What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

the thin end of the wedge
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smee4
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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by smee4 » 26 Nov 2018 00:12

JohannesM wrote:
25 Nov 2018 23:59
Any one know what the difference id between the AT3600L and AT3600 ?
Yes the L suffix means is has a 'carbon fibre' cantilever and higher tracking force.

octavius
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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by octavius » 26 Nov 2018 05:48

Yes I bought here like bundle 1 for 7,6€ approx $7 but now is bundle 1 out of stock... http://www.aliexpress.com/item/High-Qua ... 4c4detgQfE
I think prices goes up before Christmas :oops:

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by BMRR » 26 Nov 2018 15:48

There is no difference.

octavius
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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by octavius » 26 Nov 2018 17:40

yes of course the price is still funny :)

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by cafe latte » 26 Nov 2018 22:21

I put mine on again last night every time I do it surprises me. I have been listening to some of my better carts in the last week, I have been going through my MC's checking the stylus under the microscope and giving them a spin. Last night after listening to Bob Dylan and some of his mouth organ I thought hmm wonder how this would sound with the humble AT3600? Just this track though then back to the other cart...
Ok just one more track, hmm ok one more.. Ok after the other side too :D Detail great and mouth organ highs detailed with lots of impact without becoming hard. Yes of course the MC had the detail edge ie very fine information but still need to pinch yourself to remember the cart spinning was only 20 odd bucks and can be had for as little as 8 dollars with a new stylus!! I am going to have to get a bunch of these in reserve, of course not my best cart by a long way but probably my most fun cart and you cant help smiling too when you think that the price of the cart delivered was less than the cost of delivery of most of my carts!!
Chris

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by MCM_Fan » 27 Nov 2018 00:05

cafe latte wrote:
26 Nov 2018 22:21
I put mine on again last night every time I do it surprises me. I have been listening to some of my better carts in the last week, I have been going through my MC's checking the stylus under the microscope and giving them a spin. Last night after listening to Bob Dylan and some of his mouth organ I thought hmm wonder how this would sound with the humble AT3600? Just this track though then back to the other cart...
Ok just one more track, hmm ok one more.. Ok after the other side too :D Detail great and mouth organ highs detailed with lots of impact without becoming hard. Yes of course the MC had the detail edge ie very fine information but still need to pinch yourself to remember the cart spinning was only 20 odd bucks and can be had for as little as 8 dollars with a new stylus!! I am going to have to get a bunch of these in reserve, of course not my best cart by a long way but probably my most fun cart and you cant help smiling too when you think that the price of the cart delivered was less than the cost of delivery of most of my carts!!
Chris
Installed one of these AT3600L on a JVC JL-A40 (ca. 1977 direct drive semi-automatic) yesterday.

https://i.postimg.cc/ZYQdJrJP/Time-Out-6-Eye-1.jpg

I plan to sell this table (too many tables), but wanted to get it properly set up and working first. Of course, it sounds great. Some lucky new owner will get a solidly-built, reliable, direct-drive semi-automatic table with a great sounding new cartridge for less than the cost of one of these:

https://www.potterybarn.com/pbimgs/rk/i ... /img6o.jpg

cafe latte
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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by cafe latte » 27 Nov 2018 12:50

MCM_Fan wrote:
27 Nov 2018 00:05
cafe latte wrote:
26 Nov 2018 22:21
I put mine on again last night every time I do it surprises me. I have been listening to some of my better carts in the last week, I have been going through my MC's checking the stylus under the microscope and giving them a spin. Last night after listening to Bob Dylan and some of his mouth organ I thought hmm wonder how this would sound with the humble AT3600? Just this track though then back to the other cart...
Ok just one more track, hmm ok one more.. Ok after the other side too :D Detail great and mouth organ highs detailed with lots of impact without becoming hard. Yes of course the MC had the detail edge ie very fine information but still need to pinch yourself to remember the cart spinning was only 20 odd bucks and can be had for as little as 8 dollars with a new stylus!! I am going to have to get a bunch of these in reserve, of course not my best cart by a long way but probably my most fun cart and you cant help smiling too when you think that the price of the cart delivered was less than the cost of delivery of most of my carts!!
Chris
Installed one of these AT3600L on a JVC JL-A40 (ca. 1977 direct drive semi-automatic) yesterday.

https://i.postimg.cc/ZYQdJrJP/Time-Out-6-Eye-1.jpg

I plan to sell this table (too many tables), but wanted to get it properly set up and working first. Of course, it sounds great. Some lucky new owner will get a solidly-built, reliable, direct-drive semi-automatic table with a great sounding new cartridge for less than the cost of one of these:

https://www.potterybarn.com/pbimgs/rk/i ... /img6o.jpg
ARRG the Crusher is fired up!!
:lol:
Chris

