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AlexM
28-04-2011, 22:02
Hi All,

First post on AoS, and I'd appreciate the input of those with a similar setup.

I'm looking at alternatives in the 250-400 range for a new cartridge that will work well with the SL-1210/Jelco SA750-D.

My preamp is a Conrad-Johnson PV-15 with Phono input card (very pleased indeed with this new acquisition BTW..) so medium/low output cartridges can be accommodated.

I like neutral, transparent sound with good bass reproduction and treble extension. Music tastes are R&B, Jazz, Blues and some classic rock.

Thoughts?

Alex

Marco
29-04-2011, 09:23
Hi Alex,

I use the same turntable and tonearm as you, and so will offer a recommendation based on considerable experience in this area, which I'm confident will give you the biggest 'bang for your buck', and leave you gob-smacked at the results!

The Jelco tonearm is a superb piece of engineering, and IMO, one of the best sounding tonearms under a grand. However, the stock headshell, whilst good, isn't quite up to the construction standards of the rest of the arm, and therefore acts as somewhat of a sonic bottleneck, no matter what cartridge you use.

Therefore, take my advice and spend a good chunk of your budget on one which will transform the performance of your tonearm overall, ensuring that in future you get the most from any cartridge you use. And in that respect, I would recommend the superb Oyaide:


http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/6314/hscf01.jpg (http://img830.imageshack.us/i/hscf01.jpg/)


Available from: http://www.mains-cables-r-us.co.uk/ourshop/prod_1173112-Oyaide-Headshell-with-Silver-Wires.html

More info here: http://www.oyaide.com/e_audio/audio_products_files/hs-cf_hsr-ag.html

David will give you 10% AoS member discount. Therefore, it'll cost you 207. The Jelco headshell can always be kept as a spare to use at a later date with another cartridge.

The Oyaide headshell will optimise the tonal response of any cartridge used, through effectively controlling resonances, which adversely affect how a cartridge performs, sonically - and the superb (supplied) silver lead wires, will add detail and clarity to the sound. Also, it looks as sexy as hell! :eek:

Cartridge-wise, I'd combine the Oyaide with a DL-103, which possesses all of the traits you mentioned are of value to you (and will suit the type of music you like really well), and with Oyaide headshell, the DL-103 will sound simply wonderful. Furthermore, the Jelco SA-750D and DL-103 are a match made in heaven.

The best and cheapest place in the UK to buy a DL-103 is currently Harrow Audio, who are selling it for 107.50, inc VAT, see here:

http://www.harrowaudiohifi.co.uk/search.aspx

Finally, I would add an ISOkinetik cartridge stabiliser, as it will provide a little extra mass for the Oyaide headshell, which the 103 likes, and will aid rigid coupling to the headshell, thus enhancing performance further, for 11.99. See here:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ISOkinetik-CARTRIDGE-STABILISER-DENON-103-DL-103R-/170332762192?pt=Turntable_Parts_Accessories&hash=item27a89fb050

Therefore, all in all, this comes to a total of 326.49, which is within your budget, and leaves you with some change for records!

Later, when funds permit, you can upgrade the cartridge to one of the better DL-103s (such as the 'SA', which is awesome), or whatever you want, knowing that you've got all the right ingredients in place that will allow you to realise the maximum performance from whatever cartridge you choose.

I would be very confident that, if you go this route, it'll be the best way of spending your money, and will allow you to hear your favourite music like never before. My recommendation is intended as a long-term solution, which tackles issues you may not otherwise have considered.

It's taken years of experimenting and trial and error to gain the knowledge I have in this area, so you may as well benefit from it, and hopefully save yourself a lot of heartache (and money) in the process! :)

Hope this helps :cool:

Marco.

DSJR
29-04-2011, 09:31
+1, to someone who has spent loads of time and money doing your research for you :lolsign:

Seriously, enough of "us" are using the stock headshell (or the Sumiko equivalent) for it's "bottleneck" not to be too severe (:)), although I wouldn't doubt for one second that the Oyaide is better for the denon at least :)

Marco
29-04-2011, 09:39
Hi Dave,

It's simply a case of 'source first'.

