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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Cartridge Advice

    Hello,

    I recently purchased a new Denon DP-500M turntable. I was wondering if anyone can recommend a good, decent, good value cartridge for this table. I guess I would like a cartridge that would be worthy of a $700.00 turntable, but at the same time be a good value, no nonsense cartridge. The last time I bought a cartridge was in the mid 80's, so I've been out of the loop for a while. Thanks.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    How much are you looking to spend?

    If your budget is $100-ish, check this out:
    http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merc...egory_Code=S15

    If you're looking to spend more than $100, I'm not qualified to answer

  3. #3
    RGA
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    Hey N. Abstentia you suggested my Cartridge.

    Yes it's quite acceptable - don't axpect miracles but it doesn't do anything abnoxious and Shure is user friendly in that they're easy to set-up and are a bit more idiot proof - which is good for me

    The next Shure up the line and it is supposed to be excellent is the V15 http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merc...egory_Code=S15 but at a serious price hike.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    Just bought a Shure M97xE

    Bought it for an old Sony PS-X5 quartz locked turntable I just picked up to play around with. Was wondering how much sound quality I would lose to have the convenience of a fully automatic turntable. Turns out that it sounds better than my Rotel RP-955 (sounds much more solid with more bass) so it's a keeper. Anyhow... bought it here http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=5721176952 and saved some $. Was factory sealed and got fast service.

    Also own a V15. Still listening to both cartridges and deciding which one to keep. The V15 has a wider frequency range (seems to help overall smoothness), but to me sounds like it might stress the extreme highs and lows a bit. The M97 sounds just a touch compressed, but the frequency response seems even flatter through the mids to me (music sounds "punchier"). This could all be wrong though. Still playing with them.

  5. #5
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    I Purchased the V15 here and recommed this merchant they have 5 in stock at $217.12 + S&H
    http://www.thetwistergroup.com/store...8200&source=nx

  6. #6
    AUTOBOT BRANDONH's Avatar
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    Save $30.83

    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    How much are you looking to spend?

    If your budget is $100-ish, check this out:
    http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merc...egory_Code=S15

    If you're looking to spend more than $100, I'm not qualified to answer
    this merchant has 13 of the Shure M97xE in stock for $59.12 + S&H Vs $89.95 + S&H.
    http://www.thetwistergroup.com/produ...520D19451.html

  7. #7
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    ...Listened to the two Shures again...

    In my system it's definitely audible that the V15 does a better job of cleanly reproducing difficult passages and sounds more open. Think I really like the M97 better though. Just like the way it's voiced. Might just be my system. Probably why I liked the Sony turntable better than my Rotel the first time I tried it. Tried it out with the new M97. When I took the V15 off of the Rotel and put it on the Sony, I just didn't get into the music as much. I've heard it said that the M97 sounds more like the older V15 models than the newer V15 does. Maybe this is true? Think the V15 will go back on the Rotel and get sold on e-Bay.

    Think the M97 is a steal at under $70.00 shipped.

  8. #8
    RGA
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    This is something very similar to Audio Note's Level system theory. You don't want one aspect to outclass somehting else too much because all it will do is highlight the deficiencies of other parts of the chain. The Top end shure would likely be far better on a top end or very up there turntable where on my table it would probably bring out the weaknesses of the platter and detract from the music and maybe even be annoying. Thus you have the M97Xe for my deck and comparable decks (and then there is the whole arm thing and sound damping boards.

    My dealer is huge into turntables and hav 10,000LP's in the store - so it is very interesting to hang out there and hear this stuff in action and what once reads as BS in practice is anythig but. They carry about 6 different lines of tables and have had a few they brought in felt was garbage and sent packing.

    System synergy never gets enough attention and really it is more critical than any one componant in my view. It's also why there are so many people running around trying to buy tube preamps for their receivers and trying to upgrade the sound by looking to cables or reading endless magazine reviews which say that everything is great. I think the Shure is a nice little Cart it is way way better than the GOldring it came with if for no other reason that it can play the LP without hideous distortion in the inner tracks.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    First off, what's your price range? And also, are you looking to go with a moving magnet (MM) or moving coil (MC) model? The MMs are generally less expensive and the stylus is easy to replace, while the MCs have an edge with the sound quality, but are more expensive, more susceptible to interference, often require an external stepup preamp, and when the stylus wears out, you have to remove the cartridge and have it retipped.

