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magma90210
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"Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's needle broke : (

Hey all

posted here few times and got great advice...basically, in moving stuff around the needle of my Denon DL-160 cartridge got broken off, and needle doctor tells me that because it's a moving coil it can't be repaired...

so...I have been very happy with the DL-160, thought it sounded tons better than the cheap Ortofon that came with my Rega P1...

any advice on good cartridges around that price point ($179)...

I figure i might as well shop around for something better if possible as long as i'm in this situation..

Don't know if this matters in terms of selection of a cartridge, but here is my system:

Cambridge Azur 540a power amp

Cambridge phono pre-amp

EPOS ElS 3 Minimonitors

Rega P1 (with replacement glass platter)

So, that gives you an idea of my system...basically have tried to find things that were considered "good deals" for a "hi fi on a budget" type system....

jackfish
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

If you were happy with the Denon DL-160 how about another one of those? Depending on the kind of music you listen to the Audio-Technica 440MLa is very good, it especially was when you could buy them for under $100.

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's
magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

jackfish:

yeah i might just get the same one, but i figured as long as it broke i might as well see if there is something better that had come along since...

jan:

thanks for the links...any of those you prefer to the DL 160?

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

Probably the Benz.

ncdrawl
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

http://www.hagtech.com/bugle.html

i use this in the office.

sounds great.

Buddha
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

Of what I've actually had time to hear...keeping it strictly below 200 bucks.

The Grado Silver offers alot of good sound and is easy on your phono preamp.

The Goldring GL 2200 is a great moving magnet cartridge. Surpisingly good!

The Soundsmith MMC4 is a bargain. Hit their website. At that price point, I think they build more into this cartridge than you'd ever expect!

Those are my big three.

JohnMichael
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

You do not mention which Cambridge phono pre-amp you own. If you have the 540 you will need to stick with moving magnet or high output moving coils. If you have the 640 you could try a low output moving coil. I have read good things about the Benz MC 20 low output cartridge and I own the Benz MC Gold so the less expensive Benz might be a good choice. You might even want to try Rega's entry level cartridge.

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

John

oop yeah i did forget...i have the cheaper of the 540 phono pre's, so yes I think i have to stick to either a MM or a high output moving coil like the Denon I had....

btw what's ppl's opinions of the Denon DL160?

Jan Vigne
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

I'm partial to the Grado sound and have been for a few decades but I don't know if you would care for it after the Denon. Both the Grado and the Soundsmith are moving iron cartridges which offer many of the advantages of both MM and MC designs. However, both are still more subjectively dense in their presentational style than the Denon can manage. By way of comparison the Denon offers more traditional trade offs in favor of a conventional HO MC design.

If you judge your system first and foremost by midrange quality, then either the Grado or Soundsmith would be a very good choice. If you prefer the sound of MC's, then go with the Benz. I've heard it and then heard the (aprox. $1k) Benz Glider in its place. No doubt the far less expensive cartridge is a great deal providing huge chunks of the more costly cartridge's performance at a budget price.

Buddha
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's


Quote:
John

oop yeah i did forget...i have the cheaper of the 540 phono pre's, so yes I think i have to stick to either a MM or a high output moving coil like the Denon I had....

btw what's ppl's opinions of the Denon DL160?

I like the Denon, I was just thinking what I'd do if faced with a replacement situation.

Your question is apt - maybe I fell into an audiophile trap by immediately thinking 'different' when 'same' would have been the best answer!

Time for you to try to audition these babies, with that exact thought in mind! Just as in love, sometimes the new and different chick who is so appealing at first blush turns out to be the crazy intolerable chick in the long run...and that will be your burden to bear!

How's that for a non-answer! Maybe I can be President!

I made my recommendation list based on high output and easy loads, so I won't change the list.

Time to grab the challenge and try to make it fun and personal for you!

