Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Ortofon too polite for bass heavy electronic music on vinyl?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Ortofon too polite for bass heavy electronic music on vinyl?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Curious what people think about the pairing. I've been amassing records over the last few months and would love to finally be able to LISTEN(!) to them, but a while back my NAD PP1 phono stage died on me and I desperately need a new needle. I'm almost positive that I am going to order one of these: TCC TC-760LC to replace my PP1 but my dilemma now is what to do about the cartridge/stylus. (Man, I really love the built-in output level potentiometer on the TC-760LC, my PC soundcard was having a really hard time dealing with hot signals from my old setup and this'll solve that problem without the need for a bunch of line attenuators, nice!).

Currently, I have an Ortofon OMP20 stylus (my turntable is an old entry level Technics SL-D35 DD, T4P/P-Mount) paired with the generic OMP cartridge that can accommodate the OM10/20/30/40. As the title suggests, my real love is for electronic music and as such most of the stuff that gets played is on 45RPM 12-inches, much of it pretty bass driven. That said, I'm not a DJ and the turntable is mostly just a means to get my vinyl-only music into digital format.

I'd like to keep the total for the stylus/cartridge under 100$ and seeing as I already have the Ortofon cartridge and I generally enjoyed the type of sound I was achieving with this setup, the natural choice seems to be a simple stylus replacement... but I'm not sure it's the best choice given the multitude of options (even for P-Mount) and I literally know nothing about this technology... I remember reading way back that Ortofon was highly regarded but not really geared towards the kind of music I listen to. That was confirmed today by the friendly folks over at LPGear who suggested the following:


A better cartridge [than the Ortofon] is the Audio-Technica 301EP @
$49.95 + $7.90 S&H (retail $89.00). It has an
elliptical stylus and offers higher resolution and
more detail.

For very accurate fidelity choose the Audio-Technica
AT311EP @ $64.95 + $7.90 S&H (retail $109.00). It uses
a special elliptical diamond for superb tracing of
record grooves thus resulting in pristine clarity and
accuracy.


Any opinions on these? My only reservation here is that the price of the stylus' are actually really low (the replacement stylus for either one is around 30$). Not that price dictates quality, but I'd rather not low-ball it if I can do significantly better for a bit more cash. Would the OM10 be a real step down seeing as it's 60$ less than its big brother the OM20? Any bass lovers (or haters), vinyl aficionados or anyone else out there with an opinion or some light to shed on the subject?
post #2 of 17
The ATs have a slightly more upfront character than the Ortofons so are definitely worth considering.

I also notice that LPgear still have a P-Mount version of the now very rare Shure V15 which is one of the best MM carts ever made but sadly now longer in production. This would be one the best possible P-Mounts to get and is famed for it's bass, read about it here

I certainly enjoyed mine with electronic music before I switched to an MC.
I know this is way over your budget but there is a specialist company in Japan JICO who make a similar standard of tip to the famous Shure called SAS and what's more it's not only for the V series but also the lesser older Shures like the M92 many of which came in P mounts.

So what I would do is hunt around for an old Shure P-Mount on ebay, as they are 10 a penny and then spend you 100USD on a Jico.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Great advice! Thanks. The Shure is certainly well regarded but also well out of my price range at the moment. I've been holding off on replacing my phono stage and my needle in the hopes of aquiring a cheap Technics 1200. It hasn't happened and I'm desperate to have a working TT again, so that's why I'm going this route.

Intriguing suggestion about the SAS stylus, do you have any idea where I could get a list of the P-Mount cartridges that are compatible? A quick search on eBay for Shure M92 uncovered a new M92E (complete with stylus) for about 20$, but would I be better off with something in the V-series?

The Shure M92 cart + SAS tip will end up being around 130$ or so which I could stomach

Also, I see a number of "universal mounts", phonopreamps has an AT320 for about 45$, any idea if it'd be a better worse choice that the AT301EP or 311EP? My guess is that most folks only have the opportunity to listen to a few of these so each persons range would be limited and these kinds of specific questions will be too narrow, but under the 100$ mark are there any real standouts? Again, I'm limited to P-mount or universal mounts at the moment...
post #4 of 17
There is a list of all the Jico replacements for Shures here Phonograph Stylus : Shure
and the M92 is just a regular one not an SAS.
However on ebay there is a boxed RXT-6
NEW SHURE RXT6 Cartridge with NEW Shure Stylus - eBay (item 170215296191 end time May-08-08 08:00:23 PDT)

which is not a bad cart either, actually made for Radioshack/Tandy by Shure
back in the day and badged as Realistic.

