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  • Matching Your Cartridge to Your Tonearm

    Mark suggested this topic to me a couple of days ago and John raised the same idea in a different thread so thought I would just move it over here! Just like everything else in audio, simply using the Chinese menu method of choosing the best from Column A, the best from Column B, the best from Column C, etc. rarely works and more often than not is a formula for disaster. So how does one pick and match the right cartridge to the right arm and/or table?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dre_J View Post

    It's one of many cartridges I had available for that particular review. This one was appropriate for the price category of the turntable.

    Dre
    I'd love to hear more on this subject. I've heard of people using cartridges 5/6/7/etc times the price of the turntable. That never made any sense to me, but I could be wrong. I've also heard of it in reverse, which also doesn't make sense to me...and I'm guilty of this, but hopefully will be able to correct it shortly. My priority was to get the TT I could be comfortable with for a long time coming, and next address the other pieces of the puzzle (cartridge, power supply, phonostage)
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post

      I'd love to hear more on this subject. I've heard of people using cartridges 5/6/7/etc times the price of the turntable. That never made any sense to me, but I could be wrong. I've also heard of it in reverse, which also doesn't make sense to me...and I'm guilty of this, but hopefully will be able to correct it shortly. My priority was to get the TT I could be comfortable with for a long time coming, and next address the other pieces of the puzzle (cartridge, power supply, phonostage)
      John, if you don't mind, I'm going to spin this topic off into it's own thread. Mark raised suggested exactly the same idea a couple of days ago to me!
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • Johnny Vinyl
        Johnny Vinyl commented
        Editing a comment
        Be my guest, please. I think it would make for a wonderful topic.

    • #4
      Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post

      I'd love to hear more on this subject. I've heard of people using cartridges 5/6/7/etc times the price of the turntable. That never made any sense to me, but I could be wrong. I've also heard of it in reverse, which also doesn't make sense to me...and I'm guilty of this, but hopefully will be able to correct it shortly. My priority was to get the TT I could be comfortable with for a long time coming, and next address the other pieces of the puzzle (cartridge, power supply, phonostage)
      John,

      For that particular situation you asked, a published review, I thought it more appropriate to run the turntable package with a cartridge that the average reader may use. That doesn't mean I wouldn't use a more (or Less) expensive cartridge on the 'table. I actually did use a more expensive cartridge for a portion of that review.

      As you may have seen, when I review a turntable, I've made a point of having at least two (if not more) cartridges on the turntable in for review. At least one of the cartridges are what I'd consider "price appropriate" for the table from an economic perspective. This is more of a baseline than an absolute.

      When I'm characterizing components beyond a published review, I'm more inclined to push boundaries towards (or beyond) the limit. In these cases, the cost of the components usually don't come into play because I'm more interested in optimizing performance. General matching issues like compliance and such are good starting points but I tend to be more concerned with practical application and performance (either objectively measured or subjectively observed).

      There are many ground rules that I'm sure others will happily comment on and they can be different for each individual based on preference and experience. I say have at it since there is always more than one way to thread the needle.

      Dre
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day to play analog.
      - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
      - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day for live music.
      **************************************************

      Comment


      • #5
        Here is a really good article to read from Galen Carol's website and it's a great place to start understanding the complexities involved in matching a cartridge to a particular arm:

        http://www.gcaudio.com/resources/how...cartridge.html
        Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

        Comment


        • #6
          I have often wondered if all the woofer pumping you see on some systems playing vinyl is due to a cartridge/arm mismatch that has the resonant frequency in the wrong place. Your woofers aren't supposed to look like they are trying to jump out of your speakers not to mention the fact that all of that pumping is wasted energy.

          The bottom line is that if you don't match your cartridge to your arm correctly, it can lead to serious unhappiness and wasted money.
          Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

          Comment


          • #7
            Seeing as I'm a technological Neaderthal what would be a good match for my tonearm, which is a modified Oracle Pro-ject 9cc?
            Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
              Seeing as I'm a technological Neaderthal what would be a good match for my tonearm, which is a modified Oracle Pro-ject 9cc?

