First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

the thin end of the wedge
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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by raphaelmabo » 13 Jan 2019 12:55

My vote goes for the Sumiko Olympia, it has more warmth and musical flow than Ortofon 2M Blue. :)
I have not heard it against a Nagaoka MP150 (I have actually never heard a MP150, I've heard the MP110 and it was close to my Sumiko Pearl in character - a smooth vinyl friendly sound but with more energy in the treble). The Olympia is more rhythmic and faster sounding than the Pearl, more dynamic, less warm and cuddly but still on the smooth and warm side of things. More details. k-Airy open treble, but needs 30 hour break-in period as with most Sumiko's. Don't know why they usually take longer to break in than other cartridges... They can sound boring the first hours. The cantilever needs a work out for some hours, then they open up.

I have not heard the new Audio Technica's, but the older one was close to the 2M Blue but with more flow. A bit on the bright side, but musical and flowing.

So I believe we can separate the chart in two distinctive groups:
The brighter and analytical group: Ortofon and Audio-Technica.
The warmer and smoother group: Sumiko and Nagaoka.

(LP Gear The Vessels has also been mentioned, and yes they are mostly part of the warm and smooth group (it depends with stylus/cantilever you get, it's said to be more analytical and neutral with the upmarket SS stylus and Boron cantilever), very seductive I have the entry model... it is based on an older generator design than the new Sumiko's, LP Gear The Vessel is more of a tuned Sumiko Pearl, but with great upgrade options).

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by johnnywalker » 13 Jan 2019 14:27

So I believe we can separate the chart in two distinctive groups:
The brighter and analytical group: Ortofon and Audio-Technica.
The warmer and smoother group: Sumiko and Nagaoka.
I have recently acquired the Audio-Technica AT-VM95SH, and I have used the AT-440MLb (very, very similar to the AT-540ML) for a couple of years. While I agree that the 540ML belongs in the "brighter and analytical group," I disagree about the 95SH. It is much warmer and smoother than the 540ML.

Also, please be aware of the loading requirements of the Audio-Technicas. If your system is not capable of the relatively low 100-200 pF capacitance, an AT is likely to sound bright.

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by klegier » 13 Jan 2019 14:54

Again, excellent feedback. Now I'm wondering....should I get the warmer AT-VM95SH? LOL. It is $50 cheaper too! ;)

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by klegier » 13 Jan 2019 18:48

Narrowing the list. Getting anxious to pull the trigger.

Updated list:
1) AT-VM95ML - in place of the SH from suggestions here...ML = new technology, SH = old tech
2) Sumiko Olympia - Really like the 30db channel sep spec. Maybe this is pie in the sky, but for rock music, a plus IMO.

Looked at the Vessel <$250. I realize specs don't say everything, but the specs didn't jump out at me. Likewise for Nagaoko MP-110. The MP-150 starts to get a little pricey for me.

Should the AT-VM540ML still be in the running? The brightness comments made me rethink the decision. My worst fear is installing a new cart and hearing shrill 8K peaks. I don't think I can hear over 12-15k anyway, but I can certainly recognize stereo separation/soundstage width.

Surely, ANY cart listed here will be less bright/shrill/harsh than the 2M Red? (I am being overly dramatic....the 2M Red is listenable, but very source dependent.)

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by balky » 13 Jan 2019 21:59

The bug is just starting to manifest... ๐Ÿ˜Š
By the time you know it, you will be buying the tenth cart and still be on the lookout for something new...

