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phono cartridge grading list

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phono cartridge grading list

Postby billshurv » 26 May 2018 00:49

I don't think this has been discussed before, apologies if it has
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/phono-cartridge-grading

whilst it's tempting to find ones favourite cartridge here and either be smug or indignant then chortle at the comments, there are a couple of interesting things to note in the results

1. There are large groups with effectively the same scores, which could be inferred not a lot of difference in real world setups
2. There are no big gaps in the scores as you go from low to high end.

I would not infer anything from that, in terms of him being deaf or having a rubbish scoring system, or even that the difference between an AT440 in 284th place vs the winner is very little. Just a little amusement for a friday...
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby bra10n » 26 May 2018 01:29

Thanks for posting.

Looked at the list and found a cart universally accepted as one of the top 6 carts ever produced listed at #62 I know I've read enough and it's time to go back to listening :lol:
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby cafe latte » 26 May 2018 02:20

An accurate list is impossible to compile IMO. On that list are carts from many moons ago and new stuff it is unlikely anyone can compare them all in new condition side by side. Then not all will work well with all gear ie some are high compliance some are low just too hard to fairly compare.
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby Delta667 » 26 May 2018 02:50

For myself, I derived the formula of the ideal cartridge, it sounds very simple - "ALWAYS". At night, in the morning, in the afternoon, good mood, bad mood, sober, or not sober, in the company, alone, think of the 10th paragraph yourself. Here's a 10-point rating scale for the cartridge. Next, we introduce an incremental coefficient for the age (if at 100 years of age the cartridge meets at least one point - it is ideal))))
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby johnnywalker » 26 May 2018 02:53

Sorry, I have difficulty giving credence to any person who lists "base" as a sonic category.
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby Spinner45 » 26 May 2018 03:27

That so-called list doesn't even include the AT-95E.
It should.
Nevertheless, that listing is biased to one man's opinion.
And last I heard, there's a lot more men in the world.
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby wolfie62 » 26 May 2018 16:21

You have to READ HIS ENTIRE POST to understand his grading of these cartridges!

NUMBER ONE IS HIS PRIORITY FOR RESALE VALUE! (Don't think the AT95E is going to fair well in that department.)

So, you cannot take this list to mean that the best sounding carts go to the top, and worst at the bottom. Glitz and Glamour and ORIGINAL (read: High cost, boutique carts) purchase price have much to do with which carts go on the top 25% of his list.

On a relative scale, I find this list very informative. Just as a relative scaling tool, I highlighted where the Ortofon Red was listed, as well as where several of the Shures, ADCs, and the long history of the Audio Technica carts are listed. Then, standing back, you can get a decent idea of demand/price/reputation for where many carts fall in the "pecking order."

Me? I would never have the opportunity to audition the vast majority of carts on the list. I am happy to report that all the carts I have kept over the years fall in the top 80% of his list!

I have #s 50, 220, 246, 269, 291. Just got the ADC TRX2 (50) yesterday! $25 on Craigslist! So, I guess I pretty much fall in the middle of the pack. I'm ok with that! Especially on price....I REFUSE to pay boutique prices just for snob appeal.
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby BMRR » 27 May 2018 19:08

At the top of the page, he says, "5. The ratio of used and new cartridges approximately 85% used and 15% new- therefore some cartridges could be not working up to specs 100%"

That makes the audio quality comparisons completely unreliable. The AT440MLa might've had 1,000 hours on the stylus for all we know, compared to other carts with 0 hours...
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby wolfie62 » 27 May 2018 21:58

But....As he says, playback quality is not necessarily the prime qualification for his rankings. Resale value is.

That’s why most at the top are high dollar cartridges. Not because they sound or perform better than those further down. Exclusivity is probably the number 1 qualifier for his top 150.

My $25 Craigslist ADC TRX 2 is without a stylus. I see why it’s on the exclusivity countdown! Unobtainium is what it’s made from. It’s not a Styli that’s on the aftermarket list. I may never get to hear it....
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby nat » 27 May 2018 23:56

