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Worth upgrading Turntable stylus?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by ollie501, Sep 27, 2003.

  1. ollie501

    ollie501
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    Hi,

    I have a Project Debut Phono SB TT, which was fitted with the standard £22 ORTOFON OM5E cartridge. I am thinking about upgrading the cartridge, and was looking at the ORTOFON 510 for £45.
    Is it worth upgrading, will the sound difference be very noticible? Superfi have quite a selection of cartridges, some way out of my price range. I don't want to go nuts, but they obviously get more expensive for a reason.
    Any advice very gratefully recieved.

    Thanks

    Ollie
     
  2. charlaph

    charlaph
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    Yes it will. I have a Dual CS-503-2. I had an Audio-Technica 95E (I think) on it for ages and didn't bother replacing it because it was just a budget deck. Then one day I bought a Grado cartridge for £50. It was a bit extravagant because the TT was so cheap to begin with, but it made a MASSIVE difference to the sound quality.

    I'd say it'll definitely be worthwhile, but be aware that it may significantly alter the type of sound you'll get from the TT. Which may be good or bad, depending on the cartridge you get. Also be aware of weight, make sure the arm can handle it - some cheaper cartridges can be heavy, although swapping an ortofon for another ortofon shouldn't cause any problems.

    Don't worry about fitting a £50 cartridge onto a £100 deck. It'll probably just bring out more of it's good qualities. There is a minor risk of it highlighting the poorer aspects of it, but turntables are very tweakable and you'll be able to get decent results.
     
  3. alexs2

    alexs2
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    What sort of ancillary gear are you using it with?....if your amp has a half decent MC input,it would be worth considering one of the low-end moving coils as an alternative...the sound quality of some of these(the Ortofons included)can be lovely.
     
  4. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    I've got a debut with a Grado Silver on it (£90). Value wise it is a bit lopsided but the improvement in sound quality has been superb. I'm thinking about the arm now.
     
  5. ollie501

    ollie501
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    What is an MC input? The turntable has a phono stage on board, predominately because at the time I didn't know you could buy the speed adjustment boxes separately, so I went for the SB model, which had a phono stage as standard.
    My amp is a Sony STR-555ES if that's any help.

    Cheers

    Ollie
     
  6. charlaph

    charlaph
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    MC stands for Moving Coil, as opposed to Moving Magnet (MM). These are the two common types of cartridge. MC cartridges give much lower voltage outputs than MM, and as such, a lot of amplifiers/phono stages have seperate or switchable phono inputs for MC or MM carts. The MC input will amplify the signal more than the MM input.

    MC cartridges are generally held to be superior than MM ones, and certainly at the top end almost nothing is MM. In the budget field, most carts are MM because they're cheaper to make. Since your phono stage is currently working with a MM cartridge, fitting an MC cart in it's place wouldn't damage anything, but you may find that you'll have to turn the volume up further to get similar sound levels.

    However, most phono stages can cope with a range of voltage inputs, and a lot are load-sensing. If you have a decent phono stage fitted then it may be that it'll give you a similar output with an MC cart that it does with an MM one. If you don't know the input range and gain of your phono stage then it's not possible to know what the result will be of fitting an MC cart.

    One last point - you should try and find out your phono stage overload voltage. If you buy a high output MM cartridge and it exceeds the overload voltage then you can damage the phono stage.
     
  7. ollie501

    ollie501
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    Thanks for the advice. I am toying with either the 510 or the MC1, which Hifistore imply will work with a normal MM setting.
    Which is going to be the better of the two for the turntable I have. I don't want to have to turn the amp to full volume just to hear it, which is why the MC1 looks pretty good. The phono stage on the turntable is the standard one fitted by Project.

    Also will the difference between the 510 and the MC1 be enough to justify nearly doubling the price?

    Thanks for the advice so far - much appreciated.

    This is the MC1 they have on Hifistore - Click Me
     
  8. andymc

    andymc
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    What type of music you listening to and how much Vinyl do you have. I found that MM is better with Rock/Pop and MC does jazz and classical more favours.

    Im gobsmacked that I am in 2003 talking about cartridges - going to go home tonight and play with vinyl.

    Happy hunting and let us know which you go for

    Andy C
     
  9. ollie501

    ollie501
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    Predominately heavy metal/rock.

    Ollie
     
  10. alexs2

    alexs2
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    The MC1 is a very good cartridge...nice for rock etc as it has a fairly crisp fast balance rather than some of the more laid back MC's further up the range.
    I used a Supex MC for many yrs(the forerunner of the Koetsu)and found that a good MC is and excellent all rounder.
     
  11. ollie501

    ollie501
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    Well, having took onboard LOTS of advice from various sources, I elected to go with a MM. I found the Ortofon 520 MKII for £63, so went for that.

    I hadn't bargained on it being the most fiddly job on the planet - mainly in getting the old one off without breaking any of the wires, which appear to be roughly the same thickness as a human hair!

    Anyway, a bit of tinkering and a LOT of swearing and I finally got the thing on there. By this time I had forgotton what the old one sounded like!
    I had made a Minidisc of some test records though, so I was able to compare them. First up was a standard Marillion record, followed by some Jethro Tull and finally an audiophile pressing of Dire Straits "Love Over Gold".

    The difference is remarkable, more noticably so on the normal records. The bass is better defined, sounds that were otherwise fairly muted are crisp and in general it sounds smoother than honey dripping from a sugar coated bumblebee. Anyone thinking of upgrading, be warned - it's NOT the easiest job in the world and takes patience for your first time, but the results speak for themselves. A drastic improvement on an already cracking system. £63 VERY well spent!

    Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on this - it was a huge help, and gave me the nudge I needed to go for it! :smashin:
     
  12. Nike

    Nike
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    I started with an ortofon 510 on my rega 3; All 5-series have the same body. When I needed to change the stylus I upgraded to a 540 - now on my second 540 stylus - sounds great :)
    Effectively gives you a £160 cartridge.
     

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