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Denon, Grado or Ortofon?

the thin end of the wedge

Denon, Grado or Ortofon?

Postby fedorov » 29 Oct 2009 04:01

Hi all,

Need your opinion on a few cartridges, namely the Denon dl160, Grado Red1, and Grado 2Mred.

I currently am using a Denon Dl110 on a Thorens TD160, TP16Mk1 arm, to an NAD PP2 pre (will change this soon as well).

Currently it feels as if the sound i get lacks abit at the bottom end, not enough of it, and the overall presentation is abit thin.

of the 3 that I am looking at, which do you think will have me get a slighty warmer presentation, heavier bass, while still keeping a relatively large soundstage? my system is solid state, so i would prefer a less bright cart as well.
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Postby flavio81 » 29 Oct 2009 20:22

Using this website:

cartridges/

You can hear the Grado Black (almost the same as Red) and Ortofon 510 and 530 (which are more or less similar to the 2M red), and the DL-110 which is lower priced than the Denon DL-160.

From all of those, in my opinion after carefully listening,

The DL-110 is the best of those, by far. Clearer AND punchier sound. No sibilance/mistracking problems at all.

Next is the Ortofon 530 (nude fine line stylus, note that the 2M red has a plain elliptical), good sound but on a lower tier compared to the denon, definitely.

Next is the Grado Black and the 510 (tie). The 510 is a bit harsh and i can hear some sibilance/mistracking. The Black does not has so marked mistracking problems but certainly lacks definition on the high frequencies, plus it is a bit "dark" or "muddy" sounding.

I would go for the Denon without a doubt!

BTW i don't understand why the Grados (black, green, blue, red) get praise from some members.
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Postby W8AAZ » 29 Oct 2009 23:42

Grado? Huuuuum. Sorry I meant hmmmm. I like their carts OK that I have used in the past, but get more hum as the cart approaches the centre of the disc. It is a more or less problem, depends on the combination of things and the situation. Beware of the potential of Grado hum. Otherwise they are competant cartridges for their price ranges.
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Postby fedorov » 30 Oct 2009 03:27

hi all,

thanks for the replies. I realised i labelled 1 of the choices wrongly, it should be ortofon 2M red!

I seem to be getting a relatively thin presentation on some of my 60s records when on the Denon DL110, maybe I will also look at my setup again.

What abt the ortofon? any thoughts?
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Postby fedorov » 30 Oct 2009 03:34

What value are you loading the Denon with? At 47k ohms it will sound a little thin. Somewhere between 1k ohm and 8k ohms is ideal. If you can only load at 47k ohms, which is what I assume with your phono pre, go with the Grado or the Ortofon, the Grado lush and full with a plumy bass, the Ortofon more direct and incisive with a tighter bass. But if you can load it properly with a different phono pre, the Denon beats both of them IMHO.


im currently having my tt plugged into the mc stag of my phonostage, think is only 100 ohms.

80s records sounds alright, but is the 60s records...i need a cart to balance 60s and 80s records badly...
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Postby KentT » 30 Oct 2009 03:44

A better Ortofon for the TD 160 might be something like an OM 10, 20, or a OM 30. The TP-16 stock arm is on the lighter side mass wise.
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Postby banerjba » 30 Oct 2009 03:53

I use a 2M red, OM10, Grado Black, Shure M97, Sumiko Pearl and Blue Point on my Technics 1200.

The Pearl is the clear winner for bass, dynamics and drama. The two American cartridges are flattest sounding and the Ortofons are great all rounders. Grado is lean but has midrange like a moving coil. Shure is sfot sounding but very pleasant.

All are excellent budget carts.

I will be buying a Nakaoka MP11/110 and Denon DL110 next to compare.

I never got hum using Grados on my Thorens.
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Postby fedorov » 30 Oct 2009 04:51

flavio81 wrote:Using this website:

cartridges/

You can hear the Grado Black (almost the same as Red) and Ortofon 510 and 530 (which are more or less similar to the 2M red), and the DL-110 which is lower priced than the Denon DL-160.

From all of those, in my opinion after carefully listening,

The DL-110 is the best of those, by far. Clearer AND punchier sound. No sibilance/mistracking problems at all.

Next is the Ortofon 530 (nude fine line stylus, note that the 2M red has a plain elliptical), good sound but on a lower tier compared to the denon, definitely.

