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Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 02 Feb 2019 14:51
by jcgilles
Hi,
I've just purchased a old Philips 212 turntable equipped with the regular GP400 cartridge but the sound doesn't fit wel to my ears . It seems to harsh. Bad spatiality, aggressive electric guitars and cymbales, unnatural voices.

I have several questions:

1: What is the ideal tracking force of the GP400 (spherical needle) ? 1,5gr, 2gr ?
2: If I upgrade the sylus with the GP401 elliptical model for my damaged records, what would be the best choice: Thakker, Tonar, JICO, Pfeifer, NOS , I'm totally lost ! #-o
3: What would be the best budget cartridge choice for my new records ?
I'm mostly listen to rock, Hard rock, pop, blues and jazz in order of preference.
  • AT120E (I can find one for 95 euros)
    GP412 MKI
    Shure 97xe
    Shure M44G
    Ortofon VMS20E
    Pickering XV15/625E
    Stanton 681EEE
    Grado BLUE
Thank you for your help and time !
JC

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 02 Feb 2019 15:44
by Pauw
I have a GA 212 and I have it with a GP 400 with original Philips conical stylus...I track at 2.55 g and with I good alignment I get some good results. Whilst the GP 400 isn't the greatest cartridge I have ever heard .....to my ears it sounds good and has a nice tone and good balanced sound....

So my first advice would be to look at the GP400 and ask a few questions ......first is the stylus clean? Then I believe the tracking range is 2 to 3 g ...is this well adjusted? .....Then is it a mark 1 or 2 and has it got an original stylus or an after market. Is it a MK 2 in a 1 body or vice versa?

When these have been examined you might get a better result or be able to get it working correctly.....if you can you might find you are satisfied with the system and can save some money.... :D

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 02 Feb 2019 16:09
by pivot
Way back when I had a Phillips GA 212. I used a Shure V-15 III and it worked fine. It has a fairly low mass arm it seems.

Do check that your tone arm pivots are working and not binding, seems to be a weak spot on the 212. Balance the arm to neutral then depress the headshell. Release and the arm should return to neutral balance by itself.

Of the new cartridges you list, IMHO, AT 120 has the best stylus (nude mounted elliptical) and a number of better styli can be fit for upgrade. The Pickering and Stanton have been out of production for years and after market styli are of variable quality.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 02 Feb 2019 18:03
by jcgilles
Thank you both Pivot and Pauw,

The stylus is an original mark 1. It's an NOS not an aftermarket.
But how can I check the good integrity of the stylus and how to clean it ?

I've tried your test on the tonearm Paul and it seems that the pivot is a bit tight.
When I push on the cartrige, it doesn't come freely back to the neutral position.
How can I give it more freedom ?


Thank you again.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 09:33
by jcgilles
pivot wrote:
02 Feb 2019 16:09
Way back when I had a Phillips GA 212. I used a Shure V-15 III and it worked fine. It has a fairly low mass arm it seems.

Do check that your tone arm pivots are working and not binding, seems to be a weak spot on the 212. Balance the arm to neutral then depress the headshell. Release and the arm should return to neutral balance by itself.

Of the new cartridges you list, IMHO, AT 120 has the best stylus (nude mounted elliptical) and a number of better styli can be fit for upgrade. The Pickering and Stanton have been out of production for years and after market styli are of variable quality.
Thank you again.

I've read that high compliance cartridges will fit the best with a low mass tonearm.
The new replacement of the AT120E, the VM350EN has a compliance of only 16 x 10-6 cm/dyne and is more expensive.
I've remarked that Shure cartridges had an higher compliance in general like the Shure 97xe, V-15 III or IV
Would I be wrong with one of these ?
I use to listen to a friend's tuntable equipped with a Stanton and I liked his warm sound.
My system:
The GA212 is connected to a NAD 320BEE + REGA Preamp Fono Mini A2D and drive the REGA RS1.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 12:22
by mamakasou
If your Phillips is with a working NOS stylus, then it should sound pretty good.
If you want something different, I could recommend a few pickups to you:

Shure M44-7 (better than the G, the most 'live' sounding cartridge of the bunch!)
Pickering XV15/625E (very fine 'vintage' sound, hard to find)
Stanton 681EEE (even finer sound, but also harder to find)
Shure M97xE (almost same tonality and overall performance to the Pickering XV15/625, a classic in my ears!)
Shure M92E (a bit less refined and more authoritative that the Shure M97xE, I prefer it for Rock/Pop, excellent overall!)