Experience tells me that, with the Jelco, when upgrading, you get more music by spending more money on a better headshell, and less on a better cartridge, than simply using the stock headshell and spending all the money on a cartridge, especially when a 103 is involved.

Quite simply, the Oyaide headshell turns an already very good arm, into something quite special, with the right cartridge. And in this context, the 'right' cartridge is a DL-103 :)

Marco.

DSJR
29-04-2011, 09:52
...And you telling me about source first - ME of all people, indoctrinated into the Linnfest back in 1976......... :D

All good advice, and thankfully the DL103 is still reasonably priced..

MCRU
29-04-2011, 10:22
Nice post Marco, still waiting for my 103 to arrive, will report on results when it does.

Here are a few pics of my Oyaide headshell and Jelco arm again with the famous pice of fluff attached to the cartridge:-

http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/themainsman/IMAG0081.jpg

http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/themainsman/IMAG0087.jpg

http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/themainsman/IMAG0083.jpg

AlexM
29-04-2011, 13:09
Hmmm.. interesting. I had thought that the DL103 would be something of a 'side-grade' from mc Benz-Micro MC Silver. I think I will wait and see how it sounds when I get the Jelco onto my turntable.

I am also slightly scared of the DL103's conical stylus from a record wear POV, although long-term use by many others suggests that this isn't the case.

Point is well made about the headshell upgrade - is the Jelco's magnesium headshell really that poor? How does it compare to the Technics headshell. The Oyaide item does look very nice though...

Regards,
Alex

DSJR
29-04-2011, 13:57
The Oyaide shell seems to be made of a multi-layered plastc/carbon fibre composite which is claimef to have good vibration-absorbing qualities... The stock shell is fine for higher compliance pickups I think.

Marco
29-04-2011, 15:24
Hi Alex,


Hmmm.. interesting. I had thought that the DL103 would be something of a 'side-grade' from mc Benz-Micro MC Silver.


Ah... I didn't know you had a Benz-Micro Silver. You never said (at least not in your opening post on this thread)! ;)

In that case, the 103 would definitely be a 'side-grade', although I suspect it would result in some gains, sonically (particularly in the bass area) which may appeal to your tastes......


I think I will wait and see how it sounds when I get the Jelco onto my turntable.


Good idea!


I am also slightly scared of the DL103's conical stylus from a record wear POV, although long-term use by many others suggests that this isn't the case.


No need whatsoever to worry about that. I own around 2500 records, most of which have been played at length at some point with a DL-103, and there is no excessive wear or any damage on them whatsoever.

Excessive record wear, due to the use of conical styli and/or high tracking forces, is a total fallacy! You're more likely to get groove damage from a cartridge tracking too lightly, and skipping all over the place, than a nice 'fat' conical stylus tracking grooves snugly and securely at 2.5g.

So, worry not!


Point is well made about the headshell upgrade - is the Jelco's magnesium headshell really that poor? How does it compare to the Technics headshell. The Oyaide item does look very nice though...


The Oyaide is simply beautiful and a marvel of Japanese engineering at its best. Aesthetically, it also compliments the Jelco perfectly. All Oyaide products are finished to the highest possible standard.

I'd therefore strongly recommend that you upgrade to the Oyaide headshell, and first of all try it with your Benz-Micro Silver (the performance of which it should improve quite considerably), and then decide if you even need to buy another cartridge!

However, the Denon will add some weight and authority, together with a cavernously wide soundstage, and addictive midrange alacrity, which is almost 'valve-like', at the expense of a teensy bit of (ultimate) high-frequency extension.

The decision is yours, so have fun! :cool:

Marco.

Beobloke
29-04-2011, 21:49
Of course an even easier solution would be to keep the standard headshell and bolt a Goldring 2500 into it. The 2500 can be a bit finicky about arm matching but I have never heard it sound better than in the Jelco.

Better still would be an Ortofon 2M Black but you might struggle to find one that slips into your budget.