    The Shures are known for their tracking ability, so if you buy a lot of used albums or have lots of albums with warps and pits to navigate, the Shures are a good way to go.

    The other frequently recommended cartridges out there are typically the Grados, the Goldrings (though I've read that their entry level carts are not all that good), the Ortofons, and the Sumikos. The Grados are supposed to be very high performance for the money, and I'm leaning towards going with a Grado for my next cartridge.

    I currently use a Sumiko Black Pearl, and I can't wait to get rid of it. It's very much inferior to the Ortofon OM20 that I used before. Has a nice fat sound in the midrange, but pretty lifeless otherwise. I've heard that the Blue Points are much better, but they're also a lot more expensive (close to $300).

    I had used the Ortofon OM series cartridges since the mid-80s and just kept replacing the stylus whenever it wore out. The Ortofon OMs never got the rave reviews that Ortofon's well-regarded (and more expensive) MC cartridges got until The Absolute Sound made the OM20 a Best Buy last year. I swapped out the OM when I saw that the prices had climbed to $190 (keep in mind that I had never paid more than $75 for an OM cartridge/stylus), and all the dealers in my area stopped carrying it.

    If the Grados also don't meet my needs, I might wind up going back to the Ortofons (which I've only been able to find by mail order).

  10. #10
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    This is something very similar to Audio Note's Level system theory. You don't want one aspect to outclass somehting else too much because all it will do is highlight the deficiencies of other parts of the chain. The Top end shure would likely be far better on a top end or very up there turntable where on my table it would probably bring out the weaknesses of the platter and detract from the music and maybe even be annoying. Thus you have the M97Xe for my deck and comparable decks (and then there is the whole arm thing and sound damping boards.
    Question though is how do you define one part of the turntable outclassing another? I think that the cartridge is the single most important aspect of the turntable. A good one can single handedly carry the day even with an inferior turntable, whereas the best turntable/tonearm combination in the world cannot overcome the flaws of a bad cartridge. I don't see any drawback whatsoever to putting a higher end cartridge onto any turntable.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    System synergy never gets enough attention and really it is more critical than any one componant in my view. It's also why there are so many people running around trying to buy tube preamps for their receivers and trying to upgrade the sound by looking to cables or reading endless magazine reviews which say that everything is great. I think the Shure is a nice little Cart it is way way better than the GOldring it came with if for no other reason that it can play the LP without hideous distortion in the inner tracks.
    A LOT of speculation here. System synergy? More important than the speakers or the room acoustics alone? You got a lot of variables to account for before you can say that synergy is more critical than any one component.

    Also, the distortion in the inner tracks is a common defect associated with an LP that was pressed with a worn stamper. (I know this because I've exchanged many defective new LPs that had this problem, and the replacements did not have the problem) A cartridge that tracks well like the Shures can only go so far to remedy that issue. Also, the tonearm plays a role, but it too is limited in how far it can go towards fixing that.

    If you're hearing that inner track distortion with ALL LPs, then the distortion could have more to do with the overhang alignment and/or vertical tracking angle than anything specific to a cartridge model. Unless both the Shure and the Goldring cartridges were correctly setup and evaluated using the same tonearm, you can't really conclude that the cartridge is magically making that inner track distortion go away.

    Also, some cartridges are more susceptible to sibilance (high end break up that occurs with certain loud highs) than others, but sibilance could also be a sign of a worn stylus or improper settings on the tonearm.

  11. #11
    RGA
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    Wooch

    Hey I'm no expert just reading through the vinyl forums at AA from manya expert. The notion is that better carts can pick up mpre good info from the lp and can also pick up the flaws in the rest of the set-up. More revealing as much as I dislike the term makes some sense in the world of turntables. Just changing stands made a huge difference for me.

    The cart and certain parts of the arm assembly have been recommended as upgrades for me. However, it was also suggested that I take my table in and listen and then take it off and connect it to the TT1 table which supposeldy will yield huge improvements. The TT1 uses the same arm as my NAD. So this comparison would basically be between my NAD(Rega 2)and a SystemDekII(AN TT1) table.

    The question is whether I would want to spend a grand on the table alone or being better off spending a grand on a cartridge(assuming a grand isn't insane so I'd try several) for my NAD. I'll try both set-ups to see oif the table iteslef makes a big enough difference.

  12. #12
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Might be a few years late,but better late than ever!

    I decided on the Audio Technical AT-440ML.

    Sweet sounding and hits the sweet spot I'm looking for price wise.

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