Advice on best match MC Cartidges for these tonearms


Hi all,

I am re starting my vinyl life, cleaning all 700 odd albums and singles... big job!

I am asking for advice from all those with experience in matching cartridges and tonearms. I have an Ayre K3x pre-amp/phono setup.

I have the following tonearms on appropriate turntables and tonearms have matching original head shells.

Micro Seiki MA-505LS

Micro Seiki MA-505XS

Micro Seiki MAX-327

Kuzma Stogi Ref (currently with a CAR-30 boron)

I listen to a wide range of music, mostly rock, blues, electronic, alternative, classical, pop, 60's 70's 80's era, but limited jazz. I was considering the Ortofon Quintet Bronze, the looked at the Cadenza Bronze for its apparent technical superiority over the lower product lines. I like a warm mellow sound, but with high definition of the instruments. I have not heard the latest lines of cartridges available, but I do know of the much older Ortofon cartridges. I would want at least 2 cartridges that I could swap out with the arms. Any opinions would be really helpful. Cheers A.


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It would appear that I am best to research on my own. I was hoping someone out there would have advice on a good match.

Thanks. A.

I have an MA-505LS, but I've mostly used it with MM cartridges to listen to classical. It should match well with a broad range of MC cartridges, though not necessarily with the heaviest & lowest compliance. I tried an SPU, but couldn't balance it without an extra weight. I'd expect the MA-505XS to be similar. 
Thanks sampsa55. At least I had someone who was interested. )
There have been many others interested, though, and the range of cartridges seems to go from MM cartridges similar to mine to  Denons and Koetsus:
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/micro-seiki-ma-505-arm-how-good-is-it

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/dynavector-10-x-5-or-other-mc-in-same-price-range/post?highlight=505%2B103&postid=313848#313848

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/quot-oldskool-quot-tonearms/post?highlight=505%2B103&postid=314042#314042

Other than the SPUs, for which you'll need an extra counterweight, you should be fine with almost anything. Given that, you would probably get more responses if you asked the same question without referencing the tonearms, though I'm sure someone would then insist on knowing your tonearm...


The problem you have is that adjusting the Ayre phono stage for gain ( MM or MC ) and load ( for MC's ) requires removing the lid and adjusting the phono inside the unit.
Therefore ideally if using more than one turntable you would be best to pick some cartridges that use the same gain and load.
For example you could go with all MM's - Soundsmith moving iron/Gradomoving iron or Ortofon Black are all solid performers.
Or you could go with all MC's - most MC's fall into 3-4ohm ( e.g. Koetsu ) or 40ohm internal impedance ( e.g. Benz/Denon/some Dynavector ).
Lyra's such as the Delos are less load dependent.
My suggestion is decide on MC or MM, then check reviews for your price range - then think about load requirements compared to the CAR.
Pick a couple of cartridges with similar load & gain requirements.  

@sampsa55 @dover Thanks for the suggestions. I have been leaning toward the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze, in that it has some good technology used by higher cartridges from the same manufacturer, and is from what I have researched so far, not as "brash" or "clean cut" as the Blacks. I am still researching but numbers are just numbers.

People's experiences with different carts add to the whole decision. Lest not forget, there are some seriously expensive carts out there, and even the Bronze is reaching out over the cliff for me. I guess I need to look in the longer term also, the longevity and quality of the product and see if the sums add up.

I have heard that some enthusiasts have a drawer full of them to select from depending on the mood. Cool.

@dover 's point is a good one: If you want to have multiple tonearms / cartridges in your system, changing between them should be easy. 

I have a turntable with three tonearms and I use one for mono, one for chamber & choral (more open & refined), and one for orchestral & jazz (more solid & dynamic). But there are lots of others who think one should choose a single neutral sounding cartridge as anything else amounts to adjusting the sound to your taste rather accurate reproduction.

I have 5 turntables, 3 have cartridges which are well entrenched and those I won't be changing. The Micro Seiki BL91L (with the LS arm) is the one I would like to see sorted. The other is a Micro Seiki DDX-1500 on which I have 2 mounts, 2 arms, no carts. These are the 237mm (not 327 as I put on my opening spiel) and the MA-505XS.

I really appreciate taking the time to put words in virtual paper. Cheers. A.

I thought I would get back into vinyl. I bought 4 turntables and 3 arms. Talk about an idiot! I only needed 1, but needed to work out which one. I will keep 2, the Kuzma Stabi Ref II and the Micro Seiki BL-91L.

The others are my trusty JVC YL-5F, a Micro Seiki DDX-1500 and a Nakamichi Dragon CT which is ship shape and great.

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