Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

the thin end of the wedge
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Naggy
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by Naggy » 20 Dec 2018 23:49

I like Nagaokas...never seen them advertise in a magazine...genuine vinyl replay artisans. They made a few other non MP carts too. The MPxx range with good needles are the current used bargains, as I read the MPxxx are about the same sound. I would be interested to know if anyone has experience of old and new sound.

Nagaoka did vintage MM's too. No one writes about these. Anyone have experience?
I bought a NM22 last year (NOS £10). That is a surprisingly nice cart with a coniical stylus, and that gave me the confidence to buy the NM33 (used £10) bad boy - 9mv output, just arrived. It weighs 9.5g and I am dusting off my Technics SLD303 with medium mass arm to try it on - the tonearm needs to be high mass really. Just ordered a NOS TONAR nm33 conical stylus for £14 too!

Did Nagaoka ever make a dud? Not in my experience....hope I haven't spoken too soon..haha

So lets see how the NM33 goes.

Adios

Chuck Glider
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by Chuck Glider » 21 Dec 2018 23:11

Hi Deep End,

Saw your posts and thought wow, this guy has already done what I've been thinking of doing AND some.

I used to have a MP-11B on my old turntable over 20y ago. It was a Revolver, and I sold it decades ago. I did enjoy that cartridge. Remember it having a dynamic focussed sound, but not a wide soundscape. So now, I have the following Nagaoka bits:
1. MP-11 Boron stylus, which I saved from 20 years ago. The tip is worn but not *completely* gone. That said, I'd be reluctant to drag it through a record again, unless it's a Christmas pop song, or something like that!
2. MP-11 body, purchased recently on fleabay
3. MP-11 stylus, completely worn which came with the fleabay body
4. MP-110 stylus on order from Japan. Should arrive in January.

In your posts you talk about "MP-11B body", but is there such a thing? I thought the Boron bit is just the stylus cantilever, and that there is only one kind of MP-11 body? Is that right?

I also wanted to get my MP-11B stylus re-tipped, and I'll look into that. Any suggestions as to what I should do with the completely worn MP-11 stylus?

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 22 Dec 2018 14:25

I think from a technical point of view the MP10, MP11 and MP11 Boron bodies are all the same apart from the colour and the writing on the side of the Boron and the real differences are down to the styli:

MP-10
mp10.jpg
MP-10
(8.279999999999999 KiB) Downloaded 252 times
MP-11
MP11.jpg
MP-11
(15.35 KiB) Downloaded 249 times
MP-11 Boron
file.jpg
MP-11 Boron
(39.07 KiB) Downloaded 252 times

I have not found that the MP11 with any of the styli MP110/MP11B/MP-200 and MP11B/Paratrace has suffered from a lack of soundstage width in either my Planar 3 or RP8 so perhaps this was an odd effect in the revolver deck?

What to do with the worn MP-11 stylus is an interesting question and one I had not thought about. It could be retipped with a "normal" Paratace or similar making it a 2M Bronze competitor (<£100) or possibly with ESCo's nude elliptical (they have a fancy name for this that escapes me at the moment @ <£70) that would make it more of a 2M Blue/Goldring 1006 competitor but as you already have the MP110 stylus as a back up for your Boron+X wether you need this is really your call.

Chuck Glider
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by Chuck Glider » 23 Dec 2018 01:11

Thanks DeepEnd, very useful. The Revolver was a cheaper option back in the day, but it could also be down to the rest of my system at the time. Cannot even remember which amp I had then, but it was also cheap. The speakers were stand mounted Gale with a robust metal grill. They had a fine mid and treble but the bass was not great. Enjoyed the music though. I kept them for a long time because of the metal grills! Tough like tanks.

Although it was over 20y ago, I still remember the difference when I replaced the standard MP-11 stylus with the Boron one. Everything sounded better, and it was more dynamic.

