Cart upgrades

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Just Old, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Just Old

    Just Old
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    I am currently using a Rega 3-24 with AT95e cart,PM7001 amp, and MA RX8 silver.
    I like the sound, and detail is good.
    Is it worth upgrading the cart and if it is what benifits would I get?
    My other thought is that if I should upgrade, how do you go about ensuring you purchase the best cartridge for the set up and your personal sound preference?
    Can you audition carts?

    It seems at the moment for me a bit pot luck, picking one.

    I would appreciate any views you have.
     
  2. Mr Pig

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    It usually is with carts. It's hard to dem them. The best option is to ask for something like what you have, but better!

    The AT95e is an ok cart actually but it's the baseline for a Hi-Fi cart more or less. So yes, upgrading it should give you a better sound. What I would do it take your time and buy a new cart when the AT wears out. That way you'll have plenty of time to gather information and hopefully pick the right cart.

    Virtually any other cart will sound different from the AT though so there is never a guarantee you'll like it.
     
  3. Just Old

    Just Old
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    I might be dead when that wears out!!!!!

    :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  4. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
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    Well, you won't need it then will you? ;0)
     
  5. BlueWizard

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    Unless I'm mistaken the cartridge is an Audio Technica AT95E ... correct? That is worth about £40 -

    Superfi - AUDIO TECHNICA AT95E MOVING MAGNET CARTRIDGE

    As to the turntable, can you give us some perspective on how much this turntable cost? Is Rega 3-24 the full model number? Is it the RP3? Is it a P3-24? How old is the turntable? Does it have an clear acrylic platter?

    Do you know anything about the tone arm? Does it have a separate model number?

    I'm guessing the nearest current model would be the RP3 which sells for about £500.

    For a turntable like that, you need a much better cartridge. I would say the cartridge needs to be between half the cost of the turntable to equal to the cost of the turntable. Though, if your budget is tight, cartridges in the £75 to £150 range are in something of the sweet spot.

    One good choice is the £79 Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet cartridge; very high critical acclaim in its price range.

    Personally, though a few details are missing, I would never consider a £40 cartridge on a £500 turntable.

    I've got a turntable that originally cost me about £200, though that was many years ago, and it has a cartridge worth about £110.

    The cartridge that comes with the new RP3 models is the Rega Elys 2 which sells for about £115. That gives you some idea of the range of cartridges an turntable like this should have.

    But then, that's just my opinion.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  6. coruja

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    Also depends on what music you predominantly listen to, as some carts, for example, can be good with rock but not so great with classical, and some are all rounders.

    I wouldn't go above £250 max for a moving magnet cart on your TT.

    At each price range the available carts will be better built and the sound quality will improve but they will all sound different. Tell us your budget first then go on from there.

    You're right about demoing carts - now there a business model just waiting to be taken up, ranted about this often enough!
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  7. Just Old

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    Thank's for the replys
    to clarify
    It's a Rega P3-24 TT with the RB301 tone arm fitted.
    Usually listen to everything except classical.

    The TT cost was listed at arrd £500, but a new model was introduced so I got this in clearance.

    It originally had the elys2 fitted but I already had a brand new AT95E, so didn't need the Elyse, and it reduced the cost of the TT package....the other point was that reviews of the Elyse were not very good,,,but this sells for arrd £115.

    Would I have liked the elys 2 sound.....who know?

    As for budget...the next upgrade in cartridges from the AT 9E that will give sound improvement, clarity etc
    Hence my question.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  8. BlueWizard

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    Once again, at £79 the Ortofon 2M Red is highly rated, though there are two or three models above that in the 2M series.

    Alternates would be the Grado Prestige series. Personally, I would consider nothing less than the Grado Prestige GOLD at £130. The Ortofon 2M Blue is about £155. Blue is one step above Red.

    While I say, a cartridge should be from half to equal to the cost of the turntable, in reality, I personally would look at cartridges in the £100 to roughly £150 range. This is typically what I've had, and they seem to work very well. I currently have the now very rare Stanton 681EE. I like the sound of Stanton, but they have all but abandon the HiFi market in favor of DJ cartridges.

    If I were doing it again today, the Grado Gold or the Ortofon 2M Blue would be at the top of my list.

