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Author Topic: Phono Cartridge Recommendation  (Read 7120 times)

djwaudio

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Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« on: August 14, 2012, 09:24:42 PM »

I recently aquired an outrageous custom made tube phono preamp, and am in the market for a new cart. I've listened to several modest priced units and have been pretty unimpressed with everything but the Sure 97xe that I use currently. Many have frequency response that I find overly bright or just non linear.

I'm thinking about going for something in a higher price range and wonder if there are any things to recommend. I'm looking for reasonably flat response, good inner groove playback and traceability as well as a pleasant presentation.

Thanks!
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Greg Reierson

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 11:01:28 PM »

I've been using an Ortofon 2M Bronze for a few years now. Sounds great here. Tracks very well and seems to play inner tracks better than others I have tried.
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 06:52:13 AM »

I have an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and it works great http://www.needledoctor.com/Ortofon-2M-Red-Phono-Cartridge. I also have a Ortofon CC Pro S Twin Concorde that we use for some records.http://www.needledoctor.com/Ortofon-Phono-Cartridge-Concorde-PRO-S-Kit-DJ_2 For 78's we use a Stanton 520 V3 Cartridge with different size stylii. http://www.needledoctor.com/Stanton-520-V3-Cartridge

Hope this helps
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Hermetech Mastering

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 07:33:06 AM »

I've been using variations of the Goldring 1042 moving magnet cartridges/styli for many years, and have been very happy with them, although not sure that will be high end enough for you. Does your tube amp accept MM and MC, or only one type?

http://www.goldring.co.uk/moving-magnet/cartridge/1042.htm

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 12:12:21 PM »

I recently aquired an outrageous custom made tube phono preamp, and am in the market for a new cart. I've listened to several modest priced units and have been pretty unimpressed with everything but the Sure 97xe that I use currently. Many have frequency response that I find overly bright or just non linear.

I'm thinking about going for something in a higher price range and wonder if there are any things to recommend. I'm looking for reasonably flat response, good inner groove playback and traceability as well as a pleasant presentation.

Thanks!

Frequency response in the top octave for moving magnet phono cartridges is strongly influenced by capacitive termination. To properly evaluate different cartridges high frequency playback response, they need to be working into their target or design capacitance. Things like length and type of phono cables will influence the total capacitance there, so be careful you are not just hearing the cartridge that coincidentally agrees with your turntable and wiring (and preamp) capacitance. 

JR
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djwaudio

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2012, 03:21:20 PM »

Frequency response in the top octave for moving magnet phono cartridges is strongly influenced by capacitive termination. To properly evaluate different cartridges high frequency playback response, they need to be working into their target or design capacitance. Things like length and type of phono cables will influence the total capacitance there, so be careful you are not just hearing the cartridge that coincidentally agrees with your turntable and wiring (and preamp) capacitance. 

JR

I have a hunch that is why I didn't like the Jico SAS stylus in the Sure cart.  When I played my test record with the stock Sure, the frequency response was flat +/-1 dB.  With the Jico, I was alarmed by the nearly five dB rising response at the highest frequencies. When it was returned, they claimed the stylus was "in spec".  I didn't measure it with my other (Bryston) preamp, but to my ear it was still overly bright. Is it likely that the wire in the tone arm and connection cable are the reason?

If attempting to work into the target design capacitance as you suggest John, how do you approach this?  Is it simply measure what you have and find a cart that fits into this range?

The sure specs I could readily fine are:

Recommended Load: 47 kilohms in parallel with 250 pf

The Ortofon Bronze that Greg likes (thanks for that!) specs show more information:
Internal impedance, DC resistance 1,2 kOhm
Internal inductance 630 mH
Recommended load resistance 47 kOhm
Recommended load capacitance 150-300 pF
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djwaudio

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 03:25:06 PM »

. Does your tube amp accept MM and MC, or only one type?


I'm going to check with the designer on that.  It has tons of gain but I suspect it's designed for moving magnet carts.
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Ed Littman

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 05:52:22 PM »

Ive been using Benz Micro Wood M2 MC 
like it alot.
Ed

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 05:12:11 PM »

I have a hunch that is why I didn't like the Jico SAS stylus in the Sure cart.  When I played my test record with the stock Sure, the frequency response was flat +/-1 dB.  With the Jico, I was alarmed by the nearly five dB rising response at the highest frequencies. When it was returned, they claimed the stylus was "in spec".  I didn't measure it with my other (Bryston) preamp, but to my ear it was still overly bright. Is it likely that the wire in the tone arm and connection cable are the reason?

