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Newbie question, best cartridge for Philips GA 212

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Newbie question, best cartridge for Philips GA 212

Postby dropthearm » 06 Jan 2010 05:36

Hello to all,

This is my first post since becoming a member.

I have recently pulled my Philips GA 212 out of storage and am trying to get it back in service. I bought it new back in the early 70's. I have ordered a new belt on ebay and have cleaned up the melted remnants of the old belt. The switches and motor are working fine. It has a Shure TM1S cartridge mounted but the stylus looks bad under magnification.

I was hoping to get some good advice on a replacement cartridge that has a reasonable cost since this is not a high quality turntable to begin with. My goal is to get a better quality turntable as soon as possible. I have been looking for a Thorens TD124 mostly by watching ebay. Any advice on sources for finding such a turntable would also be appreciated.

There is so much useful information on vinylengine and I have been enjoying my time on this site.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Postby Soundmachine » 06 Jan 2010 11:33

The Philips GA212 would have come fitted with one of Philips range of moving magnet cartridges something like a GP400. GP401 or GP412 and from memory these worked quite well. I used an AT95E in my old GA202 with good results.
If you want a cheap modern MM cartridge then maybe something like the Goldring Elan or Elektra. Drop Goldring an email and ask them as they are very helpful.

I certainly wouldn't spend a lot of money on a moving magnet cartridge or put a Moving Coil cartridge in that arm.
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Postby Ton_Bos » 06 Jan 2010 12:00

I agree with not spending too much money on a cartridge. The Audio Technica AT-110E works well with the Philips arm and has a nice elliptical stylus. Not sure if it is still in production, but it is easily available.
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Postby pivot » 06 Jan 2010 15:29

Used to own one of these beasties when they were new on the market.

It came without a cartridge and I mounted a Shure V15 II on it. Worked fine.

Some things to have in mind:

1) They have a ferrous/magnetic steel platter. When I tried a high output moving coil cartridge the magnet pulled the tonearm into the platter. I would suggest sticking with a MI or MM cartridge. Audio Technica 120e would be my pick for the fairly low mass arm.

2) The pivots in my arm were not the best and did not age well. Make sure your tonearm moves freely in the vertical plain.

3) Expect some minor speed drift - seems to be normal for this DC motor belt drive turntable. I had to trim speed with the strobe for each record side.
Kevin R-M

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet Act 1
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Postby Soundmachine » 06 Jan 2010 15:47

The Audio Technica AT95E is still available for about $50 in the US or one with a different stlus profile is about $30 more.

http://www.lpgear.com

Review can be read on http://www.stereotimes.com/acc032307.shtml

As to finding a Thorens the only things to do are:

Keep looking on ebay
Speak with your local dealer(s)
Keep going to the thift/charity shops (you never know!)
Check the HiFi mags for second hand dealers.

Has it got to be a Thorens?
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Postby dropthearm » 07 Jan 2010 06:00

Thanks for all the responses from everyone. Are the Audio Technica AT110E and AT95E cartridges moving magnet? I agree completely on not spending much and think I should keep it below $100.00. The Philips will hopefully become a backup TT when I can find something better.

I am not dead set on the Thorens TD124 but I do have a fondness for the classic hardware. My system is McIntosh MX110, McIntosh MC240's, Klipsch K-horn and Heresy speakers. So you can see I like the old stuff. I am open to suggestions on other TT's in case I can't get a TD124.

Thanks for all the input.
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Postby Soundmachine » 07 Jan 2010 12:43

Both the Audio Technica cartridges mentioned are MM designs and are very good.

I would agree with keeping the Philips deck, I use a Sony PS-LX2 that was given free to me for my less than pristine charity/thrift shop records.

You will need to decide a budget for your next turntable then get opinions based on what you have to spend.
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Postby flavio81 » 07 Jan 2010 15:45

Keep the Philips, by most accounts is a very good turntable.

The best Philips pickup for it should be the GP 422 II, a very technically advanced cartridge (special SST stylus, quadraphonic-ready). You can get one for 300 euro here:

http://www.williamthakker.eu/Philips_m33_x1.htm

There is a GP 501 pickup there too.

