Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

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Srwilson1
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Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Srwilson1 » 04 Feb 2019 16:38

I have a Basis 1400 with a Rega RB300. I'm looking for a cartridge that will mate well with the arm and work well with my existing phono stage in my Audio Research SP9 MKIII. Here's a link to the specs http://www.arcdb.ws/SP9/SP9.html
The combined gain of the phono and line seems to me to restrict what I can use to low output cartridges.
This will be going into and Odyssey Stratos and Magnepan MMG speakers.
A Denon 103 worked ok but was not optimal for arm or stage. A 2M Red was unbearably loud at 9 o'clock. Any ideas?
Budget around or under 500 max.

lini
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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by lini » 04 Feb 2019 17:39

srw1: Well, unfortunately Odyssey doesn't specify the input sensitivity of your power amp - so I can only look at it from the pre-amp side, which might already suffice, though. Audio Research specifies a phono stage gain of 46 dB, which, if the volume in your chain was already too high for your taste at a volume control position at 9 o'clock with the 2M Red, would seem more ideal for using either a pretty "quiet" MM/MI or one of the high-output MCs with an output voltage of ca 2 to 2.5 mV (at 5 cm/s and 1 kHz). That should increase your usable volume control range to somewhere between 10 and 11 o'clock.

Alternatively you could use attenuators/voltage dividers either integrated in one of the tape-loops of the SP9 (in case you'd like it switchable) or between the SP9 and the Odyssey amp. You wouldn't be the first user to do that, in order to achieve a more sensible volume control range in combination with pre-/power-amp combos with pretty sensitive inputs and quite a lot of power.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Dr_Wu » 04 Feb 2019 17:51

I have a MM AT cart with 2.7mV output and use the 46dB gain on my phono pre. Sounds great to me, and not too loud.

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Boltman92124 » 04 Feb 2019 19:06

It says phono input to main output gain of 67db in the specs. More than enough for a DL-103. But then it says 46db to tape output. Is it switchable and does it load for LOMC?( only see 47k, not suitable for MC).

Either gain setting would certainly be earl bleeding with a 5mv 2M Red.

Srwilson1
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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Srwilson1 » 04 Feb 2019 20:12

lini wrote:
04 Feb 2019 17:39
srw1: Well, unfortunately Odyssey doesn't specify the input sensitivity of your power amp - so I can only look at it from the pre-amp side, which might already suffice, though. Audio Research specifies a phono stage gain of 46 dB, which, if the volume in your chain was already too high for your taste at a volume control position at 9 o'clock with the 2M Red, would seem more ideal for using either a pretty "quiet" MM/MI or one of the high-output MCs with an output voltage of ca 2 to 2.5 mV (at 5 cm/s and 1 kHz). That should increase your usable volume control range to somewhere between 10 and 11 o'clock.

Alternatively you could use attenuators/voltage dividers either integrated in one of the tape-loops of the SP9 (in case you'd like it switchable) or between the SP9 and the Odyssey amp. You wouldn't be the first user to do that, in order to achieve a more sensible volume control range in combination with pre-/power-amp combos with pretty sensitive inputs and quite a lot of power.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
I have a 12DB attenuator set arriving today to place at the input to the amp. I'm hoping that helps with the overall gain (CD is loud too even though the CD input is attenuated internally, see specs) . My question is would that decrease in overall gain make the 2M Red or other lower cost moving magnets in the 4-5v range at least tolerable until I find the right cartridgev in the right range?

Srwilson1
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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Srwilson1 » 04 Feb 2019 20:32

Dr_Wu wrote:
04 Feb 2019 17:51
I have a MM AT cart with 2.7mV output and use the 46dB gain on my phono pre. Sounds great to me, and not too loud.
Which model is that? Sounds promising.

Srwilson1
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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Srwilson1 » 04 Feb 2019 20:41

I keep coming back to the Denon 110 or the Hana EH. Would you say these are more suited to the Rega arm than the Denon 103?
These are the only two moving coils in the output range and loading (47k) that I could find in my price range.

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Boltman92124 » 04 Feb 2019 21:37

Srwilson1 wrote:
04 Feb 2019 20:12
lini wrote:
04 Feb 2019 17:39
srw1: Well, unfortunately Odyssey doesn't specify the input sensitivity of your power amp - so I can only look at it from the pre-amp side, which might already suffice, though. Audio Research specifies a phono stage gain of 46 dB, which, if the volume in your chain was already too high for your taste at a volume control position at 9 o'clock with the 2M Red, would seem more ideal for using either a pretty "quiet" MM/MI or one of the high-output MCs with an output voltage of ca 2 to 2.5 mV (at 5 cm/s and 1 kHz). That should increase your usable volume control range to somewhere between 10 and 11 o'clock.

Alternatively you could use attenuators/voltage dividers either integrated in one of the tape-loops of the SP9 (in case you'd like it switchable) or between the SP9 and the Odyssey amp. You wouldn't be the first user to do that, in order to achieve a more sensible volume control range in combination with pre-/power-amp combos with pretty sensitive inputs and quite a lot of power.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
I have a 12DB attenuator set arriving today to place at the input to the amp. I'm hoping that helps with the overall gain (CD is loud too even though the CD input is attenuated internally, see specs) . My question is would that decrease in overall gain make the 2M Red or other lower cost moving magnets in the 4-5v range at least tolerable until I find the right cartridgev in the right range?
I put a pair of 12db attenuators on the back of my Sangean HD tuner (which is ridiculously high output). Worked great. Finally found out how good it actually sounds! Or you could look at an outboard phono pre and run it into the ARC line inputs. Something with both MM and LOMC settings. Say 35-40db/60db and loading under 1k.

