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  1. #1
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    New Cartridge Recommendations

    I'm shopping for a new cartridge for my SystemDek IIX using the Jelco made Profile II tonearm.

    Last year I started with a Denon DL-103 and have since moved on to a Grado Reference Platinum.

    I'm interested in cartridges the $500-700 range and have primarily focused on the Shelter 301. However, I am open to suggestions.

    My phono stage is the Michael Yee PFE-1 which is configurable in all areas including resistance, capacitance, and output levels. Therefore, MC or MM, low output or high output does not matter.

    I'm interested in what others have used and why.

  2. #2
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    If that arm is on the lighter side that can handle compliance of 25 Ám/mN, I like the Ortofon OM (concord), Super OM (NC mk2 concord), and QBert. If I had all that money to spend, I would buy one of each (OM versions if you have integrated headshells...concord versions if you have separate headshells so you don't have to do mounting) and then buy the 30E nude microline or 40E Van Den Hul nude tip. I think you'll probably want to run them at 1.25 grams, since my 5E runs at 1.5. and is 20% more compliant. Then you also have three different cartridge bodies, each with a slightly different generator you can easily slip it onto to change the sound dramatically. The original OM/concord you run at 100pF. The Super OM/NCmk2 you run at 150-200pf. And the QBert you run at around 300pF. Not only that, but all the Ortofon nude diamonds (20E, 30E, 40E) are gorgeous under a microscope, and you can easily sell the DJ tips on ebay since you don't need them. I don't know of any other manufactuer that lets you change not only the stylus to a different type, but even the gererator/body in such a diverse series. You've got the preamp that can handle it, and if your tonearm will play ball that will give you years of swapping enjoyment without having to keep buying more stuff. The carts themselves weight close to the same, so you won't have to keep changing the counterweight, skating, or anything else. Just use great care when pulling the stylus off the cart bodies (such as using scotch tape) and you'll be in hog...or audiohog heaven. There's the option of buying just one fantastic MC cart, but what's the fun in that? And eventually you have to buy a whole new cart when the diamond wears out or you break it. My route will cost you no more than $600 and next time you need a new stylus it will only cost half that.
    Last edited by Reticuli; 02-11-2009 at 04:13 PM.

  3. #3
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Do you have Windows Excel?

    You can get a Lyra Dorian from UK for less than $750 @ today's exchange rate. I have no experience with it, but I am extremely curious. It would work well with tonearm mass of around 15grams.

    301 is just an original 501 which come with a conical stylus. You could get a used 501mk2 with 50 hours for around $500. 501mk2 is fairly lively but has transparent tonal quality. Perhaps 301 or 301mk2 offers the same type of tone. I think it would work well on tonearms with higher mass.

    If you'll send me your email address, I can send you an Excel file with the Resonance Freq chart with over a dozen cartridge/arm combination. Maybe that will help you choosing your new cartridge.

    JRA

  4. #4
    nightflier
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    JRA, can you post that excel file as a link here? I think this would be interesting to a lot of us.

    I've been eying that Shelter 501ii as well, but I'm not crazy about buying second-hand. Also would like to try the Sumiko Blackbird someday (also above my budget, unfortunately). That said, My TT is probably easier to match with a cartridge than the SystemDek/Jelco combo, though.

  5. #5
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey NF,

    I wanna stay true to the thread's topic, but I'm not sure how well the Shelter 501mk2 would work with your 9c arm. Your combination would result to around 12.69Hz. I think your best bet would be to go with something like Benz Micro L, Dynavector 17D3, Denon DL-301mk2.
    It would it would be a great idea to post a link to the spreadsheet, but I haven't a clue on how to accomplish it.

  6. #6
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Squeegy, you probably already know this site, but if not, check it out to see how the cartridge will match with your tonearm mass.
    Just click on the Dynamic Compliance number to see the optimum Res. Freq.

    http://www.cartridgedb.com/

    JRA

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Hey NF,

    I wanna stay true to the thread's topic, but I'm not sure how well the Shelter 501mk2 would work with your 9c arm. Your combination would result to around 12.69Hz. I think your best bet would be to go with something like Benz Micro L, Dynavector 17D3, Denon DL-301mk2.
    It would it would be a great idea to post a link to the spreadsheet, but I haven't a clue on how to accomplish it.
    What's wrong with a resonance of 12.69hz? That's below the audio frequency and high enough for the arm to still track warps with ease.

  8. #8
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squeegy200
    I'm shopping for a new cartridge for my SystemDek IIX using the Jelco made Profile II tonearm.

    Last year I started with a Denon DL-103 and have since moved on to a Grado Reference Platinum.

