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I believe the Grado Prestidge series comes in "P" mount. The Gold being the highest standard, with the silver qa close second. Some would say on par with the Shure, others would not. I have heard the GOld standard mount on a Rega 250 on belt driven table. Good bass extension as well as treble too. Could come down to taste.
The original Sumiko Blue Point, which I still have, was a P-mount; the current version is NOT. Sometimes the original can still be found as NOS.
Also you may occasionally run across as NOS, several of the older Grado cartridges which were available in P-mount versions; and an equivalent of the Stanton 881S.
There was also a Shure P-mount cartridge which will accept the current M97 series stylus, which is quite highly regarded.
if you look on the KAB website, i think they sell a high-quality p-mount (groovemaster?) for their modded technics tables. psychicanimal may chime in at some point, or you may want to contact him directly as i think he is an advocate of this cartridge. check it out--it may be just what you're looking for.
I'm pretty sure Shure (no pun intended) never made the V15VxMR seiers in a P mount. They should be standard 1/2" mount carts. P mount carts are "plug and play" type carts normally used on linear tracking turntables and other budget type tables. Technics made a nice Moving Coil cart on the SL-10 turntable that is P mount.
I like the Ortofon TM20. It sounds well balanced and neutral. It doesn't exaggerate surface noise. I have it mounted to a Technics SL10 and prefer it to the original moving coil cartride (too lean and peaky) or the Shure (a bit dull). It works equally well with the Phonomena phono amp or the Tube phono in my VAC preamp. My main listening is 60's jazz and 70's Rock.
I'm using an Ortofon 320 (the P mount version of OM20) in my Technics SL10. Mid range much more palpable and highs smoother than Grado Prestige Blue it replaced. Bass possibly a bit better. Running track force about 1.6 GM which is also when the pointer and mark line up on adjustment gizmo. Overall sound of this system for me is so-so compared to better modern tables. Would be interested to know more details of modding you mention as this auto-turntable has sentimental value. Best wihes, Mike.
Cheapmike, the greatest improvement in sound I've achieved with my SL10 was changing what it sat on. The rack it sits on is a deluxe Room Tunes rack which has shelves that are around an inch thick with brass spikes on the bottom and sitting on a concrete floor. This is a solid stable platform, but here is what made the huge difference. A Townsend Seismic sink for it to sit on (an improvement), then add three 1 1/2 inch aluminum spikes with brass cups under the Seismic sink which results in a major improvement (wow), like twice as good as before. For a couple hundred bucks it is money well spent.
Rhljazz: Oddly enough this simple thing I have never tried! Will try various stuff before going whole hog for the Seismic Sink. Earlier today picked up a used Quicksilver Audio phono pre to replace the one in my integrated amp. Will tube-roll with non-NOS, and maybe the easier capacitors. Will report back in a week or two on results of both. Thanks for the advice, Mike
The Panasonic MC310 that may have come with your turntable is a decent moving coil cartridge especially if it is mated to one of the aftermarket transformers that you see on EBay (like Klangfilm, Beyer etc) with a 100 ohm matching input impedence.
But I have used s few of the turntables you hmentioned with a variety of P-mount cartridges and got excellent results. My favorite was the Stanton 737 Stereohedron model. I've also tried the Radio Shack V15 body that accepts the Shure V15 MR stylus assembly but it sounds a tiny bit edgy compared to the Stanton. The ADC PX-40 and PX-50 come in P-mount styles and they are very good, perhaps a bit better than the Shure V15 MR in the upper-middle but not as good in the low end. Pickering also made a P-mount body that had a Stereohedron stylus made for it (I think it was the 4000) but the Stanton "floating Stylus" design seemed superior to the Pickering even though they were associated companies.
In my opinion it all comes down to the stylus tip design. If you can find any really good P-mount cartridge body with either a Gyger, Van den Hul, Micro Ridge, MicroLine or Stereohedron stylus tip, it can produce top-of-the-line sound. I've never heard an AT ML cartridge in a P-mount but having heard many of them in standard mounts I'm sure they would be great.
I have cartridge shoot-outs with audiophile friends all the time. To me the phono cartridge is the most difficult part of the audio chain to make well. It is the equivalent of making a fantastic sounding, wide dynamic range One-Way speaker system. A few electrostatics come close but even they have major flaws. But I can name a dozen truly great phono cartridges. Many of my friends are astounded/upset when they realize they prefered a Stanton 981 Stereohedron cartridge over a Koetsu Rosewood Signature, or they Liked the Audio Technica 440 ML over the ZYX Airy3. Often the choice is due to one reasonably-priced cartridge having superior vocal/violin range performance compared to an outrageously priced cartridge, but it shows there can be some great cartridges out there in the P-mount style.
This being the case you should be able to find a high end Stanton cartridge with a Stereohedron stylus in P-mount. Of course barring that just do what I do and take a cartridge with a good motor system and have Van den Hul USA put a VdH1 stylus on it with either a boron of sapphire cantilever. The boron-VdH1 system (from VdH USA) could be mounted on a Panasonic/Technics 310 moving coil cartridge for much less than $300 now-a-days. I also sent one out to Australia for a less expensive aluminum-Vital combo and it was about $200 total. As long as the motor works properly, getting a decent moving coil retipped with a higher-end stylus design can make all the difference.
While the stylus really does make a huge difference it can't make an Ortofon MC 10 into an MC 15MkII or an MC 15 into an MC 20 etc. But it will make any elliptical stylus cartridge sound worlds better by just putting a "Line Contact" style stylus on it. Good luck.
Yes, there is a high end Shure cartridge still available as a P-mount. See it here: http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LG&Product_Code=SHEC01P
The Ortofon OMP-10 (P for P-mount), is compatible with any of the OM-series sylii, all the way up to a Fineline Geiger OM 40 stylus. www.kabusa.com sells an integrated OMP 20, 30, or 40 here: http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/ortofon.htm
LPGear.com also has a $160 Audio Technica P-mount here: http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LG&Product_Code=ATC08
As previously mentioned, the entire Grado Prestige series is available in P-mount all the way up to the Gold series.
Technics made both a moving coil and a moving magnet. Both are considered in some circles to be the best "P" mount cartridges ever made. The Technics EPA 500 tonearm even had an optional wand for them that now fetches a price in the $700US range, but the caveat is finding one of those cartridges in good condition because the flaw with NOS Technics cartridges of that quality is that they tend to be low riders. Still, a rebuild may be possible by someone like Peter of Soundsmith. Then again, you may be able to locate a perfect one.