    I also agree that there isn't that much point in going over about £250 for a moving magnet cartridge. That would be the equivalent of the Ortofon 2M Bronze (£279) or the Grado Reference Platinum 1 (£255).

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  9. Mr Pig

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    I use a Linn LP12 and my Denon DL103 cartridge costs about £150. A new turntable of the same sort of quality as mine would cost around three-grand...
     
  10. BlueWizard

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    Denon DL103, is that one of the High Output MC cartridges? I was disappointed when Denon discontinued the 160 HO-MC. I heard nothing but raves about that cartridge.

    As to today's prices, I bought my turntable back in 1978, using in on-line caculator, in today's money, it would cost about £800. Though, I think in modern turntables in today's market, I could top it with a pure manual TT for that price.

    Mine is a very basic, second from the bottom of the line, Pioneer PL-35A, which is not remotely in the same league as the Linn LP12, but has none the less served me well for decades. The nicest feature is the Auto arm return and shut off. If an album is playing, and by slim chance I happen to be in a smoke filled alcohol fueled haze, and an album ends, it doesn't sit running in the end groove until I get up and stop it. The Auto Start/Auto Stop feature is very very convenient. But it really doesn't add to the general quality of the turntable. Still I like it.

    As to the topic at hand. If this is a £500 turntable, it really deserves one of the cartridges I've suggested. At Minimum the Ortofon 2M Red, and preferably the 2M Blue or the Grado Prestige Gold. Goldring cartridges are also worth considering, they definitely have their fans.

    A £40 cartridge belongs on a £100 turntable.

    At least, in my opinion.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  11. Just Old

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    This is getting confusing.
    The ortofon red cart sells for £80
    The ortofon stylus replacement sells for £62

    So I am paying £18 for the cartridge.

    This just doesn't add up
    I thought the cartridge was the component that made the difference, not the stylus.
     
  12. steveledzep

    steveledzep
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    A good example might be the previous Goldring range of MM cartridges. They ranged from 1006 to 1012 to 1022 to 1042, between £100 and about £250 if memory serves me right. The cartridge body was the same throughout the range, it was only the stylus that differed. Maybe the cantilever differed too, I'm not sure, but the stylus profile and type made most of the difference. My understanding is that it was a combination of getting deeper into the groove and agility. It baffles me too, but I can hear the difference, as you will notice a huge difference if you upgrade your AT95.
     
  13. Mr Pig

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    With a moving magnet cart the removable part is more than just a stylus, it's effectively half of the cartridge. But it's not just that. The cost of actually building the cart is only a small part of the total retail cost. The other costs, packing, distribution etc, will be much the same for a whole cart or for just the stylus.

    No, the 103 is very low output. The 160 was high and so is the cheaper 110 which as far as I know is still available.
     
  14. Just Old

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    hummmmmmmm
    mr p

    Still doesn't make sence because you might as well pay the few % difference and get the complete cart with stylus??

    and

    The manufacturer could do away with selling replacement stylus and just get you to buy a new cartridge....
    which if you look at the throw away society we live in makes me wonder why they haven't?

    Maybe the manufacturers are just edging on the fact that most people..although I may be wrong...stick a cartridge in and don't bother changing it???..
    or the cost to make a replacement stylus is so low they make the profit from selling them at the price they do?
     
  15. Mr Pig

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    Could be, makes sense. Like tyre manufactures practically giving tyres to car companies because they know that a lot of people stick to the tyres fitted to the car when it's new.

    Plus, changing a stylus is much easier than changing the whole cart. I'm sure a lot of users just buy a new stylus for this reason.
     
  16. Just Old

    Just Old
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    I just change my car when the tyres are bald tooo!!!:laugh::laugh::laugh::smashin::smashin::smashin:
     
  17. BlueWizard

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    Try building an automobile from parts. For a basic £20,000 car, plan on spending about £200,000 to build it from parts.

    Also keep in mind that cartridge is made from copper wire, and the Stylus is made from a tiny precision cut gem stone; usually Diamond, occasionally Ruby or Sapphire.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  18. Just Old

    Just Old
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    steve
    see where you are coming from but.....

    something you can't readily audition and compare..

    and we all go out and buy them on someone elses subjective comments of them...

    plus the repacement part we need to use them costs 80% of the whole..

    then we decide to upgrade them to a more expensive model, because of someones subjective view, tells us they are better??????