    I'm interested in cartridges the $500-700 range and have primarily focused on the Shelter 301. However, I am open to suggestions.
    I've also used Denons and Grados among quite a few others. My favorite in that price range is the Dynavector DV20X family. While I'm currently using the VPI mid output flavor that is a tad more expensive, you can choose either low or high output versions for around $650. They resolve better than other cartridges I've used and have a neutral tonal flavor.

    rw

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Agree with Reticuli. The Ortofon OM series works very well with low mass tonearms because of their high compliance. This also means that they do a great job with tracking using a low vertical force. I use the Ortofon OM30 with a Dual CS5000, which has a low mass tonearm and apparently doesn't work very well with MC carts. The combo sounds great.

    As mentioned, you can upgrade by simply swapping out the stylus. Aside from progressively improving your sound quality by just changing out the stylus, this gives you quite a bit of versatility. For example, you can keep a spare OM10 stylus around just for use with your worn/dirty records. It will sound fine, won't cost too much, and you don't have to worry about prematurely wearing down your better stylus. Also, if you have a collection of 78s and your turntable can play them, Ortofon makes a separate stylus just for 78s for optimal audio quality and not having to worry about premature wear.
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  10. #10
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reticuli
    What's wrong with a resonance of 12.69hz? That's below the audio frequency and high enough for the arm to still track warps with ease.
    I'm just stating "ideal" resonance frequency which is said to be around 10Hz +/- 2Hz.

    You are right. 12.69 would still track fine.

    Of course you do not want to focus too much on the Resonance Freq only. One of the world's finest cartridges, Koetsu, would only work best with tonearm such as the Fidelity Research FR64 @ 34 grams.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    if youre still looking

    i might suggest one of the Kontrapunkt line of ortos. the b is particularly nice, ruby cantilever and all. peruse the net for reviews, its been well thought of. juki in hong kong will provide a nice price and he's reliable.
    ...regards...tr

  12. #12
    Forum Regular simmel's Avatar
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    You have a decent deck squeegy200, But I would junk the Jelco arm and fit another like the Rega RB 250 or RB 300. These work very well with the Systemdek, sound fantastic and are much better built than the Jelco.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    i disagree about the jelco

    having owned my mmt for plenty long enough to know its quality, i say stay with the jelco. i have heard some fine carts on it such as the helikon , Kb, jubilee, rohmann, and oc9s, plus my fidelity research fr1mkIIIf.
    ...regards...tr

  14. #14
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    OK, so now its been a WHILE.

    what did you get??? enquiring minds want to know.
    ...regards...tr

  15. #15
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    How about trying the very affordable Denon dl 160. I had one on my systemdek profile and it blew away my shure v15 vmr. It just fit. I never tried anything more expensive because the sound was wonderful.

  16. #16
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Squeez,
    What cartridge did you decide on?
    Did you get a 301?
    I've been playing 501mk2 on my Rega arm, and it sounds better than it did on KAB SL-1200 arm. But no matter what I do, it still sounds tremble happy, and a bit thin to my ears. But Dynvector 17D3 on the other hand sounds well balanced with clarity. You may want to consider the 17D3 if you havent purchased the Shelter.

    JRA

  17. #17
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    Don't the Denon high output MCs have fairly high effective tip mass and aren't well controlled up top? Even with the nude diamond and only the coils on the opposite end (no heavier magnets), the cantilever is still aluminum. I realize they tapered and trimmed the 160 cantilever a bit from the 110, but several reviews have done tests that confirmed it's overmassed compared to Denon's competition. Did you not find staticy high-hats and sibilants a problem on your Denon?

    I'm surprised you prefer it to the Shure, especially as the last V15 had one of the lowest tip masses of all time. Maybe what you're really hearing is a better matching with your phono preamp stage. The Denon (and most ultra-low Z MM/MI and high output MCs) is supposed to be pretty tolerant of capacitance & impedence loading changes and easy to get great frequency response even with common phono preamps, while the normal MM/MI designs are extremely sensitive to them. My understanding is Shure went about trying to create the lowest distortion, most extended, and revealing cartridge they could, leaving the subject of tonal response unaddressed since they were using ordinary inductance MM.

    BTW, are the Denon diamonds just glued on or are they glued into a hole? I thought one of the brands, like AT with the 440MLa, used the in-hole method so that you could clean it with alcohol on the brush. Can't remember.
    Last edited by Reticuli; 07-05-2009 at 12:13 PM.

  18. #18
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reticuli

    BTW, are the Denon diamonds just glued on or are they glued into a hole? I thought one of the brands, like AT with the 440MLa, used the in-hole method so that you could clean it with alcohol on the brush. Can't remember.


    I checked out my 110 under 60-100x microscope and it does not look to be glued on the surface of a cantilever. I'm not sure if a stylus is glued thru a hole, but what I can tell you is that end of the cantilever shows it is a typical tubular design.

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