Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

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DeepEnd
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Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 14 Feb 2018 15:58

Following on from Bryon4's post on Hana vs Nagaoka and HiViNyws reviews on a certain video website etc.

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=102267
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhSFP0PJCE4

I was wondering just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Now I don't have the funds to experiment to the level that Ian has done in HiViNyws but thought I might investigate a bit so have purchased a second user MP-11 Boron that was missing it's tip (£20) and to give it a go and trying to avoid the rather high cost of Nagaoka units in the UK I have purchased/ordered the following:-

A. a new MP-110 stylus (JN-P110 @£35 from Japan - giving a MP-110 for approx half the cost)
B. a new MP-200 stylus (JN-P200 @£110 plus £30 customs costs etc. - giving a MP-200 for less than half the cost)
C. am sending the MP-11B stylus off to ESCo for a lightweight Paratrace tip to be fitted (£120) which spec wise gives a sort of MP-250 (better stylus than MP-200) or MP-400 (similar stylus to MP-500 in simpler body) depending on your point of view for less than a quarter of a new MP-500.

In order to provide a comparison I have my trusty A&R P77Mg body (£42) and a few styli that fit.
with aluminium cantilevers
D. a EVG PM3136DE (replacement for Shure N91E @ £16) - bonded elliptical (on loan to another VE member at the moment)
E. a genuine Phillips GP401iii bonded elliptical (£35) also out on loan
F. a Rega R100 nude "special" elliptical - used unknown hours £40 including body
G. a E77 nude elliptical - used but inspected as "no appreciable wear" £42 with body.
H. a NOS P77 nude extended line contact (ESCo tip @ £99) about 25 hours so far.
Other cantilever materials
I. a P78 re-tipped with a FG2 stylus (boron cantilever with line contact Gyger 2 @ >£300) about 30 hours since re-tip. Note: the compliance is a bit high (~30) for the Rega arm would probably perform even better in a SME series 3, Infinity Black Widow, Grace, ADC or other low effective mass arm.
J. am sending a worn P77 stylus to ESCo for an upgrade to a white sapphire cantilever with a lightweight Paratrace tip (£160)

Now I have some weeks before I get the re-tips back from ESCo and will use this time to get the unused MP-110 and MP-200 styli up to around 25 hours each.

I think the interesting comparisons will be MP11/200 (£160) vs MP11B/P (£140) vs P77Mg (£141) vs P77Mg/SP (£202) - a mix of elliptical and sophisticated styli and a range of cantilevers materials for less than (or the similar cost to) a 2M Blue or less than a third of the cost of MP-500!!

The question is would members be interested in the results if I record in 96/24 or should I just put them up on a famous video site?

If anyone has a MP30, 50 , 300 or 500 body not being used I could add this to the mix or even a AT VM540ML or AT440MLb they are prepared to loan as these would be a alternative way of spending £160-£202)?

Anyone else done any direct Nagaoka vs xxx comparisons?

billshurv
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by billshurv » 14 Feb 2018 16:38

DeepEnd wrote:F
I. a P78 re-tipped with a FG2 stylus (boron cantilever with line contact Gyger 2 @ >£300) about 30 hours since re-tip. Note: the compliance is a bit high (~30) for the Rega arm would probably perform even better in a SME series 3,
I have an SME series 3 ;)

I can't Help you with your Nagaoka tests directly as I'm having a bit of an ortofon/AT thing going on, but I can lend you a 440Mla as a comparison. As a matter of interest who did the retip on the P78?

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 14 Feb 2018 17:37

Thanks for the offer of the 440MLa. When I am able to start the recording process I will contact you at that point if I may?

I will offer the loan of a P77 body and the P78/FG2 stylus after all the recordings are done in return for you to try in the SME series 3.

I know the AT have a higher compliance than the initial specs suggest how do you find them in use?


The retip of the P78 stylus was done by Dominic at Northwest Analogue replacing a very worn Weinz Paroc tip.