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by raphaelmabo » 04 Feb 2019 21:49

Srwilson1 wrote:
04 Feb 2019 20:41
I keep coming back to the Denon 110 or the Hana EH. Would you say these are more suited to the Rega arm than the Denon 103?
These are the only two moving coils in the output range and loading (47k) that I could find in my price range.
They are medium compliance designs, and the Denon 103 is a low compliance design. I would say that medium compliance matches the medium compliance arm better.

Now, why not the Benz MC Silver? It's a medium compliance HOMC like the Denon 110 and the Hana EH, and with an output of 2.0 mV - so lower than the 2M Red and just slightly above the Denon 110.

I've had the DL-110 and I say that the Benz gives more presence and bigger soundstage. However, the Denon 110 was sweet and sugary, Benz not. I have no experience with the Hana. Benz MC Silver cost in-between the Denon 110 and Hana EH in Europe, especially if you go for the "simple packaging" around 300 euro (simple cardboard box instead of flashy box, and you save some money :) ). However, it cost twice as much in the US. So it depends a bit where you live...

And oh, there's more options: LP Gear BIN 215 and 323. HOMC with an output of 1.7 mV. Made by Excel Sound Corp, same maker that produces the Hana. The LP Gear is based on an older Excel design and is said to be more shall we say "romantic" or "colorful" sounding, but I haven't heard it so I don't know. The BIN 215 is 215 USD. The 323 is the same cartridge but with a finer stylus and cantilever and a higher price.

There's also the Ortofon MC-1 and MC-3 Turbo, medium compliance HOMC designs and with output of 3.3 mV, but this may be too much for you? Neutral sounding, like all Ortofons. And not as forward as the 2M serie (I've never been a fan of the 2M...).

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by Dr_Wu » 04 Feb 2019 22:25

Srwilson1 wrote:
04 Feb 2019 20:32
Dr_Wu wrote:
04 Feb 2019 17:51
I have a MM AT cart with 2.7mV output and use the 46dB gain on my phono pre. Sounds great to me, and not too loud.
Which model is that? Sounds promising.
The low output MM is AT12Sa. I also use a CF3600LE with the same gain setting. Not sure about that output spec.
You can use the VE Database to search by output range, if that helps.

lini
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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by lini » 05 Feb 2019 00:17

srw1: Yes, those 12 dB level reduction should be sufficient.

And while I don't know the Hana, the Denon DL110 would certainly be a suitable candidate.


Raphael: Could be that the Denon is actually a tad louder than the Benz, 'cause Denon has specified the output voltage for 5 cm/s horizonal/mono modulation only rather than 45°/stereo modulation, so the actual output for 5 cm/s in 45°/stereo modulation would be higher by factor 2^0.5/ca. 1.41.


Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by patient_ot » 05 Feb 2019 04:22

I don't recommend attenuators if you can avoid them. All of them will alter the sound in a way that may not be pleasing to you. Figure out what the gain of your preamp is, put that into the KAB calcuator and find a cart with that output or a little less. Agreed if you seem be at 46db you probably want to look at HOMC models.

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by raphaelmabo » 05 Feb 2019 14:08

lini wrote:
05 Feb 2019 00:17
Raphael: Could be that the Denon is actually a tad louder than the Benz, 'cause Denon has specified the output voltage for 5 cm/s horizonal/mono modulation only rather than 45°/stereo modulation, so the actual output for 5 cm/s in 45°/stereo modulation would be higher by factor 2^0.5/ca. 1.41.
Hm, can't say that I've noticed a big difference between them in volume but I haven't made exact measurements. Both cartridges needs more turning of the volume knob than Ortofon, Sumiko and especially Goldring 2200 that had the highest output of those that I've used.

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by lini » 05 Feb 2019 16:53

Raphael: That's hardly surprising, as neither 2 / 1.6, nor ca. 2.25 / 2 would be much, if we'd express that in dB (namely not quite 2 and a tad over 1 dB). Nevertheless thought I'd mention it, 'cause most manufacturers rather specify the output voltage at 1 kHz and 5 cm/s in 45°/stereo modulation, whereas Denon usually deviated from that standard, so that one will usually need to apply the aforementioned correction faktor for a proper comparison.


p_ot: I don't see that much of a problem with properly dimensioned attenuators (though I personally prefer not to use adaptors but to rather integrate the necessary resistors right into the interconnect cable, which hence of course becomes direction-dependent...). I mean, you're certainly generally correct, that avoiding superfluously high gain or respectively level right from the start would seem smarter than having to attenuate the level again - but I don't see that much of a difference between the level being attenuated via volume pot or via attenuators in the tape-loop or at the pre-amp outputs. Granted, though, in case one would need rather long interconnects from the pre-amp outputs to the power-amp(s) or active/powered speakers, it would seem wiser to put the attenuators in the tape-loop (or already between the loud line-level source and the line-in it's connected to...).


Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Need help with cartridge selection and gain issue

Post by DeepEnd » 05 Feb 2019 18:45

Interesting specifications.

Reference output level is 2V (rms) which is higher than most consumer amplifiers need (0dBu = 0.775V rms, Studio 0dBv = 1.0V rms) so a bit “hot” already.

CD input at 9db below this figure is 710mV which seems reasonable for typical 1000mV output levels.
Line inputs/Tape out at 21db below 2V is 178mV which is slightly too sensitive (250-300mV is more typical).
Phono input at 67db below 2V is only 0.89mV which is too sensitive for MM/MI or HO types.

If you work on only needing possibly 0.775mV these become
CD @ 275mV
Line/tape @ 69mV
Phono 0.345mV (definitely LO MC territory)

Not really surprised a MM seems rather loud and even CD’s would not need a lot of volume.

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