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Turntable cart suggestions solicited


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As I've detailed elsewhere, I have a Rega RP-3 turntable that I've tweaked in a lot of ways. Right now the cartridge is a Rega Apheta II moving-coil unit, with a boron cantiliver and contact-line stylus installed by Soundsmith after I whacked the original.

I'm thinking I might gain some sound quality improvements by replacing the cart. The obvious (and easiest to implement) choice is Rega's top-of-the-line Aphelion, but I'd be interested in hearing suggestions or experiences of others in the $5-10K price range.

 

20201003_171251.LARGE.jpeg

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I've always enjoyed Lyra carts as well as Micro Benz (what I used on my last TT).  Hana has always sounded good when I've heard it too.  I'd probably head to a dealer who love analog and has a few set up to listen to.  The hardest part for me was always not being able to truly A/B them as the table and arms will always be different etc..  

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The Aidas Panzerholz cartridge arrived.
However:

  • the new arm board is not drilled yet
  • the new (used) tone arm is not on it (obviously)
  • the new wiring for the balanced connection to the phono stage is not yet assembled
  • TT parts refurbishment parts are not in yet
  • etc.

It is a bit under your price range, but it seemed like a viable option for me, with the other contender being a Benz Micro LPS.
(I got the bottom of the line, so ~4k$)

It ticked the boxes for me:

  • Boron cantilever
  • microridge
  • 0.3mV
  • medium mass arm
  • 1,9gm tracking force
  • supposedly low sibilance…

I should have it all in by XMAS is the gods are willing.
The fellow importing them to the US is in Washington state.

I’ll post when I can say something more definitive, if you have not selected something by that point in time.

Edited by Holmz
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22 hours ago, Steve Edwards said:

John, I put a Hana MH on my Linn earlier this year.  I've no experience with Rega carts, but the MH is the best cartridge I've ever had in my system.  You might want to check out their top-of-the-line Umami Red.  I think it lists for $3950.

Best to you in your search.

Steve

Umami Reds are on sale right now. Just bought one for $3K. 

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2 hours ago, TomicTime said:

Wow cool….I ran an ML on table #2 and found it an incredible value. Bruce carries Lyra, Hana, Grado and Ortofon last time i was there… Congrats on the new cartridge @DelkatI probably like many await your impressions… When i wear out the Lyra it will be on my short list…

Best

Jim

The Umami’s going on a second arm. I also bought a Hana ML and Dr. Feikert Volare table last week that I’m “loaning” to my daughter as she just moved in to her first place after getting her first job out of college. She likes vinyl so I’m setting her up with my old Model 2s and other odds and ends. Still need to get a reasonable cost phono stage for the Volare/ML.  Looking at the Gold Note PH10 and PS Audio Stellar. 

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The Technics SL1200G is a surprisingly good performer for the money.

It is one of the most speed-stable turntables made at any price. Its also mechanically dead, something vital to any high performance turntable to be competitive.

Its main weakness is the platter pad which is rubber. The function of the platter pad is to absorb resonance in the vinyl which can talk back to the cartridge in real time. If you can turn down the volume all the way in your system and easily hear the cartridge as it tracks the LP, then you know you have a problem with the platter pad. It will be a lot harder to hear the cartridge tracking if the platter pad is doing its job. The best I've run into is made by Oracle which is about $300.00. To use it properly it has to be bonded to the platter (using its permanent sticky backing), which means the three mounting screws that fix the platter to the motor cannot be installed, but this will not affect performance.

The second weakness of the SL1200G is perhaps the tonearm, but it more than keeps up with many high end tonearms (IMO certainly better than any Rega)! Its also a good match for the Hana cartridges FWIW. Setup, of course, is everything! Because the arm is properly wired with the right interconnect cable it can be run balanced 😃

The strength of this machine is the various damping systems it uses. The plinth and its subchassis form a very rigid mount for the motor and arm, and resonate at different frequencies and thus rob energy from each other thru mechanical coupling (they are bolted together). Rigid and dead are paramount to any good plinth. In addition, the platter is damped and there are two additional damping systems that form the base of the machine. Its well thought out and not a revamp of the older SL1200s you can find on craigslist. Its a new design from the ground up.

I designed and built a turntable 25 years ago (Atma-Sphere model 208) and it has performed well against machines well above its pay grade. Its more expensive than the Technics but I think the Technics is a better machine.

It is possible to install an improved arm on the Technics. I have a Triplanar which should be mounted on mine soon.

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26 minutes ago, atmasphere said:

The Technics SL1200G is a surprisingly good performer for the money.

It is one of the most speed-stable turntables made at any price. Its also mechanically dead, something vital to any high performance turntable to be competitive.

