Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

the thin end of the wedge
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Chainlynk
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Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Chainlynk » 24 Jan 2020 20:27

Hello all! I have read different posts on this site for awhile but this is my first posting. As described in the title I am looking to try a new cartridge. I currently have a pioneer Pl-112d turntable with a empire 2000e/III cartridge. The turntable is a manual belt drive made in the late 70's. I have a few different stylus for it, from the $20 one you can get on eBay to the lp gear $80 one. The lp gear stylus is the only one I found that has a nude elliptical .002x.007 diamond, that's the specs empire used, the rest are .003x.007. That being said on a brand new record I still can't tell the difference between the cheap stylus and the expensive one. I got the turntable with the cartridge when my best friend passed away(killed at 40 in a motorcycle accident). I have had the turntable a few years now and bought some new records as well as having received my friends collection. I like how it sounds, plenty of bass and good mids and highs. I don't have anything to compare it to though other than cd versions of the same songs. Listening to them on vinyl they seem more alive and vibrant if not necessarily more (clear/clean?) if that makes any sense. I listen to rock music from the 60's up to the present. I am using a Sony str770, 7.2 surround sound unit, I put it on multi stereo which plays all speakers on stereo including the subwoofer. The speakers are two sets of pioneer cs-405 for front and surround Boston acoustic hd8 for rear surround and a definitive procenter 1000 for the center and a Klipsch r-12sw subwoofer. I realize that this is a weird assortment of audio stuff but it's what I have and I'm probably not going to be getting anything better in the near future. Sometimes I like to really enjoy, relax and listen to music, like when I listen to Simon and Garfunkel, other times I just want to listen to it LOUD like when I listen to the Misfits (80s punk rock band). I know the pioneer speakers are not going to reproduce really high quality sound but they sound really good to me and when I want to turn it up the put out a heart rythem interfering level of decibels. Anyway I just want to play around with the turntable maybe see if different types of music sound better on a different cart. I hope I gave you guys enough info on my setup, let me know if you need more. Something tells me may already have the perfect cartridge but any suggestions would be welcome, I may even consider changing speakers but they would have to be budget friendly, thanks.

blekenbleu
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by blekenbleu » 24 Jan 2020 22:29

It has been a very long time since I played an Empire 2000E/III;
as I recall, mine was replaced by a Shure V15 (but I don't recall whether Type II or III)
At any rate, those all were high compliance low tracking force cartridges
of which there are now very few in current production, and I know of none for low bucks.
If the PL-112d is a good match, its arm may be less rigid and damped
than is ideal for modern, less compliant cartridges.

FWIW, I suspect that some of "more alive and vibrant if not necessarily more (clear/clean?)"
comes from sympathetic vibrations, which a lower compliance stylus could accentuate.
A Shure V15 Type III or IV might be fairly comparable and are well-supported for new styli, but now costly.

If you are interested in trying current cartridges of moderate cost (but lower compliance),
Audio Technica's VM95 series is well-regarded.
There will soon be a "Blind Taste Test" of fairly inexpensive phono cartridges here:
https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 9&t=115632

Collux
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Collux » 24 Jan 2020 22:53

Welcome to Vinyl Engine !
You have a fairly decent cartridge there already, which is a good starting point.
For a different sound you could try another manufacturer.
1. Used: SHURE, Stanton, Pickering , ADC etc.
2. New: Audio Technica, Ortofon, Sumiko, Grado, Nagaoka etc.

Maybe start out with the very inexpensive AT-3600L that has good reviews from members; to access the impact of a different cartridge on your system. And take things from there.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1Pc-Dynamic-Ma ... Swk1hcdmew
(This cartridge is upgradeable with needles from LP Gear)


BTW Your turntable is found in the VE library.
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/pio ... 112d.shtml

Chainlynk
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Chainlynk » 24 Jan 2020 23:28

Thanks guys! Yeah I actually joined this site a couple years ago when I got the TT so I could download the manual. This is my first turntable so I don't know a lot about them, I'm not sure if the arm is considered rigid and highly damped or not. I actually don't know what you mean about damped but it doesn't seem very rigid. I would like to get a modern cartridge but I don't really want to spend more than $100. I may give the at3600 a try $24 on eBay already attached to a headshell brand new why not lol! The vm95 may be the ticket though, thanks for the link I'll keep an eye on the thread. Oh my "pre amp" is a radio shack sa-155, do I need a real pre amp or is that good enough?

Collux
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Collux » 24 Jan 2020 23:48


Chainlynk
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Chainlynk » 25 Jan 2020 15:13

Well I ordered the pro-ject preamp. Crutchfield had it on sale for $80. I'm going to change that out first and see if there is a difference before I change cartridges. I found a pioneer pl-115d at Goodwill this morning for $5. It's an auto return, exterior is very good shape. Figured it would be good to have for parts but guess what! I put a belt on it and it works perfectly. It also has an empire 2000e/111 cart. I guess they were a good upgrade cart for these turntables back in the day. I took the bottom off just to clean it up get the dust out and found it was packed with clay bars around the perimeter. Is this to help with vibration? Does it work or necessary? I was reading up in the ortofon red, is that a good cart for my TT? Thanks again for your replies.

wolfie62
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by wolfie62 » 25 Jan 2020 22:16

The Empire 2000 III is a very good cartridge, for all music. The 3600 would be a step down, as would the AT95/VM95.

The Empire PL 518/514 tables came with the Empire CE2000E cartridge. It’s a 2000 III cart.

And, BTW, the Realistic SA150/155 is a terrible preamp. I have the 150, bought it new in 1986. It has a badly rolled off treble, did when new.

Chainlynk
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Chainlynk » 25 Jan 2020 23:19

Ok great thanks, I'm glad I got a new preamp then. I figured those two cartridges would be a step down, I really like the empire cartridge, it sounds good I just think it might be fun to try something different. I bought the more expensive stylus thinking it may sound different but it isn't terribly noticable to me, what is noticable about it, is the older records sound terrible with it. New records sound fine but it seems to pick up and accentuate every flaw, and god forbid it picks up a little piece of lint or something lol.

Chainlynk
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Re: Looking for suggestions for a different cartridge

Post by Chainlynk » 18 Feb 2020 13:50

Sorry about the long wait but I wanted to get my ducks in a row before I posted again. I hooked up the new preamp and I didn't like it. It made the highs shrill. I bought another that a member here had recommended a realistic 42-2101A. It is much better maybe the other one is just too good for my speakers 🤷. I got the at3600 and had to order a weight for it, there was not enough adjustment on the weight of my tone arm. It sounds good, I'm not sure if I can tell much difference though lol. I was thinking about doing a second set up. Having found the pl-115d I can do a second system, I have an 80's Onkyo quartz synthesize receiver in the garage. I was thinking of hooking it up to the 115 and using the Boston hd8 as the speakers to test things. I'll probably use the project preamp. The Onkyo is 50w per channel so that should work fine with the hd8 which are probably the best speakers I own. The test being to see if my ears can then discern a difference between the at3600 and the empire. Any thoughts or input would be helpful thanks. Oh also the pl-112d gets a really bad hum if you hook the ground up, if you unhook it there is no hum unless you turn the volume almost all the way up. This is without music playing.

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