Cartridge Database - what have you used/owned and your opinion of it

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joaor100

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So far the best I had was (still is) a linn troika retipped by VDH.
Close second was a goldring elite.

sktn77a

My first 3 cartridges were Shures (M3D, M75E and V15/III).  OK but nothing to write home about.  My next two cartridges were a Denon DL103D and Linn Asaka.  Both were fabulous cartridges - I only replaced them because they wore out.  Since then I've had Lyras (Argo and Argo i).  Excellent cartridges but a little on the analytical (as opposed to euphonic) side.  I would get a Koetsu if they weren't so darned expensive!

I.Greyhound Fan

Ortofon Red- bright, grainy, noisy but lively.

Ortofon Blue-similar sound to the Red but smoother and more detailed. Still bright sounding.

Nagaoka MP-200- Musical, slightly warm, detailed, deep punchy bass.  Somewhat forgiving of poor recordings.  Has good tone and texture.  Has a lush midrange.  Needs 30 hours to break in.  The first 10 hours are pretty rough.

Nagaoka MP-150- Similar to the MP-200, maybe not as much detail.  It  is  somewhat warmer and a little more forgiving of bright  recordings.  A great cartridge for a semi low budget cartridge.  Needs break in like the MP-200.

jrtrent

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Interesting thread to read.  I've had several cartridges over the years that I liked tremendously, ones I would have been happy to use the rest of my life had they not been discontinued.  They've been turntable-specific:

For my LP12/Ittok, I would include the Stanton 981LZ Mk IIs, but also the cheaper 681EEE Mk III.  The LP12 made everything sound at least good, and I used a Shure M97xE when Stanton stopped supporting the 681, but the Stantons were my favorites on the Linn.

On a Well Tempered Record Player, my favorite turned out to be the Grado Statement Platinum1 running through Grado's own phono stage (PH-1).  Sadly, both phono stage and cartridge are gone.  The new Platinum3 Timbre series might be good, too, but I haven't heard one, and it's quite different from the previous model in being both physically heavier and tracking heavier.  Besides, I no longer own the WTRP, so lack a really good platform for Grados.

On a Rega RP3, I fell in love with the Shure M97xE, liking it more on this 'table than I did on the LP12.  I had planned on just buying new styli for that cartridge until I was in my grave, but since its discontinuation I haven't yet found a comparably-perfect match for my Rega among the cartridges I've tried.

A surprisingly good match at a budget level has been the AT-LP120XUSB turntable (that I bought mainly for 78's) matched with the Sumiko Oyster cartridge (the entry-level $79 model).  The stock AT-VM95 body on a separate headshell has been kept for 78's, but the Oyster that I happened to have in a drawer (after limited use on the RP3 six years ago) proved to significantly increase my pleasure with lp's on the LP120XUSB.  I can listen to this cheap combination for hours on end, record after record, and always with eager anticipation of the next album to be played.  Pretty cheap entertainment with those $39 replacement styli (which will hopefully continue to be available!).

findog3103

Has anyone used the Zu Audio Denon 103?

I have. Good cart, works well with all of my turntables at one time or another - PLX-1000, VPI Traveler, VPI Prime. Not as detailed and punchy as the Ortofon Bronze Cadenza, but a lot cheaper.

Audiosaurusrex

Umami Red, Could not pass on this deal.



forky

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Umami Red, Could not pass on this deal.

How do you like it? I just ordered one tonight.

I have a Dynavector 20x2 that is very good but not great.

I bought a used VDH Crimson about 5-6 weeks ago and that cartridge is fantastic, incredible to my ears.  :green: :green: But....I had a mishap here a few days ago and the cantilever is gone.  :( I'll be shipping it to AJ on Saturday but will probably be gone for 6 weeks.

I decided I can't go that long without hearing a cart at or near it's level so I purchased a Umami Red today with 15% off from Upscale (bought the last one).

Will be interesting to see how it compares to the Crimson. Will be selling the Dynavector as soon as I get around to it.


jtsnead

Well this is the new tech from DS Audio the DS 003 optical cartridge system very promising the first night, also trying the Ionizer










RonP

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Well this is the new tech from DS Audio the DS 003 optical cartridge system very promising the first night, also trying the Ionizer


please keep us posted on it's performance

jsaliga

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Lol, I forgot that I posted in this thread in 2009!  So here are some updates:

Lyra Delos - Probably my favorite cartridge.  It could retrieve gobs of detail without coming off stodgy and overly analytic.  I bought it with a Nottingham Analog Space 294 turntable that had a Ace Space 12" tonearm on it.  This may well have been the best sounding vinyl rig I have ever owned.

Audio-Technica AT-OC9/III - Probably gets laughed out of audiophile circles but this cartridge punches way above its $539 price point.  Used one on a Pioneer PLX-1000 and then a Technics SL-1200.  The AT-OC9/III has been discontinued and replaced by a pair of carts that cost a few hundred dollars more.  I have no idea how they sound.

Ortofon Quintet Black - I thought it was a decent cartridge but nothing to write home about.  I actually preferred the AT-OC9/III at about half the price.

There are a few cartridges that I would love to try, but I doubt I will ever get around to trying them all:

Grado Timbre Series Reference 3
Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua
Lyra Kleos
Soundsmith The Voice

These are all expensive cartridges and my desire to blow thousands of dollars on a phono cartridge isn't what it used to be.  I certainly have no interest in spending about $11,000 on four phono cartridges.  The Lyra Kleos is probably the only cartridge of the four that has any realistic chance of landing on my turntable. 

I have a Rega P10 with a Rega Apheta 3 mc phono cartridge on order that should be here by the end off next week.  I will share my thoughts about that cartridge once I have settled in with it.  I would have bought the P10 with a Lyra Kleos but Rega was offering a bundle deal for the P10 turntable plus the Apheta 3 cartridge with a $1,000 discount.  So I took it.

--Jerome
« Last Edit: 18 Jun 2022, 12:53 pm by jsaliga »

jtsnead

Love the P10 I was seriously thinking about getting one until I went down the direct drive route. I like it's simplicity and coming from a big heavy high end belt drive I wanted ease of use and more accuracy. My friend and moderator on my DS Audio FB group has the P8 with the DS 003 you might want to consider that combo



jsaliga

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Thanks for the suggestion but the P10 + Apheta 3 combo is already on order.  Ironically, I seriously considered the Technics SL-1200g but in the end chose the P10.  While the P8 is a great turntable I very much wanted the tighter tolerances of the P10 and the RB3000 tone arm.

--Jerome

jsaliga

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The P10 didn't work out so well.  I think there was a problem with the cartridge that was making a very odd noise that the distributor and vendor couldn't figure out so they said to return it.  I am now waiting on a VPI Prime Signature 21 in Rosewood with a fatboy gimbal 10" tonearm.  Should have it by the end of next week, so we will see where that goes.  I will be using a EAT Jo No. 8 MC cartridge with it.

--Jerome

Dishman442

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Did I miss anyone talking about Hana cartridges?  Low output MC preferably, but I’ll take what I can get!