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Old 11th June 2004, 01:04 PM   #1
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Default choosing new cartridge for upgraded tonearm

I need some basic advice about cartridges. I've just sent an RB250 tonearm off to Origin Live for their much-lauded modifications, and when it comes back it will be replacing the RB300 on my Rega Planar 3.
Now I need to choose a new cartridge for it. But here I've come unstuck with the sheer number of models on the market, all with wonderful reviews, so I am hoping for some real advice from more experienced people here.

Unfortunately I can't really afford to spend more than about 300, so that rules out a lot of cost-more-than-my-car options. I was considering the Dynavector DV10x models, but to start at the beginning, I don't even know if I should I be looking at MC or MM. I gather MC is superior, but I've also read in several places that it can sound harder or brighter, and that's something that I particularly have to avoid (old Quad electrostatics, very very revealing and very unforgiving of bright sources).

Another possibility I thought of, looking at its 'great value for money' reviews, is the Goldring 1042, but I've read that you need to adjust the capacitative loading of the cartridge to get the best from it and I wouldn't have any idea how to go about that - just try different size capacitors in the cable to the preamp? -different lengths of cable? Or is that just a very high-end reviewer being more hypercritical than is really necessary?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks all
Rob
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Old 11th June 2004, 03:41 PM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Well cost vs performance wise don't expect miracles with
your modded RB250, especially being mounted on a P3.

Yes it will be be better than the RB300, but VFM the RB300 kills it.

There is one school of thought (which I'm afraid to say I'm
in) that says the RB300 is already far too good for the P3.

And just to get you to understand my attitude a 80 MM in a
Rega arm will murder any cartridge at any cost fitted to an
arm that simply can't compete with the Rega (unmodded).

It goes turntable / arm / cartridge in order of importance in
my book, unless one particular element is particularly awful.

For a P3 chucking money at the arm / cartridge is a waste IMO,
IMO no more than ~ 80 should be spent on the cartridge, the
usual suspects are the Denon DL110 for a high output moving
coil or an exchange Goldring 1012GX, nevertheless the P3 will
make a 23 AT95E sound like it costs at least 3 x the price,
compared to being mounted in an "average" turntable.

IMO you need a new turntable for your new arm.

And since you have a "tuned" arm, the turntable will need tuning
/ modding to its absolute limits to get the best out of the arm,
which would then justify a really serious cartridge IMO.

sreten.
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Old 11th June 2004, 04:39 PM   #3
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Thumbs down What a shame...

...that it's not practical to adjust VTA on Rega arms...
That's why many people have badly adjusted Rega arms/TTs with expensive cartridges and it sounds like crap.
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Old 11th June 2004, 05:45 PM   #4
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Default Re: What a shame...

Quote:
Originally posted by carlosfm
...that it's not practical to adjust VTA on Rega arms...
That's why many people have badly adjusted Rega arms/TTs with expensive cartridges and it sounds like crap.
Crap is hardly the case for Rega's. VTA is not adjustable but
most owners set VTA using spacers, they'd be stupid not to.

sreten.
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Old 12th June 2004, 11:11 AM   #5
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Planar 3 is a poor turntable, but it's definitely outclassed by its arm. Since swapping arms apparently doesn't frighten you, perhaps you could consider doing something about the turntable. If you are handy with a jigsaw, you could make a substantial plinth out of layers of 18mm MDF interspersed with 2mm lead flashing (damping and mass). There are various platter/bearing and motor kits available, so perhaps you could design for one of them, but in the meantime graft bits of the Rega onto the new plinth. Just a thought.
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Old 12th June 2004, 01:43 PM   #6
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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The planar 3 is not a poor turntable, and arguably converting
it to a high mass plinth is not a good idea, it would stop being
a P3. I'd leave the P3 standard with its standard arm.

I'm only suggesting a top notch turntable is needed to do
justice to a modded Rega arm, I'd look out for something
like an Ariston RD11S and tune it to the nines.

sreten.
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Old 12th June 2004, 02:25 PM   #7
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Default Change of spin mode?

Quote:
Originally posted by sreten
I'd look out for something like an Ariston RD11S and tune it to the nines.
Is that the suspended sub-chassis one from the late 70s? Don't Ariston make washing machines now?
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Old 12th June 2004, 02:44 PM   #8
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/olde...turntable.html

5.5Kg (12lb) platter is always going to be a good place to start.

IMO with a new subchassis (home designed / made) and
various other tweaks a killer turntable on the cheap.

sreten.
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Old 12th June 2004, 03:14 PM   #9
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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And by selling the Rega, you could probably recover the money needed for the Ariston, leaving the original budget intact for a nice cartridge. Neat.

I've seen a sample of this stuff, and it looks ideal for a subchassis as it's light, pretty rigid, and very well damped:

http://www.baltek.com/balsaonly/products/egbc.html
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Old 12th June 2004, 03:35 PM   #10
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Default Re: choosing new cartridge for upgraded tonearm

Quote:
Originally posted by rob_deas

Unfortunately I can't really afford to spend more than about 300, so that rules out a lot of cost-more-than-my-car options. I was considering the Dynavector DV10x models, but to start at the beginning, I don't even know if I should I be looking at MC or MM. I gather MC is superior, but I've also read in several places that it can sound harder or brighter, and that's something that I particularly have to avoid (old Quad electrostatics, very very revealing and very unforgiving of bright sources).

Another possibility I thought of, looking at its 'great value for money' reviews, is the Goldring 1042, but I've read that you need to adjust the capacitative loading of the cartridge to get the best from it and I wouldn't have any idea how to go about that - just try different size capacitors in the cable to the preamp? -different lengths of cable? Or is that just a very high-end reviewer being more hypercritical than is really necessary?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks all
Rob
To get back to the original question, some people are very
happy with a top notch MM, e.g. the Goldring 1042 or the
Ortofon 540, performance is essentially flawless and both
are capable of revealing the differences in top notch tables.

My experience of the old Quads suggests that a Grado
might make a good match with the Quads top-end.

Grado's are also completely insensitive to capacitance loading.

In my experience its only been cheap cartridges where
capacitance loading is critical, controlling the inevitable
tip mass resonance that for cheap cartridges is under
20Khz and needs taming not to sound bright / glassy.

For top notch MM's varying capacitance seems to only
have a minor effect and most good MM's work well
with the loading of a decent arm lead and phono input.

MC's IMO you are either a fan of or not, some people rightly
regard them as overegging the pudding, but they do seem
to have a lower noise floor than MM's.

You also need a very good step up device or MC input.

I use a Ortofon MC15 super II in my RB250 / Systemdek IIX,
which I'm very happy with, for that reason I'd recommend
the Ortofon MC25FL (227) for a modded arm.

At the 300 price point IMO a line contact, not elliptical
tip is mandatory. The LC tip will also last ~ twice as long.

sreten.
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