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  1. #1

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    Default Recommend a Cartridge

    I'm in the market for a new cart., and would really like to keep it under $400. HOMC would be good. I was checking out the Sumiko Blue Point Special. Does anyone have any thoughs on these. Any other suggestions would be great.

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    What kind of sound do you like? Lively, laid back? Dark? Bright? What kind of phono stage you you have? Low MC capable?
    So many choices....

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    Something with good bass would be a plus. Good highs, but not over the top. I usually listen to classic rock/pop. Some jazz, no classical. Need good detail and imaging. Like I said, I have very little to compare to. I was using a Dynavector Karat 17D. The output was a little low (.25 or .35 i believe)for my phono stage. So something at or above 1mv would suffice. 2 mv would probably be better.

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    IIRC,, the D-2 Karat was/is a pretty decent cart.Did you try different phono pre's? Do you plan to stay with a MC,,or go with a MM. For MC's I've always like the DV and the Benz. Can't really comment on the MM's---good luck.
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

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    I may be a little biased, because I owned one for a while, but I think the AudioTechnica OC9/MLii is one of the best cartridges for the money. Its very fast and detailed and tracks great. The bass is very good from it. Some people think its too bright, but I guess that all depends on your system. I didn't find it too bright when I had it matted with my Mirage M3/Parasound system. Its 0.4mv output, so you need a true MC capable phono stage that can do something like 40-100ohm loading.

    The thing about the OC9 is that it has a better stylus/cantilever combination that just about anything under $500. It has a gold plated boron (light and stiff) with a microline stylus that tracks like nothing else and gets much more detail out of the grooves than the typical elliptical stylus found on most under $500 cartridges.

    Give it a try.

    It is popular, so you can almost always get a good portion of your money back out of it by selling it at A-gon.

    If you got some time, read up at this site:
    http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Cartridges.html
    Obviously, you need to skip down to the Class C and "other interesting cartridges"

    He likes the OC9, doesn't like the Sumiko BPS and really really likes the various Denon cartridges. The Denons mostly need a tonearm that can handle a low compliance cartridge. Not sure what arm your using.
    Last edited by billbillw; 04-24-2008 at 10:17 AM.

  6. #6

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    I'm using a Musical Fidelity A5 pre. It has mm/mc option. But as far as moving coil cart, it is beter suited for the hight output moving coil. The reason for thinking that the Sumiko cart. might be right, is that I have a Sumiko tonearm (premier 3). The reason I'm in the market for one in the first place, is that my old Dynavector is shot. Stylus mishap. I'll probably try to sell it on ebay. Maybe someone will buy it and has the know-how to fix it up.
    Last edited by del44; 04-24-2008 at 06:15 PM.

  7. #7

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    If you like Dynavector, why not stick with it?

    I've had the 10x5 and the 20x and dig them both.

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  8. #8

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    The Karat seemed to lack a little on the top end. I'm hoping to get something with a little more in that area.

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    Del44,
    I have the same tonearm (FT3) on my VPI and the AT OC9 was a PERFECT combo for that arm. Great match with the arm weight and the cartridge compliance. It tracked beautifully.

    If you are looking for more top end, then the AT is your cartridge. Some think its too bright, but I thought it was just clean and balanced. Very tight, fast bass and strings were crisp and clear.

    If you have the MF A5cr preamp (not the A5 integrated), then from what I can see, you are more than capable of handling a 0.4mv MC cartridge. The rating it shows is 370uV, which is 0.37mV.

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    I may give the AT a try. The .4 mv is still a little low, but the Dynavector was even lower. I just have to make sure to turn the volume down after listening to LP'S. Thanks for the info.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by del44 View Post
    I may give the AT a try. The .4 mv is still a little low, but the Dynavector was even lower. I just have to make sure to turn the volume down after listening to LP'S. Thanks for the info.
    0.4mV is standard for MC and your preamp is fully capable of handling it. It was a more recent trend to have all these mid and high output MM only phono stages. Those higher outputs typically come at a cost in the sound department. A low output MC will almost always sound better than the equivalent model in a Mid or High output configuration, if its hooked to a high quality MC phono stage.

    As long as you are operating in the middle of the volume range, I wouldn't worry about it.

  12. #12

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    I'm also looking into the AT 150. I've read alot of good things about this one. I'm afraid that the Grado Gold might have a humm issue with my table. But it might be worth looking into also.

  13. #13

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    The OC9 is a much better cart than the AT150MLX. I've heard both on the same table. .

  14. #14

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    If you want a HOMC for rock and pop, you would have to search far and wide to find something better than the Denon DL-160. Their economies of scale plus long experience with MC makes this an incredible cartridge at its price point. Less than $200 USD it is an incredible proposition. Google it - you will see how well it is regarded. I could not be happier with mine!

