Best cartridge for a Technics SL-D2 turntable.

rainstel109

Standard Member
As title really, I've got an Audio Technica AT-VM95E mounted in a technics SL-D2 TT. Now, performance is as expected, but I'm wondering if its worth an upgrade to upgrade to an Ortofon red for instance, for about £85. Now I really don't know a lot about cartridges so I'm open to suggestions with a cost up to about £100, dependent also if the technics arm can handle the cartridge (compatibility, weight, tracking force, etc)
The reason I'm looking at upgrading is firstly I'm chasing a clearer overall sound, with as smooth as a top end that I can get (I've lost about 3kilohertz off my hearing in my right ear btw) so any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. The big upgrade for you would just be s stylus change. Loads of people on here recommend the microline stylus and you can keep your existing cartridge. No brainer by all accounts.

 

rainstel109

Standard Member
Cheers for the reply mate, so I can drop that VMN95ML stylus straight into my AT-VM95E with no compatibility issues? If so then you're right, thats a real no brainer
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
As title really, I've got an Audio Technica AT-VM95E mounted in a technics SL-D2 TT. Now, performance is as expected, but I'm wondering if its worth an upgrade to upgrade to an Ortofon red for instance, for about £85. Now I really don't know a lot about cartridges so I'm open to suggestions with a cost up to about £100, dependent also if the technics arm can handle the cartridge (compatibility, weight, tracking force, etc)
The reason I'm looking at upgrading is firstly I'm chasing a clearer overall sound, with as smooth as a top end that I can get (I've lost about 3kilohertz off my hearing in my right ear btw) so any opinions would be greatly appreciated.
Here's a few reviews which cover the differences between sylii on the VM95

VM95 Cartridge Range – Review – The Audio FilesAudio-Technica AT-VM95SH

Audio-Technica AT-VM95 Detailed Review & Measurements - Audio Appraisal

Audio Technica VM95 Cartridges Review

Review: Audio Technica VM95 Cartridge EN, ML & SH Compared | AudioHead

If you do a search on AT VM95 you'll find even more.

Just be aware that all AT MM cartridges like an usually low capacitance of 100-200pF which can be difficult to achieve.

FWIW I recently unboxed my vinyl collection and turntables. Replacement stylii were no longer available for my MM cartridges so decided to (finally :) ) move with the times and buy something current at a reasonable price and landed on the VM95.

My vinyl ranges from 1930-1990. The recordings before the 80s are frequently potentially excruciating and sound best with a basic conical stylus which doesn't retrieve too much detail - the C.

For decent recordings from 1980 on I'm using the Shibata stylus SH.

Originally I went for the ML (cos I'm tight :) ) but even AT were out of stock with no definite date in view, so after waiting 6 weeks I switched to the Shibata which the reviews say is smoother. I'm very happy with it. I'm not having to use tone controls or filters in my analogue system which is great.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
Cheers for the reply mate, so I can drop that VMN95ML stylus straight into my AT-VM95E with no compatibility issues? If so then you're right, thats a real no brainer
All the stylii are inter changeable - including with the previous range
 

andycc72

Active Member
Hi. The big upgrade for you would just be s stylus change. Loads of people on here recommend the microline stylus and you can keep your existing cartridge. No brainer by all accounts.

I second that, the best ‘bang for my buck’ spent on my HiFi journey so far. I went from the 2M Red to the 2M Blue to this. Every one a big improvement on the previous.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Just thought. At £140, the Nagaoka MP110 is phenomenal and also kicks the pants off the 2M Blue (imho), but it appears to be out of stock everywhere. I think you'd like it if you can find one.
Has a very "vinyl" sound.

My main issue with the blue is that I couldn't tell the difference between it and CD quality streams in A/B tests. Too analytical.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
Just thought. At £140, the Nagaoka MP110 is phenomenal and also kicks the pants off the 2M Blue (imho), but it appears to be out of stock everywhere. I think you'd like it if you can find one.
Has a very "vinyl" sound.

My main issue with the blue is that I couldn't tell the difference between it and CD quality streams in A/B tests. Too analytical.
Yes I agree. I was very drawn to the Nagaoka based on the replies to a thread I posted.

However for quality and many other reasons I wouldn't buy into something that didn't have an "advanced" stylus profile such as a ML or SH and the price of a Nagaoka like that (IIRC MP200+) was just too much.

I was further put off by Nagaoka's recommendation that one should consider replacing the stylus after 150 hours :rotfl:

My view on advanced stylii is based on my experience with a Shure V15/III. I replaced the standard ellipical with the Shibata and it was an excellent upgrade.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
was further put off by Nagaoka's recommendation that one should consider replacing the stylus after 150 hours :rotfl:
Yes. Odd that. I got one for £114 in a sale though, and it was still going well when I sold it with the deck it was on, at about 150/200 hours.
At that price it's hard not to give one a go.
That said, if you have an AT cart already, the ML is the one. No question.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
it was still going well when I sold it with the deck it was on, at about 150/200 hours
Based on my experience of running elliptical cartridges since 1975 and monitoring stylus wear in the the way Shure specified I was getting 800 hours plus. Much more than 150 also appears to be the consensus of other manufacturers claims.

IIRC AT's claims are 500 for elliptical, 800 for SH and 1000 for ML. I just found Nagaoka's recommendation bizarre unless explained by wanting to increase their sales of replacement stylii.
 

rainstel109

Standard Member
Ok chaps, thanks for all the replies, I'll be ordering very shortly an AT -VMN95ML stylus assembly. When installed and running, I'll post back with an update on how it sounds, again cheers.
 

andycc72

Active Member
Ok chaps, thanks for all the replies, I'll be ordering very shortly an AT -VMN95ML stylus assembly. When installed and running, I'll post back with an update on how it sounds, again cheers.
You won't be disappointed, wonderful upgrade for minimal spend (in Hifi terms anyway)
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
When installed and running, I'll post back with an update on how it sounds
While I don't buy in to running in for cables and electronics, I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt for mechanical items like speakers and cartridges - it costs me nothing other than the faf of keep getting up at the end of an LP side. And it seems reasonable that the rubbery bits of a speaker could loosen up with a bit of use.

Too lazy to have performed the experiment of assessing sound before and after to see if there's anything in but have seen lots of sensible folk recommending 20-30 hours use before forming an opinion.

As I mentioned before the recommended capacitive load is 150-200pF - too much could put a peak in the top end - so check the capacitance of the leads from TT to amp (usually c100-125) and add it to the MM cartridge loading of the amp.
 

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