Upgrade my Rega Carbon

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hetterscheid
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Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by hetterscheid » 03 Jan 2019 14:16

Hi there!

I'm owning a Rega Planar 1 with Rega Fono Mini A2D Phono Pre Amp. At the moment I'm using the Carbon cartridge which doesn't sound that bad, but I read a lot about other cartridges which will give music a much richer sound..

I was planning to spend around $150-250 for the upgrade. I'm only familiar with the MM cartridges, but I've read some good stuff about the Denon DL110 High-output MC. At the moment I'm not planning to upgrade my preamp so I have to deal with MM, MI or Homc cartridges.

I'm hoping to get a warm sound with noticeable bass, full mids without edgy treble.

So, regarding to my setup what would be my best options?

Thanks in advance! [-o<

Alec124c41
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by Alec124c41 » 03 Jan 2019 16:34

If you can swing a DL-110, go for it.

Cheers,
Alec

Lion89
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by Lion89 » 09 Jan 2019 20:58

I am a newbie here, but I own a P1, and I have trawled these forums. If I were you I would be careful before you spend that sort of money on a P1, unless you know what you are doing. Changing cartridges is not easy. There are at least 2 very good stylus upgrades for the cartridge you have. The Carbon is part of the AT3600 family from Audio-Technica. For $29 you can get an elliptical stylus from LP-Gear. There is at least one feed on this forum with a guy that tested a ton of carts; Ortofons, AT95E, Nagaokas etc. He said the cart from LP Gear in his words ‘soundly beat the lot’. I think the product code is :CFN3600LE. There is also another one which is compatible which is $79 and meant to be very good. The Planar 1 is an excellent deck, but a budget deck none the less. Spending $250 dollars on a cartridge for this deck is a lot. Youd be better of putting it towards a P3. Its very easy to get addicted to upgrade’s searching for the perfect sound. I would try the stylus, otherwise you might end up looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow :!:

dastewart
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by dastewart » 11 Jan 2019 14:12

I think Lion89 makes an excellent point. I also have a P1 [2016 version with RB110 arm], and I after looking at the stylus upgrade to the Carbon cartridge, I decided to replace the cartridge with a Nagaoka MP110., I mean, "how hard can it be?"

Well the answer is, not all that easy. Firstly, removing the cartridge pins without breaking them off the wires means you must be very careful. The MP110 appears to have pins that are slightly smaller diameter than the Carbon, so they just fell off after pushing them on to the Nagaoka. This meant you must slightly squeeze the pins closed with a pair of pliers, but make sure you insert something of a suitable diameter into the pin before you do, otherwise you will crush it. This is what happened to the first one I tried, and as I was attempting to prise it apart again, it broke off the wire.

So I had to buy some new pins and solder a new one back on the wire. This meant removing the arm. I had to get my son to do the soldering because the wire and pin is so small I couldn't see them clearly enough to work on! (I must be getting old!).

Then once the cartridge was fitted, I encountered the anti-skate problem (solution detailed in another thread on this forum), because you can't easily adjust the amount of anti-skate on an RB110 arm I found there was too much antiskate for the MP110 so it was skipping back when playing some records.

I've got it working satisfactorily now and I'm really pleased with the sound (particularly the bass and sibilants are much improved) but I can't say for certain that an elliptical stylus upgrade wouldn't have been almost as good. I suspect it probably would have been.

So in summary, yes you can upgrade the cartridge on a P1, but be prepared for some fiddling about to get the job done. You will also need a tonearm digital scales, good Allen bolt kit, small nosed pliers, a steady hand and nerve, and good eyesight ;-)

Best of luck

Anthony

Lion89
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by Lion89 » 14 Jan 2019 19:53

Wise words dastewart. Sounds like you had a positive conclusion 👍. Im intrigued, did your Sub damping kit make a big effect?

fudgemaster
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by fudgemaster » 14 Jan 2019 21:12

dastewart, I have an MP110 on my RP3, and fitting it was a similar experience to yours, and I found that raising the tonearm by 2mm improved details, but it just needs a bit of care. I removed the stylus from the cartridge prior to starting, as common sense dictates.

dastewart
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by dastewart » 17 Jan 2019 22:19

Lion89 wrote:
14 Jan 2019 19:53
Wise words dastewart. Sounds like you had a positive conclusion 👍. Im intrigued, did your Sub damping kit make a big effect?
Hey Lion

I noticed a definite reduction in surface noise and rumble. Certainly worth fifteen quid. They are here if you fancy a look: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B ... UTF8&psc=1 I'm all about value-for-money tweaks!

cheers

Anthony

Lion89
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by Lion89 » 18 Jan 2019 13:16

🙏

cafe latte
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by cafe latte » 18 Jan 2019 13:44

