Phono Cartridges - Your favorites and least favorites?

Joe Mac

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I'm ok with that because I would assume it's meant in jest, as was the video.

Perhaps. You yanks are bloody terrible in the films at portraying everyone English as either inbred toffs that speak the queens English or cock-er-knee street urchins/thugs! All the best stuff happens the farther away from London that you get 😂
 

AnthonyI

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How carts deep are you now? It's exciting!
A few, but it is fun to hear the differences for yourself. Really looking forward to the Quintet and I'm really surprised with the E3 right now.........good stuff :)

Denon DL-103R
Grado Opus3
Grado Prestige Gold v3
Ortofon 2M Blue
Goldring E3
Ortofon Quintet Blue
MoFi MasterTracker
 

psemeraro

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So, I'm looking at AT styluses, more precisely at the VM series and ATVM95 series. Anybody knows the difference between say the ATVMN95ML and VMN40ML? @Rowan I think you own the latter, maybe you have some insight? There is a slight price difference, so I'm wondering if that's only due to the design to fit into the cartridge or if there is a real difference.
I'm using VM95C's at my radio station and have a VM750SH at home, maybe I can offer some insight?

Let's start at the beginning... your turntable, arm, and preamp will dramatically affect the sound of your cartridges so I'll paint with a broad brush. Depending on the above, the VM95 series will sound somewhere between slightly mellow and neutral. They measure quite flat which is a good thing. The Vm740 will sound somewhere between the cool side of neutral and somewhat bright, they measure with a slight bump in the top octave. The 7 series body uses better parts and is more sophisticated, the cantilevers are more sophisticated, and the tonality is notably brighter, more open and has better separation than the 95 series.

If you're looking to use a cartridge as a "tone control" the VM95 series is not it. At the radio station using the VM95s we move effortlessly between analog and digital and I appreciate their lack of hype.

Cheers,
Pat
 

psemeraro

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The Frog is available on CanuckAudiomart right now, 100 hours on it.
Of course it only has 100 hours. Just like the muscle car only driven by a little old lady to church. At that level/price, unless there's good, clear microscope photos showing the actual tip assume it has 100 bajillion hours. There's a gentleman on another forum who posts amazing stacked image photos of styli and many of the "barely broken in" cartridges he buys are shockingly worn. Even worse, he's found quite a few "NOS" styli with worn tips, tip swaps where the line contact stone was removed and replaced with a conical, etc.

Not being grumpy I promise, but buyer beware with used cartridges.

Pat
 

HiFi Guy

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Of course it only has 100 hours. Just like the muscle car only driven by a little old lady to church. At that level/price, unless there's good, clear microscope photos showing the actual tip assume it has 100 bajillion hours. There's a gentleman on another forum who posts amazing stacked image photos of styli and many of the "barely broken in" cartridges he buys are shockingly worn. Even worse, he's found quite a few "NOS" styli with worn tips, tip swaps where the line contact stone was removed and replaced with a conical, etc.

Not being grumpy I promise, but buyer beware with used cartridges.

Pat
Used cartridges only make sense in two scenarios:

You know the seller personally and trust them.

Or you get it so cheap that you still come out ahead after purchasing a replacement stylus or a rebuild.
 

Ed Selley

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So, as I understand the parlance of the moment to be, I did a thing.

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I did say earlier in this thread that I wanted a Van den Hul Frog and, it being the end of the financial year for me in under a fortnight, I enquired after one. To cut a long story short, even at trade it's rather spendy and there's something of a waiting list. I still intend to sort one at some point but it's not to be right now. Enter the Mystic.

The Mystic is the only cartridge that Vertere makes. It's a moving coil with an output of 0.5mV. Absolutely nothing in the specs is remarkable or notable, it has simply evolved over six prototypes with various cantilever, stylus and coil combinations until they found what they wanted. As you might expect, it's resonance and compliance matched to Vertere arms (in the last pic you can see a doubler plate that is supplied for the SG-1 arm that means that the specific resonances of the headshell and cart effectively becomes a single figure).

Notwithstanding the phenomenon of unboxing carts is still the biggest "I spent how much for this?" effect I know of (I received a complementary price for this Mystic but a 'complementary price' on a two grand cart is still 'money in fair words' as my Mother would say), installation has been fairly straightforward. It'll need 24 hours on it before any real observations can be made but it already sounds tidy; not forensic but big and effortless. It's certainly the best I've had the Gyro sounding.
 
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dansomeone

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So, as I understand the parlance of the moment to be, I did a thing.

View attachment 92551

Notwithstanding the phenomenon of unboxing carts is still the biggest "I spent how much for this?" effect I know of (I received a complementary price for this Mystic but a 'complementary price' on a two grand cart is still 'money in fair words' as my Mother would say),
Wow, someone needs to bust out that old cartoon about the guy buying a cart, $499 with the fancy box, $24.99 for just the cart. Not that this cart isn't worth it, but that packaging is something else.
 

duke86fan

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Coming soon, I've heard a lot about the Quintet line, so I'm really looking forward to this one

Ortofon Quintet Blue - MC
View attachment 91864
this is legitimately the 3rd place on whathifis best cartridges list.. only beat by the goldring E3 and goldring (they LOVE their UK companies) 1042
 

duke86fan

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Used cartridges only make sense in two scenarios:

You know the seller personally and trust them.

Or you get it so cheap that you still come out ahead after purchasing a replacement stylus or a rebuild.
that reminds me i am getting the ortofon 2M blue from @Lord Diaper Baby soon... so i'll get to see what that is.. thankfully there is only like 100 hours out of the 1K recommended and i think i might need to have gotten a new cartridge soon anyway because i am getting a good amount of static on my LPs even after a cleaning so i think my stylus is wearing out (probably because i only got a stylus cleaner like 3 montsh ago)
 

AnthonyI

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this is legitimately the 3rd place on whathifis best cartridges list.. only beat by the goldring E3 and goldring (they LOVE their UK companies) 1042
You need to look a little past the positioning though and read the reasoning behind the position. Price, type and so on, I'll agree with the E3 being best at it's price point, I'm really enjoying it so far, and we'll see what the Quintet holds as a "Modestly priced MC" ;)
 
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