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In Reply to: Re: New into records, help, Rega vs VPI posted by thebigtummy on December 6, 2005 at 06:10:28:
I have had some unsatisfactory experiences here with the CA cartridges. The Benz are certainly a good choice and the Ace seems to be a favorite on Rega tables as well as others such as the Scout. I find the Grado Platinum and the DV 20xH to both have very nice, warm sound and still excellent hf extension. The Scout will be more warm and tonally dead than the Rega which will be more tight and lively. Either cartridge set on the P5 or P7 would be a good, neutral match where they can be overly soft or warm on the Scout. Some people like uberwarmth, so I guess that is as much a matter of taste as anything. The 20xH is the most neutral with the Platinum being the most warm, so perhaps the Grado/Rega or DV/VPI would be the more neutral of the warmer choices. I really like the DVs on the Regas here and use that combination at home. My cartridge is a little more lean sounding than the 20x but still has excellent bass and it makes for a very clear and neutral sound that allows you to hear deeper into the recording. If you have a more forward or bright sounding system, the warmer approach will make the system sound more neutral although it is sort of a band-aid. I think that you will find any analog system to be warmer than the digital gear. Another important factor is the phonostage as that will also effect the sound to a large extent.
Perhaps that you can see that my approach is to try and keep the system tonally neutral when possible as that allows each recording to show its own merit without really going to one extreme or the other. You can't control the recordings sound, so by keeping the system towards center tonally, you average out the tone of each recording without having to mess with EQs. Not a perfect plan, but it beats other distortions and strange countermeasures to combat each component weakness. It also allows you to swap components rather freely without too much concern. You can always build a nice sounding system from sonically colored components and balance the sound of each to make the final outcome neutral, but that can be a steep learning curve (not to mention the bank account curve). As it makes component changes difficult, you need to like what you end up with and expect to either keep it a good while or pay a premium to get it right again as you sift through gear that "fits".
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