A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

turning japanese
Luxman78
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A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 04 May 2019 09:20

Hallo, everyone!

I'm looking for a good cartridge for my SL-Q202. It's for home audio listening, mostly hard rock, some pop rock and some classical. So an all-rounder.

I'm planing to use the phono section of a well-liked NAD 106 pre-amp. It is suppose to be quiet good. Not planing on buying a phono-amp for now.

Unfortunatelly, the original cartridge, headshell and needle got lost so since I'm starting from scratch (NPI), any advice will fly.

At the moment I have an entry level Concorde ProS.

I would be very grateful for all and any help.

Luxman78

maxwellite
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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by maxwellite » 05 May 2019 01:48

What do you like and dislike about the Concorde? That will help you get suggestions that match your taste. Do you have a budget?

An Audio-Technica VM95E pre-mounted on a headshell might be a good start. It should at least provide a comparison for a modest cost.

My only concrete recommendation is to avoid the really cheap generic headshells, since in my experience they often have manufacturing defects. A quality name-brand headshell (Audio-Technica, Ortofon, etc) should cost about 25-30 dollars (or Euros).

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 05 May 2019 09:46

Thank you for your help @maxwellite.

First to answer your question, I think Concorde ProS is really not suited for my TT. Preferred tracking force is 4g (recommended from 3 - 5g) and the scales on my TT don't even go as high as 4g (I know about the extra weight, but I doubt that's the way to go - buying an extra weight just to support a heavy cartridge. Also, TT manuals recommend you to start with as much anti-skating force as applied tracking force and again my anti-skating goes to 3.

But man, when you say quality brand... 25-30 dollars... I was looking at the Ortofon 2M Red with its own dedicated headshell, it's 200$?! And if I wanted to buy the Red cartridge and a basic, generic headshell from Ortofon, I'm looking at 170$.

Your numbers shure do look tempty now. I'd give 50-70$ no problem, but 200$?? That'c crazy. My TT sells in classifieds for as much and if it's in pristine condition with arm mounted, of course.

I had my eye on a particular Shure that was suppose to lovely for 100$, I'd even reach for that. But now they're out of business, I'm looking for another go-to brand.

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by maxwellite » 06 May 2019 00:47

In my opinion, a $200 used Technics is much better than any new $200 turntable. The inflation adjusted price of a SL-Q202 is close to $1000, and closest new turntables are the new Technics, which are also up there in price. I think your turntable can take advantage of a good cartridge. There's a long thread here https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 16&t=45649 discussing SL1200 cartridges, and I think it applies to any S-shaped Technics tonearm.

Another option is to fit an OM10 stylus to your Concorde. I've seen several reviews that like it. Personally, I dislike the Super OM10 I tried.

If you're thinking about the Shure M97xE, then I think it was an OK cartridge, but not up to the Shures of vinyl's heyday. I find the M91ED to have a much better high end, for example. Shure's phono business was in value-extraction mode for the past few decades, and they finally pulled the plug.

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 06 May 2019 11:06

maxwellite wrote:
06 May 2019 00:47
In my opinion, a $200 used Technics is much better than any new $200 turntable. The inflation adjusted price of a SL-Q202 is close to $1000, and closest new turntables are the new Technics, which are also up there in price. I think your turntable can take advantage of a good cartridge. There's a long thread here https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 16&t=45649 discussing SL1200 cartridges, and I think it applies to any S-shaped Technics tonearm.

Another option is to fit an OM10 stylus to your Concorde. I've seen several reviews that like it. Personally, I dislike the Super OM10 I tried.

If you're thinking about the Shure M97xE, then I think it was an OK cartridge, but not up to the Shures of vinyl's heyday. I find the M91ED to have a much better high end, for example. Shure's phono business was in value-extraction mode for the past few decades, and they finally pulled the plug.
Thanks again for your time and effort. A big part of it, for me, is to find something in a shop nearby. I don't really like web shops. It's a hassle when returning. I found a decent offer on ATVM95E the new and improved 95 from Audio Technica. I'm thinking on starting there.

Thank you for your kind words :D The TT has a lot of sentimental value for me. There's a lot I have to learn and a lot I have to relearn. Different way of writing the compliance numbers confuse me. I'm looking at a Grado Black 2 cartridge (I heard a lot of good things about it) but the compliance number is CUs:20 and the manual for my TT says 10x10 to the power of minus 6 cm/dyne at 100Hz ??

Also, my first purchase I'm trying to keep under 100$. That's my current budget.

On a side note, the protection side wall of the platter on your avatar makes me also suspect a rather good ol' Technics. Did I manage to guess corectly?