              I believe the effective mass of your tonearm is 8.5G which is considered low mass. Low mass arms work best with medium to high compliance cartridges. Are you currently using the Dyna 20x2? If so, that would be considered a low compliance cartridge and not a good match for your arm.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by mep View Post


                I believe the effective mass of your tonearm is 8.5G which is considered low mass. Low mass arms work best with medium to high compliance cartridges. Are you currently using the Dyna 20x2? If so, that would be considered a low compliance cartridge and not a good match for your arm.
                Yes, I am using that Dyna 20x2L and am in fact looking for a change this year. It's ok, but I'm not sold on it anyway. That Charisma MC-1 Myles reviewed has me interested.....thoughts or other possible recommendations?
                Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                Comment


                • #10
                  Johnny-Per the info on the manufacturer's website, I don't think the Charisma would be a good match for your arm:

                  http://www.charismaaudio.com/?page_id=3052

                  The compliance is too low for your arm and the manufacturer recommends a medium mass tonearm and yours is considered to be low mass. I hope the point to this thread is that there are some truly wonderful cartridges out there, but they may not all be wonderful in a given tonearm. I hope that Andre chimes in here to see if he agrees that your arm is a low mass arm and you need to be looking at cartridges that are high compliance. That's where I would be shopping if I was you. For instance, I think the Ortofon Quintet Black would possibly be a good match for your arm, but I don't know if your phono section has enough gain for the .3mV output. But I'm just using the Ortofon as an example of a cartridge that is better suited to your particular arm.
                  Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Thanks Mark for your input on this, I really appreciate it and would also certainly welcome Andre's thoughts on this. I think once I'm at the point of making a purchasing decision I'll start a thread and post all relevant data needed for possible cartridges to consider. Thanks again my friend!
                    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Johnny-You are welcome. I hope we can use the combined experience of people on this forum to help you with guidance on whether a particular cartridge you are interested in will mate correctly with your arm and your phono stage.
                      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Dre_J View Post

                        John,

                        For that particular situation you asked, a published review, I thought it more appropriate to run the turntable package with a cartridge that the average reader may use. That doesn't mean I wouldn't use a more (or Less) expensive cartridge on the 'table. I actually did use a more expensive cartridge for a portion of that review.

                        As you may have seen, when I review a turntable, I've made a point of having at least two (if not more) cartridges on the turntable in for review. At least one of the cartridges are what I'd consider "price appropriate" for the table from an economic perspective. This is more of a baseline than an absolute.

                        When I'm characterizing components beyond a published review, I'm more inclined to push boundaries towards (or beyond) the limit. In these cases, the cost of the components usually don't come into play because I'm more interested in optimizing performance. General matching issues like compliance and such are good starting points but I tend to be more concerned with practical application and performance (either objectively measured or subjectively observed).

                        There are many ground rules that I'm sure others will happily comment on and they can be different for each individual based on preference and experience. I say have at it since there is always more than one way to thread the needle.

                        Dre

                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I think another mismatch that I sometimes see is how the arm deals with the energy created during the playing of the record that may not even show up on all records. Some cartridges produce more energy than others and that energy gets dumped in part into the arm and the other into the vinyl. There's a point too where the better cartridges create too much energy for lesser arms to deal with creating all types of resonance and can also dynamics issues (those out-of-phase reflections mess with dynamics!)

                          For me, the biggest issue is tracking ability since you don't want to damage your LPs! And that's a lot of things but starts with finding the right resonance frequency. While there is some argument and slop here, I usually try for 8-12 Hz. I know Andre can add more here too!

                          In the end, one can never go wrong with a putting your money into the arm rather than vice versa.
                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by mep View Post
                            Johnny-Per the info on the manufacturer's website, I don't think the Charisma would be a good match for your arm:

                            http://www.charismaaudio.com/?page_id=3052

                            The compliance is too low for your arm and the manufacturer recommends a medium mass tonearm and yours is considered to be low mass. I hope the point to this thread is that there are some truly wonderful cartridges out there, but they may not all be wonderful in a given tonearm. I hope that Andre chimes in here to see if he agrees that your arm is a low mass arm and you need to be looking at cartridges that are high compliance. That's where I would be shopping if I was you. For instance, I think the Ortofon Quintet Black would possibly be a good match for your arm, but I don't know if your phono section has enough gain for the .3mV output. But I'm just using the Ortofon as an example of a cartridge that is better suited to your particular arm.
                            Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
                            Thanks Mark for your input on this, I really appreciate it and would also certainly welcome Andre's thoughts on this. I think once I'm at the point of making a purchasing decision I'll start a thread and post all relevant data needed for possible cartridges to consider. Thanks again my friend!
                            John, Based on some of your comments here:http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/th...?p=783#post783 and your equipment, the Quintet Black is worth a look/listen for you. It seems to be able to address one of the issues you mentioned wanting to address in your comments. At around $1000, it will leave you some funds to look at adding an external phonostage if desired.
                            **************************************************
                            Every day is a good day to play analog.
                            - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
                            - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
                            **************************************************
                            Every day is a good day for live music.
                            **************************************************

                            Comment

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