I sold that MP-11 with its original standard stylus back on, with the Revolver, but I kept the Boron stylus even though it was worn. Didn't think it'd be 20y later before I thought about playing it again...

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 23 Dec 2018 13:09

Ah the Gale GS301 would be the speaker type. I once had a pair but never ran them as they had been badly damaged in transit as the metal grills had been pushed back that far they were sitting ON the tweeter dome and bass foam surrounds. From the demo they needed a really good amp to get the bass to fill out (unlike the GS401 that were a bit overdone lower down). These were from the days before Gale just became a name used by Richer Sounds.

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by Chuck Glider » 18 Jan 2019 19:18

Today I fitted a Nagaoka MP-100 body with MP-110 stylus, tracking at 1.8g.
F A B U L O U S !
Everything is great. Bass is deep and detailed, drums and percussion sounds amazing (a lot of that dynamism is to do with the Tisbury Audio Domino), but now the high end, wow. Treble has such clarity and placement. You can almost see the tip of the drum stick hit the cymbal. Soundscape is nice and wide. Loving it, my records have been coming out, one after the other... :)
It seems to me that the MP-100 body is a significant improvement to the old MP-11 body. (whether it's a general thing or just the sample I had, I'll probably never know). I'll be curious to see what difference my Nagaoka MP-11 Boron stylus would make, when it gets back from the re-tippers.
So, my answer to the question that this thread poses is: the current Nagaoka cartridges are excellent! Hugely enjoyable!

BMRR
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by BMRR » 19 Jan 2019 18:23

How well do Nagaoka cartridges perform when it comes to transient response? This is something that I seldom see mentioned in most reviews.

There are situations where slower transient response can produce a sound that is considered more pleasurable or more "analog." I think this imparts some of the "color" to certain cartridges. Carts with very fast transient response are sometimes criticized for being too analytical, or the ultimate insult, "too digital."

Chuck Glider
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by Chuck Glider » 20 Jan 2019 08:18

I think the transient response is pretty good. Judging this by drums, percussion, guitar plucks, piano key strikes and big rapid changes in orchestral music. However, the amplification steps in one's system have a massive impact on transient response too. I'm sure that the MP110 is "colouring" the music somewhat - it's often described as "warm" - but I like what it's doing in my system and how it's helping me re enjoy my music collection. Don't get me wrong - I'm also a big fan of the AT440MLb which has amazing transient response.

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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by BMRR » 20 Jan 2019 16:27

Thank you!

johnnywalker
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by johnnywalker » 20 Jan 2019 18:05

How well do Nagaoka cartridges perform when it comes to transient response?
I can compare the MP-110 and the MP-200, since I listen to both of them. The 110 is fairly average, with a bit of what I term "lag" in its transient response, which I think is part of the "traditional" analogue sound it is purported to produce (i.e., it softens the edges of the sound just a bit, when compared to live music). The 200, on the other hand, with its boron cantilever, has excellent transient response, at least as good as the MCs I listen to. These two carts have influenced me to use Kenny Burrell's "Midnight Blue" as my auditory test of transient response on any new cart (especially the first track, Chittlins Con Carne), with the 200 producing crisp, finger-plucked guitar sounds, while the 110 sounds pretty "normal" with the guitar plucks. I would assume the higher-numbered models sound at least as good or better than the 200 (especially the MP-500 with its ML stylus).

BMRR
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by BMRR » 20 Jan 2019 18:45

Thanks! That's good to know.

DeepEnd
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 21 Jan 2019 06:33

I have a number of styli for mine and with regards to transient response:-

MP110 - not bad probably slightly above average, bit of overhang.
MP200 - very good with excellent control noticeably better on stopping.
MP11 Boron/Paratrace tip - continues to surprise me just how quick this is. It’s particularly good at showing low level transients that some cartridges miss altogether and higher levels really hit you.

BMRR
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Re: Just how good are Nagaoka cartridges?

Post by BMRR » 21 Jan 2019 15:06

Thank you!

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