I have one and it's definitely a P-Mount with an adaptor for 1/2 " mounting which is actually pretty useful.

Unfortunately Shure have taken their pages which tell you which carts are compatible with which stylus down but here Musonic (UK) Ltd - Stylus, Styli, Needles, Cartridges, Record & Audio Accessories you can see that an SH-N97xE is the modern replacement. If you check the V15VMR you'll notice that again the SH-N97xE is the modern replacement. To cut a long story short the VN45HE SAS from JICO should fit any cart the SH-N97xE will.
Also Lpgear actually sell this so you don't even have to pay shipping from Japan.
It's the stylus profile which is the key here and the SAS will turn a humble RXT-6 into a bit of a giant killer.
post #5 of 17
memepool: Maybe that's the chart you were looking for: Shure - Discontinued Phono Cartridge and Stylus Cross Reference Chart

Oh, and I'm not aware that Jico does an SAS version for the Shure T4P/P-Mount models. But they have a hyperelliptical replacement for the M110HE/N110HE, which is only US$ 18 and said to be very good (or even excellent from the price/performance aspect...) - and the original N110HE is also still available here and there, but considerably more expensive. These needles will of course also fit on the compatible lower end siblings (M92E, M94E, M99E, M104E et cetera).

muckshot: Hmmm, the OMP20 isn't a bad cartridge - hence I'd recommend to first try it with your new phono stage, before you make any further plans. Also it might make sense to check for a couple of other potential problem sources, e.g. unsuitable cabling from the turntable to the phono stage, placement/feedback issues...

And regarding the Ortofon 320, while I'd say it's a nice cart for the money, I'd doubt that it's a good option, when you want something that sounds quite a bit different compared to your OMP... Oh, and contrary to the specs on Ortofon's web site, which obviously have been copied without verification by some vendors, the 320 doesn't sport a nude FineLine stylus: In fact it's a tipped/bonded one. That also explains why it's so cheap compared to really nude Ortofon FineLines (e.g. needle 30, 530II...).

Also don't let yourself get confused by the plethora of AT T4P/P-Mount models. AT is infamous for offering the same carts (or minor variations, e.g. with/without T4P-to-1/2" adaptor included) under quite a few different model names - however, if you thoroughly study the pics and specs, you'll quickly find out that there were in fact only three major families of AT-T4Ps, one of which you can easily forget about right away, 'cause its members are not very widespread. Of the other two, one was more geared to the low end - and the two models recommended to you by LPGear belong to this one. If you'd ask me, I'd call that recommendation not a great one - imo, one would at least need to go for an AT316EP/AT6006 for competing with an OMP20...

But if you'd really want an AT, I'd rather recommend the third family anyway - 'cause it's simply the best one with the widest choice of different needles: Its main members are the AT102P, 102EP, 112EP, 122EP, 122LP, 132EP, 142LP 152LP and 152MLP plus a couple of younger siblings with updated coil wire (OCC instead of LC-OFC) like the AT422EP and 432EP (beware though: the 4XXs often have lesser needles, e.g. the 432EP only sports a bonded elliptical on a standard cantilever (straight alu), whereas the 132EP comes with a nude and sharper (0.2x0.7) elliptical on a better cantilever (tapered alu)). A plus: Their needles can also be used in their half-inch-mount siblings from the AT120E up to the AT160ML (plus e.g. AT430E, 440ML(a), 450E/OCC et cetera) and vice versa. In order to compete with an OMP20 you should at least go for an ATN122EP needle in this family.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: That Realistic/Shure model memepool has linked to looks like it's one of the better Shure-T4Ps, maybe even an M110HE rebatch. It wouldn't be a bad idea to bid on this one...

P.P.S.: And just for the record, in my own T4P cart stable I have the AT432EP (plus ATN132EP and ATN152LP (I use the original ATN432EP only as a beater needle...)), Ortofon 320, Shure M99E and Technics EPC-P30. Used as T4Ps mostly on a Technics SL-QD33, but also with adaptor on several other tables (Dual CS505-4, Grundig PS-3000/Philips AF777, Thorens TD280II...).