Marco
29-04-2011, 22:09
That is if he likes those types of cartridges ;)

Come on, remember the sound you achieved recently with 'the old nail' on your Empire!

Much better than any Goldring or Ortofon MM bollocks!! :eyebrows:

Marco.

alfie2902
29-04-2011, 23:14
Buy the Shelter 501 in the classifieds http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=10963 & pick up a nice headshell when funds permit! I appreciate it's not a new cart but it's low hours. I've bought a cart from Tom before a Rosewood 103 & it was as described, so I'd buy from Tom again any time. (infact if I had the cash atm the Shelter would be mine.)

The 501 is a very very nice cart & I've heard one in the Jelco 750 it worked very well indeed!

Tom has reduced the 501 to 350 so would leave you 50 for an headshell to tide you over, perhaps a Sumiko at 40 should work well http://www.analogueseduction.net/product/Sumiko_HS-12_Universal_Replacement_Headshell_SUM-HS until you've saved for something a little better.

Get the Shelter :cool:

Marco
29-04-2011, 23:20
That's a good suggestion, Alfie, and one that Alex should definitely consider. I too like the Shelter, and it's a good price.

However, experience tells me that the Oyaide headshell brings a certain sonic magic to the party that NO cartridge can replicate - remember that by getting one he'll be significantly upgrading the whole tonearm :)

Decisions, decisions....

Marco.

alfie2902
29-04-2011, 23:48
Hi Marco,

I've never heard the Oyaide headshell (Not even sure how to pronounce it!) it looks very nice, & I know what difference an headshell can make, but my money would be on the Shelter as I still feel transducers make the biggest changes!

The Shelter 501 & the Oyaide headshell would cover both bases but out of budget! 2nd hand low hours 501's are very rare & at about 600+ new that should be bought now while available the Oyaide can then be picked up as funds permit.

Just my 2p worth :cool:

Marco
29-04-2011, 23:53
That's a perfectly sensible suggestion, dude. He's now got options. S'up to Alex now :)

Marco.

AlexM
30-04-2011, 13:07
Hmmm... Shelter 501 - very tempting. Timing isn't great for a purchase right now as I just dropped 400 on the Jelco this week, so I was hoping to upgrade a little later on, especially as I bought the CJ preamp the week before. Oh well, you can only get shot once :).

Thanks for your input and suggestions - will give them some careful consideration.

Regards,
Alex

MCRU
30-04-2011, 13:09
Hmmm... Shelter 501 - very tempting. Timing isn't great for a purchase right now as I just dropped 400 on the Jelco this week, so I was hoping to upgrade a little later on, especially as I bought the CJ preamp the week before. Oh well, you can only get shot once :).

Thanks for your input and suggestions - will give them some careful consideration.

Regards,
Alex

OUCH!

AlexM
01-05-2011, 22:07
399 actually, but it did include the arm lead that some retailers ask quite a lot for. My arm mounting plate has turned up, so I should be able to see where we are tomorrow.

Cheers,
A.

Beobloke
02-05-2011, 07:30
That is if he likes those types of cartridges ;)

Come on, remember the sound you achieved recently with 'the old nail' on your Empire!

Much better than any Goldring or Ortofon MM bollocks!! :eyebrows:

Marco.

I do indeed remember the sound achieved - it was a big surprise, very nice and I will continue to defend the DL103 to any naysayer as a result. The thing is, I'm pretty sure the synergy was achieved due to the match bewteen the 'old nail' and the Empire's 'old hammer' of an arm! I personally still do not believe that it is the best way to achieve maximum performance from an SA-750D.

Anyhoo, AlexM has a range of options to consider, and that's the main thing!

Marco
02-05-2011, 14:53
Hi Adam,


The thing is, I'm pretty sure the synergy was achieved due to the match bewteen the 'old nail' and the Empire's 'old hammer' of an arm!


Yep, it was simply because the Empire's arm was of suitably high-mass in order to allow the 103 to perform optimally; not because of any special sonic qualities of the Empire arm itself.

