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View Full Version : Recommend me an alternative MC cartridge for a SME3012 and a Garrard 301



REXTON
22-02-2014, 19:52
Thanks to the popularity of my last thread I thought I'd try this one. Budget of upto £2K. I've tried Koetsu blacks, Ortofon cadenza blacks, and a Denon 103. Surprisingly the 103 seemed to have best synergy. Any ideas on what I could try next. What about a Ortofon SPU?

Thanks in advance A

anubisgrau
22-02-2014, 22:06
i doubt 3012 can do a justice for cadenza, let alone koetsu. the cheapest entry for any koetsu is SME IV, although koetsu's own arm is nothing but a rebadged itchikawa (jelco).

SPU is the most logical step forward from 103, however it needs different SUT that doesn't come cheap if you want the right one so the whole operation may be costly. also, a basic GM-E can sound a bit darker in comparison with 103R, some complain about it. but there's no doubts about the most important benefit - the 103 distortion is gone (especially if you align everything correctly :eyebrows:, which is not that difficult with 3012 as you can correct STP distance easily).

last but not least, the upper SPU echalons sounds much better than the basic one. i've heard recently my SPU spirit (not available anymore) vs GT-E and the sound difference is IMHO bigger than the price difference. my advice would be to go as far as you can do within your budget, the most expensive SPUs pay off the price because they bring the best of the two ortofon sound concepts (vintage and laboratory forensic) together in a seldomly good way.

Kember
22-02-2014, 22:29
Thanks to the popularity of my last thread I thought I'd try this one. Budget of upto £2K. I've tried Koetsu blacks, Ortofon cadenza blacks, and a Denon 103. Surprisingly the 103 seemed to have best synergy. Any ideas on what I could try next. What about a Ortofon SPU?

Thanks in advance A

A Zu Audio modded 103?

P

Kember
22-02-2014, 22:49
A Zu Audio modded 103?

P

I've been sniffing around this highly regarded Italian modifier courtest of the TNT Audio people:

http://www.torlai.it/prodotti/index.php?act=viewCat&catId=6

Might be something old skool to tempt your 3012 here!

P

chelsea
22-02-2014, 23:19
io ?

Dominic Harper
22-02-2014, 23:29
The 3012 is outstanding, once it has been re wired in silver. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise, and partnered with the 301 demands the very best cart you can afford. I'm not surprised you feel the Koetsu black is not cutting it, especially if its an original black as they are pretty dark sounding. An Urushi would be a better choice, or a new SPU but not an entry level one. An IO was mentioned and would certainly be a good choice also. Benz ruby or above would also be very nice.

Yomanze
23-02-2014, 15:50
Thanks to the popularity of my last thread I thought I'd try this one. Budget of upto £2K. I've tried Koetsu blacks, Ortofon cadenza blacks, and a Denon 103. Surprisingly the 103 seemed to have best synergy. Any ideas on what I could try next. What about a Ortofon SPU?

Thanks in advance A

Yeah as the SME 3012 is a "lossy" arm it is a natural match to control the tremendous energy that a DL103 transmits to a tonearm.

REXTON
23-02-2014, 18:14
The 3012 is outstanding, once it has been re wired in silver. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise, and partnered with the 301 demands the very best cart you can afford. I'm not surprised you feel the Koetsu black is not cutting it, especially if its an original black as they are pretty dark sounding. An Urushi would be a better choice, or a new SPU but not an entry level one. An IO was mentioned and would certainly be a good choice also. Benz ruby or above would also be very nice.

The 3012 has been fettled to within an inch of it's life. J7 has given it the once over. I very very nearly bought a urushi on the cheap but missed out.


Yeah as the SME 3012 is a "lossy" arm it is a natural match to control the tremendous energy that a DL103 transmits to a tonearm.

Yep, certainly the best cart so far, but then again I've only heard four. I forgot to mention the Audio Technica oc9/ii (or whatever it's called). I flogged mine as I couldn't get on with its bright presentation.


io ?

io?? Will have to check this one out. Thanks.

Dominic Harper
23-02-2014, 18:53
Forgive the sales pitch but have a barely used Urushi up for grabs. Have yet to put it on the web site.

Barry
24-02-2014, 18:24
Suggest you try one of the more upmarket Ortofon SPUs. For two reasons:

(1) I use a (cooking) SPU in my 3012 to good effect,

(2) Alistair Robertson-Ackerman designed the original 3012 specifically for the Ortofon SPU.



I could make the 'left-field' suggestion of either the EMT HSD6 or JSD6, but I suspect they lie outside your budget.

loo
24-02-2014, 19:29
That would be Alistair Robertson Aikman;)

anubisgrau
24-02-2014, 20:37
someone snapped a nice supex 900 rosewood yesterday on ebay for 300 quid (or less...)