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

thx for all the advice everyone...also in my research I have to say I am now very morbidly curious about the Garrott K1 after finding this very strange and sad tale:

The tragic story of the Garrott Brother surely ranks amongst the saddest and strangest in all audiophilia. As far as I can tell, beginning in the late 1970s and running into the early 1990s, the Brothers, twins it seems and based in Australia, produced a highly distinguished line of MM and MC cartridges. Apparently, their work involved the application of some of the advances first pioneered by the designers of the famed London/Decca cartridges to MM and MC designs. Although they worked in relative obscurity, since their untimely deaths in the early 1990s (about which more later) their designs have been embraced and championed by a small but loyal following, mostly in Great Britain, but also in the U.S. as well. Jerry Raskins certainly appears to be one of their fans, and so I am as of two weekends ago. Many feel that their MM cartridges represent the summit of that design type. They (the firm) also make a line of well-regarded MCs none of which I have heard. Sadly, one of the twins was diagnosed with congenital and inoperable heart failure in the early 1990s. Rather than live in a world dominated by bad-sounding digital recordings and with interest in high-end vinyl reproduction reduced to a trickle (remember this was almost 20 years ago), the brothers and their twin wives instead committed ritual suicide in 1991 (I lie not.) Fortunately, a loyal employee preserved some of the product molds and design schematics. An Australian holding company called Audio Dynamics Pty. Ltd. obtained the right to produce the designs and to distribute them under the Garrott Brothers name. Based on what I heard at my cousins, this line of cartridges deserves much wider distribution in the U.S. Maybe you can convince our buddy NG to review the 2 models that currently are available from the Needle Doctor.

Buddha
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's


Quote:
thx for all the advice everyone...also in my research I have to say I am now very morbidly curious about the Garrott K1 after finding this very strange and sad tale:

The tragic story of the Garrott Brother surely ranks amongst the saddest and strangest in all audiophilia. As far as I can tell, beginning in the late 1970s and running into the early 1990s, the Brothers, twins it seems and based in Australia, produced a highly distinguished line of MM and MC cartridges. Apparently, their work involved the application of some of the advances first pioneered by the designers of the famed London/Decca cartridges to MM and MC designs. Although they worked in relative obscurity, since their untimely deaths in the early 1990s (about which more later) their designs have been embraced and championed by a small but loyal following, mostly in Great Britain, but also in the U.S. as well. Jerry Raskins certainly appears to be one of their fans, and so I am as of two weekends ago. Many feel that their MM cartridges represent the summit of that design type. They (the firm) also make a line of well-regarded MCs none of which I have heard. Sadly, one of the twins was diagnosed with congenital and inoperable heart failure in the early 1990s. Rather than live in a world dominated by bad-sounding digital recordings and with interest in high-end vinyl reproduction reduced to a trickle (remember this was almost 20 years ago), the brothers and their twin wives instead committed ritual suicide in 1991 (I lie not.) Fortunately, a loyal employee preserved some of the product molds and design schematics. An Australian holding company called Audio Dynamics Pty. Ltd. obtained the right to produce the designs and to distribute them under the Garrott Brothers name. Based on what I heard at my cousins, this line of cartridges deserves much wider distribution in the U.S. Maybe you can convince our buddy NG to review the 2 models that currently are available from the Needle Doctor.

In an even more ironic twist, the Garrotts committed suicide by using a ligature to strangle themselves.

A horrible homonymous happenstance!

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

wow. is the Garrott a good cartridge?

judicata
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

I'd consider the Ortofon 2M Red or 2M Blue (you could upgrade from the red to blue later with a stylus change). They are MMs, so the presentation may be a bit different, but I've found the line to be pretty refined. Either one should mate well with your Rega P1.

And don't let the cheaper Ortofon that came with your P1 turn you off to the brand.

Someone in my household (ahem) just bent the cantilever on my 2M Black, and I like it enough to get a replacement stylus.