I've been saying for years that DL-103s need 'off-the-wall' tonearms to work properly, which are different from the norm today, and that a bloody RB250/300 doesn't cut it (please tell Noel that!) But that's not my point.

As an aside, remember what the weight and construction of the headshell itself was on the Empire arm, and consider what influence that would've had on proceedings...

Now imagine what happens when you use a DL-103, with a similarly high-mass tonearm (together with a quality high-mass aftermarket headshell, such as the Oyaide), which overall combine to make a tonearm that's sonically superior to the Empire you used...

Answer: you get even better results! ;)


I personally still do not believe that it is the best way to achieve maximum performance from an SA-750D.


Well that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. First of all, we'd have to agree on what "maximum performance" meant. I also suspect that we have very different tastes in cartridges, as I can't stand the clinical sonic presentation of modern Ortofon or Goldring MMs. More importantly, I'm not sure that it would be Alex's thing either.

However, it's all about opinions, and given the type of music Alex likes, the kind of sonic presentation he favours, and the fact that he's using a 1210 and Jelco SA750D - two items that I know inside out (and then some) - I stand by my recommendation as being the route most likely to give him the best results and also the highest SPPV.

Like you say, however, he's now got plenty of options to consider! :cool:

Marco.

MCRU
02-05-2011, 15:03
Nice one Adam and Marco, always trying to help others out which is highly commendable. If I had listened to Marco from day one I would not have wasted my money on arms and carts and got 90% of the performance I needed immediately.

The Jelco IMO is one of the best arms for the SL1200/1210, I have heard about 7 different arms now and yes the carts were different but you can hear if something is "right" can't you.

I am closing off my SL1210 now when the 103 arrives from hifido, it is good enough for me with the combination I have, the Garrad 401 is next to fettle up with a new slate plinth from Nigel and then i have to decide which cartridge to fit to the 309 which incidently sounds far better on the 401 than it did on the 1210.

AlexM
02-05-2011, 22:12
Hi,

I installed the Jelco arm with my Benz MC Silver today. My initial impressions are that the clarity of the bass and mid-range is improved quite considerably, although the treble is slightly spitty. Imaging is wide, but somewhat lacking in depth. The sound is quite unfatiguing and listenable, even with some fairly 'rough' old vinyl.

I'll do some fettling tomorrow and some further listening before reverting with my impressions (and probably some more questions).

Thanks all for your input

Marco
02-05-2011, 22:22
Try increasing the tracking force slightly on the Benz, Alex, and see what happens.

Also, have you tried adding some of the supplied silicone fluid to the Jelco (since it's the 750D you have)? You may find that this makes a notable improvement in the areas you mention :)

Marco.

AlexM
03-05-2011, 11:20
Hmm...

I've spent some time working on the alignment, and I think that it is as good as I can get it. I used the Baerwald Technics alignment protractor, downloaded from the Vinyl Engine.

I noticed that my Shure tracking weight balance was slightly sticky, so the initial set-up was probably .5g light. I gave it a good clean and now get accurate repeatable readings.

I have also added some damping oil to the bearing housing (just under half-full).

My impressions are that the treble is much cleaner now, which is nice, but bass performance is lacking extension and weight. For example, Marcus Miller's bass on Clyde Cryner's behind the sun is definitely lacking in power and weight (as this is his signature). It sounds like the level has been reduced by a couple of Db relative to the rest of the mix. As an (ex) bassist this is an important aspect of the presentation to me - dynamics and detail are good across the spectrum, but the bass is lacking 'welly'.

So... what to do next? things aren't really satisfactory as they are.

Any suggestions to do with setup?. I notice that the Benz Micro MC Silver appears to be a light cartridge in that the standard counterweight seems to be very close to the arm pillar to track at 2g - is this normal?. Would some additional weight at the headshell improve matters?. The VTA is currently set to level (by eyeball) - would it benefit me to run the rear of the arm slightly lower?.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on tips and tricks - I would prefer to ensure the setup is as good as it can be before further expenditure to make sure that I am targeting the right improvements.