    You and I wouldn't do that now......
    would we???

    But I am being flippant...so
    I have asked Ortofon to comment..if they will.
    Take care
     
  19. BlueWizard

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    You can't audition and compare, but you can find semi-subjective/semi-objective reviews. Again, if I were in the market right now it would either be the Ortofon 2M Blue or the Grado Prestige Gold. Both have very good reviews from people who have actually tried them. Yes, to some extent, the choice is based on perception, but none the less these are well regarded manufacturer's with long and proven histories.

    The Ortofon 2M Rad has received rave reviews from multiple sources for being outstanding in its price range, and the 2M line in general is highly regarded in MM type cartridges.

    And once again, I remind you that the cartridge, for the most part, is made from copper, and the stylus is made from a Diamond cut to high precision.

    The common types of stylus are -

    1.) Conical - cone shaped - usually used by DJ's for scratching since the angle of the stylus to the groove is not relevant.

    2.) Elliptical - more or less oval shaped. The narrower edges track the grooves of the vinyl with more precision, but the angle of the stylus to the groove is more critical

    3.) Hyper-Ellipical and Hybrid-Elliptical - these are actually general terms and can refer to a variety of semi-elliptical shaped stylus. As an example, the back edge or trailing edge might be a standard elliptical shape, but the leading edge might be more of a triangular shape, or it may simply be a very shallow/narrow elliptical shape. Cutting the stone this way makes the edges that contact the groove much sharper and they therefore are able to capture more detail.

    4.) Shibata - is either a very shallow elliptical, again for the purposes of have a wide face, but a narrow edge to track the groove better. I've seen some Shibata that are elliptical along the back, but are cut with concave leading faces. Again, think triangle with faces that cave inward. The purpose of which is to make the edge as narrow as possible and increase the amount of contact surface between the stylus and the groove.

    Use the image at this link and scroll about 3/4 of the way down for the profiles of various stylus.

    Sick Of Talk

    http://www.sickoftalk.com/whyvinyl/fig12_18.jpg

    Keeping in mind these are tiny Diamonds cut to very precise shapes.

    In general, the stylus listed above are listed in order of their quality. Each will cost progressively more, and each will sound progressively better, in general.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  20. Just Old

    Just Old
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    Steve you are.....
    spot on.
    Ortofon confirm the cost of the diamond and polishing & cutting the stylus profile is the main cost of the cartridge.

    They also add that the blue and red stylus are interchangeable. So by putting the red cartridge in you can upgrade by replacing the red sylus with the blue stylus.

    Thanks all for advice.
     
  21. steveledzep

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    Told you all of this two days ago with reference to Goldring cartridges. I clearly don't fit in with the clique on here. I'll retire gracefully.
     
  22. Mr Pig

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    There isn't a clique on here, get over yourself.
     
  23. BlueWizard

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    Don't take it too hard, we were simply re-affirming the point.

    Further, at I pointed out, when you buy something in parts, the cost is higher than if you buy it all together in a single unit.

    Also, consider the scale they are working on. Many elliptical stylus are very tiny.

    I think the radius of the arcs of the Ortofon 2M Red are 8 µm x 18 µm, which I take to mean 8 millionths of a meter.

    I also vaguely remember common dimensions of Elliptical Stylus being -

    0.3 Mils X 0.7 Mils

    A "MIL" is one one thousandth of an inch or 0.0254mm.

    Many will have two or three precision cuts, then contouring, and polishing. No small task.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  24. Just Old

    Just Old
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    Crikey steve...
    bit drastic mate...

    all comments that are given to my posts are of value....cos I'm just old and thick!!!!!

    You know some times what people think they say when they post, and what is actually written can get lost in translation by whoever reads the post, and I think that is maybe what happened.

    You won't find a better, more friendly forum.....
     
  25. Mr Pig

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    I've been on a lot and I think that's probably true.
     
