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Decisions

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Guy View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 May 2019 at 10:13pm
I'm curious how people found the cartridge they like best...

I've had a Rega P2 for nearly two years & started with the supplied Carbon MM cart until the bug hit & instead of getting a new table I went with an Ortofon 2M Bronze at the suggestion of a friend in the biz. The difference was both immediate & very satisfying & it being on sale helped me pull the trigger.

I don't have the ability to try new carts at home to hear how they sound & the store I like rarely has a table that I'd like to listen too with a different cart that I'm not used to listening too so...I have heard the Ortofon hits a sweet spot across the range but I'm wondering about other makes.

Did you have a chance to try other carts out without buying? Have you had others that needed replacing? A table upgrade that warranted a better cart? A deal too good to pass up?


Naim Nait XS-2
Rega P2
Ortofon 2M Bronze
Naim CD5x
Flatcap 2
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Aussie Mick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Aussie Mick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2019 at 1:51am
Hi Guy,
   The P2 is good, but I suspect you could get more out of the Bronze with a better table. Equally, a Slee phono stage will make the best of any further upgrades. The Reflex M is well able to give you more from the Bronze, too. I ran a Bronze off of my RP8 into the Reflex M and it was beautiful! Both table and phono stage have easily withstood  few more cartridge upgrades, too.
Mick.
Rega RP8/Ortofon 2M Black/Rega Apheta 2 - Reflex M/Elevator EXP - C.E.C. TL5 CD Transport - MacBook Pro/Roon - Majestic DAC - Solo ULDE (Focal Elear) - Proprius - PMC Twenty5.22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2019 at 3:01pm
I always start with a budget and trying to find something that is a good match for the tonearm compliance wise. After that, narrow things down based on past experiences and/or specific requirements you may have. 

In an ideal world we'd have a lending library of cartridges available like the GS loaner program but that doesn't exist really. If you are lucky you might get to hear a cart at a local dealer or on a friend's system. Bring your own records of course. 

Lots of reviews online about cartridges but I find very few of them helpful because they don't usually address tracking to the extent I like. Usually the reviewer uses a bunch of tame records and waxes poetic about the sound. Not very helpful to me personally. 
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Reflex M used with AT VM95ML, Stanton 680mkII + Jico Shibata, and Goldring 1042 cartridges.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Drewan77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2019 at 7:38pm
Unfortunately there are just too many system/turntable/phono, even cable capacitance variables in choosing a cartridge at a dealer to be sure so I've tended to read user reviews & take a leap of faith based on as many positives as I can find, based on my musical tastes.

Demos at a dealer can give a reasonable impression though. For instance, a few years ago I heard a couple of Rega carts on their turntables vs a 2M Black & a Bronze but they sounded rather dull and laid back compared to the Ortofons. 

(as an aside... that comment about pulling triggers occurs a lot on N American based forums & makes a frequently visiting Brit like me rather nervous. Sorry!)
Older than I once was, younger than I'll be
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Lucabeer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lucabeer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2019 at 10:09pm
Originally posted by Guy Guy wrote:

I'm curious how people found the cartridge they like best...



I have bought some based on two assumptions:

1) other people's reviews
2) getting the reasonably expensive ones

Results: I have found that every cartridge has a "signature" voice, and that each of them has its own flavour. Considering that I play vinyl for around 400 hours each year and so I tend to wear out styli quit fast, I have kept them all, swapping between them regularly, and I am enjoying all of them.

The Audio Technica AT440MLa for its great tracking and agile sound.
The Nagaoka MP-500 for its luscious end relaxing sound, the most balanced of all (and the great tracking too).
The Ortofon 2m Black/Bronze for its lively if a bit faitguing sound (I seem to prefer the Bronze! Better reduction of surface noise!)
The Grado Prestige Gold 2 for its insane bass and warmth.

My opinion is that if you get a medium-high end cartridge from a reputable brand, and you align it correctly, you will not be disappointed. There are no stinkers, just variations and different nuances of sond.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2019 at 2:54am
Originally posted by Lucabeer Lucabeer wrote:


Results: I have found that every cartridge has a "signature" voice, and that each of them has its own flavour. Considering that I play vinyl for around 400 hours each year and so I tend to wear out styli quit fast, I have kept them all, swapping between them regularly, and I am enjoying all of them.



In a way cartridges can be looked at like different flavors of ice cream. My collection is pretty small but there are folks that own 20, 30, 40 or more cartridges and swap them all the time or run multiple turntables. 

For me personally I like a daily driver with a neutral sound and superior inner groove tracking. 

For records in rougher condition I like a cheap conical cartridge. 


Edited by patientot - 15 May 2019 at 2:55am
Reflex M used with AT VM95ML, Stanton 680mkII + Jico Shibata, and Goldring 1042 cartridges.
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Guy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2019 at 4:39am
The whole pulling the trigger thing is very much a euphemism. Tongue Or a metaphor. But it is based on the American wild west & all the imagery that it conjures......considering where I'm living it's fitting but......am I really pulling a trigger?? Considering the deposit I just put down on a pair of Tannoy it feels pretty close......

Naim Nait XS-2
Rega P2
Ortofon 2M Bronze
Naim CD5x
Flatcap 2
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