You are here

Log in or register to post comments
jandrus
jandrus's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 4 2006 - 7:04pm
Cartridge for Dual 522?

Have a 25 year old Dual 522 in good shape. It came with the small Ortofon cartridge custom-designed for that series of turntables, which was supposed to control tonearm resonance. Cartridge was supposed to be equivalent to OM5. I would like to upgrade to something better, e.g OM20 Super, OM30 Super, X3-MC, Grado, I don't know.
What cartridges work well with such a light tonearm?
Is this low end turntable worth the upgrade (will there be a surprise)?

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: Cartridge for Dual 522?

As I remember, the cartridge supplied was the equivalent of the OM-5 and should accept any of the current Ortofon OM styli. The scheme of the OM series is to allow the user an upgrade path by merely changing out the stylus assembly. You can buy a better stylus profile and bonding technique which will reduce stylus mass and retrieve more information from the record groove. A better cantilever (stiffer, lower mass, higher compliance) will allow less information to be sloughed off along the trip from vinyl groove to cartridge magnets.

The magnets should be fine in your cartiridge as it is the stylus and cantilever mount which wear in a cartridge. If you like the sound of the cartridge you've owned and simply want a bit better sound, buy an upgraded Ortofon stylus. If you want a different sound, buy a different cartridge. Stay with a low mass design with reasonably high compliance. There aren't any other cartridges I'm familiar with in today's market that have the very low mass of the Ortofon series which came with the table. But, you can still make use of a Grado, Shure or Audio Technica. Keep the compliance high without making it the main reason you are buying a cartridge. The Dual arm is sufficiently decent to give you a taste of better sound, though ultimately not good enough for any cartridge which puts considerable energy back into the arm. The detatchable cartridge carrier, press fit headshell and the play in the bearings which make the arm capable of mass production are the main limiting factors. It is also difficult to do precise cartridge alignment with the Dual headshell guage. All of this adds up to a table that was a starting point for decent sound but far from the quality available for just a few dollars more. Even today you could sell the Dual and pick up a better table from the used market for a fairly small investment. Such an improvement in the basic table would offer more actual improvement in sound with just a modestly priced cartridge. As usual, improve the table and arm before investing in an expensive cartridge.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Cartridge for Dual 522?

Jan's post was perfect.

Another vote for what he said.

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: Cartridge for Dual 522?

I second Buddha's opinion of Jan's advice. In fact, I just threw a handful of stars at Jan's site (but only one of them stuck -- I guess the rating system is a moving average). One comment. I owned this turntable for 3 or 4 years during the '80's. I used a middle-of-the-road Grado with it, and it sounded quite good. Still, upgrading the Ortofon you currently have with a better stylus, as Jan suggested, is probably the easiest and cheapest way to go. Your last question ("Will I be surprised?") is interesting. I don't know. You WILL hear a difference, and it will most likely be positive (clarity, transparency, more information, etc.). I doubt if you'll be negatively surprised -- that is, I doubt if it'll sound WORSE. But, as Jan said, the Dual is decent (I remember mine fondly) and will probably pass through the virtues of a better cartridge to your system, as long as it's a compatible upgrade. Cheers, Clifton

jandrus
jandrus's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 4 2006 - 7:04pm
Re: Cartridge for Dual 522?

Thanks for your replies. I am surprised to hear that the current OM series styli will fit the ULM 55E. I always assumed I was locked into the replacement stylus. In your opinion, will the 55E, fit with a Stylus 30, sound as good as an OM30 Super?
On another note, I haven't decided if I would like to try something completely different. But, I dug my Dual box out of the closet and found the adapter for 1/2" mount cartridges. It came with numerous screws and a small plastic tool for aligning the stylus tip. That brings up another question. It seems to me the adapter did not provide for longitudinal adjustment of the cartridge, just height. Is the longitudinal distance from the mounting holes to the sylus tip pretty standard, or am I just stuck with whatever misalignment I get? (I noticed my friend's JVC turntable had slots). I have not been able to find this dimension for any cartidge.
Thanks.

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: Cartridge for Dual 522?

You are asking questions of people who are not Ortofon representatives when the correct answers can only be supplied by Ortofon reps. Call a retailer who respresents Ortofon or contact Ortofon for specific answers to compatiblity issues. In general, all model-generic Ortofon styli fit all comparable model Ortofon cartridge bodies.

Sound quality issues can be regarded as too small for description for many reasons. Don't get hung up with the concept of is this slightly better than that and, if so, how. That thought process leads to paralyzation and inaction. Don't take this wrong, but you are dealing with a budget table with a mass produced arm. Where and how you site this table will have far more effect on sound quality than the small difference between styli. Spend your money where it gets the most results and do not worry about things you are unlikely to notice. That said, within the OM-30 class, all "30" model styli should produce similar results.

