Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

the thin end of the wedge
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Eggwin
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Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by Eggwin » 12 Jan 2019 10:39

Hi, i recently built a custom Turntable with a Michael Lim acrylic skeleton plinth, bronze bearing hub, top and bottom braces, VTA adjuster, adjustable feet, acrylic platform, motor isolation base with rega 24v motor, groovetracer subplatter and delrin platter with dual pulley.

It was built originally from a donor 1990s Planar 3 but a few months ago the last piece of the rega was replaced - the RB300 tonearm was retired for an amazing Origin Live Silver Mk3a.

I've currently got an Ortofon 2M Bronze and although I'm very happy with it I've heard so many good things about changing to a Moving Coil cart...

I'd love to hear your views on what you feel may be a good match for this arm... also I currently have the latest Rega Brio Amp which has its own MM phono stage which reviewers have stated is as good as rega stand alone MM Phono. Obviously changing to a MC cart would mean a new stage... again im open to ideas.

Budget wise I'm happy in the low to mid hundreds for each peice.... just not the thousands lol.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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raphaelmabo
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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Jan 2019 11:04

A 2M Bronze is already an excellent cartridge, I don't think that a MC would really be an upgrade more of a sideways step = different sounding, but perhaps not better in absolute hifi-terms.

You don't need a new phono stage if you go for a high-output MC, like Goldring Eroica H, Sumiko Songbird or Blackbird (high version) or Benz Ace H or MicroGlider H (H = high output) - to give you some ideas. All those are very respectable and highly regarded MC's.

If you are open for a new MC-stage, then the above also exists in low output MC versions. Also note that Ortofon has a wide range of low output MC cartridges. Zyx has an interresting selection too, and then we have DynaVector... High or low? Well, theoretically - lower output has lower mass, because of less windings to the coil and this should mean a more agile response. In practice though, I love the high output MC cartridges that I own or have listened to, never found them lacking in speed nor agility...

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by Tonybro » 15 Jan 2019 12:20

If, like I did, you are wanting to scratch the MC itch your choices are overwhelming and price options vary from a few hundred £s to many thousands!

I have three now - a high output DL-110 which wouldn't need a change of Phono section but I tended to run it through the MC section as I found it to be a little better to my ears. I also have two low output MCs - another Denon - DL-103R and Ortofon Cadenza Red.

The Cadenza is my main cart on my LP12 and sounds great with most things but doesn't particularly like worn records as it picks up the wear. The DL-103R is more forgiving here but just not quite as balanced as the Cadenza but I am using them in different TTs so that will also be a factor.

I have listened to the Ortofon Ania cart - £'000s and it was sublime on classical - the soundstage had such intense depth, it felt like the orchestra were about 300 feet front to back, however, on Pop/Rock it sounded very strange in that the individual band members appeared to separate from one another, i.e., not a band in the same location.

On the phono front you could do a lot worse than the iFi iPhono 2 - it is stunning for the price and very configurable. I have the 1st generation and it is amazing.

Good luck scratching the itch. :-) ...and btw, that TT is beautiful! :-)

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by balky » 15 Jan 2019 12:30

IMO, it is going to be a challenge finding a MC cart in the low to mid hundreds which will be better sounding than the Ortofon 2m Bronze... An MC stage for such a cart is a different story altogether.

Speaking for myself, I already got off the "MC is better than MM" bandwagon a long time ago and I have built my collection with the aim of admiring the different sonic signature each cart (MC or MM) has to deliver.

I'm only saying this because if you start off believing that MCs are better sounding than MMs, you're likely going to be chasing your tail for some time to come...

"Better sounding" is quite relative and always varies from one person to another...

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Jan 2019 12:47

I had the DL110 high output MC and it was a fine cartridge, I liked it a lot. But the Benz Micro MC Silver that I have now is clearly better on parameters such as presence, soundstage, a live feel. More details comes to life. In comparison, the DL110 sounds more in-between speakers where the MC Silver sounds as if it extends beyond the speakers and fills the room more, when playing the same records. But the DL110 had a warmer fuller bass. The MC Silver is not perfect, but I like it. :) It cost around 300 euro, and it also exist in a low output version - the MC Gold, for the same money. A more expensive alternative is the Benz Ace H for 600-700 euros.