Any list like this has to be somewhat whimsical/arbitrary. I noted that the highest rated cartridge I've owned (a Denon 103s) was 153 or so. Nice cartridge, but I wouldn't have thought it was that much better that many others I've owned. Several I thought significantly better were way down the list, and I was surprised to see the Decca Gold near the bottom. (And he uses unipivots as well as conventional pivoted arms, so he probably heard it close to how it was intended to be used.)
I enjoyed looking at the list even if probably 75% were cartridges I will never own - I listen to, not worship, records, and wouldn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a cartridge even if I were able, which I am not remotely close to being able to do. There are enough really good used cartridges on tables that can be picked up cheap that I am able to use fine cartridges without spending much, though I have to use what shows up.
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby cafe latte » 28 May 2018 00:30

nat wrote:Any list like this has to be somewhat whimsical/arbitrary. I noted that the highest rated cartridge I've owned (a Denon 103s) was 153 or so. Nice cartridge, but I wouldn't have thought it was that much better that many others I've owned. Several I thought significantly better were way down the list, and I was surprised to see the Decca Gold near the bottom. (And he uses unipivots as well as conventional pivoted arms, so he probably heard it close to how it was intended to be used.)
I enjoyed looking at the list even if probably 75% were cartridges I will never own - I listen to, not worship, records, and wouldn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a cartridge even if I were able, which I am not remotely close to being able to do. There are enough really good used cartridges on tables that can be picked up cheap that I am able to use fine cartridges without spending much, though I have to use what shows up.

I doubt this guy has even heard these carts, he has a Grado green and even a grado platinum (which I own) way up the list from the Decca Gold even a Stanton 500 he has up the list!! The Decca super gold is one of the best carts which I have ever heard and he put utter rubbish ahead of the slightly lesser gold :roll: This kind of makes my point though, were all these carts new? No not possible as they span many years even if he has heard them all which I doubt. Decca to pick one though if old will likely have many issues with tieback for a start and will likely sound horrible unless serviced. Same goes for all these carts, I have some MC's that sounded very "yes whatever" before a retip and after they are WOW!! If this person is really listening to all carts is he listening to perfect examples of them? No for sure not it would cost more than my farm to buy and retip all those carts!!
Like I said a real list is impossible to do anyway, some of us like a more treble sound, or a more bass sound, it is so subjective. Last night I set up my Conrad premier 3 and 4 power and pre valve amps thick creamy but detailed a real in the chest bass lovely.. Before had my mosfet which is heavily biased to class A power amp with the Conrad premier 3 preamp. a slightly cleaner presentation less of the CJ slam but probably more accurate. Then a few weeks ago had the mosfet connected with the DNM preamp probably totally accurate but a bit thinner as valve components removed, still sounds amazing though. Point is using any combination of the gear I own my carts all sound totally completely different so how can one judge a cart for a list with so many other factors affecting the sound and I have not mentioned different arms or carts? Really you would need to listen to each on a few systems to really see how it performs and even then a few people would need to listen as we all like different things anyway. Foolish list IMO..
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby wolfie62 » 28 May 2018 16:19

Yes, foolish if you look at it as a ranking list by performance.

But that isn’t what the list was made for. It was made as a list for RESALE VALUE. Huge difference!

An analogy would be a real estate broker/ agent’s list of properties. You might cringe at the thought of paying for or owning property on that list. But for resale, it’s a goldmine list. High resale value. But low, sell high. Doesn’t matter that the central heat and air doesn’t work, or that the swimming pool pump has gone out. Also, the commission on a $5,000,000 house is a lot more money than on a $50,000 house! Both are very nice houses, with the $50,000 house really worth $100,000.

But, even if we tried to put together a list by members of VE, there would NEVER be agreement! So many examples! I noticed on the list, an AT11E was ranked higher than an AT12E. How many would squabble over that? Or, an AT8008 over an AT440ML?

There would NEVER be agreement!
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Re: phono cartridge grading list

Postby cafe latte » 29 May 2018 01:41

wolfie62 wrote:Yes, foolish if you look at it as a ranking list by performance.

But that isn’t what the list was made for. It was made as a list for RESALE VALUE. Huge difference!

An analogy would be a real estate broker/ agent’s list of properties. You might cringe at the thought of paying for or owning property on that list. But for resale, it’s a goldmine list. High resale value. But low, sell high. Doesn’t matter that the central heat and air doesn’t work, or that the swimming pool pump has gone out. Also, the commission on a $5,000,000 house is a lot more money than on a $50,000 house! Both are very nice houses, with the $50,000 house really worth $100,000.

But, even if we tried to put together a list by members of VE, there would NEVER be agreement! So many examples! I noticed on the list, an AT11E was ranked higher than an AT12E. How many would squabble over that? Or, an AT8008 over an AT440ML?

There would NEVER be agreement!

Squabble on VE :D [-X never heard of such a thing.. :wink:
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