You'll also have to inquire about the 1/2" mounting bracket questions when you talk to an Ortofon rep. P-mount cartridges were designed to be interchangeable with the correct pivot-to-stylus-tip length consistent between models. Cartridges with 1/2" mounts are not built to that spec. I cannot believe, but do not remember, that Dual would limit you in any way to a specific alignment. I never sold the P-mount Duals as they were distributed primarily to big box stores and were meant to be purchased by the user who merely wanted a table that turned at more or less the proper speed. The larger problem, as I mentioned, is typically the slack provided in proper alignment when using the Dual guage. Correct alignment is all but impossible unless you just happen to hit it right by sheer accident. The mechanics of the arm do more to obscure the effects of proper alignment than most adjustments you could actually make given the Dual headshell/alignment guage.

If you get too hung up on some of these matters, you would do better to change the table at this point rather than invest in a more expensive cartridge. A modest but well set up Rega Planar 2 with the RB250 arm will give you the flexibilty to move about in cartridges with clearly audible results. The Dual is the limiting factor in your case. While a very good budget table, you will never hear the value of an expensive cartridge when used on this table. Sorry.

In case you are not aware of the fact, cartridges are, like speakers, a transducer. They take one form of energy and convert it to another form of energy. Both devices, being responsible for this conversion issue and its attendant losses, commissions and flaws, will have often times dramatic affects on sound quality. For every difference you hear when switching between speakers, there is a similar difference between the various cartridge manufacturers. A Grado no more sounds like an Ortofon than a Paradigm sounds like a Boston Acoustics. Choosing a cartidge's sound should be as deliberative a task as choosing your speakers. The problem being, you can't switch between the various cartridges before you install one on your table and the table will influence the sound of the cartridge more than an amplifier will likely influence the speaker. To buy a cartridge successfully you have to rely upon the cartridge retailer(s) to be honest and knowledgeable. Check the classifieds in Stereophile and start calling.

You are asking questions of people who are not Ortofon representatives when the correct answers can only be supplied by Ortofon reps. Call a retailer who respresents Ortofon or contact Ortofon for specific answers to compatiblity issues. In general, all model-generic Ortofon styli fit all comparable model Ortofon cartridge bodies.

Sound quality issues can be regarded as too small for description for many reasons. Don't get hung up with the concept of is this slightly better than that and, if so, how. That thought process leads to paralyzation and inaction. Don't take this wrong, but you are dealing with a budget table with a mass produced arm. Where and how you site this table will have far more effect on sound quality than the small difference between styli. Spend your money where it gets the most results and do not worry about things you are unlikely to notice. That said, within the OM-30 class, all "30" model styli should produce similar results.

You'll also have to inquire about the 1/2" mounting bracket questions when you talk to an Ortofon rep. P-mount cartridges were designed to be interchangeable with the correct pivot-to-stylus-tip length consistent between models. Cartridges with 1/2" mounts are not built to that spec. I cannot believe, but do not remember, that Dual would limit you in any way to a specific alignment. I never sold the P-mount Duals as they were distributed primarily to big box stores and were meant to be purchased by the user who merely wanted a table that turned at more or less the proper speed. The larger problem, as I mentioned, is typically the slack provided in proper alignment when using the Dual guage. Correct alignment is all but impossible unless you just happen to hit it right by sheer accident. The mechanics of the arm do more to obscure the effects of proper alignment than most adjustments you could actually make given the Dual headshell/alignment guage.

If you get too hung up on some of these matters, you would do better to change the table at this point rather than invest in a more expensive cartridge. A modest but well set up Rega Planar 2 with the RB250 arm will give you the flexibilty to move about in cartridges with clearly audible results. The Dual is the limiting factor in your case. While a very good budget table, you will never hear the value of an expensive cartridge when used on this table. Sorry.

In case you are not aware of the fact, cartridges are, like speakers, a transducer. They take one form of energy and convert it to another form of energy. Both devices, being responsible for this conversion issue and its attendant losses, commissions and flaws, will have often times dramatic affects on sound quality. For every difference you hear when switching between speakers, there is a similar difference between the various cartridge manufacturers. A Grado no more sounds like an Ortofon than a Paradigm sounds like a Boston Acoustics. Choosing a cartidge's sound should be as deliberative a task as choosing your speakers. The problem being, you can't switch between the various cartridges before you install one on your table and the table will influence the sound of the cartridge more than an amplifier will likely influence the speaker. To buy a cartridge successfully you have to rely upon the cartridge retailer(s) to be honest and knowledgeable. Check the classifieds in Stereophile and start calling.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading