Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

the thin end of the wedge
ehtoo
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Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by ehtoo » 28 Dec 2014 16:55

I just thought I would start a new thread. Over the past 6 months, I've had a renewed interest in MM cartridges partly due to me stumbling across my sole remaining vintage cartridge - a Signet TK7E. I was very surprised at the performance of this cartridge. It got me thinking about other members opinions. Let call this a survey come review of the best MM's ever made. It might prove to be a bit of fun. Certainly there will be some strong opinions out there. Perhaps it can be a resource to help newcomers to the vinyl world. Please no new cartridges and please give your reasons for your review.

To start, I'll offer a list (not in any particular order) of cartridges I've owned in the past and have experienced. These I feel would be all first tier carts. You'll notice it is heavily weighted in AT's.

Signet TK7E
Signet TK7ESU
Audio Technica ATML 170 OCC
Audio Technica AT15 SS
Bang & Olufson MMC 20CL
AKG P8ES

There are some carts which might be 2nd tier like the AT15 SS and the ATML 170OCC as they were slightly less than the 20 SS and 180 OCC but, they were so close I put them up top.

Listening to the the TK7E reminded me why I favoured the ATs. I always found them strong through bass, mid-bass slightly forward in the highs but this was always tamed with tube gear. Voices were rendered realistically and the cartridges were dynamic. What was great about them all is you could easily replace the stylii and reasonably too. It has been at least 30 years since listening to the B&O and AKG so I won't comment but, maybe a member out there is currently using either of these carts and can weigh in.

dutchflea
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by dutchflea » 28 Dec 2014 18:27

Let's talk low tip mass.

Technics EPC-P100C-MK4
Technics EPC-P205C-MK3
Technics EPC-205C-MK4
Technics EPC-205C-MK3

;)

tubewade

Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by tubewade » 28 Dec 2014 19:15

If we are talking "vintage" then I would submit the Shure M1 which introduced us to the MM principle and then the M3 in the late 1950s which was a stereophonic MM cartridge with excellent separation. In the early 1960s there was the M44 which was a revelation of high fidelity to music lovers everywhere, being affordable and remarkably good sounding. In 1964 the original V15 with the first "elliptical" stylus was introduced and it was a great advancement in reducing some of the distortions that had plagued record playback for years.

These were all very significant accomplishments from "vintage" cartridges.

ehtoo
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by ehtoo » 28 Dec 2014 19:51

dutchflea wrote:Let's talk low tip mass.

Technics EPC-P100C-MK4
Technics EPC-P205C-MK3
Technics EPC-205C-MK4
Technics EPC-205C-MK3

;)
Never actually have heard the top of your pick list in the flesh, so to speak, however everybody seems to be looking for one and is held in high regard.

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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by audiopile » 28 Dec 2014 21:18

1.) AT-15S with elliptical stylus. Very clean and fast -currently on a origin Live Alliance arm.
2.) Shure Ultra 500 with JICO SAS stylus for the V-15-V. I have never heard the original stylus. I was not initially impressed with this cart -it finally fell apart in my hands and i realized the glue that held the body into the substantial mount had probably been bad - reglued securly -currently runs on a Sony PS-X555ES.Really is a super tracking combination -if it mistracks it's because the record is damaged.Again - just a effortless ability to pull off the records what's there.
3.) Shure V-15-Iv and the V-15/LT (pmount version of the same type IV). Have run both the VN-4G sperical , the VN-45he styli from Shure in these - have a slight prefernce for this over the Type V V-15 and Ultra 500 - may well be simply the OEM styli singin here - but the IV seems a little brighter and more detailed the the later Shure's. The JICO SAS for these carts is not quiet the equal of the old OEM Shure's - but still better than most of the newer stuff out there.I would guess that the dynamic stabilizer brush assembley's on the OEM styli very possibly hold up longer than the brush assembley's on the JICO's which seem to loose their dampening after about 6 months of use?
4.) Stanton 881S-II in SME sries 3 arm. Cart and original stlus came as a throw in with a table and the SME arm. None of the stores I'd worked for happened to sell Stanton's - so i was pretty ignorant of what a top line/good condition cart from these folks could do.Really great sounding effortless detailed cart -caused me to have one of my pre-amps converted to 100kOhm input .The JICO shibatta for these is nice - but not the equal of the original Stanton stylus. Unfortunately the OEM styli are selling for impressive money since Stanton quit making them many years ago.
To my ol nun handles - these are the best MM's I have encountered so far.

