that same guy on ebay as well). I did notice some oxidation on the wire terminals on the cart but got most of it off with an eraser and persistence. Also, any idea where I can find the Philips cart alignment tool that came with these decks?

Thanks a million.
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Postby Ton_Bos » 10 Aug 2009 15:17

The plastic alignment jig is very rare nowadays. I have seen hundreds of GA 212s and 312s offered on Dutch auction sites, but never this little tool. I haven't kept mine either :? . However, one of the protractors that you can download from this site will help you in setting up your cartridge.

I am not sure what the lifetime of a cartridge is supposed to be, but if the outsides of your cartridges were corroded, the same may be true of the insides.
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Postby cabt » 10 Aug 2009 15:20

Cool...thanks again...couple more questions if you don't mind.....

1) What does it mean that I will need a cart with high compliance...and why?

2) If you had to choose between another pickering or the AT-110/120 for this TT...which way would you lean? I prefer warm/laid back sound. Thanks again for your help and patience.

-Clayton
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Postby Ton_Bos » 10 Aug 2009 15:55

There are many people on this forum that know far more about this subject than I do, but I'll give it a try.

Compliance is a measure of the stiffness of the suspension of the stylus. The lighter the arm, the higher the compliance of the stylus should be. This is because the system comprising arm, cartridge and stylus has a resonance frequency that should be well below the 20 Hz mark - the lowest audible frequency. (I am simplifying here - what I call "arm weight" is effective mass for example.)

The Philips arm is lightweight, and requires a cartridge with fairly high compliance. The Philips GP400 and 401 cartridges that were usually mounted on the GA312 have a compliance of 20 x 10-6 cm/dyne, the Pickering has 16 x 10-6 cm/dyne, the Audio Technica's I mentioned are around 10 x 10-6 cm/dyne, but actually hgher since Audio Technica uses a nonstandard frequency for its compliance measurements.

Cartridge data can be found here: http://www.cartridgedb.com/.

Audio Technicas do not have a "warm" character. The AT 120 is the best of the two. The AT 110 is the cheapest. However, the compliance of the Pickering is the best match with the arm.

Personally, I would go for the AT 120.
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Postby Ton_Bos » 10 Aug 2009 16:10

One more remark: You could also go vintage, and buy a Shure V15/III. This is no longer available new, but shouldn't cost much second hand (without stylus or original packaging, which drive up the price). Shure also no longer makes replacement styli, but aftermarket replacements of good quality are easily available.
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Postby cabt » 10 Aug 2009 17:03

Thanks...isn't that sure very similar to the Pickering I have..almost identical or am I mistaken? Also...how about a Grado Green? Thanks again.
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Postby Ton_Bos » 10 Aug 2009 17:12

No, the Shure is a completely different animal - I have both the Shure V15/III and the Pickering XV15/625E. Pickering and Stanton used to sell identical models with different designations.

The Grado should work well - it has the same compliance as the Philips GP400. I have no personal experience with Grado carts.
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Postby cabt » 10 Aug 2009 17:31

One of the setups I was giving serious thought to was the Shure M97xE...any experience with this?

Not to be a pain, but per your earlier response..if the pickering is the best match why would you lean towards the AT....many thank for your help!
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Postby Ton_Bos » 11 Aug 2009 09:56

No problem! I have been unable to find compliance data for the M97xE, but it is of lower compliance than classic Shure cartridges. It may work, and is said to be an excellent cartridge (I happen to have one in my collection, but haven't tried it out yet).

The AT is a current cartridge, the Pickering not. You will be able to get original replacement needles for the AT in years to come. I expect it to sound better than the Pickering as well.

Compliance matching is not hard science. The AT compliance of 10 x 10-6 cm/dyne is measured relative to a frequency of 100 Hz. This is said to translate to 20 x 10-6 cm/dyne at the standard meausurement frequency of 10 Hz, which would make it an excellent match to the Philips arm as well (I wasn't aware of this rule of thumb when I posted my earlier messages - I'm still learning too).
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Postby cabt » 11 Aug 2009 13:05

Thanks again. Ok. I did see an original pickering cart plus three original new needles (from the UK) for $80 plus shipping (potentially, I imagine, a darn good deal). Same seller has two needles, since I have carts for $40 or so.

My only big concern with the AT is the break in time. 100 hours before it warms up is a little long (not in comparison to anything, just in general).

Compliance wise is the AT a better match with the new knowledge (still very confusing to me).
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