Note that in my books 'finer' doesn't always translate to better.
Depends on personal taste and types of music.
As well as other factors.

If I were you I would go for the M97xE. You can't go wrong with that pickup.
After using it, if you think it is too mellow and sweet for you, go for the ultimate rockers.
A Shure M44-7 or a Stanton 500AL mkII!

The above descriptions are for the original styli.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 12:35
by Pauw
Bare in mind the arm here works best with higher compliance cartridges..... :D

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 12:49
by mamakasou
Pauw wrote:
04 Feb 2019 12:35
Bare in mind the arm here works best with higher compliance cartridges..... :D
Well, how far lighter is it from a stock Technics 1200 mkii arm?

If it is that light, go with the M92E.
1.5 grams VTF, although I use it at around 1.8 grams.

Or the M97xE.

And if you wanna spend more bucks, go for an original Pickering XV15/625E.
Really good pickup.

It is better actually, than both the Shures above.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 13:05
by Pauw
Pickering XV15/625E.....compliance 17 cu .....that too is not high compliance !

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 13:27
by jcgilles
I'm a mostly Rock/pop, folk and jazz listener.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 04 Feb 2019 14:48
by pivot
jcgilles wrote:
02 Feb 2019 18:03
it seems that the pivot is a bit tight.
When I push on the cartrige, it doesn't come freely back to the neutral position.
How can I give it more freedom ?
Wish I had a simple answer on how to free up the tonearm pivots on the 212. When Philips introduced the new updated 312 they did improve the bearings in the tonearm yoke. The 212 tonearms did have a pretty simple pivot design that was prone to bind.

Things to try: 1. Try a "canned air" product to see if you can blow out any foreign matter. 2. Work the tonearm vertically to see if motion frees up the pivots. DO NOT try to lubricate the tonearm pivots.

Unfortunately high friction from pivot binding really impacts tracking ability.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 09 Feb 2019 13:48
by jcgilles
I've several opportunities at the moment on the bay and in local second hands stores.

Have you any advice on these different cartridges:

AT120eb: 90€ (almost new, played only 2/3 hours)
Stanton 681EEE: 100€ (new)
Shure M91ED: 30€ without stylus
Pickering P/ATE: 30 without stylus

I still have the GP400 with a NOS stylus but I'm thinking about changing the stylus too.

Second questions:
Wich needle choose for the Shure M91ED ?

https://www.needledoctor.com/Shure-N91ED-Generic
https://www.turntableneedles.com/Shure- ... _1390.html
https://www.lpgear.com/product/761DED.html
http://www.audiodj.com/evg-pm3136de-nee ... g-4761-de/

For the Pickering I have no idea, this seems that we can use a Stanton 500 or V15's stylus but I'm not sure

For the original Philips GP400, have you any good elliptical stylus to advice ?

Thank you.

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 09 Feb 2019 15:46
by Peter Smart
If i were you, i would keep the GP 400. It is a well regarded cartridge. Put on a Jico-stylus. They probably are the best you can get: https://www.jico-stylus.com/advanced_se ... 0&x=15&y=6

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 09 Feb 2019 22:11
by jcgilles
Peter Smart wrote:
09 Feb 2019 15:46
If i were you, i would keep the GP 400. It is a well regarded cartridge. Put on a Jico-stylus. They probably are the best you can get: https://www.jico-stylus.com/advanced_se ... 0&x=15&y=6
Thanks Peter
What about the elliptical model ? Is this upgrade really worth it ?
https://www.jico-stylus.com/product_inf ... cts_id=775
Or the cheapest Thakker version?
https://www.thakker.eu/en/needles/d-59- ... us/a-5457/

Re: Philips 212 upgrade cartridge question.

Posted: 10 Feb 2019 08:02
by Peter Smart
The elliptical is an upgrade, but it is a matter of taste. Some audiophiles prefer conicals. The Philips GP 412 is a highly regarded audiophile-cartridge. It is basically the GP 400 with a super-stylus.

Many choices with the GP 400 - body.