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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Cartridge fun and phono preamp switching

    I was spinning vinyl when I decided I had not heard the Benz MC Gold in too long a time. I had tweaked the table with the new motor and braces since last it was mounted. All mounted and properly aligned and VTA set in an interesting way. I had the 2mm spacer under the arm but it was a little too much for the AT F7 and Gold cartridges. So I decided to place the supplied washer from the 24V upgrade under the bearing well which raises the platter up a little less than 1mm. Works for both cartridges and a cheap way of adjusting.

    The table was still plugged into the Moon 110LP phono preamp. Highs were a little emphasized and I remembered how the AT F7 sounded bad through the Graham Slee Fanfare 3. It had a really ringing high end but tamed right down with the 110LP. The input impedance of the 110LP was 100 ohms while the Fanfare 3 was 470 ohms. I originally bought the Fanfare for the Gold since it should be loaded with greater than 200 ohms. The Gold and Fanfare 3 are an incredible match.

    I have to say the Gold with the Fanfare trumps the Grado Sonata and the AT F7. More detail and color but not as warm as the Grado. A nice balance between the other cartridges strengths. My other phono preamps the Cambridge Audio 640P and Rotel RQ 970BX do not have enough gain. Rage Against the Machine is sounding good right now.

    Both Moon 110LP and Fanfare 3 have upgraded power supplies. I was going to try the Ortofon OM20 next but it will be a long next since the Gold and Fanfare are playing so well together. Now that I am happy with my speakers it is time to pay attention to the other transducer.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Here are my choices in cartridges.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cartridge fun and phono preamp switching-014-mlarge.jpg  
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  3. #3
    Suspended
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    Nice skills and sounds like you were having fun

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Nice skills and sounds like you were having fun

    Thanks and yes it has been fun. When I look at my cartridges I am glad some of the ones I owned have found other homes. The Grado Red and Blue Point have moved on to other arms. I do know the Blue's suspension wire failed.

    Cartridges I miss were my ADC XLM MkII, Dynavector 10x2, Sonus Blue, Accutex, Micro Acoustic, and of course my first Shures the M91ED and M95. Many fun audio memmories.

    My phono preamps are the Rotel RQ 970BX, Cambridge Audio 640P, Graham Slee Fanfare3, and the Simaudio Moon 110LP. The Blue Point and Rotel are incredible together. Deepest and detailed soundstage. The Ortofon worked well with the CA 640P and I have not had it mounted in a long time so I have yet to hear it through the Moon 110LP.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I discovered my end stub had worked loose. I was doing some fine adjustment on VTF when I realized it. The counterweight is designed to lock onto the carriage that contains the micrometer style adjustment and once weight is set the carriage is locked to the end stub with another set screw. This makes for a rigid assembly. Now with the tightened end stub all is sounding good again.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I switched to the Rega glass and Ringmat mat. The combo is a nice addition to the Benz and Fanfare3.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    The Benz Gold is still singing sweetly but I am back to the Moon 110LP. I have it set as I did for the Grado Statement Sonata with 60db of gain and loaded with 47k. The combo is sounding very nice. The Fanfare 3 could sound bright at times and now extended and smooth.

    Oddly while listening to Jennifer Warne's "Famous Blue Raincoat" I thought I heard sounds of stylus wear or inner groove distortion. I am pleased to report it was neither. I had not adjusted the antiskate settings since I switched cartridges. I reduced the amount of antiskating force and the choir in the last minutes of "Joan Of Arc" were singing sweetly and high above the singer and musicians.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Well I switched to the Ortofon OM20 today. I have always liked the low mass of the induced magnet generating system. I was missing some detail that I do not think budget MC cartridges can deliver. The Ortofon OM20's cantilever is suspended mid point through a circular magnet with a nude stylus. There are no suspension wires, coils at the end or magnets or iron to move. I think it tracks better judging by ear and not a test record.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you like the Ortofon. That was on my list when I decided to buy the Nagaoka.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
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    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I was thinking that the OM20 had not sounded so good in the past and then I realized that I had not played a record with it for several tweaks. Since the last time I had it on the arm I replaced the motor, added the top and bottom braces and I am not sure if I had the lowered counterweight at the time. The Moon 110LP is also a very good phono preamp. As the table has improved in sound quality so has the sound of the OM20.

    I think I may have the VTA set better than before. I have the 2mm spacer under the arm and a spacer under the lip of the bearing well. The spacer under the bearing well was supplied for the 24V motor upgrade. I think now the arm is raised between 1-1.5mm due to the slight elevation of the platter.

    Of course as I discovered about myself if something sounds good I wonder what I can get to make it sound better. I began looking at the 2M Blue but the OM20 is more compliant, tracks lighter and has lower tip mass. I do like the idea of a user replaceable stylus which in the days before cd players and all listening was vinyl I would replace the stylus routinely.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Since my hearing has improved with the absence of aspartame I have finalized my vinyl playback. The best combination is the Audio Technica F7 cartridge into the Moon 110LP phono preamp. The FunkFirm Achroplat platter along with the record weight sound best with the greatest number of records.

    The AT F7 is neutral and detailed but the Grado Sonata Statement excels at soundstaging. I have decided for me neutrality and detail is more important than warmth and soundstaging. A more expensive cartridge would probably give me both but I am enjoying what I already own.

    Back to the table.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    I am enjoying the table so much I thought I would take a picture showing many of the tweaks. You can see the wires from the Incognito rewire, the FunkFirm Achroplat, machined subplatter and record weight, the Michael Lim top brace and lastly the Michell Technoweight. Mounted is the Audio Technica F7 cartridge.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cartridge fun and phono preamp switching-003-med.jpg  
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

  13. #13
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    MMMm doggie, that must sound good!
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
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    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Starting to have an itch to install the Grado Statement Sonata. Of all my cartridges it has the best depth of soundstaging and separation of instruments. More space between instruments in a wider soundstage. Now that I am trusting my ears it is time to relisten to the Grado. Absolutely pleased with everything else in my system from speakers to cables. Now I just need to decide on cartridge. I will rate the AT F7 over the OM 20 and the Benz Gold may need a retip due to hours and age to make a fair comparison. I wish I could swap cartridges as easily as I did in my younger days.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cone, Benz MC Gold, Fanfare 3/PSU 1.
    Digital
    Sony SCD-XA5400ES SACD/cd SID mat, Marantz SA 8001
    Int. Amp Krell S-300i
    Speaker
    JBL Studio 530's/Sanus SF22 stands
    Cables
    AQ SPKR and AQ XLR and IC

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