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CartridgeCompatibility

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Posted on January 11, 2017 at 04:02:49
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
I need help choosing a cartridge.

I have a Michell Gyro with an SME 3009 S2 imp. arm. My current cartridge is a Grado Sonata. My phono pre amp is a LITE LS37. It has a MC pre section but I have never used it.

I have an opportunity to trade for a new cartridge. The options are a Sumiko Blackbird or a Sound Smith Zephyr. Would either of these be good choices with my current set up? Would a MC ( I have never owned one) be an advantage over a MM?

 

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RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 08:14:16
Awe-d-o-file
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You need to try an MC for yourself IMO. I spent ten minutes Googling to find specs for your phono pre. No luck. Do you connect it to a passive or active linestage? I did see the LS37 has adjustable loading and can do MM or MC but that's it. No adjustable gain.

Anybody would need gain specs to properly recommend. I have read threads where people use other tubes in place of the 12AX7 to reduce gain. So get that spec if you can. Did you build or buy a built phono pre? Tube or SS in the PS? I've seen both.




ET

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do suck seed" - Curly Howard 1936

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 09:05:59
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
The LS 37 was a stuffed board. I added the HV power supply (an old Lamda SS) and heater supply. I also recapped it.

I saw the other threads on the LS 37 about swapping out the 12AX7 for an AU7 and such. It might be an option. I am pretty sure there is no gain adjustment. There may be a way to change the gain on the board somehow. There is a schematic somewhere. I will try to locate it.

 

Schematic, posted on January 11, 2017 at 09:25:20
captsven
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Location: Grand Rapids MI
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Schematic:

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 10:20:39
SgreenP@MSN.com
Audiophile

Posts: 2904
Joined: April 23, 2007
the differences are so slight as to make no difference. I would suggest a real step up.

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 10:33:53
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
Thanks!

What cartridge would you suggest? How muck of a step?

 

Grado Master is a big step up from a Sonata., posted on January 11, 2017 at 12:55:05
Rick W
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I use several mm's including a Master and have no desire to get an mc. Looked up your arm and found it has 12.5 effective mass. That's a good mate for a Grado Master.

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 13:25:07
SgreenP@MSN.com
Audiophile

Posts: 2904
Joined: April 23, 2007
It all depends on your wallet.... My fav's on different prices

Vas Nova (150) Ortofon Windfield (300) Lyra Etna/Atlas ($$$$$$$)

 

RE: Grado Master is a big step up from a Sonata., posted on January 11, 2017 at 14:11:57
John Elison
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When I looked up his arm it said 9.5-grams effective mass in the Vinyl Engine database. I wonder which is correct? Hmmm!

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 14:21:26
Travis
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.


"If people don't want to come, nothing will stop them" - Sol Hurok

 

RE: Grado Master is a big step up from a Sonata., posted on January 11, 2017 at 16:28:45
Tre'
Industry Professional

Posts: 11851
Location: So. Cal.
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"The first two paragraphs talking about the arms state that the S2 Improved is a 12.5 gram effective mass arm and the Series II Improved is a 9.5 gram effective mass tonearm. "

Tre'
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

RE: Schematic, posted on January 11, 2017 at 17:30:46
Awe-d-o-file
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I've seen the schematic and there is no way to change he gain. That's why people use different tubes to do it. We still don't know the gain which is essential to predict a carts performance. Also whether you use a passive or active linestage plays a huge role too.


ET

"If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking till you do suck seed" - Curly Howard 1936

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 17:42:18
painter27
Audiophile

Posts: 3769
Location: wi.
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Do you like the Sonata ? If so, think about sending it in to Soundsmith for there level 2 (ruby cantilever contact line stylus) rebuild. I did & for $250.00 I was more that happy.

Now, the problem there is your cart. is going to be gone for 2-3 month's so if you don't have a backup your dead in the water.

All that said, if I was looking for a new mm/mi cart & had money burning a hole in my pocket, I would be talking to Peter at Soundsmith.

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 18:19:08
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1249
Joined: January 11, 2011
Do you have the "Series II S2 improved arm" or the "Series II improved arm". If the former then the arm mass is 9.5g. If the latter then it is 6.5g - the figure someone gave you at 12.5g is for the Series II arm.

The trend at the moment for MCs is for medium to lower compliance. So if you have the 6.5g arm, they wouldn't be such a great match - you should stick with (say) a Denon DL304 as your best match (for a high compliance MC). The 9.5g mass is still on the light side for the lower compliance Ortofons but still workable.