Barry
24-02-2014, 20:45
That would be Alistair Robertson Aikman;)

Oops! My apologies to the late Alistair Robertson Aikman. :o

REXTON
24-02-2014, 21:04
Anyone considered one of these with the 103R?

http://calamightysound.blogspot.fr/2014/01/uwe-green-malachite-stone-body-limited.html

Barry
24-02-2014, 21:47
Anyone considered one of these with the 103R?

http://calamightysound.blogspot.fr/2014/01/uwe-green-malachite-stone-body-limited.html

Those malachite bodies look the business and seem very reasonably priced.

calamean
26-02-2014, 09:41
Hi Rexton,

If you have an old 103 lying around : I would strongly recommend you to have it retipped and installed in one of these Malcahite Uwe stone-bodies instead of buying a brand new DL-103R. Just to let you know that I can also offer some high quality (S)chic(k) retips. Have a look here : retips (http://calamightysound.blogspot.fr/2013/10/thomas-schick-now-offers-retip-service.html).

One more thing? Retip are made in about three weeks after your cartridge has been received.

worrasf
26-02-2014, 10:02
FWIW (not much I expect) the best match I have found for my SME 3009 II which was rewired and fettled by J7 is an AKG P8ES Supernova. Got it NOS and then sent it off to a chap in Germany (name escapes me for the minute) to be checked over. I know it's not on your radar but it's noteworthy that the OEM SME setup guide mentions the Shure v15 and the AKG P8ES.

Steve

calamean
26-02-2014, 11:52
I concur with you Steve : your AKG is a really good cartridge. If you have the chance to try it with a Mayware formula 4 tonearm (eventually rewired...) : I am quite sure you will be really surprised by the results, but please beware that setting up properly the Mayware tonearm can be a pain in the bottom. ;)

(Slabadabadabada is a friend of mine whom introduce me to this excellent combination)

belloire
26-02-2014, 12:42
whilst i don't know anything about the sme, there is a very nice io for sale on the wigwam at the moment. i've heard it in it's current system and it's a cracker.

have to remember it needs a sut/phono with lots of gain as it's a very low output :)

anubisgrau
26-02-2014, 14:32
Hi Rexton,

If you have an old 103 lying around : I would strongly recommend you to have it retipped and installed in one of these Malcahite Uwe stone-bodies instead of buying a brand new DL-103R. Just to let you know that I can also offer some high quality (S)chic(k) retips. Have a look here : retips (http://calamightysound.blogspot.fr/2013/10/thomas-schick-now-offers-retip-service.html).

One more thing? Retip are made in about three weeks after your cartridge has been received.

these are decent prices, though thomas is a newcomer on this market. cheaper than roberto torlai who would be still my first choice.

calamean
26-02-2014, 15:46
Hi Gordan,

Roberto Torlai does excellent job and he has now the "diamond" cantilever technology available. Great add on indeed. Even though these translucide cantilevers are neither diamond or ruby stones but color alike... :D .

Thomas as been doing retips for a long time and he has decided to offer this service to customers when he finally found a steady sources for cantilever and tips material.

anubisgrau
26-02-2014, 15:51
can he service an old ortofon SL15 and if yes, what are his thoughts about it (in terms of his version vs original)?

calamean
26-02-2014, 16:18
Thomas Schick recently fully refurbished, modified and retiped an Ortofon SL15 for a customer.

Modification of the SL15 was: removing the poor quality plastic body, removing the metal thing around the cantilever front. Fixing the remaining parts of the cartridge on an ebony support (instead of the weak plastic), changing of cantilever for sapphire and Micro Ridge tip, suspension adjustments, setting a new Schick proprietary dust protection. So this was not only considered as a retipping but also a hotrodding option.

Photos :
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-yTmUUk3Lk_8/UvKdI7_Y7FI/AAAAAAAAzmg/VxpkmbCS7RA/w800-h450-no/DSCF2784.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NE86GkqvxNU/UvKdJjPA3dI/AAAAAAAAzmo/rXdaTmr91zY/w800-h450-no/DSCF2785.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-z7-_lVbSq-Y/UvKdQdnukpI/AAAAAAAAznw/tRtSD5l52ek/w800-h450-no/DSCF2802.jpg

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-JIw1yBoIl-w/UvKdRPq5B7I/AAAAAAAAzn4/5DClvqSH61A/w800-h450-no/DSCF2803.jpg

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lZf22dOxn0k/UvKdRwAzN5I/AAAAAAAAzoA/yL_26iDuJ5s/w800-h450-no/DSCF2809.jpg

And yes I can provide you with these mods for your SL15. If you want to sell it : I would gladly consider buying it from you ! ;)

anubisgrau
26-02-2014, 16:44
very impressive.

calamean
26-02-2014, 16:46
Are you also talking about the beautiful Uwe snakewood headshell ? :D

Marco
26-02-2014, 19:20
Hi Francois,

Welcome to AoS :)

I'm glad that you're enjoying yourself and getting stuck into discussions. However, in order to continue in your current capacity for Cala, advertising/discussing the products mentioned, you will have to open a trade account. Please PM me for details.