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by cafe latte » 27 Nov 2018 13:05

Received my err elliptical LP gear stylus today. First impression was the stylus has come into contact with lid of box ans scribbled a mass of scratches not good!! Without my microscope I would have been worried but turned out no damage but still packing not good.
Stylus was again perfect IMO a AT product that LP gear has modded. Under microscope basically the front edge of original conical has been ground off so not really an elliptical but done well all the same. IGD was gone and stylus sounded great but not sure how much step up from original, just a bit cleaner and maybe little less IGD but basically the same IMO little more clean as I said but same presentation which is good. Stylus was great though AT tips seem great very smooth probably why so many love this cart.
Chris

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by BMRR » 27 Nov 2018 13:56

TurntableNeedles had a Black Friday special on their AT3600 cartridge with JICO elliptical stylus. Usually they sell this cart/stylus combo for $43 but the Black Friday special was $22, so I ordered four of them and will install them on some of the turntables I'm planning to sell. :) At $22 I just couldn't pass it by. That's less than the normal price of the stylus alone. Each cart also included a set of nice quality headshell wires with gold clips.

The stylus has a very slender aluminum cantilever and a nicely polished .3x.7mil diamond. It also has a flip-down stylus guard.

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by cafe latte » 27 Nov 2018 22:22

BMRR wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:56
TurntableNeedles had a Black Friday special on their AT3600 cartridge with JICO elliptical stylus. Usually they sell this cart/stylus combo for $43 but the Black Friday special was $22, so I ordered four of them and will install them on some of the turntables I'm planning to sell. :) At $22 I just couldn't pass it by. That's less than the normal price of the stylus alone. Each cart also included a set of nice quality headshell wires with gold clips.

The stylus has a very slender aluminum cantilever and a nicely polished .3x.7mil diamond. It also has a flip-down stylus guard.
Nice, sorry I missed that deal!!
Chris

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by smee4 » 27 Nov 2018 22:37

cafe latte wrote:
27 Nov 2018 13:05
IGD was gone and stylus sounded great but not sure how much step up from original, just a bit cleaner and maybe little less IGD but basically the same IMO little more clean as I said but same presentation which is good. Stylus was great though AT tips seem great very smooth probably why so many love this cart.
Chris
That's what I found as well. I think it is a good thing that the elliptical doesn't change the basic sound of this cheap cart much. It just cleans it up and adds a little detail. Mine also looks well polished and nicely made.

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by metrofarm » 26 May 2019 06:20

Moved my AT3600 onto a Thorens TD125 with SME 3009 tonearm that was gifted to me by a mate. He came round for dinner last night, was happy to see his old turntable restored and hear it in my system compared to the TD125 that he has in his own. I mentioned, in passing, the $16 cartridge that happened to be fitted at the moment. A few records later in the evening (Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms, Cassandra Wilson - Travelling Miles, Cooking with Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal - Poinciana), he looked at me and mused, "Why am I buying $500 cartridges?"

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by metrofarm » 26 May 2019 11:35

metrofarm wrote:
26 May 2019 06:20
Moved my AT3600 onto a Thorens TD125 with SME 3009 tonearm that was gifted to me by a mate. He came round for dinner last night, was happy to see his old turntable restored and hear it in my system compared to the TD125 that he has in his own. I mentioned, in passing, the $16 cartridge that happened to be fitted at the moment. A few records later in the evening (Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms, Cassandra Wilson - Travelling Miles, Cooking with Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal - Poinciana), he looked at me and mused, "Why am I buying $500 cartridges?"
Of, course, I don't mean to say he thought it was better, I think it was more of a shock to realise how much musical enjoyment is possible with such a small investment in cartridge.

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by ]eep » 23 Jun 2019 04:03

I bought a vintage Philips FP 146 1984 tangential turntable in the 2ndH store that was missing the stylus. Not so strange if you have an only 10" mat on a 12", erm 'platter' (solid 2mm Alu saucer) without disc size selection. I paid a whopping €5. So I decided to go all out and put down another €8,50 on the 3600L. The FP146 does have a 0.5" mount but no counterweight or anything to adjust VTF with, only a spring. So the VTF changes with the weight of the cartridge. 4g sounded OK but is a bit much imo. So putting a bit more tension on the spring by pulling it out with a Q-tip rod got it exactly where I wanted it.

From the look of it, square flimsy plastic, you wouldn't expect much. But it's an absolute joy to use and it sounds really, really great. It has a full bass, not well controlled but very extended, great mids, even good highs. Soundstage is wide and has depth. Only the treble over 10k is falling off rather fast as expected for a conical tip. And it's very sensitive for footfall bumps. But it sounds really clean and tracks well. IGD? What is that? Right, tangential.