P.P.P.S.: If it really turned out to be the sound of the OMP20 you just don't like, I'd also suggest to consider this one for a different sonical approach, which practically is a T4P hifi model of the good old Stanton 500: New... Pickering TLE/2 eliptical T4P/ Hi Fi cartridge on eBay, also Turntable Parts Accessories, Turntables, Home Audio Hi Fi, Consumer Electronics (end time 03-May-08 20:59:44 BST)

I'm not much of a fan of the Stanton 500 series myself though - for my taste, these sound rather unrefined and... hmmm... difficult to describe... maybe somewhat blunt, bland and compressed...
post #6 of 17
There is no such thing as a "polite" component. It is usually a euphemism for a relatively neutral component that is not inherently loud. I'm guessing (haven't heard one) that the Ortophon fits the description. Changing components is a difficult, dubious and very expensive way to adjust eq and output level. Instead, I would buy a new needle and turn up the volume and, perhaps, the bass. If you're ripping to hard drive, most music software will give you 10 bands of digital eq as an even better option. Fool with it until the Ortofon sounds as hot, deep, forward, whatever as you like. Then enjoy your records.

Tim

PS - Someone is probably going to come along and tell you that using the eq in iTunes or other computer music software causes distortion. Nonsense. They are listening to other internet experts instead of their equipment. It is absolutely true that your signal is no longer bit-perfect if you use the eq (or even the volume control), ie: the bits at playback don't match the bits on your hard drive. Of course they don't. You've changed the volume at selected frequencies. This is not the same as distortion.

Tim
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lini View Post
memepool: Maybe that's the chart you were looking for: Shure - Discontinued Phono Cartridge and Stylus Cross Reference Chart
they don't link to it from the stylus section for some reason any more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lini View Post
Oh, and I'm not aware that Jico does an SAS version for the Shure T4P/P-Mount models. But they have a hyperelliptical replacement for the M110HE/N110HE, which is only US$ 18 and said to be very good (or even excellent from the price/performance aspect...) - and the original N110HE is also still available here and there, but considerably more expensive. These needles will of course also fit on the compatible lower end siblings (M92E, M94E, M99E, M104E et cetera).
I just checked to verify and my RTX-6 does indeed have the same stylus mounting pattern as my V15IV and V15V so this would be the cheapest way to get an SAS stylus profile onto a P mount cart.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks to everyone for the awesome replies! Lini I highly appreciate the lengthy and detailed infos, the sheer number of choices (less so for T4P, but even then) and the lack of a comprehensive stylus-to-cartridge resource has had me scratching my head and surfing aimlessly for days. I was basically checking for SAS-tipped needles and then doing searches for each of the associated cartridges on eBay just to see it they were P-mounts or not... it turned out to be a fruitless and hugely monotonous undertaking as you might imagine. I`m going to look into many of your suggestions tonight and see what I can come up with. Your opinions on the lower end Ortofons & ATs was really helpful and instructive, I feel a little less in the dark now. And thanks again memepool, I've got that Shure RTX-6 cartridge on watch and I'll probably try to grab it up, although eBay's high rollers may be willing to part with much more cash than I am To be honest, I`ve no idea what a reasonable price for that item would even be.

Just to be clear, it's not that I disliked the Ortofon OMP20, on the contrary, I got lots of enjoyment out of it, but the stylus is really old and ought to have been replaced years ago. Now that its time has finally come up, I figured perhaps a complete revamp of my setup would be a wise choice. As for my phono stage, the (recently dead) NAD PP1 did the job fine for many years, but when I finally took to transferring my vinyl to digital, the outgoing signal was often far too loud going into the sound card, resulting in massive distortion on deep cut 12''s with copious amounts of bass. Static line attenuators would likely have done the trick, but I never got around to ordering them... anyhow, the new phono-stage I have coming has a level adjustment knob which ought to fix the "hot signal" issue, but it`s not going to change the fact that my stylus is highly worn and can no longer cope. I'm getting distortion from playback that is due to the stylus, wholly unrelated to the amp & cabling. The only reason I've been considering a change is my (perhaps incorrect) notion that the OMP-series was not really geared towards the kind of music I listen to most of the time and I was not really attracted towards any of the DJ needles due to the potential increase in record wear and loss of fidelity as compared to the Hi-fi counterparts (again, I may totally off base on this, my knowledge of this tech is really limited).

I really love the carts that have the P-mount + Half-inch adapters though, such as the RTX-6 and those ATs Lini referenced, this would make the to transition to a Technics 1200 or whatever much less painful and costly when it does eventually come to that. My current TT works, but it has some issues and may well crap out on me in the near future, although for now it`s doing the job just fine.