Cheers! :cool:

Marco.

calamean
26-02-2014, 19:33
Hi Marco,

I just sent you a PM.

Thank you !

Marco
26-02-2014, 20:31
Just replied :)

Marco.

petrat
01-03-2014, 07:53
Interesting thread!

The one that intrigues me and is always classed in the same 'family sound' as Denon 103 and SPU is the EMT 15 series
http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/emt/1.html
Would love to hear/own one.
No idea about compatibility with 3012 though.

anubisgrau
01-03-2014, 10:18
ah, usual blabbing. EMT has not much to do with either SPU nor 103 sound. it has a cult following for different reasons. it's much brighter, open and more forensic - in a way closer to modern MC sounds. think of AT vs denon MCs for example. some of the vintage guys love it cause it opens up some darker, slower and closed-in systems or components. if you love SPU, EMT is a waste of time. i don't imply it's not musical, on contrary, but it's closer to neutral than any of the SPU or 103 variables.

petrat
01-03-2014, 21:22
... not a 6loons fan, then? Sorry about that ... promise it won't happen again. :sofa:

Thanks for your thoughts, Gordan. As I said, I've never heard an EMT cartridge, but hope to one day.

jaym481
01-03-2014, 23:19
... not a 6loons fan, then? Sorry about that ... promise it won't happen again. :sofa:

Thanks for your thoughts, Gordan. As I said, I've never heard an EMT cartridge, but hope to one day.

I have a Thorens MCH II, which is supposedly a TSD 15 in an SME-compatible shell with Thorens brand name. My system is in a bit of a fluid state at the moment, and the only functioning arm is a Morch, so I haven't tried it yet. Once a few things get worked out I'll give it a shot compared to my SPU Spirit on a 3012 using a 401 to spin the disks.

Barry
02-03-2014, 02:10
I have a Thorens MCH II, which is supposedly a TSD 15 in an SME-compatible shell with Thorens brand name. My system is in a bit of a fluid state at the moment, and the only functioning arm is a Morch, so I haven't tried it yet. Once a few things get worked out I'll give it a shot compared to my SPU Spirit on a 3012 using a 401 to spin the disks.

Agreed there is a great similarity between the Thorens MCH II and the EMT XSD 15.

http://www.stefanopasini.it/images/Thorens%20MCH-2-2.jpg http://www.stefanopasini.it/images/EMT%20950%20Arm+XSD-15-Fine.jpg

The Thorens version was designed for Thorens by EMT when there was close collaboration between the two companies in the late ‘80s; EMT actually undertaking some of the manufacturing for Thorens. The MCH I was intended to be used with the TP 929 arm, itself a copy of the EMT 929 arm, whereas the MCH II is intended to be used with the SME.

The EMT and the Thorens are virtually identical, except the MCH II has a softer suspension with a slightly lower output (1.05mV for the XSD 15 and 0.5mV for the MCH II). Some claim it has a sweeter midrangeand is a bit ‘riper sounding’.

The MCH II can be had for ~ £100, whereas the XSD 15 will cost you ~ £400.

jaym481
02-03-2014, 21:01
I paid somewhat more than twice that for the MCH II, though still much less than £400, which seems a bit low for what the EMT variants fetch on EBay these days. The cart came with box and test sheet indicating a 1982 birthday. Given the softer suspension do you have any idea what the compliance is? Sounds like it might be a bit high for my FR64, but maybe ideal for the SME 3012?

Barry
02-03-2014, 21:16
I paid somewhat more than twice that for the MCH II, though still much less than £400, which seems a bit low for what the EMT variants fetch on EBay these days. The cart came with box and test sheet indicating a 1982 birthday. Given the softer suspension do you have any idea what the compliance is? Sounds like it might be a bit high for my FR64, but maybe ideal for the SME 3012?

