Looking for a good beginners replacement catridge.
Oct 17, 2008 at 7:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

electronicmaji

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Recently I stumbled upon 100 or so dollars, and I really need to replace the catridge in this old handed down technics I use for playing my Vinyl. Are there any reccomendations on what kind of cartridge is the best for less than 100 dollars?
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 3:16 PM Post #3 of 26

drarthurwells

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Way back when, Grado offered some great low cost cartridges (as well as higher priced ones). Don't know if still available.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 5:49 PM Post #4 of 26

searchenabler

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If you step up to $140, you can get a Denon DL-110(just make sure your effective arm mass is sufficiently high - it should be at least 9 or 10 grams, then you add the cart mass and use the weight spacer that comes wit the DL-110 and it should be sufficient), which while not being very expensive, really is near as good as cartridges can get regardless of price, if you consider a neutral response and superb tracking and very low distortion as the main considerations. Heck, I prefer to use the DL-110 to my previously owned cartridge which costs $875 street price: Clearaudio Virtuosso Wood. But I value accuracy over euphoric coloration(s). The Denon DL-110 is most unusual for it's price. It has, under microscopic observation, a nude shank diamond of a quality normally only found on much higher priced cartridges. Each unit is hand made and quality controlled in Japan by Denon. The result is a cartridge that costs very little compared to the performance it provides. I use the DL-110 on a very high quality turn table - so I don't feel the DL-110 is any kind of limitation what so ever. However, it has a little bit lower output voltage as compared to most MM cartridges(the DL-110 is a high output moving coil type). The DL-110 is meant to be connected to a MM phono stage - just make sure it has about 38-40dB or higher gain. A 30-32dB gain stage for example, probably would not be sufficient for the DL-110. There is a sale going on right now at www.musicdirect.com with a superb special price on the Music Hall Phono Pack pre-amp. It's is considered a superb value even at it's regular price of $120. It's on sale for $80 right now. It is ideal for the DL-110 as you can change just one set of jumpers in it, near the center of the board, and get 52dB of gain. Perfect for the DL-110. It is also an extraordinary low noise phono pre-amp.

Chris
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 2:41 AM Post #5 of 26

texashorn91

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At LP gear there is a version of the AT95e (audio technica) that has a shibata stylus on it. I think its $80, definitely less than $100. I have the regular AT95 and I like it a lot, but I wish I got the upgrade LP Gear one.
 
Oct 21, 2008 at 5:46 PM Post #6 of 26

CyberTheo

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Quote:

Originally Posted by electronicmaji /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Recently I stumbled upon 100 or so dollars, and I really need to replace the catridge in this old handed down technics I use for playing my Vinyl. Are there any reccomendations on what kind of cartridge is the best for less than 100 dollars?


The new kid on the block is the $89 Ortofon 2M Red. There are lots of good user feedbacks.
 
Oct 23, 2008 at 9:08 PM Post #7 of 26

searchenabler

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It would be a shame to not go the extra $40 - as that puts you into a totally different quality/grade of cartridge (Denon DL-110). Virtually everyone that finally tries one quickly responds about how vastly superior it is to their last 'normal economy' cartridge.

-Chris
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 8:33 PM Post #8 of 26

ComfyCan

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LPGear also sells the AT 440MLa for $99, which is a lot less than I paid for mine.

I have heard very good things about the Denon DL-110, but I've never tried it.
 
Oct 24, 2008 at 10:07 PM Post #10 of 26

Uncle Erik

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Searchenabler - you almost have me ready to order the DL-110! I'm a fan of the DL-103, but have had a difficult time convincing myself to drop lots of money on a wear item.

To the OP, I've found the Grado Gold just around the $100 mark. It's a great value for the price and I really enjoyed it. You might also like the Shure MX97E. Good value for a nice cartridge - I keep one handy as an emergency backup.
 
Oct 25, 2008 at 9:52 PM Post #11 of 26

Stephen Murphy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
To the OP, I've found the Grado Gold just around the $100 mark. It's a great value for the price and I really enjoyed it. You might also like the Shure MX97E. Good value for a nice cartridge - I keep one handy as an emergency backup.


X 2 on the Shure M97xE. A really good cart at a really good price. Way better than the price would indicate and really shines when set up properly.
 
Oct 26, 2008 at 12:47 AM Post #12 of 26

searchenabler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Searchenabler - you almost have me ready to order the DL-110! I'm a fan of the DL-103, but have had a difficult time convincing myself to drop lots of money on a wear item.