I am that guy, I have a lot of carts and my AT3600l (basically your Rega carbon) is not my best cart, that said many of my carts are 1.5k and 2k so not surprising. The AT3600l or Rega carbon is stunning though for the money and I mean big time. You want to spend 150 bucks and get an upgrade, hmm only thing that springs to mind that is really top end for the money is the new Grado gold 2 and it must be the 2 all the 2 range are great and this is the most MC sound you can get for the money. MI (Grado) have a very very low moving mass lower than MC so you get all of the gains without the headache of MC. You wont go wrong with the Grado just check your turntable is not one of the few turntables that Grado hum on due to unshileded motors etc.
All this said buy a stylus upgrade for your AT3600l ie a vivid line or the 29 dollar 0.3x0.7 elliptical and you will be in heaven too for really cheap. The AT3600l and Rega are fun fun fun and open with mids and good bass and extended highs. Yes there is better detail carts but few get thein the room right and not for 10 bucks which is what you can pick them up for and then upgrade possibilities too.
Look at the rest of your gear is it going to extract what a better cart can give? I have a very expensive set up and the AT3600l sings which is permanently set up on one of my 5 turntables as it sounds so good IMO. I have maybe 35 or 40 carts so I know the cart itch but dont dismiss what you have and its own upgrade options.
Chris

cats squirrel
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by cats squirrel » 19 Jan 2019 16:58

hetterscheid wrote:
03 Jan 2019 14:16

I was planning to spend around $150-250 for the upgrade. I'm only familiar with the MM cartridges, but I've read some good stuff about the Denon DL110 High-output MC. At the moment I'm not planning to upgrade my preamp so I have to deal with MM, MI or Homc cartridges.

I'm hoping to get a warm sound with noticeable bass, full mids without edgy treble.

So, regarding to my setup what would be my best options?

Thanks in advance! [-o<
Have you considered a better arm first? The Denon is a capable cart (yes, I have one) but it will not shine in the arm if it's the stock one from Rega. If possible, the arm that you have may be able to be upgraded with a stainless steel stub and counterweight. Either that, or replace it with a Rega 250 and replace the stub & c/w. You will be very surprised by the results.

I believe a modded 250 and lesser cart would sound better than a Denon DL110 in your present arm.

cafe latte
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by cafe latte » 19 Jan 2019 23:05

cats squirrel wrote:
19 Jan 2019 16:58
hetterscheid wrote:
03 Jan 2019 14:16

I was planning to spend around $150-250 for the upgrade. I'm only familiar with the MM cartridges, but I've read some good stuff about the Denon DL110 High-output MC. At the moment I'm not planning to upgrade my preamp so I have to deal with MM, MI or Homc cartridges.

I'm hoping to get a warm sound with noticeable bass, full mids without edgy treble.

So, regarding to my setup what would be my best options?

Thanks in advance! [-o<
Have you considered a better arm first? The Denon is a capable cart (yes, I have one) but it will not shine in the arm if it's the stock one from Rega. If possible, the arm that you have may be able to be upgraded with a stainless steel stub and counterweight. Either that, or replace it with a Rega 250 and replace the stub & c/w. You will be very surprised by the results.

I believe a modded 250 and lesser cart would sound better than a Denon DL110 in your present arm.
HI Cat,
I have the dl160 which was supposed to be better than the dl110, it is a good cart but it never really rocked my world. Nothing wrong with it but I it was never a cart that made me want to keep listening. Good advice by the way if the rest is not right no point in a better cart whatever it is.
Chris

cats squirrel
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by cats squirrel » 20 Jan 2019 17:15

cafe latte wrote:
19 Jan 2019 23:05

HI Cat,
I have the dl160 which was supposed to be better than the dl110, it is a good cart but it never really rocked my world. Nothing wrong with it but I it was never a cart that made me want to keep listening. Good advice by the way if the rest is not right no point in a better cart whatever it is.
Chris
Hi Chris,

I think I would agree. But I think that those Denons are more suited to classical music than rock. For the same kind of reason, I have never got on with Stanton or Shure carts. And I think the AT3600/AT91/Rega Carbon fall into the rock rather than the classical cart groups.

myles
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by myles » 20 Jan 2019 18:21

No-one mentioned the Ortofon 2M Blue or is it slightly out of budget? It was a brilliant match to my Rega player.

Lion89
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by Lion89 » 20 Jan 2019 18:37

myles wrote:
20 Jan 2019 18:21
No-one mentioned the Ortofon 2M Blue or is it slightly out of budget? It was a brilliant match to my Rega player.
To a P1 Myles?

cafe latte
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Re: Upgrade my Rega Carbon

Post by cafe latte » 20 Jan 2019 23:38

myles wrote:
20 Jan 2019 18:21
No-one mentioned the Ortofon 2M Blue or is it slightly out of budget? It was a brilliant match to my Rega player.
2m red and blue dont get a lot of love both sound rather like a bad cd IMO.
Chris

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