I've just looked this up - and I'm a bit puzzled. The dynamic compliance (at 10Hz) of the MCH II is quoted by Martin Colloms in the Hi Fi Choice book to be an estimated 9cu, whereas for the XSD-15 it is 12cu (as quoted on the data sheet for my sample, thought it is not clear if it is at 10Hz). thevinylengine.com database does not quote the compliance for the MCH II, nor does it make clear if the quoted compliance for the XSD-15 is static or dynamic.

I have used the EMT XSD-15 in both the SME 3009 and 3012 arms without problems, and still regard the XSD-15 and the TSD-15 as being the best moving-coil cartridges in my collection: with the Ortofon SPU and Denon 103C coming in at 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

I would have thought your FR64 would be ideal for use with the MCH II.

The reference to the MCH II having a softer suspension (and with it presumably a higher compliance) came from reading reviews on the web.

anubisgrau
02-03-2014, 22:39
Denon 103C? What's that?

Also what SPU? There's a massive differences between different versions and vintages....

Barry
03-03-2014, 00:44
Denon 103C? What's that?

Also what SPU? There's a massive differences between different versions and vintages....

Denon 103C = Denon 103 with a conical (spherical) tip.

Ortofon SPU = SPUG with a spherical tip, or the SL15E Mk.I or the SL15E Mk.II. I would dispute there is a "massive difference", they all have the Ortofon 'house' sound.

EMT = TSD-15, or TSD-15 sfl, or XSD-15. Again, they all have an EMT 'house' sound.

anubisgrau
03-03-2014, 09:35
thanks - make sense about the house sound in general. a recent comparison between SPU-GE and SPU spirit showed a bit of difference in resolution, precision and even a tonal character. anyway....:)

Spectral Morn
03-03-2014, 12:14
Hi Rexton,

If you have an old 103 lying around : I would strongly recommend you to have it retipped and installed in one of these Malcahite Uwe stone-bodies instead of buying a brand new DL-103R. Just to let you know that I can also offer some high quality (S)chic(k) retips. Have a look here : retips (http://calamightysound.blogspot.fr/2013/10/thomas-schick-now-offers-retip-service.html).

One more thing? Retip are made in about three weeks after your cartridge has been received.

Hi Francois.

You will need to get a trade account for AOS if you are trying to sell stuff here to the members - which you are.


Regards Neil

anubisgrau
03-03-2014, 12:30
he's in touch with marco already...

Spectral Morn
03-03-2014, 13:39
he's in touch with marco already...

I saw that after the fact, but in my view until a trade account is established no direct selling should occur and then only in the trade rooms.

In saying that it is possible to contribute to a forum as current/active trade, share knowledge and experience and not actually be actively selling/trying to make sales every chance they can. Many trade members manage to do it and do it well. I am not anti trade having spent most of my adult working life - not these days though - working in either brown goods or specialist audio retailing but seeing audio related questions turned into selling exercises and at times very obviously so and in ones face does get wearisome and by the way I am not saying Gala is doing that.


Regards Neil

Barry
03-03-2014, 18:08
thanks - make sense about the house sound in general. A recent comparison between SPU-GE and SPU spirit showed a bit of difference in resolution, precision and even a tonal character. anyway....:)

Agreed there are differences, but they are subtle. I haven't had direct experience of the more expensive SPUs in my system, though I have heard Marco's SPU with the Replicant stylus in his.

If I was to hear an upmarket SPU, it might change my current allegiance to EMTs ... but there again, it might not.

jaym481
03-03-2014, 21:12
Agreed there are differences, but they are subtle. I haven't had direct experience of the more expensive SPUs in my system, though I have heard Marco's SPU with the Replicant stylus in his.

If I was to hear an upmarket SPU, it might change my current allegiance to EMTs ... but there again, it might not.

At the moment I'm agnostic. I really like my SPU Spirit, but hope to give the MCH II a fair shot. If it's OK in the FR64S is should be a fair comparison. Eyeing the mount-to-tip distance it looks pretty much the same as the SPU, so it should be an easy swap.

Might make me a convert.

Barry
03-03-2014, 22:01
At the moment I'm agnostic. I really like my SPU Spirit, but hope to give the MCH II a fair shot. If it's OK in the FR64S is should be a fair comparison. Eyeing the mount-to-tip distance it looks pretty much the same as the SPU, so it should be an easy swap.

Might make me a convert.

I don't see you having any problem running the Thorens MCH II in your FR64S arm. The MCH II will have the same stylus to flange distance as the SPU, as both were designed to be used in arms having a SME/EIA headshell coupling.

I calculate the low frequency resonance frequency for the MCH II in the FR64S to be 8.8Hz, which ought to be fine.

REXTON
15-03-2014, 16:44
I might be getting a Transfiguration AF1 if the price is right. Something I'd never even thought of.