  26. BlueWizard

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    Sorry. I think you might have misunderstood.

    steveledzep said -

    "Told you all of this two days ago with reference to Goldring cartridges. I clearly don't fit in with the clique on here. I'll retire gracefully. "

    Which I assume, or hope, he meant humorously.

    I responded with "Don't take it too hard, we were simply re-affirming the point." Which in turn was a light hearted way of saying what he added to the discussion was of value, and he should not "retire gracefully".

    In fact, several people made the point that the cutting and polishing of the Diamond was a significant aspect in the cost of the cartridge. It was an important point that bears repeating.

    Perhaps, in hindsight, it was my use of the word "hard" in my response that is causing the confusion. In this context, I was simply saying "Don't take it too seriously, we were simply re-affirming the point."

    Now if this is not what you were referring to, then be a little more specific. I never respond with the intent of offending anyone. I was trying to be informative to both you and to others reading the thread.

    I do understand your point about not being able to truly know in advance what a specific cartridge will sound like. But that is a dilemma we all face. However, a manufacturer's reputation, history, and critical and consumer reviews can be a very good guide, as can the price.

    The Ortofon 2M Red, as well as the 2M line in general, have received much critical acclaim and won may awards for excellence in their price range. The Grado are also highly regarded and recognized for quality. I don't know much about Gold Ring, but have no reason to suspect they are not well up to their price.

    If I have said something offensive, I certainly apologies, and I certainly did not intend to do so. If it was something specific, if you point it out, I will certainly address it.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  27. steveledzep

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    Steve, I always read your posts with interest and am astonished at the level of detail and research you include. You have never said anything offensive and your humility in making this last post is acknowledged, but is totally unnecessary. I am an occasional contributor, unlike yourself. I have witnessed a number of occasions when I have contributed to a thread to be totally ignored. Then a couple of days later a more regular contributor delivers the same message as me and generates a whole load more discussion. This time was the one that p*ss*d me off quite frankly.

    I'm not as knowledgeable as some other forum members, but have been interested in hifi for 40 years or so and have picked up a few things along the way. I love reading the threads and contributing where I feel confident that I have something of value to add.

    Think I threw my dolly out of the pram..... I'll not be retiring, but still contributing occasionally.
     
  28. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    If you go back to your post and re-read it, I think you more implied the point in a more general way mixed in with a larger point. Others like myself came right out and said it.

    But, it was a point (diamond cutting & polishing) that was made by several people.

    I don't think you were ignored. Ignored is very different than not responded to.

    Though I don't want to seem critical. I would also help to use paragraphs and lots of them. Try to keep contained thoughts contained in small paragraphs and always use a blank line between paragraphs.

    That goes against everything your English teacher taught you, but it does make for more effective communication on the Internet.

    I've noticed your posts in many other discussion, unless perhaps there are even more Steve's here, and they do seem to add worthwhile content to the discussion. Perhaps rather than responding directly to you, people will take your point and simply carry it forward as the foundation for a new thought. Again, not responded to is far different than ignored.

    Again, I responded to you specifically because I did not want to see you leave the discussion. Plus, it is nice to have a Gold Ring fan. I don't know much about them, and haven't heard much about them, so it is good to have another perspective.

    Hang in there.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  29. steveledzep

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    Thanks Steve.

    I was a Goldring fan when I had a 1022GX on my Thorens/SME combination many years ago. I then progressed to a Denon DL-304 (MC) a lovely cartridge. Unfortunately I arrived home from work one night to discover the cantilever bent through 90 degrees. This coincided with my wife showing potential purchasers around our home that day !!!! The Ortofon MC25FL I have now, I just don't want it to wear out...enough said !!!
     
  30. coruja

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    steveledzep{/B] not only a Goldring fan but a Roksan fan too, soplease don't 'retire'!

    As BlueWizard said not being directly responded too is diffrent from being ignored.

    I will jut add one other cart to the mix, I have been using a Nagaoka MP-150 for a few months now, you can get this brand new and for about £80 cheaper on ebay, so it brings it inline with the Ortofon 2M Blue cost (around £180) which I also love. But the Nagaoka beats the Blue because it is just a little bit more relaxed, not so tight and neurotic, its as if it allows itself a little more time to take a breath!
     

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