The Hana range of MC cartridges are getting rave reviews, and we have had threads about them in the past here. They are loved by many, and are probably one of the best buys, the Hana EL/EH is around 400 euros and the SL/SH around 700 euros. L = Low, H = High output. E = Elliptical stylus, S = Shibata. Now, I haven't heard them myself but they are made by Excel Sound Corp. Tokyo, Japan and this is a maker that makes very musical cartridges. Hana is their new brand. They have made cartridges under their own Excel-brand in the 70's, and then made cartridges for other brands such as Sumiko, LP Gear, among others. All Excel-made cartridges are about musical flow. They excel (!) in this area. :)

The Sumiko Blue Point Special EVO III is another fine cartridge (also made by Excel Sound Corp., as the Hana..). It's a nice cartridge for rock'n roll, it's a full-on cartridge with energy, rhythm, timing... A clean and clear sound, if a bit rough on the edges, for around 500 euros. A classic cartridge and still a good buy, but the Hana range is a newer range.

I also would suggest to look into the LP Gear Bin 323, this is a new version of an older Excel MC cartridge that also was made in a version for Benz called the MC20E. Compared to the older versions, it has an upgraded stylus, cantilever and materials. Only available from LP Gear in the USA. Compared to others mentioned here, I would say it has a more romantic sound. Smooth, warm, not the utmost in details, but enjoyable.

Still, I would say these are sidesteps more than an upgrade since the 2M Bronze is indeed a very fine MM and it really can challenge a good MC.

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Jan 2019 13:39

There's also the "living legend" Denon DL103, but it's more fuzzy about tonearms than many other MC's.It's a "budget classic" among MC and a fan favourite. Warm is on the warm side, there are more neutral and detailed sounding cartridges out there, but the DL103 has a distinctive character that you either love or not. Now, this is a low output MC so it requires a MC phono pre, the others that I have mentioned has high output versions so they can be used in a standard MM phono stage. Not so with the DL103.

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by EdAInWestOC » 15 Jan 2019 15:40

If you want to go MC, the high output MC subject has already been covered as well as good LOMC choices. Another one which costs more but represents a very good selection is the Ortofon Quintet Black S. I am pushing the budget thing here as that cartridge goes for $1000 USD.

I used one of these on a VPI 10.5 inch 3D tonearm for a year. It is an excellent cartridge with a very good tonal quality that is somewhat similar to a retipped Denon DL-103D except that the Quintet Black S has a better ability to extract details from complex passages. The Quintet Bronze is a bit less money ($840 USD) and reportedly is slightly warmer sounding than the Black.

The Ortofon Quintet series are all well reviewed and offer a lot for the money. They have that nice tonal balance that makes the Denon 103 series so popular and are able to be a bit better at inner detail retrieval.

Good luck with whatever you choose,
Ed

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by Eggwin » 15 Jan 2019 22:55

Thanks so much guys. This has been invaluable info. Sometimes we think more expensive is better but from what you have said it's not necessarily the case. More a case of more expensive can be different lol. I think I've decided to just sit back and enjoy my TT as is and just take time to enjoy it. I have spent 18 months building from a new stock Planar 2 with 2m Red, a brio amp and a pair of DALI Opticon 1s to what I have now with a pair of KEF LS50s... I think maybe it's time to just sit back and enjoy it!

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by balky » 16 Jan 2019 08:27

Eggwin wrote:
15 Jan 2019 22:55
Thanks so much guys. This has been invaluable info. Sometimes we think more expensive is better but from what you have said it's not necessarily the case. More a case of more expensive can be different lol. I think I've decided to just sit back and enjoy my TT as is and just take time to enjoy it. I have spent 18 months building from a new stock Planar 2 with 2m Red, a brio amp and a pair of DALI Opticon 1s to what I have now with a pair of KEF LS50s... I think maybe it's time to just sit back and enjoy it!
I need a double dose of your antidote... :D

How could you possibly summon enough will power to back off like that??? :D

Eggwin
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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by Eggwin » 16 Jan 2019 11:47

Hahaha it's easy to type it.... doing it is completely another thing entirely! 😁

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by cafe latte » 16 Jan 2019 12:54

raphaelmabo wrote:
15 Jan 2019 11:04
A 2M Bronze is already an excellent cartridge, I don't think that a MC would really be an upgrade more of a sideways step = different sounding, but perhaps not better in absolute hifi-terms.

