Cartridge Overkill

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Golden_Era

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Cartridge Overkill
« on: 17 Oct 2018, 09:45 pm »
Have you ever used a cartridge on a table that was less expensive than the cartridge itself? Is it completely pointless? Or dangerous to the cart itself?

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #1 on: 17 Oct 2018, 10:58 pm »
I guess it depends upon the TT and how cheap it is.  If it is a Crosley TT, it could ruin the cartridge.  But placing a $1K cartridge on a Pro-Ject Carbon Debut $450 TT won't harm the cartridge.  I see nothing wrong with putting a cartridge on a TT that cost's more than the TT.  Especially if you ever plan on upgrading the TT in the future and have a good phono preamp.  You may not get the most out of the cartridge however but it may max out the sound of the TT.

rotarius

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #2 on: 18 Oct 2018, 01:43 am »
It's not pointless.  I put nice carts on average vintage direct drives all the time.  It's all about the tonearm/cartridge matching. 

S Clark

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #3 on: 18 Oct 2018, 04:02 am »
I suspect that a $200 cartridge on a $2000 TT will not offer as much as a $700 cartridge on a $300 turntable.  But then again, there are some pretty decent older DD tables for $300-  Technics, JVC, Sony
And even a handful of belt drive tables at the price are pretty high achievers.  Yamaha comes to mind. 

toocool4

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #4 on: 18 Oct 2018, 10:07 am »
It’s not pointless but like have been said you will not get the best out of it. If it’s way overkill, that money will yield better performance elsewhere in the system.

I damaged my Roksan Shiraz a while back, since I did not want to have a Shiraz again I was contacted by someone who wanted it as he can get it re-tipped. I asked what turntable he was going to put it on, I got a reply that it was a Pioneer automatic turntable. I tried to persuade the guy it would be a waste of money to put a £3000 cartridge on a £600 turntable. Anyway he wanted it so I let him have it, he got it re-tipped.

He installed it on his Pioneer turntable, on first listen he said he was happy but it’s only marginally better than his previous £150 cartridge. I replied if a £3000 cartridge is only just better than a £150 cartridge, then something is wrong. I did not want to tell him I told you so, your turntable is not up to the job.
Anyway it turned out he had not set it up properly, a friend can round and set it properly for him and now it sounds a lot better. I have not heard it, but I would say he is still not getting the best out of the cartridge but hey he is happy.

Letitroll98

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #5 on: 18 Oct 2018, 12:13 pm »
I hear some generalized impressions, but nothing concrete, exactly what would one lose from the more expensive cartridge being used on a lower end table?  My guess would be, bass weight and impact, noise floor, and imaging.  I've never gone the full Monty of five times the price cart on a lesser table, but this is what I've noticed with my cartridges on better tables.

S Clark

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #6 on: 18 Oct 2018, 01:13 pm »
Much has been written by our departed John TCG about how to improve the JVC QL-F6 to get a high quality sound.  The plinth is often the weakest link of mass market DD tables, and mass loading them with clay and improving the feet and mat goes a long way into turning them into something closer to high end.  That QL-F6 table is  a good example of an inexpensive TT that punches waaaaay above its weight. I"ve use-10d a Sumiko blackbird on it and give up very little compared to running it on my Technics SP10 MKII sitting next to it. 

sunnydaze

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #7 on: 18 Oct 2018, 02:17 pm »
It's not pointless.  I put nice carts on average vintage direct drives all the time.  It's all about the tonearm/cartridge matching.

True.  Cartridge / phono stage matching is also critical.

toocool4

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #8 on: 18 Oct 2018, 02:49 pm »
A good cartridge is very demanding of what the tonearm can do, just plonking a good cartridge on the end of a mediocre tonearm will get you not much in performance. It would be like sticking a race car engine into a Yugo, the Yugo will not perform like a race car.

BobM

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #9 on: 18 Oct 2018, 05:26 pm »
I suspect that a $200 cartridge on a $2000 TT will not offer as much as a $700 cartridge on a $300 turntable. 