Again, i really appreciate the suggestions and time, I ought to be up and running in short order thanks to you guys (or gals). Cheers!
post #9 of 17
any thoughts on a grado? i really am digging the red that came with my rega. so much so i have not yet mounted the shelter. well, I have to rewire it too.

i thought the p-mount to 1/2" adapters were universal, no? you could buy one later to mount your cartridge on the new deck...
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
any thoughts on a grado? i really am digging the red that came with my rega. so much so i have not yet mounted the shelter. well, I have to rewire it too.
I thought that the Grado needles had 'humming' issues with techincs decks? I'm certain I read that on here somewhere...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
i thought the p-mount to 1/2" adapters were universal, no? you could buy one later to mount your cartridge on the new deck...
That would make sense, I mean, the pins are the same for all the P-mounts but perhaps the cart bodies differ? This would certainly make things easier. That said, I've not seen any 'universal' adapters for sale on their own, and the "universal" carts each come with their own adapters.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by muckshot View Post
I thought that the Grado needles had 'humming' issues with techincs decks? I'm certain I read that on here somewhere...
Grados have humming issues with A LOT of decks. It's not as horrible as some make it sound, but it's definately there. I didn't mind it too much. Incidentally, I now have a Super OM-20 on my Pro-Ject and it suits me just fine. It isn't what I'd call bass heavy, though.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ingo View Post
Grados have humming issues with A LOT of decks. It's not as horrible as some make it sound, but it's definately there. I didn't mind it too much. Incidentally, I now have a Super OM-20 on my Pro-Ject and it suits me just fine. It isn't what I'd call bass heavy, though.
My Grado didn't hum on the Planar 3, but it did hum on the Orbe until I twiddled the wires and killed the noise.

I do like Grado's cartridges. I think most of the Prestige line comes in P-mount, as well. The Black is terrific value for the money, but I think the Gold is worth every cent. I'm running the Platinum right now - it's better than the Gold, but I think the Gold has better bang for the buck.
post #13 of 17
I run a Grado Gold on a Pro-Ject 1.2 and I agree that it is a great value. From their website:

"The Gold model is selected from the Silver production run and meet higher test specifications. Approximately 5% of the production run meet these standards and become Gold models."

My Pro-Ject came with a Sumiko Oyster Blue cartridge, but I felt it was lacking in warmth, and the bass was too thin for my ears. I also felt the same way when I was auditioning a Rega P3 with the Elys cartridge.

I've been listening to Grado's now for 25 years, and they have always been good at extracting that deep, rich lower end that keeps me listening to vinyl. I wouldn't doubt some folks feel that Grado's suffer from too much 'coloration' but for me, vinyl just doesn't sound right without a Grado. Must be something about their "moving iron" design.

Hum can be an issue because I don't believe the coils are shielded. On my Pro-Ject, I get a bit of hum when the arm is in it's support, but as soon as I move it towards the first track, it becomes dead silent. It must be a positional issue with the alignment of the coils with respect to the motor, or something? My recommendation would be to go to a local dealer and see if they would let you demo one on your turntable and you will know if you have any humming issues by simply moving the arm across the platter with the motor running.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
The Grados most certainly come in P-Mount, but I'd not thought much about them simply because I'm not really a Grado guy and I assumed that the sound signature would be similar to the cans they produce. I've owned a few Grados as well as an MS-1 and they just didn't do it for me (and I really wanted to like them)... but that goes for a lot of HP models/manufacturers and after testing the water with a number of the more expensive favorites around here, I always came back to my stock Beyer 770/80s. I just absolutely love them and it's funny cause they were the first high(ish) end can I ever owned.

Now obviously record cartridges and headphones are different beasts, but I can only assume that John Grado tweaks these things to his own liking and will probably have a similar sound sig... so is there any truth to this?

The specs on the Grados sure beat the heck out of the similarly priced competition but the frequency range we're talking about is well beyond what my ears could ever hope to pick up
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by muckshot View Post
The Grados most certainly come in P-Mount, but I'd not thought much about them simply because I'm not really a Grado guy and I assumed that the sound signature would be similar to the cans they produce... I always came back to my stock Beyer 770/80s. I just absolutely love them...Now obviously record cartridges and headphones are different beasts, but I can only assume that John Grado tweaks these things to his own liking and will probably have a similar sound sig... so is there any truth to this?
I'm not sure about how their carts compare to their cans. I have auditioned several models of Grado's in the past and I never really liked them. Part of it is because I simply prefer 'circumaural' style headphones (had to look up that word on the HeadRoom website:-)

For the moment I have settled on Beyer 770/250/2005's and couldn't be happier. My sonic bliss is achieved with

Grado Gold->Proj-Ject 1.2->Linn phono stage->Millet Max->Beyer 770's
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Ortofon too polite for bass heavy electronic music on vinyl?