The Audio-Technica cartridges are usually very good value for the money.
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Postby dropthearm » 07 Jan 2010 23:12

Here are my choices from LP Gear of the cartridges mentioned in all the posts:

AT95E for $49.95
LPGAT95SA for $149.95
AT110E for $69.95
AT120E/T for $79.95
Goldring Elan for $60.00
Goldring Elektra for $95.00

The LPGAT95SA is LP Gear's AT95E fitted with the Shibata stylus. The price has gone up substantially. If it were still $30.00 more than the standard AT95E then I would go with it based on the review in Soundmachine's post.

I don't know which would be the better choice but I may just go middle of the road and get the AT110E unless someone with experience has a better idea. I plan on keeping the Philips as my backup turntable.

As for my budget for my next turntable, I was hoping to keep it below $1500 but may be able to go a little higher. Is this a reasonable budget or just wishful thinking on my part?
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Postby flavio81 » 07 Jan 2010 23:46

dropthearm wrote:As for my budget for my next turntable, I was hoping to keep it below $1500 but may be able to go a little higher. Is this a reasonable budget or just wishful thinking on my part?


My advice is: Instead of spending <$1500 for other turntable, first spend more money on the cartridge.

AT95E for $49.95
LPGAT95SA for $149.95
AT110E for $69.95
AT120E/T for $79.95
Goldring Elan for $60.00
Goldring Elektra for $95.00


None of those will really suprise you, except maybe the AT95 with the $150 shibata, but still there are better options than it at that price level(see below). The AT95 is excellent for the money but is still limited by its bonded elliptical stylus and regular cantilever construction. You can't get around physics, despite the engineers at Audio Technica deserving a Nobel prize for doing the best budget cartridges.

A cartridge with a special alloy cantilever and a sophiticated low mass tip will be able to extract much more detail. Instead of shelving out $1500 for another turntable, try a really notable cartridge such as the AT150ML (MM) or the ATOC9MLII (MC). Boron cantilever, microline nude stylus. This will cost you around $300-400. Or at least an AT440MLa (around $150-180).
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Postby flavio81 » 07 Jan 2010 23:57

G'day mate, I've heard of someone who has just installed a Shure M97xE on the same turntable and calls 'a match made in heaven', or similiar. He thinks it's great.


With this valuable information i would try a SAS stylus on the M97xE or similar Shure cart. (SAS stylus is sold in turntableneedles and LPgear, it is a microline stylus, nude mounted, and mated to a boron cantilever. So far all the customers have been more than satisfied.
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Postby Slowhead » 09 Jan 2010 07:33

I had a few carts you mentioned on your list. But, the best performer was the LP Gear Deft II. It's hyperelliptical and plays beyond it's $100 price tag. It doesn't move me like the DL160 I'm currently using, but still a solid buy.
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Postby Soundmachine » 09 Jan 2010 12:34

I don't remember the arm on the 212 being good enough to do justice to an expensive MM or even a budget MC like the DL110.
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Postby Ton_Bos » 11 Jan 2010 14:15

Of the Audio Technica cartridges, the AT95 is less suitable for the lightweight arm of the Philips. You will be happy with the AT120 - I did not recommend that first time round because in Europe it is a lot more expensive than the AT110.

Re the TD124: I would like to own one too. For the time being, I contend myself with the book Schweizer Präzision, on the Thorens and contemporaries. Very nice, and a bit more affordable!
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Postby Big Argus » 02 Apr 2011 01:24

I know this is an old thread, but... I just obtained a 212 and purchased a Grado Prestige Black for $60. Hope to have it here next week.

I used to have a 312 and I used it with an old Ortofon MC cartridge tracking at about 1/4 gram, absolutely stunning. It tracked the first cut on a 4th-5th release (live to disk, multiple performances, best released first and then so on as the parts wore out) of Thelma Houston's Pressure Cooker which no other turntable/cartridge would do (there was a crescendo about 8 bars into the record that had "EXTREME" lateral movement and would skip a few bars forward).

Tonearms on these are actually quite good. YMMV
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