Thanks and regards,
Alex

Marco
03-05-2011, 11:48
Hi Alex,

It's a tricky one to advise on unless you know what a Benz Silver is supposed to sound like, which unfortunately I don't...

What you're hearing might be as good as it gets, in terms of how good a match it is with the Jelco, or there may be a set-up issue that's difficult to diagnose at a distance. It's difficult to know.

However it sounds like you've done everything right, although you could certainly try adding some mass to the headshell. IME, most MC cartridges like a bit of mass to 'work against', but don't overdo it. Getting the counterweight balance nearer the arm's pivot point, as a result, may also improve matters.

Also, try increasing the anti-skating to 0.5g more than the VTF setting, as IME, the readings on average anti-skating dials on tonearms aren't the most accurate, and experiment with loading on your phono stage.

I presume that you're using the 'standard' 100 Ohms MC setting? If so, try a lower one, and see what happens. Does it mention on the instruction manual what the loading should be?

However, from your description here of how you like music reproduced, particularly in the bass area:


For example, Marcus Miller's bass on Clyde Cryner's behind the sun is definitely lacking in power and weight (as this is his signature). It sounds like the level has been reduced by a couple of Db relative to the rest of the mix. As an (ex) bassist this is an important aspect of the presentation to me - dynamics and detail are good across the spectrum, but the bass is lacking 'welly'.


...it suggests to me that the Benz is ultimately not going to be to your tastes - at least with the Jelco. It may perform differently on a different tonearm. Affordable modern MC cartridges with elliptical or fine-line styli tend to have a 'light & bright' balance, compared to 'vintage' cartridges with spherical tips, such as the 103, which have an altogether weighter presentation.

I know from vast experience of using the DL-103 that it excels in the bass region, and will give you what you're looking for in that respect, without too much of a trade off in how high-frequencies are resolved, *providing* that your phono stage (and system in general) is of the 'airy and detailed' variety, and that the 103 is used on the correct tonearm, which of course you have.

One other point I'd make is that part of the problem you're describing is also what I've experienced in the past when using the stock Jelco headshell. In my opinion, it's really not rigidly constructed enough to take a high-quality MC cartridge, such as the Benz, and optimise its performance.

Therefore, I think that if you like the Jelco tonearm, you should give some serious consideration to investing in the Oyaide headshell.

I'm sure that David gives a money back guarantee, so there is nothing to lose, and I'm confident that this would then allow you to hear what the Benz is capable of before entertaining buying a new cartridge. It will also automatically upgrade the performance of your whole tonearm, and therefore allow any future cartridges you buy to realise their full potential.

Marco.

AlexM
03-05-2011, 13:29
Marco/All,

Mini update - I reduced the cartridge loading from 47k ohm to 1.9 k ohm, and the balance seems quite a bit better. My C-J PV-15 offers cartridge loading as low as 130ohms, so there is further scope for tweaking.

I found the tipped-up balance I had previously was messing with my perception, and now things are sounding quite a bit better, albeit not quite as I would like yet.

I will listen on for a bit longer to confirm my impressions and get a better idea of what to do next. In all honesty, my audio future is digital so my objective is to get a setup which is good for 'archive' quality recording of LPs, and a excellent sounding platform for that special vinyl.

With that in mind, what would be your views on prioritised spend Marco? - PSU, Headshell, mat/clamp, cartridge?.

I appreciate your input to this so far, and would welcome your views.

Regards,
Alex

Ammonite Acoustics
03-05-2011, 17:44
I don't know if it helps, but the specifications for my Benz Glider SL (new series) give a recommended load of between 100 ohms and 47k ohms. I would take the loading on the preamp as low as you can and gently increase if necessary until you get the right sound balance.

Marco
03-05-2011, 18:10
Hi Alex,

I would echo Hugo's advice in that respect. The 47k Ohms setting was most likely way too high. TBH, I'd be tempted to start at the 130 Ohms setting, and go up in stages from there.

