Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my system?

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peternovy
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Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my system?

Post by peternovy » 20 Jun 2018 09:37

Hi Everyone, I am looking for advice. I am planning to upgrade my cartridge and am reading all the reviews, and it seems like the Nagaoka MP-110 is a cartridge than many people are very happy with.
However, I have some doubts if it will work well with my system, which already has a warm sound. I have my turntable hooked up to a vintage Sansui QRX-7001 in a quad setup with some B&O speakers from mid 70ies.
I also have a smaller stereo setup with a Sansui G-301 and there is a clear difference in the sound -- the QRX is warmer, darker, while the G-301 has a more analytical sound, certainly brighter than than the QRX.
The turntable I currently have is a Pioneer PL-12D with the basic AT95E cartridge, but I will likely upgrade the turntable soon as well.

In any case, my question is the following. Many people mentioned that the Nagaoka MP-110 sounds mellow and smooth.
Will the mellowness of my QRX system and the mellowness of the cartridge add up to create dullness?
I somehow feel that I should go for a more analytical, brighter cartridge, but that also means going much higher in price as well if one wants a good performer, from what I read. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by raphaelmabo » 20 Jun 2018 12:54

If you have a warm sounding system already then a warm sounding cartridge can add to the warmth yes. I am not familiar with your amp, but B&O speakers from the 70's can be a bit warm I would say. I grow up with B&O, my parents has had several systems from them. :)

I would suggest Goldring E2 or E3, it cost similar as the Nagaoka and it would work well the Pioneer turntable, and this would be an upgrade of the AT95 that you currently have. Or, change to a finer better stylus for the AT95 this way you won't even have to change the cartridge. :) Maybe this would be the best solution, an improvement of what you already have. The AT95 is a good cartridge, and with a better stylus it is even better with more details.

Like this one:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN95VL.html

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by raphaelmabo » 20 Jun 2018 18:01

Goldring 2100 is a snappier alternative to the E3, more forward sounding (E3 is smooth but clean and rich, a very balanced performer). The 2100 shows up more details and better timing on complex materials. But it is a bit more expensive. It’s the start in the 2x00 range, the stylus is upgradeable when funds allow. It propably would match your system well. As a side note: It’s actually made by Nagaoka, but sounds more dynamic and powerful than the jazzier MP110.

Ortofon 2M Red or Blue are also an alternative.

But upgrading the stylus on your AT95 is still the best choice for value for money.

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by Woodbrains » 20 Jun 2018 21:34

Hello,

I'm currently enjoying a Goldring E3 in my PL12D at the moment. It isn't broken in yet, but all the same is good, if you want a brighter cart, then this certainly is.

Be advised, though, it is a very wide bodied cart and will not fit the PL12 standard headshell, if this is what you are using, If you don't own any alternative headshells, you will need to get one which has no sidewalls, just a flat top, as most modern shells are these days.

Hope this helps,

Mike.

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by Boltman92124 » 20 Jun 2018 21:48

raphaelmabo wrote:If you have a warm sounding system already then a warm sounding cartridge can add to the warmth yes. I am not familiar with your amp, but B&O speakers from the 70's can be a bit warm I would say. I grow up with B&O, my parents has had several systems from them. :)

I would suggest Goldring E2 or E3, it cost similar as the Nagaoka and it would work well the Pioneer turntable, and this would be an upgrade of the AT95 that you currently have. Or, change to a finer better stylus for the AT95 this way you won't even have to change the cartridge. :) Maybe this would be the best solution, an improvement of what you already have. The AT95 is a good cartridge, and with a better stylus it is even better with more details.

Like this one:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN95VL.html
Have you tried the VL Raphael? How do you like your Thorens 203?

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by AlwaysAirborne » 21 Jun 2018 03:23

Let's be clear. The Nagaoka MP-110 is not a mellow cartridge and it isn't dull or lacking in detail. The bass is full while retaining excellent timbre, dynamics, and transients for a cart in its price class. The midrange and highs do have a smooth character while retaining strong rhythmic drive and presenting plenty of detail. Overall I would say it was well balanced. As a former owner I can assure you it is a significant upgrade from the AT95E or Ortofon OM10 (Red level), and most other entry level carts. Whether it is a good match is up to you, but I think it would work great.

FYI I love the Sansui QRX-7001. What a fun receiver. Does everything still work on yours? Has it been rebuilt or is it all original?

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by peternovy » 21 Jun 2018 05:47

Thanks a lot Guys, I appreciate all the advice! I am really tempted to try the Nagaoka, I've read a lot of great things about it, and the price is excellent. I am also considering the Grado Red and the Ortofon 2m Blue, as they have similarly good reviews, they are a bit more expensive but still within range.

Raphaelmabo: I looked online for the Goldring EX, but I have found claims that it's a rebranded AT95E, I'll have to check this carefully...