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    BTW, the Denon's output is 1.6 mV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gretsch6136 View Post
    If you want a HOMC for rock and pop, you would have to search far and wide to find something better than the Denon DL-160. Their economies of scale plus long experience with MC makes this an incredible cartridge at its price point. Less than $200 USD it is an incredible proposition. Google it - you will see how well it is regarded. I could not be happier with mine!
    I think A-T has a pretty good economy of scale going on too. The Denon is a fine cartridge for that price range, but the OC9 is in a different league.

  17. #17

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    Bill, the OC9 may well be a better cartridge, but keep in mind Del44 was asking for recommendations of a HIGH OUTPUT MC. The OC9's output of 0.37mV is not what one would call high output. The Denon DL-160 on the other hand has an output of 1.6mV, enough to make it work with MM phono stages.

    I use my DL-160 through both MC and MM options on my integrated, depending on the record in question. A loud master goes through the MM stage, whereas a quiet one goes through the MC stage.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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    OK, I did a quick fix. Bought a Grado Gold Prestige. This is just to hold me over until I can get my hands on a good MC. I plan on having a couple of carts. on hand anyway. First impressions of this cart vs. the Dynavector. Well, I would have to say theat the Dyna is in a different league. Even the worn out one that I had was more musical. Not saying that the grado is bad, it's just that the Dynavector was that good.
    I have heard good things about the Denons, And Bill, I just missed out getting a AT OC9, for a pretty good price. Mark, I will do some more research into the DL-160. Would the output on the Denon be to much for the MC option on my pre?. Or would the MM on the pre be better.
    I plan on having 2 or 3 cartridges on hand, so I can swap them out every so often.

  19. #19

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    Del, I have found that the Denon work fine in both MC and MM stages, but with loud records, the MC stage does seem to exhibit some compression and maybe a touch of distortion in the bass. Bear in mind that this is through a bog standard Denon integrated amp's built in phono stage.

    I have used it through an Electrocompaniet MC stage with no issue at all.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gretsch6136 View Post
    Bill, the OC9 may well be a better cartridge, but keep in mind Del44 was asking for recommendations of a HIGH OUTPUT MC. The OC9's output of 0.37mV is not what one would call high output. The Denon DL-160 on the other hand has an output of 1.6mV, enough to make it work with MM phono stages.

    I use my DL-160 through both MC and MM options on my integrated, depending on the record in question. A loud master goes through the MM stage, whereas a quiet one goes through the MC stage.

    Cheers,

    Mark
    I believe Del thought he needed a hight output MC because his previous experience was with a really low output Dynavector (only .2mv output). He mistakenly thought he needed HOMC, but his preamp is perfectly capable of handling the OC9, or any LOMC that is rated at around .4mv output.

    In fact, I believe a cartridge that outputs 1.6mv would be a comprimise for him. It is too low for the MM input and to high for the MC input.

  21. #21

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    The Denon cartridge has been shown to actually have an output closer to 2.2mv than the published 1.6mv. I currently run a Denon 110 with an Audio Electronic Supply PH-1 tube phono preamp with 37db gain (MM) and have outstanding dynamics, bass extenstion and very clear and open top end.
    pre VAC Standard LE, power VAC PA100/100 phi upgrade, analog Origin Live Aurora Mk2, Origin Live Encounter Mk3c, Benz Ebony H, digital Lector 0.6t, speakers Thiel CS2.4, Rel Strata III, cables Audience AU24 e IC, Audience AU24 e SC, power Audience aR1p, Audience aR2p, Audience PowerCord e

  22. #22

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    Default Update

    Got an Audio Technica AT-OC9 (not the ml/ll). It arrived today. I got it pretty much dialed in, except for some more possible VTA adjustments. Right off the bat I could tell that this is one awesome cartridge. I would have to say that the sound is similar to the Dynavector. The highs are just the way I like. And bass is tight. The Grado has more bass, but not nearly as quick. Right away I noticed the soundstage is more open and with great depth. I actually prefer it to the Dyna. The .4 mv sensitivity is not a problem. It works well with the MC setting on my pre. Now, to spin some more vinyl.:D

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    I had a pretty good feeling that was what you were looking for.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by billbillw View Post
    I had a pretty good feeling that was what you were looking for.
    It definitly was. Thanks

  25. #25

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    I am very happy with my Dynavector DV20XH (high output MC). I am using the phono stage in my Rotel RB-1090.
    Strictly 2 channel
    Rotel RC-1550 pre
    Rotel RB-1582 amp
    Catcables Kingcats ICs
    APC S-20 line conditioner
    B&W N804 mains
    B&W ASW800 sub
    Rotel RCC-1055 changer
    Denon DVD 1000

    Listening Room:
    McIntosh C2300 preamp
    McIntosh MC452 amp
    McIntosh MCD-500 SACD player
    AQ Colorado XLR ICs
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    APC H-15 line conditioner
    Sonus faber Auditor M speakers w/stands
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