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Cartridge for 1218?

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 10:40
by Datmast
Hi guys,
I have just bought a dual 1218 without cartridge. I did google search and got many topics for dual 1218 cartridge advice. However I have some old cartridges and would try them before spending money for a new one. Would you please advise me any of them would fit and work for 1218?
1- Decca deram
2- Sonotone 9TA
3- Ronette stereo 105
4- Fulfi TC8 (mono?)


Re: Cartridge for 1218?

Posted: 11 Jul 2019 13:51
All the above are ceramic (and crystal) types which to have any chance of sounding any good at all, need a special high impedance (1M or more) input to work properly. Sadly, you can't just fit one of these and send it straight to a modern 'phono' input as the loading and equalisation is totally wrong as well as the above cartridges having far too high an output, so you'll probably get distortion as a result. Plugging a ceramic cartridge into a modern 'Aux' input won't work properly either as the loading isn't usually high enough.

I'm not criticising most of the above ceramics (I have here and am hugely fond of an original 9TA-HC, one or two Acos's, an original Stereo 105 - the later copies are dire - and remember the Deram with fondness), but the sound when correctly loaded could be a bit too 'direct' and slightly 'crude' for modern tastes and record surface noise is much higher with these types. The Ronette needs 6 - 8g tracking too, so that rules it out immediately for this deck, the others around 3-4g tracking force. This type of pickup was superseded on any gear worthy of the 'high fidelity' name decades ago, more or less before the 1218 itself was introduced (I do appreciate ceramic types were used in their thousands in less exalted record players in the 70's, but by then, not in hifi systems, at least in the UK), but I still have a soft spot for some of these old cartridges and in the mid 60's, Sonotone tried to make the 9TA-HC compatible with a more modern MM input I recall, but i'm complicating things here.

Bringing it all up to date, a 1218 in proper fettle (expect to do some servicing on it if not already done) can do justice to some very expensive cartridges. I don't know what you have, but if your amp has a modern 'MM' phono stage, I'd suggest at the very least, an AT VM95E cartridge which tracks at 1.8 to 2g very well in this arm. You can go rather higher with this deck too and an AT530 or possibly 540, Ortofon 2M Red or Blue and possibly 2M Bronze for example, should be just fine for single record playing - THAT'S how good I think a 1218 is.

Hope the above helps. If you're new to record playing, well worth reading up a bit. It'd be nice to know what gear you currently have so we can advise you further.

Re: Cartridge for 1218?

Posted: 12 Jul 2019 05:24
by mrow2
Perhaps consider selling the ceramics and get a new cart as DSJR suggests. Look up the ones he mentions and compare reports and prices. The 1218 units always were used with magnetic carts back in the day; some of the much earlier models might have used them but by this time HiFi standards were well established, the stereo wars were about ready to begin and the transition to magnetic carts (for better gear such as this) had been made. Yes, what gear are you using the 1218 with?

Re: Cartridge for 1218?

Posted: 12 Jul 2019 06:56
by Datmast
Hi DSJR and MROW2,

I really appreciate your advices. I m a newbie to vinyl.
I love vintage audio so almost of mine is 1950-1970. I m using my turntable with old valve radio (such as philips biampli) or SS amp (such as Leak stereo 70/30+).
In addition, i have a faked Gray reseach tonearm, do you think any of my cartridges would work?

Re: Cartridge for 1218?

Posted: 12 Jul 2019 08:05
by vanakaru
Your radio may have proper phono input for ceramics. All your carts are pretty nice. Specially if your Deram has original stylus not worn too much. New styli for it are not as good, but usable. Sonotone is another marvel and rather highly regarded(fetching 50 bucks easy on eBay). Ronette is the easiest one to get new stylus. If you do, make sure to get diamond(not sapphire).
I enjoy the sound of ceramics. They sound very mellow and lush. Specially with the valve radio and full range speakers these are nice to human ear.
One important thing to remember that the ceramics use higher stylus pressure. However this does not wore out the records any more than modern cartridges you have to make sure that the pressure is not too high. With your 1218 it is easy to check.
If you evolve into more modern gear you can use the ceramics still - as said above - with simple adapter into MM phono input.
Also your 1218 is nice table and can sound very good with modern carts. But then you need Phono preamp for MM cartridges(I wonder if your Leak has it).
BTW show a picture of your Gray arm.

Re: Cartridge for 1218?

Posted: 12 Jul 2019 21:39
by Datmast
Hi Vanakaru,
As Leak stereo spec, there are 2 pickup inputs (RIAA):
1: 2mV/47kohm
2: 10mV/33kohm (LOW) or 30mV/100kohm (HIGH)
Does the pickup2 (High) match the ceramic?
The faked GR tonearm comes with Janson (kit) turntable and another Ronette tonearm (with N.L 50/2 cartridge for 78) . All of them may need serviced and not much information i could have from internet. If you happen to know any information about them, please share it.
The photos are below
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