You don't need a new phono stage if you go for a high-output MC, like Goldring Eroica H, Sumiko Songbird or Blackbird (high version) or Benz Ace H or MicroGlider H (H = high output) - to give you some ideas. All those are very respectable and highly regarded MC's.

If you are open for a new MC-stage, then the above also exists in low output MC versions. Also note that Ortofon has a wide range of low output MC cartridges. Zyx has an interresting selection too, and then we have DynaVector... High or low? Well, theoretically - lower output has lower mass, because of less windings to the coil and this should mean a more agile response. In practice though, I love the high output MC cartridges that I own or have listened to, never found them lacking in speed nor agility...
I agree MC is a big side step not an upgrade.
Chris

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by vintagevinyllover » 16 Jan 2019 13:58

Tonybro wrote:
15 Jan 2019 12:20
If, like I did, you are wanting to scratch the MC itch your choices are overwhelming and price options vary from a few hundred £s to many thousands!

I have three now - a high output DL-110 which wouldn't need a change of Phono section but I tended to run it through the MC section as I found it to be a little better to my ears. I also have two low output MCs - another Denon - DL-103R and Ortofon Cadenza Red.

The Cadenza is my main cart on my LP12 and sounds great with most things but doesn't particularly like worn records as it picks up the wear. The DL-103R is more forgiving here but just not quite as balanced as the Cadenza but I am using them in different TTs so that will also be a factor.

I have listened to the Ortofon Ania cart - £'000s and it was sublime on classical - the soundstage had such intense depth, it felt like the orchestra were about 300 feet front to back, however, on Pop/Rock it sounded very strange in that the individual band members appeared to separate from one another, i.e., not a band in the same location.

On the phono front you could do a lot worse than the iFi iPhono 2 - it is stunning for the price and very configurable. I have the 1st generation and it is amazing.

Good luck scratching the itch. :-) ...and btw, that TT is beautiful! :-)
if the ania on pop/rock made band members appeared separated, maybe they were in the studio? Did you try any live albums?

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by patient_ot » 16 Jan 2019 14:22

I have heard some LOMC cartridges that sounded amazing but they cost thousands of dollars. There are some budget LOMCs in the 500-750 dollar range that I've often looked at but what keeps me from buying them is the need for an MC capable phono preamp that I will be satisfied with. If you look at LOMC user's systems, most are using very expensive step up devices or quite expensive phono preamps that geared more toward MC than MM. Often MM capability is just on these units as an afterthought, and the manufacturer believes most customers will go the LOMC route.

Recently I decided to upgrade my phono pre to a more expensive unit only made for high output cartridges, so I'll be ditching LOMC capability for awhile. I'm fine with that for now.

My personal take is that unless you are willing to invest quite a bit to get on the LOMC train (both on the cart and preamp side), you're probably better off sticking with higher output cartridges. Besides HOMC which was mentioned above, I might suggest trying a moving iron cartridge. You could try a vintage or NOS Stanton 680/681 or a new one from a brand like Grado, Nagaokoa, or Soundsmith.

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Re: Origin Live Silver with 2M Bronze... looking to move up to a MC cart....

Post by raphaelmabo » 28 Jan 2019 09:29

A cartridge that is rarely mentioned, is the Ortofon MC-3 Turbo. It cost just a little bit more than the Benz MC Silver that I own and love. It seems like a great buy for those wanting a sweet sound with a favour for jazz, soul, and that kind of things. It's not a new cartridge, it has been around for some time and it's from Ortofons golden era where they did the OM-series, an era where Ortofon was a bit more, shall we say, "relaxed" - compared to their newer more forward sounding offerings. But, again, not an upgrade to 2M Bronze, just a sideways step. If you find the 2M being too upfront and wants something with a more delicate presentation without being warm or cozy.

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