EDIT: The Rega Bias 2 is a decent enough cartridge as well, and of course would match your TT. I think I'd choose the 2M Blue (and maybe even the Red) over the Bias, though.

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

sometimes i think audiophile stuff was designed to make a person go crazy. i have no idea what i want anymore. too much information!!!!!

Buddha
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's


Quote:
sometimes i think audiophile stuff was designed to make a person go crazy. i have no idea what i want anymore. too much information!!!!!

Yuppers!

For an even more wild ride.

A company called JICO is making replacement styli for the Shure V-15 VMR and V-15 VxMR line that are getting rave reviewes and have possibly better styli than the original.

A trip to Ebay for a nonworking V-15 VMR plus the JICO stylus may make for a giant killer.

Also, consider giving Music Direct or Elusive Disc or The Needle Doctor a call on the phone to ask them for help - then buy from them if you have a rewarding conversation.

Lots of friendly dealers out there who freely give time and are worth your support.

I am a repeat Music Direct shopper.

Buddha
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

OK, so...

Here we go...

This body plus this stylus or maybe this stylus could be the ticket.

(No connection to any of these people, just talking shopping.)

Lamont Sanford
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

I only buy audio-technica because they are cheap and don't sound any different than all that overpriced junk on the market. This is about as objective as I can get on this topic.

judicata
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's


Quote:
sometimes i think audiophile stuff was designed to make a person go crazy. i have no idea what i want anymore. too much information!!!!!

This happens to me all the time. The truth is, there is no "wrong" path. Once you start getting too much information to handle, just look at what you know so far and go with your gut feeling. If you feel as if you like Product A better, although most reviewers/friends say Product B is better, get Product A. After making a decision between two components, just try to enjoy it and not second-guess yourself ("the other one may have been better"). Granted, it is going to happen, but after a few upgrades you'll realize that many changes or upgrades simply aren't worth it.

Of course, I'm being a little bit of a hypocrit saying this, as I've gotten the upgrade bug at various points.

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

hey guys, how does the Ortofon X1-MC (high output moving coil) strike you....discounted from $150 to $89

judicata
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

Personally, I would stay away from HOMCs in that range. But if you have the spare $$, it is worth a shot.

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

how much is there to be gained from moving from the 150-200 price range to the 250-300 price range? is that a pretty big jump?

commsysman
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

The Benz Micro Silver MC is a huge step up from some of the other cartridges being discussed here; the price is around $300, depending on where you buy.

JohnMichael
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

The Soundsmith advertises that they can repalce cantilever and stylus so they may be able to repair your Denon.

http://www.sound-smith.com/retip/

ncdrawl
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's


Quote:
The Benz Micro Silver MC is a huge step up from some of the other cartridges being discussed here; the price is around $300, depending on where you buy.

commsys...why do you always flog your opinion as if it is superior to everyone else's? you did that with the sacd 5400 and now this. its cool to make a suggestion, but don't degrade anyone else in the process.

Buddha
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's


Quote:
The Benz Micro Silver MC is a huge step up from some of the other cartridges being discussed here; the price is around $300, depending on where you buy.

A 300 dollar cartridge better than ones at 180 bucks?

Inconceivable!

tom collins
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

to set the record straight - i think the mcsilver is $375 now. i have one as a backup cartridge. i think it does many things well. however, the output is just 2mv and if you are running at the bottom edge of your power curve and using the 40 db phono out in your integrated or preamp, you might not feel you have enough gain with it. that was my only real complaint at that price point.

magma90210
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Re: "Affordable" phono cartridge shopping, or my Denon DL-160's

I'm starting to lean towards not getting the Denon again and maybe trying an Ortofon OM2 because 1) my pre-amp is really designed for moving magnet and 2) Needle Doctor says you could just buy a new needle in case it gets broken again without a whole new cartridge....that ability seems like a plus to me, and it sounds like the OM2 Blue and Denon DL 160 are considered pretty much at the same level by most stuff I've found...

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