Agreed, but don't forget the phono stage (the weak link in any analogue system). If the phono stage is up to the quality of the cartridge I agree with you, but if it is a $100 piece of crap then nothing will make the system sing properly regardless of how much you spend on anything else.

toocool4

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #10 on: 18 Oct 2018, 07:02 pm »
In the case of the guy that got my Roksan Shiraz, he was going to use the built in phonostage in his Pioneer receiver but he went out and bought a Project DS+ phonostage instead. How good the phonostage is, i don't know as i have never tried it before.

Golden_Era

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #11 on: 18 Oct 2018, 11:52 pm »
Thanks for the great responses. I don't think I would ever go over a 2:1 cart to TT price ratio from the general knowledge I'm seeing here. Which should be just fine. I've got a Pioneer PLX-1000 and was browsing some used carts online in the 1000-1500 range new and going for much much less. Thought I might experiment possibly. I'm thinking my phono stage will be ok also, Tokyo Sound PE 100 SE.




I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #12 on: 19 Oct 2018, 01:28 am »
Stereophile really likes that Pioneer TT.  It should do fine with a $1K cartridge and that phono pre.

Golden_Era

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #13 on: 19 Oct 2018, 01:46 am »
The Stereophile recommendation was a factor in my decision. I purchased uprgraded damping feet for the table.

I'm wondering if it would benefit from an isolation platform of some sort?

twitch54

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #14 on: 19 Oct 2018, 12:39 pm »
I'm wondering if it would benefit from an isolation platform of some sort?

quite possibly, a lot depends on how / where your table is located with respect to other components / speakers and overall room accoustics

Dieterle Tool

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #15 on: 19 Oct 2018, 12:52 pm »
I would think some sort of isolation (footers or platform) would lower the noise floor for just about any table regardless of price. Particularly if you are on a suspended floor.

I used a Denon 103 cartridge on my Sansui SR-838 DD, TT with great success (price ratio nearly equal). Then spent significantly more on a good phono. This approach seemed to yield the best results for me.
A denon 103 competes with much more expensive cartridges and is designed for a heavy arm.

-Dieter

dB Cooper

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #16 on: 19 Oct 2018, 02:55 pm »
A good cartridge is very demanding of what the tonearm can do, just plonking a good cartridge on the end of a mediocre tonearm will get you not much in performance. It would be like sticking a race car engine into a Yugo, the Yugo will not perform like a race car.

It's not just a question of quality- it's a question of compatibility. Most if not all of the vinyl setups I see at shows exhibit evidence of excessive subsonics, with woofers flopping back and forth, sometimes violently. A 'good' cart in a 'good' arm can easily produce 'not good' results if the mass of the arm and the compliance of the cart aren't matched well. This isn't 'synergy' btw, it's physics. Mystifying how common this is at shows, where you'd think the 'experts' would know better. Also mystifying (to me) that none of the 'golden ear' show reporters ever seem to notice this (or at least they never mention it); nevertheless I expect to see more of the same at CAF in a couple weeks.

BobM

Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #17 on: 19 Oct 2018, 04:01 pm »
Here's a link to a compliance calculator to see if your new cartridge will work with your tonearm

https://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_resonance_evaluator.php

and an article explaining why that is important

http://www.theanalogdept.com/cartridge___arm_matching.htm



EkW

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #18 on: 19 Oct 2018, 08:44 pm »
I have also witnessed flopping woofers at shows. I mentioned it once and was told that it was the music. Definitely not the case as the flailing continued between tracks. I would think that a rumble filter would do less harm than woofers nearly maxing out their excursion before the music starts.
I second verifying that the cartridge and the arm are a good match before buying. Soundsmith offers some cartridges with varying compliances.

rotarius

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Re: Cartridge Overkill
« Reply #19 on: 20 Oct 2018, 12:10 am »
Some good advice here so far.  Take it from a guy who analyzes vibration in rotating machinery, the cart resonance calculator is a good basic guideline to go by but you are not guaranteed that your system resonance will always be what the calculator spits out. 
Why? Because your tonearm assembly has different materials with different natural frequencies.  Aluminum transmits vibration very well, polymers don't as they are viscoelastic for example.  Tonearm/cart system resonance has to be determined by measuring or experimenting.  So, get a test record and experiment at which frequency you get a wobble. 

Have fun! :D