One other thing. Phono stage is a Cambridge 640
I used to have a Hitachi direct drive turntable, the PS-38, purchased when it first came out in the summer of '76. I managed an audio store at the time, and we found that the top line Grado of the time (just before the release of the Signature series) was a great match. I think it was a Z1+ or Z2+. Whatever it was, the current iteration of this cartridge design is Grado's Prestige series, best represented by a Grado Prestige Silver ($190) or Gold ($220). In fact, Grado's stylus replacement database lists the Prestige Gold stylus as the proper replacement for that $150 cartridge from 1976.
How good was it? We were spinning vinyl at the store all day long whether customers were present or not. One time on a lark, I decided to indulge my curiosity and installed the $150 Grado cartridge at the time ($541 in today's money) on our demo Hitachi PS-38. The transformation was so dramatic that our part-time bookkeeper (not an audio enthusiast) ran out of the back office into the demo room breathlessly asking what I'd done to cause such a remarkable change in sound.
The soundstage this combo threw was lush and all-encompassing, and with it, the sense of space, bloom, and fade around each instrument's voice. I know it was the cartridge, because it sounded that way regardless of the receiver or integrated amp we plugged it into (Pioneer, Marantz, Kenwood, Hitachi), and I got the same results at home when I bought the Grado/Hitachi combo for myself, playing it first through an SAE Mk XXX pre and later the phono stage of a Tandberg tape deck powering an SAE Mk XXXIb power amp.
So much to learn..so little time
First of all I'm a newbie. One that picks up on things quickly..but still a newbie. One that doesnt have a infinite budget either, but realizes you get what you pay for at times as well.
I'm trying to digest the coorelation between gain and output. The 640 Cambridge specs for gain for a mc are 55db.
The Sumiko Blue point #2 Cartridege...moving coil.. output voltage is 2.5mv. From what I gathered that this is to much. That the gain factor would be around 74 with .5 sensitivity. The result would be a high level of hiss.
BTW...when I ran the numbers for the Grado blue..nice fit.
I realize my ears will tell..but I enjoy this part of all my hobbies. And it gives me a start.
Should I even be looking at MC cartridges vs MM's??
Bill_in_pdxThe Blue Point #2 is a high output MC cartridge and should be plugged into the MM phono section of your Cambridge 640P. The MM section has plenty of gain for a 2.5mV output. I used a cart with 1.6mV output into the MM input of a 640P with excellent results.
I just Googled for your HT-550 and you might find this forum discussion enlightening. Notice that three cartridges mentioned as good matches are the Goldring MM series, a Sumiko Blue Point, and (ta-da) the Grado Gold.
Anyway, it looks like your Sumiko will work fine with it; just plug it into the MM section of your 640P. If the result isn't very compelling, try mounting your Blue Point to a Sumiko headshell. It adds a little weight to the tonearm's effective mass and may be a better match for the BP's compliance.