Ortofon 2m Bronze
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My first thread here.
My dealer urged me to try the matching Concept cartridges. I listened to both the MM and MC versions. I bought the MM version (I am an MM fan), and I was stunned by how good it after about 150-200 hours.
I am now running a Virtuoso, not because I was in any urge to upgrade, but because due to a silly accident I ruined the stock one and I happened to have a brand new virtuoso around. If it weren't for this I would still be very happy enjoying Concept Cartridge.
I have a Clearaudio concept and I mounted a Ortofon 2MM black on it and it sounds good. Preliminary biggest fault is you have to be careful where you set it up because for traffic caused it to skip since there's only 1.5 g on the stylus.Fortunately right now my stand is sitting on a concrete floor so this isn't an issue at the present time, but if it were I would have to mounted to the wall or change tonearms which could be quite costly.The only other tonearm Clearaudio makes that I think would be safe on a wooden floor I believe would be the Universal Tonearm and that's pretty damn expensive And I don't know if you go to something like an SME tonearm.
As it is it sits on two forms of isolation products those half dome rubbery Isolators and they're sitting on a 2 inch maple platform which is the top of my stand and then again a 2 inch maple platform which turntable sits on and on top of that I'm using the Black Diamond Racing cones and pillows so I have plenty of isolation device.
I do have a couple of issues adjusting the Anti-skating and there's no way to put a Vertical Tracking Angle device on their with that tonearm and probably not This is enough room to install it.
I'm always open to suggestions!
I use a Benz Glider on my Concept and they sound great together. My phono stage is the Sim LP5.3. Given your budget I would look into the Hana cartridges if you want to go MC. I have heard both the SL and the EL and they sound really good. The EL is a bit over your budget though at $749, the SL is $475. For a MM cartridge, the Clearaudio Artist V2 Ebony is an improvement on the Concept MM and within your $500 budget. Good Luck!
ghemrock, The concept MC cartridge has a 2.0 tracking force. It's also a great sounding cartridge. As far as the set-up is concerned. Have you tried it without the pillow? I would try to get rid of that & make the stand that holds the maple slabs more robust. Also, I'm not sure how much work you want to put into it, but you could look at bracing the heck out of the floor under & around the stand itself. All of that should help focus & sound stage greatly.