Perhaps I'm slightly out of touch with the behaviour of modern MC cartridges, but I've always found the MC cartridges I've used to sound best at 100 Ohms (the 103s and EMTs I've used certainly sound best on that setting), so I'm surprised that your PV-15 doesn't go at least that low..... :scratch:

My SPU likes about 15 Ohms, so good job you don't have one of those ;)


With that in mind, what would be your views on prioritised spend Marco? - PSU, Headshell, mat/clamp, cartridge?


Are we still talking about a 400 budget, max?

If so, then spending pretty much the whole lot on a quality off-board PSU, such as the Paul Hynes SR3, would give you the biggest fundamental improvement, sonically and musically, as this would upgrade the performance of your whole T/T.

However, if you don't want to do that yet and concentrate instead on the things we've been discussing, then I'd say get the Oyaide headshell, and give the Benz the best chance to shine before buying another cartridge. It's a bloody good cartridge, and so you should be getting more from it.

Acquiring the Oyaide, in any scenario, will never be retrograde step - it'll always be an asset, providing you intend to keep the Jelco arm in the long-term. You could then spend the rest on, say, a Blue Horizon mat and a Michell clamp.

Which support feet are you using? If they're still the stock ones, then some Isonoes should be factored into the equation.

Marco.

AlexM
03-05-2011, 19:45
Hi Shuggie and Marco,

The Benz MC Silver is a high-output MC (2.0mv), and presumably configured to be reasonably usable with a MM stage loading at 47k. The specs for the cartridge suggest loading with >1000 Ohms, so I don't think it should be necessary to drop the loading that low. I will try going lower stepwise from 1.9k and see how that pans out. I certainly am not suffering from any excessive bass resonances currently!.

Maybe the large number of turns in the generator has a bearing on the appropriate cartridge loading, but I admit I know very little about this.

I have a similar gap in understanding regarding compatibility between cartridge mass, compliance and arm effective mass - I'd appreciate any pointers on assuring basic compatibility between arm and cartridge.

Marco, I hear what you're saying about the Oyaide headshell, and it does look like a very nice piece - I am sorely tempted!. The Silver MC has a compliance of 15cu and and a weight of 5.7g, which seems relatively low. Given this, is there something incompatible between this and the SA-750D?. Would additional weight on the headshell help?.

I would like to try, or at least hear, the DL-103 to see if it suits my tastes. It certainly seems to polarise opinions :). I think that I would like to make the best of my current cartridge before then, and think that I'll look at PSU options as part of that.

Thanks to you all again for your thoughts.


Alex

Marco
04-05-2011, 07:48
Hi Alex,


The Benz MC Silver is a high-output MC (2.0mv), and presumably configured to be reasonably usable with a MM stage loading at 47k.


Ah... I didn't realise that the Benz was a high-output design! :doh:

I should've done when you mentioned the 47k Ohms loading... I did think that there was something 'amiss', though! ;)


The specs for the cartridge suggest loading with >1000 Ohms, so I don't think it should be necessary to drop the loading that low. I will try going lower stepwise from 1.9k and see how that pans out. I certainly am not suffering from any excessive bass resonances currently!


No, I wouldn't go that low either with the Benz, although it's strange that your PV-15 won't go lower than 130 Ohms, as that will mean it won't match some low-impedance MC cartridges, although if you do go for a 103, the 130 Ohms setting should be fine.


Maybe the large number of turns in the generator has a bearing on the appropriate cartridge loading, but I admit I know very little about this.


I think it does, but I'm not sure either. There are others on here though who may be able to provide that information.

TBH, though, I'm not a fan of high-output MCs, as for me, they're too much of a compromise and rarely deliver the magic you get from quality low-output designs. I suspect that the light-ish bass and slightly forward presentation you're getting are aspects of that compromise.

'Real' MC cartridges are definitely the low-output variety, as there is a significant sonic penalty to pay for those extra windings....


Marco, I hear what you're saying about the Oyaide headshell, and it does look like a very nice piece - I am sorely tempted!


Then resist no more and treat yourself! There's a money-back guarantee... Trust me, you won't regret it :)


The Silver MC has a compliance of 15cu and and a weight of 5.7g, which seems relatively low. Given this, is there something incompatible between this and the SA-750D?. Would additional weight on the headshell help?