The MMs currently available aren't of the same standard they would have been at the height of vinyl in the late 70s, early 80s. I would suggest (if you like a neutral tonal balance) to stick with an MC. The higher end AT MMs like the 150MLX are on the bright/cool side of neutral. Whilst technically superb, they just don't sound right to me.
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 19:19:42
painter27
Audiophile

Posts: 3769
Location: wi.
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Your last paragraph, I disagree. But what the hell, Ah,Ah, - shit, I forgot what I was going to say.

Oh ya, MC's suck.

No, not really, but, there's just something that is sort of, kind of, sounds CD like to me.

MM/MI ROLE MAN !

 

Yeah right...., posted on January 11, 2017 at 19:59:59
Penguin
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i would take a pair for 300 :)....

dee
;-D
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

quote by Kurt Vonnegut

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 20:01:03
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1249
Joined: January 11, 2011
The interactions between the components are what make recommendations so difficult! Everyone will be basing the opinions on what they have experienced.
FWIW, I was brought up on a Stanton 681EE which is MI. I know exactly what you mean. Even now, on original jazz recordings from the 50s and 60s, the 681 makes some very pleasing noises. However, after trying out many different cartridges, my favourite would have to be the low impedance Stanton MMs for neutrality and technical performance.
Unfortunately these models are long gone and in the latter years, Stanton quality was so bad that NOS styli are best left on the shelf unless you are really desperate (or very lucky!)

In theory, the transducer principle (MI, MM, MC) should have no influence on the tonal balance of the reproduced signal. If you were to hear my digital transcriptions (which are equalised to a reference white noise response), I would doubt that you could consistently and reliably discern what the cartridge type was except by luck.

However, it is the differences in materials used, mechanical resonances, non-linearities etc etc which colour the sound in different ways. The higher the inductance of the coils, the more likely you are going to have more audible colourations coming through.
In a sense it's "what you get used to". Also, it depends on what your preferences are.
If you were to say to me that a particular cartridge sounded too much like CD, rather than be put off, I would be likely to check it out simply because I am after neutrality and fidelity. Totally the opposite to you I guess, but for me, digital is the reference and the record shouldn't sound any different....that is unless you really WANT it to! In which case, it comes down to what flavour you like!
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 20:45:46
John Elison
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Hi Anthony,

If he has the low mass tonearm without the detachable headshell, the AT-ART9 might be a good high-compliance moving coil. My AT-ART7 is supposed to be medium-compliance, but it turns out to be high-compliance as well. The new AT-OC9/III is also high-compliance.

Most low-output moving coils are medium-compliance and a few are low-compliance, but Audio Technica seems to making some fairly high-compliance moving coils these days. The arm/cartridge resonance frequency of my AT-ART7 in my SME V tonearm is between 6 and 7-Hz, but it is the best sounding cartridge I now own and probably one of the best sounding I've ever owned.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: CartridgeCompatibility, posted on January 11, 2017 at 22:38:18
mr.bear
Audiophile

Posts: 3673
Joined: November 13, 2001
I'm guessing from looking at the schematic (and specs of the Marantz 7) that the MC input's gain should enable you to use medium to high-output MC. It might not like a low output MC however because it takes the signal right to the grid of a 12AX7, and that probably will be noisy. Some blog guy said it was unusable with a DL103 Denon.

If you're serious about exploring the MC world, look for a higher output unit. I believe the SME arm will be tolerant of a reasonable range of compliance and that might not be the big issue. Output is a big issue. Price / performance is a big issue. And since you're probably not going to drop $2K+ on a cart for this rig, you're into a price class where every different cart has a different sonic sabor. You have to find something your ear lives with, and VA won't tell you that.

That said, I might choose to try a Dynavector DV 10X5, high output (2.5mV) MC 'round $600. It has a modest compliance and I like the DV "house sound." You could also look at contemporary Ortofon MM like the Bronze (5mV) for $400- more compliant so maybe a better match and its a shibata family tip.

I'm going on my love of my old OM20 and Dyna XX and reviews online, probably all irrelevant, but those people have an ear at least. Just one Bear's opinion. Buena suerte!

 

RE: Schematic, posted on January 11, 2017 at 23:54:40
fred76
Audiophile

Posts: 1456
Location: Manila
Joined: February 28, 2004
Hi,

That MM stage has more than adequate gain for the majority of MM/MI, and high output MC carts.. The additional 12AX7 MC gain stage (looks like grounded grid, with a large lytic as input coupling cap that has been bypassed with small film - cap quality here is critical) might make the the signal to noise ratio more compromised compared to a properly set up high quality step-up transformer.. But you could still try that MC pre stage with a low output MC, just to hear it for yourself first..

