I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

the thin end of the wedge
pedroboe
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I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 02:36

Hi all

I have about ten hours on my mp 500 and I seriously don't enjoy it. The bass is great and tracks really well when I set it up by ear (God only knows what the actual vtf is) using the HiFi sound record (not the HiFi news), as using the prescribed vtf is not enough on my basic clearaudio arm. I have some great cartridges and I keep a YouTube channel for needle drops. Even on that mediocre format, the mp 500 does not shine compare to my other cartridges:lp gear bin 323 (one of my favorite things) at 32E, at 33ev, 33ptg, clearaudio virtuoso wood and pickering xv 15 400 amongst others. Just now I went back to lp gear bin 323 and it out shines it, I feel more involved. I think that's pretty much it. I can't get involved with the MP500, it's distant and sounds a little AM radio like. I confess that I like the AT house sound and maybe that's a factor.

Are you enjoying your mp 500? Did you go through the same angst? I did read that you need something like 30 hours, but I don't know about investing that much time, I'm no spring chicken...
I am using it with pro ject phono box rs at 100pf. I listen to all kinds of music, but my pickering xv 15 400 and empire 2000 III E seem to play classic rock the best. No coincidence I guess.
Thanks

Pedro

Ender Wiggin
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by Ender Wiggin » 13 Mar 2016 11:12

Hi
this is very strange. I have a MP-500 and it sounds pretty good. It may be a matter of taste, but for sure it doesn't sound distant or not present.
Maybe there is something wrong with your setup. The Line Contact stylus could be a little fussy to align. You could check everything again, starting with the position of your arm parallel to the record at the correct VTF (I use 1,7 g, closer to the high limit). Then Alignment and correct SRA (92°-95°). But you know this already, I'm sure of it.
The other option is this: you could try to remove the stylus and then put it back again, to be sure it's correctly pushed in (there is a screw, but you can never know...).
The last option is that the cart could be defective...
Bye

Luca

pedroboe
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 13:51

Thanks. Actually, I have a parallel setup for the arm but maybe I could experiment tilting it. Perhaps also in my effort to make it track better, I am choking the cantilever. I had an oc9 and my ptg both are line contacts. I don't remember ever getting these results. Perhaps I could change the loading.I am definitely not as knowledgeable as most people here, so it prompted me to ask. But I will report after I tweak some more the vtf, vta and sra.

Alec124c41
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by Alec124c41 » 13 Mar 2016 15:00

What alignment are you using?

Cheers,
Alec

pedroboe
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 15:03

I am using my Marantz /clearaudio tt15, and geodisc, as well as the little mirrored ruler.

Ender Wiggin
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by Ender Wiggin » 13 Mar 2016 15:35

Ok.
The loading is the same I use. It should be <200 pf. Check the capacitance of your TT cable too, just to be sure you're not exceeding the suggested cart value.
Bye

Luca

pedroboe
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 15:38

I read somewhere that some people were loading it at 400pf. I am out of town this week so it will have to wait. Can't wait to play with my toys again ;-)

Tonybro
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by Tonybro » 13 Mar 2016 15:41

I've got a 500 and don't have the issues either. Mine is normally on my AudioMods Classic arm but its currently on an SME 3009 II with no issues.

I think it is a great sounding cart when installed and aligned properly with the correct loading.

old_spinner
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by old_spinner » 13 Mar 2016 16:47

Maybe its worth to check the correct wiring.

As you say, it sounds distant and like an AM-Radio, this implies to me it maybe out of phase.

regards.

pedroboe
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 17:40

Hi thanks. The wiring is all stock and going to the pro ject phono box rs. I am sure that the phase is fine, I'm very sensitive to that generally. I am being a bit harsh on the Nagaoka 500 because it is not a cheap cartridge. Operability and functionally are there. I recognize that I can be extremely ocd about this stuff, as most of us are. Bass is plentiful and imaging is good. I just don't get as excited as I do with my others. My PTG is the best of all, but I removed it last month as I was getting some hum somewhere. I believe the culprit is my rogue pharaoh amp, but went back to basics, pickering xv 15 400 and schiit mani. Noise was gone. Was also getting some hum with nagaoka mp 500. The pickering is a nos one and in the beggining it would not track much, as it seems that the suspension had hardened. Five hours and a very aggressive 2 . 5 vtf brought it back and keeps improving. The Nagaoka seems to get worse tonally speaking.

pedroboe
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took some macros before, no microscope. this look OK?

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 17:50

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cement generously applied
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side view
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cement generously applied
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pedroboe
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one more. what I really need is a picture of the other side

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 17:59

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pedroboe
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 13 Mar 2016 18:39

Is it possible that such a generous blob of cement can dampen vibration in some way? Will it wear out with time?

ABEC-9
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by ABEC-9 » 13 Mar 2016 22:48

I've found the MP-500 to be somewhat laid-back and Grado-esque compared to other MM carts. Also, it's output isn't quite as high as many MM carts, so you might try adjusting the gain on your phono preamp. I switched to an aftermarket counterweight on my Hadcock arm in order to get more "jump" and up-front presentation with the MP-500. The reason I prefer using it is that it's sound is completely grain-free and non fatiguing when used with headphones. With other carts, I'd have to remove the headphones after a few LPs...

pedroboe
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Re: I am close to giving up on nagaoka mp 500

Post by pedroboe » 14 Mar 2016 00:47

Thanks Abec
That is a very interesting outlook. I also do some headphone listening (schiit Valhalla mk 2 and sennheiser 650) and I agree. I like how the piano is reproduced mostly with the MP500. All other stuff just doesn't sound as "fast" as an mm cartridge

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