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by klegier » 13 Jan 2019 22:43

balky wrote: โ†‘
13 Jan 2019 21:59
The bug is just starting to manifest... ๐Ÿ˜Š
By the time you know it, you will be buying the tenth cart and still be on the lookout for something new...
:o

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by cafe latte » 14 Jan 2019 03:55

klegier wrote: โ†‘
13 Jan 2019 22:43
balky wrote: โ†‘
13 Jan 2019 21:59
The bug is just starting to manifest... ๐Ÿ˜Š
By the time you know it, you will be buying the tenth cart and still be on the lookout for something new...
:o
10th?? I just started storing mine in the forth box as the other three are full, it can get a bit out of hand, not sure how many I have :oops: :D
Chris

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by klegier » 14 Jan 2019 04:15

In order to reach out for a little more input, I put up a poll in a TT Enthusiast group on Facebook. See attached photo. Do the (early) poll results look valid to you guys (gals)? My son is in Japan and I asked him if he could check on a MP-150 there, to see what kind of price he could get. The ones on Amazon ship from Japan, so there will not be much savings to be had if any, I think.
fb poll.JPG
(57.46 KiB) Downloaded 52 times
Some of the commenters suggested I upgrade my TT first. Not to get off topic, but I view the 'table itself as almost a passive device. Mine is damped really well (with spiked 3 point feet and 20lbs of solid maple cabinet), maintained meticulously, and is dead quiet. The speed is spot on. Other than updating the tonearm wires and RCA connectors (see earlier posts in this thread), I do not see a huge benefit from a new TT. I love the Pioneer functionally. I do not like that I have to unplug it to set tracking force, or otherwise do any setup tasks, but that is very minor. So I guess I just pointed that out because....well, because I love my TT. If I were to upgrade, the only thing I see out there at the moment is the Pro-Ject Classic....primarily because it LOOKS like my Pioneer....lol. I can afford the $1100, but if it is that much better than the Pioneer, surely an MP-150 would be improved as well (on the Pro-Ject). The law of diminishing returns is what I am getting at.

Nevertheless, wouldn't a 2M Red sound like a 2M Red on a Pioneer or a Pro-Ject? Wouldn't a MP-150 sound like an MP-150 on either also?

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by balky » 14 Jan 2019 09:30

cafe latte wrote: โ†‘
14 Jan 2019 03:55

10th?? I just started storing mine in the forth box as the other three are full, it can get a bit out of hand, not sure how many I have :oops: :D
Chris
10th was just figurative... I promised myself I would stop at the 25th, but now already approaching 30... I can tell as much as I would like to pause a bit, I don't have the will power to stop... I'm starting to think I need help... :?

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by balky » 14 Jan 2019 09:36

klegier wrote: โ†‘
14 Jan 2019 04:15
In order to reach out for a little more input, I put up a poll in a TT Enthusiast group on Facebook. See attached photo. Do the (early) poll results look valid to you guys (gals)? My son is in Japan and I asked him if he could check on a MP-150 there, to see what kind of price he could get. The ones on Amazon ship from Japan, so there will not be much savings to be had if any, I think.

fb poll.JPG

Some of the commenters suggested I upgrade my TT first. Not to get off topic, but I view the 'table itself as almost a passive device. Mine is damped really well (with spiked 3 point feet and 20lbs of solid maple cabinet), maintained meticulously, and is dead quiet. The speed is spot on. Other than updating the tonearm wires and RCA connectors (see earlier posts in this thread), I do not see a huge benefit from a new TT. I love the Pioneer functionally. I do not like that I have to unplug it to set tracking force, or otherwise do any setup tasks, but that is very minor. So I guess I just pointed that out because....well, because I love my TT. If I were to upgrade, the only thing I see out there at the moment is the Pro-Ject Classic....primarily because it LOOKS like my Pioneer....lol. I can afford the $1100, but if it is that much better than the Pioneer, surely an MP-150 would be improved as well (on the Pro-Ject). The law of diminishing returns is what I am getting at.

Nevertheless, wouldn't a 2M Red sound like a 2M Red on a Pioneer or a Pro-Ject? Wouldn't a MP-150 sound like an MP-150 on either also?
Yes, the Ortofon 2m Red global sonic signature would still be there, but unless the tonearm weight and cable resistance is identical, on the two turntables, equal amount of effective damping and the same phono stage, you can expect a "slight difference in sound"

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by BrianovichIV » 14 Jan 2019 14:12

This has been a great thread to read, because I just bought a PL-12Dii a week ago and also need a new cartridge for it. My budget is a lot smaller, but I've settled on the Nagaoka MP-110, and I might eventually add the Audio Technica AT95e for some variety because of how many people say it's a great pairing.