Good luck..

 

line stage, posted on January 12, 2017 at 05:08:51
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
It's a 5692, cathode follower.

 

Budget, posted on January 12, 2017 at 05:13:35
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
Thanks for the suggestions, I am sure they sound awesome, but these are definitely out of the budget.

This is a trade. The guy I am trading with has access to Sumiko & Sound Smith products. I guess the choices would be within those two brands.

I am trading a pair of Altec 605A's. I figure that's around $1-1.2K??? I could supplement the deal a bit with cash but would rather not.

 

Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 05:16:07
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
It is a fixed head shell.

 

Sound Smith - rebuild, posted on January 12, 2017 at 05:22:08
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
I should have pointed out that this is a trade. The person I am trading with has access to Sumiko & Sound Smith products.

This option is very appealing to me. I could trade for a cartridge, then send my Sonata out for the rebuild. I would have a new toy and then have a back up when the Sonata was rebuilt!

I loved the Sonata but the sibilance was always an issue with me. Do you think the rebuild would address this?

 

Grado Master, posted on January 12, 2017 at 05:36:02
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
Thanks for the suggestion.

I am limited to a Sumiko or Sound Smith product.

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 06:09:27
John Elison
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I believe the fixed headshell tonearm has effective mass of 6.5-grams. If you want to try a low-output moving coil, the Audio Technica AT-OC9/III and the AT-ART9 would be good candidates. I don't know much about moving magnet cartridges.

Good luck,
John Elison

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 06:26:14
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
So I need a low mass cartridge because calculated arm mass is low?

I think I need to read up on this.

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 06:37:53
John Elison
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Location: Central Kentucky
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No! You need a high-compliance cartridge with a low-mass tonearm. Both the AT-ART9 and the new AT-OC9/III are high-compliance moving coils. This is unusual because most moving coils are medium-compliance or low-compliance. Very few are high-compliance.

The mass of these cartridges are in the neighborhood of 8 to 8.5-grams.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 06:50:11
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
Thanks for the correction.

That Vinyl Engine website is great. I need to research this more...

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 08:54:17
Lew
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Location: Bethesda, Maryland
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The VE website is indeed great, but when you access their data bank on cartridges, keep in mind that private, fallible individuals have posted some of those cartridge specs, and they are not always accurate or edited by any "higher authority". It's something like Wikipedia.

 

RE: Sonata sibilance..........?, posted on January 12, 2017 at 09:30:57
NuWave
Audiophile

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My Sonata is probably the least sibilant cartridge in my collection. My Reference Reference I just purchased actually has more. Could that be a mounting issue? I have a Goldring Eroica that sounded decent until I remounted it and put it on a lighter headshell for my MMT tonearm. After that everything clicked and it sounds great.

 

RE: Sonata sibilance..........?, posted on January 12, 2017 at 09:52:31
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
It could very well be a mounting/set up issue. I have been through the setup many times. I am using the stock set up instructions from the SME manual. I believe it is a one point where you adjust the bias at the base by sliding it back and forth.

When I had my Rega arm I used a two point set up. I always wondered about this.

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 09:54:42
captsven
Audiophile

Posts: 25
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Joined: October 4, 2004
So after some research, this is where I am at:

I need a high compliance cartridge (>12) based on my tone arm.

I understand that your recommendation of the AT -ART9 & OC9/III are high compliance MC cartridges. If I want to try a MC, this is one of options. Hopefully my pre amp can handle this.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of this deal I am in, my options are the Sumiko & Sound Smith brands.

The Sound Smith options are:
Boheme HO - Comp. 22
Aida HO - Comp. 22
Norma HO - Comp. 28, Med. Comp. 22
These are all MM, not an issue with my pre amp.

Sumiko options:
I do not see a high comp. Sumiko cartridge.

 

RE: Head shell, posted on January 12, 2017 at 10:02:52
John Elison
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I think those Soundsmith cartridges should all work just fine with regard to compliance. Check with Peter Ledermann at Soundsmith. He's the expert.

Good luck,
John Elison

 

Soundsmith, posted on January 12, 2017 at 20:50:08
Penguin
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the blackbird prolly would not please you as much as the Zephyr. I do not have one but heard a few of Peter's cartridges at shows, there is magic in them.


dee
;-D
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

quote by Kurt Vonnegut

 

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