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Cartridge replacement for a Music Hall MMF-5

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey all!

The cantilever on my goldring 1012gx got bent at a sharp 45 degrees angle during transportation. However, it has been playing "fine" for three months now. I'm saying "fine" because it still sounds okay but I can't remember if it sounded really better before the damage. I'm pretty sure a bend like this can't be repaired, otherwise I'd have it checked (the stylus for the goldring is around 200$ alone), so I have two options:

- Get another stylus for 200$ + shipping, taxes... say around 280$

- Get another cartridge altogether and get rid of the goldring.

I'm considering option number 2, mainly because I love trying new things but also because I guess that for 250$ I could get a better cartridge than the goldring.

I have no idea what kind / brand of cartridges would work best with my turntable/arm (MMF-5 with stock arm, which I believe is a rebranded rega rb-something), but I found these two close from my place: grado gold for 250$ and ortofon blue for 200$.
post #2 of 12
The MMF-5's tonearm is not a re-badged Rega. It is proprietary to Music Hall. It is very similar to the Pro-Ject arms since I believe they are made in the same factory. It's on the low side of a medium mass, which means that most moving magnet and some moving coil cartridges would be fine. A Denon DL103, for example, will not work.

If you like the sound of the Goldring, you could upgrade the stylus to the 1022gx. It has a better stylus profile (Gyger 1) that will retrieve more information from the record with less surface noise. The cartridge body is the same for all the Goldring cartridges of this series (1006, 1012, 1022, 1042) so that any of those stylii will fit. The 1022gx stylus sells for $200. at most places.

The Grado gold is not better than the Goldring 1022gx. I've never heard the Ortofon 2M Blue but it has gotten good reviews and is said to have a very neutral sound (the Goldrings lean to the warm side). The MMF-5 is a fairly neutral/dry sounding table.

The Goldring is a very good cartridge. IMO in this price range the differences to other cartridges are going to be in presentation and tonal balance rather than superiority. You could try a Denon DL160 to get a feel for the dynamics of a moving coil. For less money ($130.), a Stanton 681 EEE MKIII would give you a more lush/tubey sound but less detail. An Audio-Technica AT440MLa (also $130.) would be brighter with lighter bass. If you are using a Cambridge phono pre, I find the AT440MLa in combination too bass light. YMMV.

Again IMO, the cheapest cartridge that would give you a really noticeable improvement in all areas over the Goldring would be the Audio-Technica AT150MLx at around $300.+
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

grado

Thanks for the help, but I'd like a bit more impressions from other people who have had experiences with low-mass arms like this one. What about the grado reference?
post #4 of 12
Around a reasonable price point the 440Mla is a great option, i'd say NightOwl is right, as it may sound a bit bright, at least my ortofon 2M red sounded a bit warmer. I would'nt say it lacks much bass however. The Ortofon 2M range of modern moving magnet cartridges is also very good, you may consider the Blue, my red was sort of a poor tracker compared with the 440's microlinear stylus, but still not bad, the Blue is supposed to track a bit better due to different stylus.
post #5 of 12
Are you bent on getting a MM/HOMC cartridge? Meaning, does your phono preamplifier accept LOMC cartridges?

The tonearm you have is pretty much a re-badged Pro-Ject, but I would like to know whether the one you have is the aluminum one or the carbon fibre wand with aluminum headshell? Asking in order to be able to recommend the cartridges I tried on my previous RPM-5 which has the 9c tonearm [carbon fibre wand with aluminum headshell].

Oh, and, although medium mass, the DL-103 worked fine it in, for me at least - albeit with the heavier counterweight.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

MM

My phono only accepts MM or high-mc, but anyway from the first comments these might be the only ones that fit well on my arm. As for the arm's composition, I have no idea whatsoever.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by papomaster View Post
My phono only accepts MM or high-mc, but anyway from the first comments these might be the only ones that fit well on my arm. As for the arm's composition, I have no idea whatsoever.
90% of the MMF-5's came with an aluminum arm. The other 10% had a carbon fiber arm similar to a Pro-Ject 9 arm fitted as an upgrade. These usually came with the Goldring 1022gx, also as an upgrade. Since you have the 1012gx the odds are pretty good that you have the aluminum arm.

There are lots of other cartridges that would work in your arm. For example the Benz-Micro MC20E2 and MC Gold would, and also the Shelter 201. The Grado Reference would also work. I'm not a fan of the Platinum, but I do like the Sonata.
I think before spending as much on a cartridge as a Sonata though, you'd be better off upgrading your turntable. You're eventually going to be limited by the table's and especially the arm's capability of really showing the merits of higher-end cartridges.
post #8 of 12
The Dynavector 10x5 then? Should be on the top limit of your budget with a little shopping around.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

clearaudio

I pulled the trigger today for a clearaudio aurum beta S for 300 cdn. That cartridge still sells online for 725 usd, so it should be a good improvement over the goldring.
post #10 of 12
Nice cartridge. Good score. Did you get the metal body or the wood?
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

wood

Wood, of course!
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by papomaster View Post
Wood, of course!
Even better. Congratulations.
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