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Thread: Are expensive carts worth it?

  1. #11
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

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    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walpurgis View Post
    To be honest, I know 1000 plus MC's do improve on sound quality, but a considerably more modestly priced item can still offer great music enjoyment.
    No doubt about that Geoff, there are some extremely competent cartridges all available for 500 or less, Lyra Delos, AT33PTGII, Goldring Eroica, Kontrapunkt b, Denon 304, Lyra Clavis, plus others, that will deliver a performance that is nothing short of brilliant, BUT if you want to really get into the depths of what's available in those grooves, there is a price tag but IMO its well worth it.

    I haven't had THAT much experience with Top End cartridges but what I have heard has shown me that I've only been scratching the surface.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Wizard Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken & Tesla Valves)
    Digital: NONE
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  2. #12
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos

    Posts: 10,079
    I'm Jerry.

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    Back in my vinyl days I was generally fooling around in the 150 to 1000 RRP area of cartridges.
    Tbh I think a great sound could be had at any of those prices, and I would have been hard pushed to find much of a correlation with price with the best that could be had at any price in that band. Mind you, the variation in sound between carts was astonishing - quite different musical, tonal, dynamic and spatial portrayals were to be had, which rather makes a mockery of any claims of accuracy as far as I am concerned. I've come to the view that vinyl is about subjective enjoyment rather than the search for truth.


    But my one real comparative experience of a higher price band was a bit of a shock.
    I was at a cartridge bake off and many of the usual suspects in the 500-1k band (EDIT: this would have been 10-12 years ago, I guess - so add appropriate inflation) were played and some sounded very good to my ears.
    Then a 2.5k AudioNote Io was slipped in with appropriate step-up tech, probably a 4-5k package .... oh boy, the improvement was dramatic. A real shock!
    So yes, based on that limited experience I would say that there are real gains to be had by spending into the multi-k region.
    Last edited by jandl100; 02-06-2018 at 06:24.
    Jerry

    Qobuz 16/44 streaming, Topping D30 DAC with lpsu, Herron VTSP-2 valve preamp, Trigon TRE 50M monoblocks, MBL 116F speakers.

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  3. #13
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos

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    I'm Jerry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    .... I haven't had THAT much experience with Top End cartridges but what I have heard has shown me that I've only been scratching the surface.
    Ouch - Nooooo, you don't want to do that, Oli!!
    Jerry

    Qobuz 16/44 streaming, Topping D30 DAC with lpsu, Herron VTSP-2 valve preamp, Trigon TRE 50M monoblocks, MBL 116F speakers.

    Cables: Wireworld Starlight USB, Ixos Ixotica i/c, W&M speaker cables, Belden 19364 mains cables

  4. #14
    Join Date: Aug 2008

    Location: Suffolk, UK

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    I'm Paul.

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    Moving upto the now unavailable Ortofon Rohmann (1000 ish) was a huge difference but that was from a Goldring MM that cost around 120, so you would kind of hope so. I do wonder if your choice of music should steer your cartridge. I listen to rock, pop, blues rock, folk, alternative, no jazz, no classical, no big band, so I am not fussed about extracting every last ounce of soundstage and detail, as it tends not to be in the recordings in the first place, in favour of a bit of a in your face presentation.
    ~Paul~

  5. #15
    Join Date: Jul 2010

    Location: Cheltenham

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    I'm Charlie.

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    Worth is a relative thing. It's also hard to put a value on some vintage cartridges, which have been out of production for decades. But does a high end cartridge add real value to the listening experience? A qualified yes from me.

    Without a doubt a high end cartridge is likely to be better than a cheaper transducer. But it all depends on your system and room (and budget). Don't forget that some of the high end vintage MM/MI cartridges (e.g. Grace P9E, AKG P8ES etc) from the heyday of vinyl in the 70/80s were just awesome, but sadly long forgotten.

    My 3k Allaerts sounds much better than my previous Dyna DV23R, Ortofon MC10 Super, Supex SD900E and SL15ELL. There is finesse, space in the soundstage and greater sense of the harmonics, but still you get a kick from the bass line. I've heard the Dyna XV-1T and the Transfig Proteus elsewhere and they sounded excellent as well.

    But your system and room have to be able to resolve and project the extra resolution form the front end.
    R2R: Studer A820 1/2 inch 2 track; Otari MTR-12 1/4 inch 2 track; Sony APR 5003; Sony APR 5002; Studer A807/II. Vinyl: Platine Verdier Allaerts MC1B/Schroeder Model 2 Decca C4E/Hadcock 228 TRON Seven Reference phono. Other analogue source: Nakamichi Dragon with ANT4066 mods. Amplification: TRON Meteor preamp TRON Voyager 20B SET power. Speakers: Avantgarde Duo. Digital: does not compute

  6. #16
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

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    I'm jamie.

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    to counter the topic,what about the denon 103 and variants?
    ive had more listening pleasure with the SA model than with any other cartridge i have owned.
    it doesn't extract every last detail from the groove,but its set up is a doddle and being conical it doesn't need a week of sra adjustment either.

    id love to hear a really high end cartridge though just to way up what im missing.
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers ,Pioneer PLC-590 turntable,Pioneer PA-5000,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Denon 103SA Cartridge's,Denon HA-500 Head Amp, John Wood KT88 Valve Amp,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

  7. #17
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: Middlesex, UK

    Posts: 3,375
    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Castroil View Post
    RobbieGong
    I would say it depends on how much disposable income you have to spend . If I was Elton John I would not flinch at 2000 for a cartridge.
    Some people I know used to run a pub in Watford in the 60's. They got various musicians in to supply live music. They got one young piano player in, he bashed the keys a bit hard, they sacked him. They sacked Elton!
    Spendorman

  8. #18
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

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    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spendorman View Post
    Some people I know used to run a pub in Watford in the 60's. They got various musicians in to supply live music. They got one young piano player in, he bashed the keys a bit hard, they sacked him. They sacked Elton!
    He was the pub pianist in The Northwood Hills Hotel around the mid sixties. We used to flick peanuts at him.

  9. #19
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: Middlesex, UK

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    I'm Alex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walpurgis View Post
    He was the pub pianist in The Northwood Hills Hotel around the mid sixties. We used to flick peanuts at him.
    lol, that is funny, did he really bash the piano keys that hard then?
    Spendorman

  10. #20
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

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    I'm Geoff.

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    Not that I recall. Nobody paid him any attention. He was just a dopey looking 'yoof' tinkling the ivories on the piano in the corner.

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