If attempting to work into the target design capacitance as you suggest John, how do you approach this?  Is it simply measure what you have and find a cart that fits into this range?

The sure specs I could readily fine are:

Recommended Load: 47 kilohms in parallel with 250 pf

The Ortofon Bronze that Greg likes (thanks for that!) specs show more information:
Internal impedance, DC resistance 1,2 kOhm
Internal inductance 630 mH
Recommended load resistance 47 kOhm
Recommended load capacitance 150-300 pF
47k resistive is pretty standard

your two carts show 250 pF for shure  and 150-300pf for ortofon.

Capacitance is additive, so first identify the nominal preamp temination. There will be a small cap along with the 47k resistor.

IF your total target budget is 250 pF, first subtract whatever cap is in the preamp.  For the sake of this discussion, lets say that is 100 pf.  So 250-100= 150 pf left

The turntable tone arm will have some small capacitance but lets ignore that for now.

If the phono cables are 30 pf per foot. 5 ' long cables will make 150pF exactly.

Life is rarely that neat,,, Hopefully the popular combinations are already close but you might be able to tame your too hot cart with a different cable.

This is not voodoo, but a real phenomenon, unfortunately ignored by most. It can take a little digging to get all the specs on you sundry pieces of gear, but the capacitance of all the individual parts simply add together to make the total load.

 JR
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djwaudio

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2012, 02:17:11 PM »

Thanks JR,
I just had a great talk with the designer of the phono preamp around this subject.  We went through the system and figured we had some leeway with any of the common moving magnet carts.  The only issue capacitance-wise would be if I were going into a low output moving coil design. 

His recommendation for me was the Audio Technica 150MLX.
It looks good on paper, lets see if it has the mojo of the Shure!

http://www.lpgear.com/product/ATC0150MLX.html

- Output voltage: 4mV
- Frequency response: 10Hz-30kHz
- Load impedance: 47k ohms
- Channel separation @ 1kHz/10kHz: 30/20dB
- Channel balance: 0.8dB
- Stylus construction: Nude square shank
- Stylus type: Microline
- Cantilever: Gold-plated boron
- Tracking force: 0.75-1.75 g
- Dynamic compliance (x 10-6 cm/dyne, 100 Hz): 10.0
- Recommended load capacitance: 100-200 pF
- Coil wiring: PCOCC
- Weight: 8.3 g



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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2012, 05:47:23 PM »

Well if you talked to the designer he can tell you how much input capacitance the preamp has, so you know how much more you can afford to add with the cables.

100-200pF sounds like the AT prefers less C than the other two you mentioned before.

Not to quibble with your designer, but MC cartridges are low output but also very low source impedance. (low tens of ohms), so wouldn't much notice the cable capacitance. Since they require more voltage gain to get up to MM cart levels, they are not interchangeable.

JR
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djwaudio

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2012, 05:49:50 PM »

Just thinking out loud;  I have the AT installed, and something is definitely wrong. Double and triple checked the setup only to find the right channel is has a strange wobble in it's frequency response.  The spec says .8dB channel balance, and I see over two dB at times with the frequency sweep of the test records, and it's only unstable on the right channel.

Another shock is the nearly 10dB rising response at the highest frequencies... ouch.

I tried a solid state preamp (bryston) as well with the same results.  I think if I were seeing any issues with capacitance, the HF signal would be rolling off, not rising? 

I'm assuming a defect with regards to the left right balance, but that amount of top end on a cart has me worried... The carts recommended above, do they measure flat? Maybe time to try something else.
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Greg Reierson

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2012, 09:39:06 PM »

Could be a connection / wiring issue with the wobbling channel having an intermittent connection.

The capacitance issue is definitely one that can bite you. When I tried to drive a Neumann phono stage with my Ortofon the HF was off the chart. Changing the cabling and loading fixed the problem.
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2012, 06:43:20 AM »

Phono arm wiring is very fragile and there are some strange things that can happen to even the best. I would unplug the cartridge and measure the DC resistance of each of the four wires to make sure you have good connections. I would also spray the pins on the cartridge shell and in the tone arm with a CIAG product like deoxit to make sure you are getting a good connection. If you have access to a capacitance meter you could also measure the capacitance of each of the wires with the cartridge unhooked. This is best done from the RCA connector end. You maybe surprised with the results. Best of luck!

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Thomas W. Bethel
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SafeandSoundMastering

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Re: Phono Cartridge Recommendation
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2012, 01:34:44 PM »

I cannot name specifics but I always used Ortofon cartridges myself unless they were DJ purposes but for fidelity I always go Ortofon.
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