Now that I know more about the cartridge, I do suspect that it's not the ideal match for the Jelco. The Jelco is really best for use with low-compliance MC cartridges (around 5cu), such as 103s and SPUs, so I'm thinking that less weight overall might be more advantageous, or better still a different arm...

However, having just bought the Jelco, I doubt you'd want to change it so soon, and TBH, I wouldn't recommend that you do, as in my opinion (since I've found out that the Benz is a high-output design), the cartridge is the current weak link, and is what should be replaced.


I would like to try, or at least hear, the DL-103 to see if it suits my tastes. It certainly seems to polarise opinions :)


Lol - it does, but I think you'll find that it has more lovers than haters, and probably 90% of the 'haters' haven't heard one properly partnered!

I really do think that the 103 would be right up your street, and you have the ideal T/T, arm (and I suspect phono stage) to release its potential.

Trying one, before buying, these days unfortunately isn't an option, unless someone here who lives near you and uses a 103 would be willing to have you round for a listen, and perhaps even fit the cartridge to your T/T, if you brought that along with you.


I think that I would like to make the best of my current cartridge before then, and think that I'll look at PSU options as part of that.


Yes, that was my advice too up until I discovered that the Benz was a high-output design... Trouble is, Alex, I don't think that option will work, as you don't have the right arm with which to optimise the performance of the Benz, so if you do that, you're going to end up chasing your tail....


Thanks to you all again for your thoughts.


You're welcome. Let's hope we see some progress being made soon, and I'd start by ordering that Oyaide! :cool:

Marco.

chris@panteg
04-05-2011, 10:57
Hi Alex

I recently tried a rebodied DL103R and although it didn't quite work to its full potential in my set up , i heard something in this cartridge that of the cartridges i have owned only the Linn Troika (rebuilt) could match , and that is a very expressive and kind of attention grabbing presentation , sorry i can't explain it any better than that , but the bass was rather good and had a visceral punch which i liked a lot .

I'm still tempted to try the SA version being 9.7 grams instead of 13 , it might be easier for my 309 to cope with .

AlexM
04-05-2011, 22:19
Chris,

Thanks for your impressions - I am thinking that this might be worth experimenting with, and possibly also look at the DL-304as an alternative. The DL-304 is well reviewed also, and specs suggest that it would work well with my Jelco SA-750D. In either case, I think I am getting close to being satisfied with the Benz, at least until replacement due to wear looms closer.

I will soon have an Oyaide carbon headshell to throw into the equation - expecting it tomorrow.

Regards,
Alex

chris@panteg
04-05-2011, 22:31
Hi Alex

I have been looking at the 304 , from what i can gather , it has a lightish balance so may not be your cup of earl grey , as your getting the Oyaide headshell i would try that with the Benz , but the 103SA could be what you're looking for in the long term .

Marco
05-05-2011, 03:59
Hi Alex,


I will soon have an Oyaide carbon headshell to throw into the equation - expecting it tomorrow.


Good move, mate. Trust me you won't regret it, as you've just significantly increased the performance of your tonearm, regardless of what cartridge you use. Oh, and made it look damn sexier, too! :eyebrows:

Chris is right about the 304. It's a good cartridge, but I think rather on the lightweight side, presentation wise, for your tastes.

TBH, now you've got the Oyaide headshell, and cartridges such as the 'SA' have been mentioned, I'd be inclined to say that you should live with the Benz in the Oyaide headshell for a while (as it will sound much better on that anyway) and save up for as good a DL-103 as you can afford to partner the Oyaide/Jelco combo.

The best, in my experience, and I've tried them all, is either the 'SA' or the Zu-modified version, which is truly superb - you can read a review in 6moons here:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/zu14/denon.html

Truse me either of those cartridges, on your T/T and arm, would blow your mind! ;)

And what you could do in the meantime, whilst saving up for one of them, is buy a Blue Horizon mat (David sells these) and a Michell record clamp, which together with your new Oyaide headshell, will give your Techy a real shot in the arm, and I think put a pretty big grin on your face!