I must admit it wasn’t until I listed them all for the post that I realised just how many styli I had accumulated!! Good job my better half won’t see the list :x

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by Tonybro » 14 Feb 2018 23:01

We aren't too far apart, I could possibly loan you my MP500, I also have my used JPN500 stylus you could try on one of the other bodies.

As to recording - don't use YouTube as they compress things down - you need to have samples shared somewhere at whatever resolution you can.

PM me if interested.

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by cminor7b5 » 15 Feb 2018 00:13

This guy's on an interesting journey.

Some nice comparisons between tables and cartridges.


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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by cminor7b5 » 15 Feb 2018 00:15

Here's another comparing an Ortofon vs Nagaoka.

I've owned a Nag 150 since Nov 2017.


billshurv
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by billshurv » 15 Feb 2018 00:44

Ah, when I spoke to Dom about 12 months ago he seemed very recalcitrant to do MM retips. Good to know he has changed his view on that. I may use him sometime. I can't comment on in use yet as a certain little girl has rather delayed a number of my projects and everything is hinging on a new phono pre-amp that's build but awaiting test and boxing. It's a little bit different and is intended to test a whole pile of theories. But due to it's long gestation I've rather gone out of control on collecting MMs to try out.

The 3009 SIII is fairly recent as I couldn't resist a good deal on one with the ortofon 30H wand on it. This is possibly the extreme end of low mass high compliance. I wasn't going to get a 1/2" wand but then I realised that the AT150MLx* I had bought to go on my main table with an SME309 was not a good match. So of course I had to...

So once I get the 30H re-tipped I will have compliances from 35 (I know why is it called a '30') down to 5 (shure SC35C). I need to measure for myself, but the consensus appears to be the that AT range are around 18cu in normal money (10Hz) which isn't too bad, but higher than most arms would like IMO. YMMV.

I have 3 or 4 x77 bodies available as well along with a few random Shure's.

*The 150 is also available if you want.

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 15 Feb 2018 08:46

Can I thank everyone for the offer of styli/bodies it is much appreciated and I will PM each of you when I am in front of the PC rather than try and type a lot through my phone if that is OK?

Thanks to cminor7b5 for the links.

I think that I may have been lucky and got Dom’s curiosity going with the P78 as
1. He didn’t know it existed (sent him a copy of info from a catalogue showing it) and
2. I sent him a copy of an AES paper with info provided by Dr Weinz of “Paroc” tip fame showing his work on a Paroc tip on a solid Boron cantilever which subsequently became the P78 for A&R (Cambridge).

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by billshurv » 15 Feb 2018 11:24

Don't suppose you have a copy of the trigon paper Weinz did? I lost mine. My understanding is that ESCO made the Paroc for the P77 (my first cartridge back in the 80s) after the good Doctor's unfortunately early death and then worked out how to make the Trigon, which is now the paratrace. But that is based on a very old Hifinews article scan.

The paratrace is an enigma mainly as it doesn't get used on much OEM stuff so no one really knows where it sits in the shifting sands of high end diamonds. opinions vary, which is not suprising really :)

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 15 Feb 2018 12:11

From what I understand is that the early P77 - advised as a Parabolic stylus by A&R - (aluminium cantilevered + Paroc) and P78 (boron cantilever + Paroc) were done by Weinz but after his death shortly after the product was launched the P77 etc. went to ESCo for a version of the Paratrace but the P78 was made obsolete and A&R never changed the description from Parabolic.

I don't think that ESCo have ever published what dimensions the Paratrace is supposed to be but looking at my tips, pictures and data I have found it appears to be more like a Van den Hull and Vital tips with curved ground front and rear surfaces (a bit like the FG2 too) rather than using straight surfaces like the Paroc, FG70, FGS, Replicant etc. styli.