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by maxwellite » 07 May 2019 01:52

Yes, it's an SL-5300. I think it's one or two model years before yours. I read most of the SL-1200 threads for ideas.

Audio-Technica, Ortofon, Grado, and others make well-respected cartridges in your price range. I have not listened to enough of them to have a well-formed opinion and make a recommendation.

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 07 May 2019 03:05

I find this intriguing since I have a SL-Q200, the straight arm equivalent of the SL-Q202, and also a couple of much loved SL-D202 turntables, which are very similar to your Q model in most respects. Personally, I favor original Technics and Panasonic P-mounts for my Q200, which provide great replay of acoustic and more technical pieces such as the prog rock I enjoy. The D202s really seem to be very good with higher level Shure cartridges (currently using a RS R47XT with hyper-elliptical and Premier/SS1 with same stylus). For rock and most other genres of music, I am personally very pleased with the sound that results from these combinations. I generally feel that one should focus on cartridges that are quite similar to the top cartridges offered for these classic vintage turntables, which were produced in the peak of both vinyl and the electronics to play the records. I, for one, have been very pleased with the results produced within these parameters. Satisfaction guaranteed...the money to happiness ratio broadens significantly outside these parameters. My two bits....and sticking with it....Good luck and have fun with this......(Oh, I second the opinion that M91 and M95 are significantly more enjoyable than M97 variants, with the proper stylus). Cheers! :wink:

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 07 May 2019 10:15

maxwellite wrote:
07 May 2019 01:52
Yes, it's an SL-5300. I think it's one or two model years before yours. I read most of the SL-1200 threads for ideas.

Audio-Technica, Ortofon, Grado, and others make well-respected cartridges in your price range. I have not listened to enough of them to have a well-formed opinion and make a recommendation.
Thank you once again!
I've decided to go with the ATVM95E. Among the cartridges offered in stores around my town, this is the one that meets the recommendation/price/compliance criteria.

I also read the Technics threads, but they are mostly so big now, you can easily get lost overthere. The other day I suddenly lift my head up and realised I've lost two hours looking at people's styli in 'post a pic' thread. That's mostly why I've asked a direct question for a specific recommendation stating the amount I'm willing to spend.

I also heard a lot of very, very good things about Sumiko Oyster, but no one to confirm. I read that it's the best performer up to a 100$ (though it costs exactly 100$ so it's not really a fair comparison with some 40-50$ stuff).

maxwellite, thanks again!

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 07 May 2019 10:28

AsOriginallyRecorded wrote:
07 May 2019 03:05
I find this intriguing since I have a SL-Q200, the straight arm equivalent of the SL-Q202, and also a couple of much loved SL-D202 turntables, which are very similar to your Q model in most respects. Personally, I favor original Technics and Panasonic P-mounts for my Q200, which provide great replay of acoustic and more technical pieces such as the prog rock I enjoy. The D202s really seem to be very good with higher level Shure cartridges (currently using a RS R47XT with hyper-elliptical and Premier/SS1 with same stylus). For rock and most other genres of music, I am personally very pleased with the sound that results from these combinations. I generally feel that one should focus on cartridges that are quite similar to the top cartridges offered for these classic vintage turntables, which were produced in the peak of both vinyl and the electronics to play the records. I, for one, have been very pleased with the results produced within these parameters. Satisfaction guaranteed...the money to happiness ratio broadens significantly outside these parameters. My two bits....and sticking with it....Good luck and have fun with this......(Oh, I second the opinion that M91 and M95 are significantly more enjoyable than M97 variants, with the proper stylus). Cheers! :wink:
Well, hallo to a fellow Technics SL-Q2xx owner! :)

I'm throwing love at this TT hoping to restore some of its former shine and glory and it is giving me a lot of love back. Still a long road ahead of me as I have some nasty low noise coming from my speakers. Not really a noise neither, cause it's so low I don't hear it but I see the membrane dancing like crazy and to that it's doing so on an empty part of a well preserved record.

So, I'm polishing the oxide residue from the edge of the platter where a lot of palm sweat comes in contact with the metal and succsessfully restoring it. I have to lube the spindle, change the felt on the bottom of its feet... It is fun...

I want to move away from the Ortofon Concorde ProS for the reasons I stated earlier, and find something lighter.

I would really, really like to find an original spare dust cover, but that's not easy for these models as they have tabs that easily brake of. When I look at what's on offer, my is actually faaaar better, clearer and with fewer lines and scratches. So, for now I'm in no hurry.

In a long term, I'd like to replace the cable (but mostly for the looks and paranoia of old cables getting loose, I'm not a cable guy).