Next is the Grado Black and the 510 (tie). The 510 is a bit harsh and i can hear some sibilance/mistracking. The Black does not has so marked mistracking problems but certainly lacks definition on the high frequencies, plus it is a bit "dark" or "muddy" sounding.

I would go for the Denon without a doubt!

BTW i don't understand why the Grados (black, green, blue, red) get praise from some members.


If you think the Black and Red are almost the same, then you don't understand. :P

Having owned 2 blacks, 2 reds, a green, and 2 golds, my longhorn modded gold is my go to cartridge. And there is a world of difference in the character between the black and the red. :wink:


hi ,

what do you make of the grado gold? compared to the denon dl110?
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Postby bastlnut » 30 Oct 2009 06:19

hallo,

wait a minute!
the TP 16 original tonearm, like on this TD 160 is the heavy tonearm with 16,5g eff. mass!
high compliance cartridges are not the best choice.
Grado cartridges like light tonearms.
the Denon is the best bet for this tonearm in question.
try the DL 160.
make sure the VTA is adjusted as the Denons are a bit critical here.

forget the high compliance Ortofons and Grado's here.
maybe try a Sumiko Blue Point or a Nagaoka cartridge as an option.

regards,
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Postby fedorov » 30 Oct 2009 06:24

bastlnut wrote:hallo,

wait a minute!
the TP 16 original tonearm, like on this TD 160 is the heavy tonearm with 16,5g eff. mass!
high compliance cartridges are not the best choice.
Grado cartridges like light tonearms.
the Denon is the best bet for this tonearm in question.
try the DL 160.
make sure the VTA is adjusted as the Denons are a bit critical here.

forget the high compliance Ortofons and Grado's here.
maybe try a Sumiko Blue Point or a Nagaoka cartridge as an option.

regards,
bastlnut


hi bastlnut,

yes will halt!! i was doing the calculations with the rf spreadsheet and yes the grado wont fall into the 8-12hz range.

I was told to consider the Benz Micro Gold as well, but i do not know its characteristics, and though compliance is 15, the calculations are within the 8-12hz range.

has anyone tried this cart?
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Postby lini » 30 Oct 2009 07:27

flavio81 wrote: (...) The DL-110 is the best of those, by far. Clearer AND punchier sound. No sibilance/mistracking problems at all.

Next is the Ortofon 530 (nude fine line stylus, note that the 2M red has a plain elliptical), good sound but on a lower tier compared to the denon, definitely. (...)


Interesting that you prefer the DL110 over a 530(II). For me it would rather be the other way round...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: That reminds me: , was the 530 you checked out a complete exemplar - or did you use a 530 stylus on the body of the 510II? And in case of the former, do you still happen to have the specs, maybe? Reason for asking is me wondering, whether the original 5x0 series is using the same VMS generator generation as the OMs like the 3xx series does - or the same as the SuperOMs like the 5x0II/VinylMaster series models does. so maybe you could clear that up: If the thingy has 750 Ohm/450 mH, it would be the former - if it's 1 kOhm/580 mH, the latter...
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Postby lini » 30 Oct 2009 14:33

: Well, actually I thought you might have the user manual and would only need to look it up - but if measuring doesn't bother you either, it sure would be nice...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: I'm not surprised that you like the 530 is significantly better than the 510II. Nice nude FineLine vs. bonded medium sharp elliptical - pretty predictable result, I'd say... ;)
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Postby flavio81 » 30 Oct 2009 16:03

The 530 completely trounces the frankly dissappointing 510 MkII.


Well based on what i've heard on [url=cartridges/]the aforementioned samples[/url], yes, the 510 is dissapointing (and it's an Ortofon!!), the 530 sounds much better, but still not great.
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Postby flavio81 » 30 Oct 2009 16:04

lini wrote:Interesting that you prefer the DL110 over a 530(II). For me it would rather be the other way round...


Hi Manfred!! Well i prefer it only when using those sound samples as comparison. For me the DL110 is clearly giving a more clear and punchier sound. Maybe i am missing some characteristic that the 530 has but the DL110 has not??
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Postby Thomas_A » 30 Oct 2009 16:58

Interesting comparison site. Very useful. The brighter sound of the Ortofons vs. Shure V15V is evident, also after measuring the corresponding music files:

Image

Now one would like to adjust one file to the other to see whether sound difference is just due to fr. response (most, if not all, is due to this, I would suspect).

T
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