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by raphaelmabo » 14 Jan 2019 14:33

I recommend this review and shootout, it covers many of the cartridges mentioned in this thread, like Nagaoka, The Vessel, Ortofon, Audio Technica... Unfortunately, not the new Sumiko Olympia - this review is from 2017 and the Olympia was released in summer 2018.

http://soundadvicevinyl.com/2017/12/04/ ... -reviewed/

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by BrianovichIV » 14 Jan 2019 15:17

raphaelmabo wrote: โ†‘
14 Jan 2019 14:33
I recommend this review and shootout, it covers many of the cartridges mentioned in this thread, like Nagaoka, The Vessel, Ortofon, Audio Technica... Unfortunately, not the new Sumiko Olympia - this review is from 2017 and the Olympia was released in summer 2018.

http://soundadvicevinyl.com/2017/12/04/ ... -reviewed/

Thanks for this. I'm going to look into the LPGear Vessel A3SE cartridge now too as an alternative to the Nagaoka. The CS95SE also seems like a no-brainer over the AT95e. Maybe I'll end up with both.

In the end I'm hoping to have complementary cartridges...one warmer and one brighter. The Vessel is definitely more cost effective! And luckily the A3SE seems to be available through Amazon, which helps me.

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by klegier » 14 Jan 2019 17:21

BrianovichIV wrote: โ†‘
14 Jan 2019 14:12
This has been a great thread to read, because I just bought a PL-12Dii a week ago and also need a new cartridge for it. My budget is a lot smaller, but I've settled on the Nagaoka MP-110, and I might eventually add the Audio Technica AT95e for some variety because of how many people say it's a great pairing.
It has been alot of fun interacting with everyone. Would love to see pics of your PL-12D. I received mine from a coworker in Guam about 30 years ago. It was in great shape, but I essentially built a new cabinet for it and put the TT itself inside the new case, discarding the veneered pressed wood original outer shell. I intend to go through it again soon to make the upgrades I have been talking about, plus just do some maintenance and cleanup of parts inside there. I am so used to it ergonomically, that I compare all turntables to it WRT functionality, where everything is located, etc. Does yours still have the dust cover on it? Mine only has one small scratch on it, which I believe is amazing seeing its age and all. I am not sure what is different about the "ii" model, but would like to know.

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Re: First post - Another cartridge recommendation question

Post by BrianovichIV » 14 Jan 2019 17:34

klegier wrote: โ†‘
14 Jan 2019 17:21
BrianovichIV wrote: โ†‘
14 Jan 2019 14:12
This has been a great thread to read, because I just bought a PL-12Dii a week ago and also need a new cartridge for it. My budget is a lot smaller, but I've settled on the Nagaoka MP-110, and I might eventually add the Audio Technica AT95e for some variety because of how many people say it's a great pairing.
It has been alot of fun interacting with everyone. Would love to see pics of your PL-12D. I received mine from a coworker in Guam about 30 years ago. It was in great shape, but I essentially built a new cabinet for it and put the TT itself inside the new case, discarding the veneered pressed wood original outer shell. I intend to go through it again soon to make the upgrades I have been talking about, plus just do some maintenance and cleanup of parts inside there. I am so used to it ergonomically, that I compare all turntables to it WRT functionality, where everything is located, etc. Does yours still have the dust cover on it? Mine only has one small scratch on it, which I believe is amazing seeing its age and all. I am not sure what is different about the "ii" model, but would like to know.
I can take a photo when I get home, but mine's 100% original except for the cartridge. It has the original dust cover, but it has a scuff or two and a repaired crack in the back. But it has the original 45 adapter, headshell, lateral weight, and the extra screw-in weight on the tonearm. There's a little wear on the Pioneer logo in the front but that's it.

I replaced all the foam in the damping springs, oiled it, and sprayed a little contact cleaner inside of it. I don't see a need to do anything else at the moment. As for as I know, the main difference between the two tables is that the Mark II has less wow and flutter.