Its main weakness is the platter pad which is rubber. The function of the platter pad is to absorb resonance in the vinyl which can talk back to the cartridge in real time. If you can turn down the volume all the way in your system and easily hear the cartridge as it tracks the LP, then you know you have a problem with the platter pad. It will be a lot harder to hear the cartridge tracking if the platter pad is doing its job. The best I've run into is made by Oracle which is about $300.00. To use it properly it has to be bonded to the platter (using its permanent sticky backing), which means the three mounting screws that fix the platter to the motor cannot be installed, but this will not affect performance.

The second weakness of the SL1200G is perhaps the tonearm, but it more than keeps up with many high end tonearms (IMO certainly better than any Rega)! Its also a good match for the Hana cartridges FWIW. Setup, of course, is everything! Because the arm is properly wired with the right interconnect cable it can be run balanced 😃

The strength of this machine is the various damping systems it uses. The plinth and its subchassis form a very rigid mount for the motor and arm, and resonate at different frequencies and thus rob energy from each other thru mechanical coupling (they are bolted together). Rigid and dead are paramount to any good plinth. In addition, the platter is damped and there are two additional damping systems that form the base of the machine. Its well thought out and not a revamp of the older SL1200s you can find on craigslist. Its a new design from the ground up.

I designed and built a turntable 25 years ago (Atma-Sphere model 208) and it has performed well against machines well above its pay grade. Its more expensive than the Technics but I think the Technics is a better machine.

It is possible to install an improved arm on the Technics. I have a Triplanar which should be mounted on mine soon.

Great post and thanks. I have enjoyed that table every time I’ve heard it. I heard it once with a different mat, but don’t remember which one. It wasn’t taped on as he took the plater off to show me. He did rewire the arm I believe. Again I forget which company he used  for wire as I can’t do TT anymore. I still LOVE listening to analog whenever I can. 

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Went and saw Bruce Tuesday. Brought a couple of records I know well ("Selections from the Gutter" by Art Hodes (SLP 4057) and "Veedon Fleece" by Van Morrison (BS-2805)) and we played them with a Lyra Etna. Here are the systems.

image.png.cc0a385ee67ce843b633b8bae2218fda.png     

So on the first Hodes track I heard low piano notes much more prominently. Bruce pointed out that the Morrison track ("Linden Arden Stole the Highlights") sounded compressed, which I was noticing for the first time too. Bruce played Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars 1959 recording of "St James Infirmary Blues," and even that old chestnut sounded new, original, vibrant. Louis seemed to be standing there.

So Ray came today and installed the Etna. It wasn't a simple install, as the Etna's much "taller" than the Rega cart. Man it sounds nice.

image.thumb.jpeg.454c3e20749524772387441f04e28eed.jpeg

     

 

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5 hours ago, bkeske said:

 Congrats @John Gallup 👍🏼 Looks great

 

5 hours ago, bkeske said:

 Congrats @John Gallup 👍🏼 Looks great

Congrats big time - the Etna is a killer cartridge and top of my list when i wear out the Delos. i was in Stereo Unlimited on Wednesday and the Etna was setup on a Brinkmann Bardo w Brinkmann arm on HRS base. Bruce normally use the tube power supply but i didn’t look. Ray is good people ! enjoy the music in great health

Jim

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/30/2022 at 3:17 PM, John Gallup said:

I was already using the Rega VTA adjuster (shown below) to compensate for the 5-mm "Achromat by Funk" I'd been using. The mat had to go.

Was that mat any good?

I see and read stuff about platters, and see a lot of Perspex, Lexan, or Acrylic platters, and sometimes without a mat on them.
So I am not sure about the reasoning of it all… Maybe they are more vibration lossy than an alloy platter?

I have an old tan coloured AQ mat, that was stuck to the alloy Sota platter with a similar attraction quality as Syrian wrap to glass, just but stickier.
It seems like more of a lossy sortbethane, than a low hysteresis rubber.

I think that the Schroder arm has a bit of travel for VTA, but I guess I should check.

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7 hours ago, Holmz said:
On 10/29/2022 at 10:47 PM, John Gallup said:

I was already using the Rega VTA adjuster (shown below) to compensate for the 5-mm "Achromat by Funk" I'd been using. The mat had to go.

Was that mat any good?

I see and read stuff about platters, and see a lot of Perspex, Lexan, or Acrylic platters, and sometimes without a mat on them.
So I am not sure about the reasoning of it all… Maybe they are more vibration lossy than an alloy platter?

I have an old tan coloured AQ mat, that was stuck to the alloy Sota platter with a similar attraction quality as Syrian wrap to glass, just but stickier.
It seems like more of a lossy sortbethane, than a low hysteresis rubber.

I think that the Schroder arm has a bit of travel for VTA, but I guess I should check.

I'm running matless now and everything sounds fine. The platter is from Groovetracer and seems fine without a mat. Looks better too.

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