Anyway, first thing's first; I'm picking up my cartridge today. 8) 8)

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 07 May 2019 10:50

@AsOriginallyRecorded; I also liked the original cartrdige for my TT. I think it makes sense as it was probably the perfect match. It was quite good, but it is no longer in production.

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 08 May 2019 09:59

There she is (Ortofon headshell/AudioTechnica ATVM95E cartridge):
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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 08 May 2019 10:02

I'm satisfied. I've noticed some improvements, not many, but... I also expect to have less tear on vinyl from a lighter tracking force.

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by KentT » 21 May 2019 04:37

A suggestion first. The OM ProS, on my Technics SL-1500, tracks anything it will track equally well at 2 grams as it does heavier. This is with the stock tonearm. Try it, you won't hurt anything. Also, being that this is an Ortofon OM you're dealing with, no harm in using a Stylus 1s, Stylus 3e, 5e, or Stylus 10 on it, which makes it a HiFi cartridge. You could even install a Stylus 20, Stylus 30 or even Stylus 40 if you wanted to spend that investment. You have the most versatile Ortofon MM cartridge. Which for many outperforms and outtracks the Ortofon 2M line, and better OM styli from 10 on give Grado a run for their money, and less finicky. Why not a Stylus 3e or 5e, both can be had within your budget.

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 21 May 2019 05:40

Sorry Luxman78, I didn't realize you had added comments to this topic. Yes, I too love my Q-200, and have remained loyal to the Panasonic/Technics cartridges that came with these era turntables. Almost all of them are extremely good cartridges, separated only by the quality of the stylus put on them. Unfortunately, too many people assumed they were just a bottom end introductory OEM cartridge supplied by Technics just to sell the turntable. A lot of very good cartridges were simply thrown away and replaced with actually inferior aftermarket cartridges. Some of the better ones now command premium prices if you can find them at all. Similarly, the little understood and appreciated p-spec turntables and cartridges get short consideration by the tinkerers in the audio world. If the quality of manufacture and sound is there, I'm not at all opposed to the plug and play convenience of these units. As mentioned above, the AT95e cartridge is a modern classic, and seems to play and sound great on virtually anything! Some reading on the sonic signatures of various brands, cross referenced with your personal preferences and tastes will show you the way in selecting cartridges, the AT95e being a great place to start for comparisons. Everyone has their own favorites, most selected on the basis of how they sound to their own ears, not by someone else's opinion. As in most things, when you find the correct fit, buy it now, don't be too easily swayed by others. It is your listening experience, and you will find that brand loyalties often defy your personal experience or taste. Welcome, enjoy the experience, and dance like nobody is watching! :D

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Re: A cartridge/needle for Technics SL-Q202

Post by Luxman78 » 21 May 2019 20:26

AsOriginallyRecorded wrote:
21 May 2019 05:40
Sorry Luxman78, I didn't realize you had added comments to this topic. Yes, I too love my Q-200, and have remained loyal to the Panasonic/Technics cartridges that came with these era turntables. Almost all of them are extremely good cartridges, separated only by the quality of the stylus put on them. Unfortunately, too many people assumed they were just a bottom end introductory OEM cartridge supplied by Technics just to sell the turntable. A lot of very good cartridges were simply thrown away and replaced with actually inferior aftermarket cartridges. Some of the better ones now command premium prices if you can find them at all. Similarly, the little understood and appreciated p-spec turntables and cartridges get short consideration by the tinkerers in the audio world. If the quality of manufacture and sound is there, I'm not at all opposed to the plug and play convenience of these units. As mentioned above, the AT95e cartridge is a modern classic, and seems to play and sound great on virtually anything! Some reading on the sonic signatures of various brands, cross referenced with your personal preferences and tastes will show you the way in selecting cartridges, the AT95e being a great place to start for comparisons. Everyone has their own favorites, most selected on the basis of how they sound to their own ears, not by someone else's opinion. As in most things, when you find the correct fit, buy it now, don't be too easily swayed by others. It is your listening experience, and you will find that brand loyalties often defy your personal experience or taste. Welcome, enjoy the experience, and dance like nobody is watching! :D
:D :D
Well, I'm easy on advice. if I'm getting one from an "old cat" so to speak, I might even give it advantage over my taste.

And don't worry about the post. I didn't take that too seriously. We're all just having fun. I had a listening session of 6-7 hours today... It was musical healing. I repaired an amp few days ago, so I wanted to give it a test run. It works as new, and I'm happy as Larry. I went from classical to EDM just to give it some hard time :wink: I'm telling you, like new.

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