AlwaysAirborne: I love the receiver too, I got it not so long ago and it has been completely serviced so it is in a "like new" condition internally, although it does have a couple of scratches on the top panel. The Vario-Matrix decoder works great so I can enjoy SQ and QS vinyl. And the synthesized fake quad can be appealing as well :) The only thing I don't know much about is the CD-4 demodulator, since I would need a specifically prepared turntable, a much more expensive cartridge and some CD-4 vinyl records to try it out. In any case, the QRX looks and sounds glorious, I would post a picture but I don't know how to...

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by chiz » 21 Jun 2018 10:41

peternovy wrote:I looked online for the Goldring EX, but I have found claims that it's a rebranded AT95E, I'll have to check this carefully...
Looking at these pictures they do appear to be based on the AT95E.

https://www.hifihut.ie/media/catalog/pr ... stylus.jpg
https://hifishop.retrophonic.sg/wp-cont ... Stylus.jpg

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by raphaelmabo » 21 Jun 2018 11:13

Boltman92124 wrote:Have you tried the VL Raphael? How do you like your Thorens 203?
No not personally but I've seen many great reviews of the VL upgrade to the AT95E, many seems to be very happy with it. I was very tempted to try the version for the AT3600 that came with my turntable, but in the end I choosed to go way beyond that. I love my TD203 the more I use it. :) A great sounding player. It looks simple, but it gives magic and has some really nice touches in the construction.

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by Woodbrains » 21 Jun 2018 12:42

chiz wrote:
peternovy wrote:I looked online for the Goldring EX, but I have found claims that it's a rebranded AT95E, I'll have to check this carefully...
Looking at these pictures they do appear to be based on the AT95E.

https://www.hifihut.ie/media/catalog/pr ... stylus.jpg
https://hifishop.retrophonic.sg/wp-cont ... Stylus.jpg
Hello,

The E3 may well be based on the AT 95E, but looking at the pictures could not remotely lead us to that conclusion. The E3 is massive by comparison and the needle mounting is vastly different, even if the stylus and cantilever may be a common component. Audio Technica is almost certainly the manufacturer of the E series carts, the V formation dual magnet arrangement is their design, but that is used in all the current AT moving magnet carts. Who knows what Goldring specified in the production of their carts.

Mike.

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by chiz » 21 Jun 2018 13:39

Woodbrains wrote: Hello,

The E3 may well be based on the AT 95E, but looking at the pictures could not remotely lead us to that conclusion. The E3 is massive by comparison and the needle mounting is vastly different, even if the stylus and cantilever may be a common component. Audio Technica is almost certainly the manufacturer of the E series carts, the V formation dual magnet arrangement is their design, but that is used in all the current AT moving magnet carts. Who knows what Goldring specified in the production of their carts.

Mike.
What I’m saying is if you ignore all the plastic it looks like the same generator housing to me.

Also if you look at the published specs there are a lot of similarities.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Linn and Clearaudio have both sold well regarded cartridges based on this same AT design.

http://kumadesign.com/PIX/K9/VM_styli.jpg

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by Woodbrains » 21 Jun 2018 14:43

Hi,

I'm not saying it is a bad thing, either, and it may well be the case. I just wonder how internet speculation becomes repeated as fact, but no horses mouth confirmation is ever cited. In some ways, the new body on the E3 looks modern and cool, but doesn't fit the majority of my headshells... It might have been better it they stuck to the AT design a bit more!

Mike.

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by peternovy » 21 Jun 2018 15:05

Just to clarify, I never wrote anything definitive about this, only that I have seen such claims online and would need to verify them before considering a purchase.

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by chiz » 21 Jun 2018 15:14

Hi Mike,

My speculation about the precise model it is based on remains unconfirmed and I have no desire or intention for it to become accepted as fact.

I did find a horses mouth statement on the subject here though:

https://theaudiophileman.com/goldring-e3

“The Goldring E Series are indeed manufactured in Japan (as it states on the carton btw) by Audio Technica. Costs in the UK are generally too high to be ideal for budget cartridge manufacture. Goldring choose to manufacture their more upscale models in the UK. AT were an idea partner and willing to include Goldring’s ideas – like the adjustment screw and the easy stylus replacement – into the models as well as of course working with us on choice of cantilever and diamond profile. Acceptance of the new models has been superb and Goldring are delighted to be working with a partner that cares as much as we do about quality and consistency.”

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Re: Can the Nagaoka MP-110 be too warm and mellow for my sys

Post by raphaelmabo » 21 Jun 2018 16:32

Having Audio-Technica manufacture it doesn’t mean it sounds like an AT. Goldring 2x00 moving iron cartridges are made by Nagaoka but differs quite much from Nag’s. Goldring having more slam, attack, pace and details. So nuch that it was too much for me, so I changed to Sumiko Pearl. Pearl is close to the MP110 in sound, dynamic, fun, even more bass, airy treble but smooth and on the warm side of neutral. Treble has full info but less energy than midband. This creates the sense of warmth.
Now I have a Benz on and it is really nice. :)

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