The only dimensions I have seen for the Paratrace is on the Soundsmith site were he gives the following (listed in increasing "fineness" of minor radius) which puts it up with the better known types:-

Hyper Elliptical (various sizes!)
Line Contact (various sizes)
Fine Line 8 x 40 um
#
Stereohedron 7 x 72 um
Shibata "small" design 6 x 50 um
Shibata "large" design 6 x 75 um
FritzGeiger 5 x 70 um
VanDenHull 4 x 70 um
Paratrace 4 x 70 um
Micro Ridge 3.8 x 75 um
Micro Line 2.5 x 75 um
SAS 2.5 x 75 um

# this is where the Paroc 7 x 50 um would fit in the table.

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by billshurv » 15 Feb 2018 12:34

Wish I had saved that article scan. Hey ho.

chiz
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by chiz » 16 Feb 2018 11:10

DeepEnd wrote:The only dimensions I have seen for the Paratrace is on the Soundsmith site were he gives the following (listed in increasing "fineness" of minor radius) which puts it up with the better known types:-

Hyper Elliptical (various sizes!)
Line Contact (various sizes)
Fine Line 8 x 40 um
#
Stereohedron 7 x 72 um
Shibata "small" design 6 x 50 um
Shibata "large" design 6 x 75 um
FritzGeiger 5 x 70 um
VanDenHull 4 x 70 um
Paratrace 4 x 70 um
Micro Ridge 3.8 x 75 um
Micro Line 2.5 x 75 um
SAS 2.5 x 75 um

# this is where the Paroc 7 x 50 um would fit in the table.
Interesting that the Paratrace and VanDenHull dimensions quoted here are the same but note that on the VDH website he states 2 x 85 μm for the VDH1 and 7 x 40 μm for the VDH2.
http://www.vandenhul.com/reviews/phono- ... ge-reviews

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by billshurv » 16 Feb 2018 12:02

I wouldn't guarantee soundsmith had checked any of their numbers. For example expert do not publish the specs on the paratrace so that's a wild guess or internet lore!

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 16 Feb 2018 12:24

Hi chiz,

Thanks for the link to the article and I didn't suggest that Soundsmith got all the correct info but just this was the only place I had seen the Paratrace dimensions listed. He also only lists one Gyger but there are a few (and does not say he uses FG2 "line contact" and FGS "optimised line contact" in his retips either).

I do think that some of the profiles have been "improved" from the original patent listings Van den Hull being one and Gyger being another. I think it's all part of the "mystique" they paint about their brand of styli (more commonly known as "disguised with smoke and mirrors" where I live). The original patented VDH could have "morphed" into a smaller radii VDH1 and larger radi VDH2 but he is probably not going to admit if some of his earlier work was not quite as extreme on minor radii and have to deal with unhappy customers wanting updating to the latest and greatest for a discount!!


For example Billshurv posted Gyger drawings in another post (and kindly sent me a copy too) for both the FG2, which shows a single major radius(70) and minor (6) and a cross section that shows a true parabola rather like an original VDH, Paratrace, Vital etc, but also the FGS drawing which shows a huge range of possible radii (15-120) and one 5 minor (FG70?) but the drawing could cover FG70, FG80, FGS and replicant that all have the trapezoid cross section with flat parallel front and rear like his original patent.

It's also interesting to note that if you look at Namiki tip specs an 0.3 x 0.7 mil (7.5 x 18) elliptical could actually be from 0.2 x 0.8 (almost a hyper elliptical) to 0.4 x 0.6 almost a conical!! I accept that you will have tolerance in manufacturing but wonder if this range of sharp to blunt radii explains why different people get different experiences with the supposedly the same cartridge?

chiz
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by chiz » 16 Feb 2018 12:32

billshurv wrote:I wouldn't guarantee soundsmith had checked any of their numbers. For example expert do not publish the specs on the paratrace so that's a wild guess or internet lore!
Agreed!
I've read elsewhere that the paratrace is a copy of the VDH but this may just be an assumption based on visual similarities.

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