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When I bought my Decca Super Gold Mk.VII, the distributor/seller (Warren Gregoire) was adamant that these carts needed to be mounted on damped unipivot arms. My VPI JMW 10.5 met this requirement. Very impressive sound, but I could never get rid of the hum no matter what I tried. Not a loud hum, but definitely there.
If you are open to something different you might contact Vic at Trans-Fi. He mentioned to me that the London Reference is his favorite cartridge on Terminator Pro. To eliminate hum problems with this cartridge he developed a screened 4N silver IC that runs uninterrupted from cartridge to phono stage.
I've not used the Reference, but I've had two Deccas since the early 80s. Damped unipivots were the conventional choice; I use a Hadcock. These compensated for the lack of vertical compliance in the Decca design. Air bearing arms should also do the trick as they aren't rigid in a vertical plane either.
Dear Breezer: I don't own that Decca cartridge but seems to me that The Mechanic is very good match and as you own the MDC 800 this one seems to me very good for it too. Do you already try it in the Sumiko? do you have some problem with the Mechanic/Decca quality performance?
If you want some improvement on both tonearms maybe a fresh internal re-wiring could help.
Regards and enjoy the music,
i´ve tried the London just in the Mission already. It is good, but as i don´t know, how it could sound, i can´t answer the question, if it is at 70, 80, 90 or nearly 100% of its performance. The Mission Mechanic is rewired with Cardas.
In the Sumiko my DV XV-1s is mounted, and it is so wonderful, that i don´t like to dismount it at that time. Maybe later. The Sumiko has its own silver internal wire wit directly soldered Discovery Four Plus external wiring. Maybe i will rewire it with one continous Cardas some day.
The Decca is famous for the need of ultra rigid tonearms, because it moves endless vibrations into the Armtube. Superior bearing, rigid Design and speed for removal are important. Triplanar is the wrong choice, even the Phantom won't be the right choice (of course, they all "work" more or less with it, I know reviewers who use it in a Rega 250), the Arm to go is FR-64s/66s.
I have no experience with the Decca Reference cartridge, but I long ago had the Fidelity Research FR-64S tone arm and the Decca London cartridge of that day. The Fidelity Research was not suitable for this cartridge. I had two tone arms that worked with it-the Keith Monks and the Decca International.
I also presently have the Decca Jubilee although I have yet to install it on my Bergman Sindre turntable. The Jubilee did work well on the Schroeder Reference tone arm on my Loricraft/Garrard 501 turn table with much depending on the space between the magnets.
It seems not so many people have experience with the Deccas or Moving Iron cartridges.
There have been some changes: The mass of the needle mounting system was minimized by half. The bearing which carries the diamond is shaped in an L-form and does transfer the signal into electrical energy with just 1 mm of the transport way.
There are many indicators from the design aspect why this should be one of the best cartridges at all. Nevertheless the production quality improved too which used to be a small problem in the past. The differences between the Deccas are not that much anymore.
It is easy to detect that this cartridge is one of the most natural sounding transponders ever built. It displays the tone and sound like it was recorded maybe a problem for digital ears.
I've read on VA a good match with the SAEC WE-308 SX when mated with the heavy 18 gr ULS-3X headshell.
I've just bought this arm and I'm ready to give a chance to Decca Reference. I use the TD 124 II also !
I must admit that I have high expectations for this set-up.
My worst nightmare is a wrong cartridge/arm that could change the overall character & spirit of the Thorens.
ie : Steve (user510) reports bad about Ortofon Jubilee / Graham 2.2 and this is that I wish to avoid (a modern aspect of the usual hi-fi trends that betrays the rare quality of this TT while this arm/cart combo, performs really great in every contemporary Belt-Drive TT !!!)
We must stand with respect & integrity behind our TD 124 !