To the OP, I've found the Grado Gold just around the $100 mark. It's a great value for the price and I really enjoyed it. You might also like the Shure MX97E. Good value for a nice cartridge - I keep one handy as an emergency backup.



Uncle Erik: I will spend any amount I have to in order to get a cartridge with properties that are extremely close to neutral and with inaudible distortion and superb tracking. My former cart was a near $1k Clearaudio Virtuosso Wood. I have chosen the DL-110 as my preferred cart because of it's combination of superb tracking, flat FR and very low distortion(which I have measured/analyzed). The DL-110 seems to be substantially beyond any similarly priced cartridges by a huge margin, and comparable to very expensive cartridges. I expect that by $500 dollars and higher mark, it's easier to find cartridges that are comparable to the DL-110 in quality/sound/accuracy. But I doubt you will find anything that is significantly better. I am not going to pay 7x it's price for a tiny improvement that is barely audible.
smily_headphones1.gif


Let me put it this way: I would have no problem dropping a grand on a cartridge if it could be proven objectively to be substantially superior to the DL-110. So far, it seems to me the only thing you get for more money is (1) a different, and likely less accurate response [and] (2) psychological perception of 'better' because of price tag, cosmetic appearance and/or reputation of item. Psychological influence is incredibly strong - never underestimate it's magnitude of effect!

If I want a frequency response alteration, I'll use an EQ.
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Actually, I do, for corrections of room, driver resonance notches, etc., as my speaker system is a full active 3 way with DSP crossovers.

Anecdotal evidence also suggest that the DL-110 is substantially better than anything around it's price. Virtually every user that has changed to it from products around the same price reports DRASTIC improvements in sound quality, especially in regards to high frequency detail(not more treble or brighter - but more information retrieval).

The DL-103 you mentioned used an archaic conical shape(referred to as spherical stylus) diamond. A design certainly not suited to accurate data retrieval! This appears to be a cartridge intended for coloration, not accuracy.
atsmile.gif


-Chris
 
Oct 26, 2008 at 10:10 AM Post #13 of 26

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by electronicmaji /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Recently I stumbled upon 100 or so dollars, and I really need to replace the catridge in this old handed down technics I use for playing my Vinyl. Are there any reccomendations on what kind of cartridge is the best for less than 100 dollars?


What model is your Technics? If it uses P-mount cartridges, none of these recommendations are going to work.
 
Oct 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM Post #14 of 26

Stephen Murphy

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Quote:

Originally Posted by searchenabler /img/forum/go_quote.gif
...really is near as good as cartridges can get regardless of price, if you consider a neutral response and superb tracking and very low distortion as the main considerations. Heck, I prefer to use the DL-110 to my previously owned cartridge which costs $875 street price: Clearaudio Virtuosso Wood. But I value accuracy over euphoric coloration(s).
Chris



While I have no doubt the DL 110 is a fully enjoyable cart, you may be overstating its accuracy and "neutral" frequency response. The DL 160 features a tapered cantilever and a finer cut stylus which may yield better response for only $35 more than the 110.

As for euphoric (or euphonic) colorations, Positive Feedback's Review states the following about the 110: Its bigger-than-life sound isn't quite "neutral" and certainly not "warm," but in an age when so many entry-level components are recommendable but bland, isn't it nice to know there's at least one affordable product you'll either love or hate?

Personally, I like the character of the Denon carts, but I don't think they would be described as neutral and dead accurate. Carts that are flat and dead accurate are usually boring and the Denons are definately not boring.
 
Oct 27, 2008 at 2:47 AM Post #15 of 26

searchenabler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephen Murphy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
While I have no doubt the DL 110 is a fully enjoyable cart, you may be overstating its accuracy and "neutral" frequency response. The DL 160 features a tapered cantilever and a finer cut stylus which may yield better response for only $35 more than the 110.

As for euphoric (or euphonic) colorations, Positive Feedback's Review states the following about the 110: Its bigger-than-life sound isn't quite "neutral" and certainly not "warm," but in an age when so many entry-level components are recommendable but bland, isn't it nice to know there's at least one affordable product you'll either love or hate?

Personally, I like the character of the Denon carts, but I don't think they would be described as neutral and dead accurate. Carts that are flat and dead accurate are usually boring and the Denons are definately not boring.



Oh, I really do not give any credit to such subjective reviewers.
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Sounds like a pretty flat, overall/ accurate, super clean source to me, with excellent tracking. Everything sounds realistic on it from rock to classical and opera to jazz with no apparent signature that I can discern easily. I'll provide some measurements here later of harmonic distortion and amplitude response as installed on my table/arm.

-Chris
 

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