Doubleplay
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by Doubleplay » 28 Dec 2014 22:24

+1 for Stanton 881S-II

"What cartridge, what exotic audiophile wonder of disc playback, was producing these marvels? What cartridge could have the "lowest distortion of all," "uncanny" resolution, better than master tapes? The answer is (I wish I could put a page turn here): The Stanton 881 Mk II"

http://www.regonaudio.com/Stanton881Aud ... TML70.html

Finger Painter

Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by Finger Painter » 28 Dec 2014 22:45

Goldring G900IGC

Poise, balance and detail. Little light in the lower register to some tastes, but the bass is taught, fast and not just a sensation. A rarity with the original stylus which it needs.

Probably one of the best MM's ever made......well certainly among those I have owned.

majerjack

Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by majerjack » 28 Dec 2014 22:48

The best vintage moving magnet cartridge I have encountered is my Shure V15 Type IV, which came mounted on a Pioneer PL-518 TT that I purchased years ago. The original stylus had a stiff suspension and produced a badly distorted sound. I never tried to obtain an original NOS stylus for the cartridge, but rather bought a Jico SAS. The combination of the V15 IV and the Jico SAS is the best I have heard.

But, one vintage MM cartridge that deserves a special mention is the Shure M97HE. When I bought mine many years ago I immediately recognized it as a significant improvement over what I had used previously (lower-level Shure cartridges). I have two original HE styli (both in good condition) as well as a Jico SAS for it, and I get very similar performance from each type of stylus (they sound identical to my ears). In my opinion the sound of the M97HE is very similar to that of the V15IV, with the V15IV having a slight edge in detail retrieval. I personally believe that the shapes of the HE and SAS styli are responsible for most of the excellence in sound and tracking of those two cartridges, and I think that the seeker of a fine vintage moving magnet cartridge should give the M97HE some strong consideration, especially since the various versions of the V15 and its NOS styli have risen to stratospheric prices.

VE member Paladin posted an excellent account of the M97HE on this forum a few years ago. It is well worth a read.

Dr Pan K
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by Dr Pan K » 29 Dec 2014 00:05

Among those mentioned I still have an AT 20 SLa and a Shure V15 III (had a second one with Jico SAS)

The AT is fantastic as long as you play great pressings. Detailed, great tracker, perfect channel matching and so on. One "issue" only, you dont want to hear a bad recording with this cart. And it needs a fanatical set up.

The Shure is easy to fall in love with. Sounds very well, it has music written all over it.

No first hand experience with the EPCs, they should be very fine carts too

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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by spittenkittens » 29 Dec 2014 00:58

One of my favorites is not a moving magnet but a moving iron. But the Pickering is still an outstanding cartridge if you can find a needle for it. Different stylus could be bought for different vtf needs. I have not seen any weakness in this cart. It is neither bright not warm but neutral sounding to me. If I had any of there stylus that would track at less than 2 grams I would use it for older vinyl. I have one on my Garrard type a which I use on occasion. I am actually a fan of vintage carts, if you can find new stylus for them they can be a real treat to hear. While there technology might not be as good as todays I believe there over all quality was better. Competition generally makes companies make better products and they cost less because of the competition.

donovan
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by donovan » 29 Dec 2014 01:38

ADC 25, ADC 26, are two that come to mind. I have always admired the sound that ADC produced in some of their cartridges...and speakers too.

ehtoo
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by ehtoo » 29 Dec 2014 02:10

Doubleplay wrote:+1 for Stanton 881S-II

"What cartridge, what exotic audiophile wonder of disc playback, was producing these marvels? What cartridge could have the "lowest distortion of all," "uncanny" resolution, better than master tapes? The answer is (I wish I could put a page turn here): The Stanton 881 Mk II"

http://www.regonaudio.com/Stanton881Aud ... TML70.html
I've been eyeing the Stanton 881S of late to add to what I hope is a fair collection of MM's.

Alec124c41
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by Alec124c41 » 29 Dec 2014 12:40

We have to nominate the Grace F-9. Both the E and the Ruby are capable of exquisite sound.

Cheers,
Alec

zwarte-romantiek
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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by zwarte-romantiek » 29 Dec 2014 13:26

I would stick with my SHURE M3D. With te right old vintage heavy arm this is a keeper in my books.
Followed by a SHURE M77.

I never thought I would be a SHURE fan......

Niels

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Re: Best vintage moving magnet cartridges

Post by rhmbus » 29 Dec 2014 13:44

From my experience


Shure V15iii
EEI 800
Grace f9
and probably lots more besides ,I am still using the Shure and EEI today along with a Mission solitare which is almost on par with the Grace and a Shure m75ed just for fun

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