Unbelievable how good a sound I got for <$15. I'm keeping it for playing those beater records and old mono's.

The only thing I don't like is the flimsy platter assembly. I could put on a 10mm Rega platter since it has the same size hole and would -just- fit under the ] shaped arm. But it's not pretty with the transparent platter. So I'll try a 5mm acrilic platter on top of the Alu platter to give it -some- mass. And I ordered the blue Lp-gear LE and VL styli to see how far it will go. I'm only doing that because I think it's a keeper. I can always swap them over to a Lenco L78. How much fun can you have for the price of 1 cinema ticket? (money I totally wasted on Star Wars-The Last Jedi for instance).

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Re: What about cheap Chinese cartridges?

Post by Jools45 » 12 Aug 2019 08:50

MCM_Fan wrote:
25 Aug 2018 18:47
EdAInWestOC wrote:Spending more of your budget on these items will likely transfer into better quality sound from your system. A cheap cartridge can sound bad, or worse, ruin your record collection.

Spend as much of your income as you can on these items, if you want the best possible sound quality from your system. Money doesn't always mean better sound, but it can, if you spend wisely.
I deleted the rest of your quote, because I agree, in principle with what you wrote.

However, I take minor issue with the bolded comment, as it applies to the particular cartridge being discussed in this thread. You are speaking in general terms, but I don't want anyone to get the mistaken impression that this particular inexpensive Chinese made Audio Technica AT3600L will "ruin their record collection". As long is it's properly set up, it won't cause any more wear or damage than any other cartridge/stylus. Even the most expensive cartridge will damage records if not properly set up.

In fact, a simple 0.6 conical, like the one on the AT3600L, is more forgiving of minor set up errors than a more expensive, more exotic stylus. That said, I believe in spending the effort to get the best set up regardless of cartridge price or stylus profile, because proper alignment of the cartridge is, in general, more important than the cost of the cartridge when it comes to preventing damage to one's valuable record collection.

I just installed one of these inexpensive Chinese made AT3600Ls last night. I went through all the usual measurements with a protractor and scale, double and triple checked my work, played a couple records, went to bed then got up this morning and ran it through my Shure Audio Obstacle Course test record, made a minor adjustment to the anti-skate setting, and am listening to it now.

What you say about more expensive gear taking things to a higher level is true, in general, but even an inexpensive piece of equipment like this Chinese made AT3600L can provide a very enjoyable experience. I have multiple turntables and cartridges and plan to use this one for a very specific purpose - playing used vinyl of less than perfect quality. It's well suited to that task. The 0.6 mil conical is very forgiving of the surface noise often present on these used LPs. Of course, the trade off is it isn't as detailed, especially in the highs, and has more inner groove distortion than my much more expensive cartridge, but it lets me enjoy many records I would not otherwise have access to while saving my more expensive stylus for my more pristine albums.

I am very picky about condition when buying used vinyl, but some things just aren't available new, and finding sealed vintage copies is hit or miss and often priced beyond what I'm willing to spend. I clean any and all records before I play them and clean my styli regularly. In other words, I do the best I can. I do have many new and pristine used albums, but I'd hate to limit myself to these titles.

So, enter the inexpensive Chinese made AT3600L. It's perfect for my intended use, and honestly sounds way better than you'd think given the price. Although, I prefer my more expensive cartridge (Signet TK10ML) for my "clean" vinyl, I would not be worried about the AT3600L damaging them if I played them on the AT3600L. Horses for courses, I suppose.

One additional application for this cheap AT3600L is for those just starting into vinyl. One of these, properly set up, on a vintage turntable won't cost any more than a cheap Crosley with a ceramic cartridge that sounds terrible and will actually damage records.

I help a lot of my friends, colleagues and friends of my children enter the world of vinyl. I help them track down a good deal on a vintage turntable, perform any required maintenance/repairs and properly set up a cartridge for them. Many of the best deals are tables that are missing the cartridge or stylus, and often the ones that aren't missing have badly worn styli with bent cantilevers. I plan to order a few more of these $13 AT3600Ls just to have them on hand for this purpose. Of course, it's not the be all end all, and many of these users may end up upgrading in the future, many will not. Some will decide vinyl just isn't for them, in which case, minimizing their initial investment lets them get out without any significant financial penalty. That's usually my goal, to set them up with their first turntable that they can fully recover their costs should they either decide to sell it and move up, or sell it and move out. In either case, their inexpensive investment can be passed onto someone else entering the hobby on a limited budget. An inexpensive cartridge like this $13 AT3600L is perfect for this application.
What a great post, I really enjoyed reading this. It makes a lot of 'good' sense. It's not all about the money!

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