I haven't heard the Decca in years, ...thought the sound extraordinary (don't remember the arm, but was with Audio Research electronics and Infinity IRS speakers) but greatly affected by setup. The cartridge puts lots of energy into the arm. I would think that the VPI is a good choice since you can adjust every parameter. I would experiment with damping at the pivot...use just 1 drop and add a drop until the sound closes in...take out 1 drop. Its actually easy to hear.
I use a Jelco 750L 12" with my Decca MkVII with Paratrace stylus and it works great. So much so, I feel no need to upgrade. I've no idea what more expensive arms must sound like but the music just sounds right with the Jelco. There is a head shell upgrade available somewhere that allegedly brings some major improvements.
I have set up around 20 Decca's over the years, mostly Garrott modified Decca's.
Best arm I've heard was with the Zeta, but can confirm the Decca works well in the Dynavector arms. I heard a Dynavector 501/Decca with Futterman OTL's & Stax electrostatics and the sound was excellent - Decca speed with a little more warmth than with other arms.
I was looking at contemporary arms for the current London’s a while back. Robert Levi at Positive Feedback has his Reference mounted on a Helius Omega Silver Ruby---a great arm, but over five grand retail. The Kuzma arms look up to the job (stiff arm tubes, great bearings), even the relatively-modestly priced ($3200) Stogi Ref. As dover said, the old Zeta has long been considered a great match, but they don’t come up for sale very often---their owners tend to keep them!
Though damped uni-pivots were recommended for the old Decca’s, none of them have as stiff an arm tube as I like to see (as has been said, the Decca/London design pumps a LOT of energy into the arm). And the current London’s don’t necessarily require damping to the degree the Decca’s did.
At this moment I'm listening to a London Reference/4Point/Stabi M. I'd say the 4Point works well with the Refernece, slightly better than it did with a Triplanar. I haven't had any tracking difficulties on the mentioned arms nor a SME 3012R and Schick. If I had an Airline I'd think that would be the combination to beat. Once I receive a new plinth for my Garrard 301 I'll be putting the Reference on a Schröder CB, which is supposedly an excellent combination. Apparently Spiral Groove's Centroid arm is also a good fit, though I have no experience with it.
My SME 3012 series one has always done a nice job with my Decca.
Eckart, love your comment about 'digital ears'. If anyone is listening to a London Reference or a Decca, or a Luminere for the first time you really must stop comparing and just 'listen'.
Impressions about no highs, or no bass are all false. Everything in the groove will be reproduced accurately, naturally as recorded. Without question one of the most 'true to life' sounding cartridges one will ever listen too.
It's similar to hearing excellent horn loaded speakers for the first time. After you realize what you're hearing and you become accustomed to it, it is difficult to go back to anything else.
I have a few friends that can't stand long listening sessions with anything less than a Decca. It does have peers, but they are way out of my price range.
A bit late..... I have no experience with the London Reference but I've installed my J. Wright upgraded Decca Gold on my Schick 12" using a Saec ULS3X ceramic headshell. My Decca Blue is giving me its best performances on a SME series III with high viscosity oil damping and an ebony weight on the headshell. Turntable is a BL-91 Micro Seiki. I was told that Karmadon's own design viscous damped unipivot also gives excellent results.
I run my London Reference in an FR66s mounted on a Brinkmann Balance.
As presumably with any cartridge it benefitted from using good quality silver tonearm wires (in this case mounted in Arche headshell).
According to John Wright (who makes and services the cartridges) the FR arm is ideal and he uses an FR64.
He recommends a VTF of 1.8 gm (+/- 0.2) with VTA set so that top plate of the cartridge is parallel with the record, although he said there is no absolute and the ear is the best guide. In this regard I found that having the tail of the cartridge a nano-smidgeon lower than the front gave best results.After experimenting I found all works best with no bias setting at all.
As per above (VTF 1.82gm) there are no mistracking issues and it rides warped records as well as anything else I’ve got.
i have various other “high end” mc cartidges and the Decca is by far my favourite. You need to keep records clean and it doesn’t like bad scratches.