Any chance of some pics of your deck? You could take some when you've fitted the Oyaide. I'm sure the guys here would like to see that :cool:

Marco.

AlexM
06-05-2011, 20:11
Hi Marco,

The Oyaide headshell arrived today, and was installed very shortly thereafter (got to love working from home :)).

A serious problem emerged quite quickly. The slots for the mounting screws are too short to get the Benz's stylus to line up at the centre of the alignment protractor arc. I noticed that there wasn't a rubber washer on the headshell connector, and that it therefore screwed in further which reduces the maximum effective length.

I transplanted the washer to the Oyaide, and the stylus now traces the arc at all points, but only just. Rotating the cartridge body to align at the null points means that the stylus falls short at the innermost point by just under 1mm.

I'm pretty annoyed that I can't achieve optimum alignment with this headshell, and I'm not convinced that adding a washer is going to help matters sonically.

I guess that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I've got to say that this is sounding pretty good as it is. Bass is much better defined, and the mid-range is smooth and detailed, with good instrumental separation, but suspect that it could sound better still if optimum alignment could be achieved.

I am surprised that the headshell mounting slots are as short as they are - I can't imagine that the position of the stylus relative to the catridge body is particularly unusual, and the effective length of Jelco is the same as the technics arm.

I'll play around a bit more before deciding if it's a keeper.

Regards,
Alex

MCRU
06-05-2011, 20:17
it should be easy to get a washer, in fact I can make them easy enough, did not realize there wasn't one!

alignment protractor, oooo errr , never used one! can you send me yours after to borrow?

MCRU
06-05-2011, 20:20
Sent my Oyaide mat away for some serious modifications along with a platter I bought (stock one), put a herbies mat on instead, not impressed, garrard is back up conneced now till later.

The 103 cartridge arrived, looks nice on the end of the Oyaide headshell!

MCRU
06-05-2011, 20:30
Just looked at mine and it has a rubber washer on where the headshell screws onto the arm?

Here it is with the 103 attached.....

http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/themainsman/scannnnn.jpg

Marco
06-05-2011, 20:44
Hi Alex,

Glad you're liking the Oyaide headshell, so far. Unfortunately, I hadn't given any consideration to the short headshell slots...

But, worry not, if you use a thick enough washer it should more than compensate (I'll have a look and see if I've got any, and send one to you). If I find one, I'll let you know, and you can PM me your address.

Also, in some cases, adding a washer can actually improve the sound, as it can dampen resonances. Therefore, I wouldn't worry. So fit the washer, get the alignment spot on, and just enjoy the music :)

Try not to get too anal about alignment - just under a mm is shit all. The very fact that you can hear the improvements you described, means that overall you've achieved a significant upgrade! :cool:

Marco.

Marco
06-05-2011, 20:47
Hi David,

Most importantly, how's the 103 sounding? :)

Marco.

MCRU
06-05-2011, 21:01
Mediocre, why (you may ask)? Because I sent my Oyaide mat away for some modifications and put the herbies mat on you sold me, crap!

I also put some new speaker cable on so its difficult to tell, the headhsell weight should be here tomorrow so let's see, it looks cool anyway!

http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/themainsman/scannnnn.jpg

Marco
06-05-2011, 21:12
ANY mat would be "crap" in comparison with the Oyaide!

Marco.

AlexM
06-05-2011, 22:44
Marco and Dave,

Thanks for the pointers towards the Oyaide headshell - got to say that it is sounding pretty good right now, in fact most of my previous reservations about the benz on this arm/turntable are addressed. To be honest, I wasn't expecting quite this order of improvement.

I will get a slightly thicker washer to get the effective length spot-on and then get on with enjoying the music!.

Thanks for all of the advice - will post some pictures soon.

Cheers,
A.

Marco
06-05-2011, 22:50
No worries - you're welcome. I thought you'd like the effect of the Oyaide headshell. Uncle Marco does know he's doing with these things :eyebrows: ;)

Yup, some pics would be great!

Marco.