Try a Goldring 1042. It is an MM cartridge and will be good with your phono preamp.
The belt replacement can be done by a child. About 30 seconds time.
As far as a "general tighening up", there's not much to tighten up on a Planar 2. Just don't make the arm nut too tight, because it will detract from the sound. Finger tight is best on the Rega arm nut that holds the arm on under the plinth.
Thanks Twl, but I guess I messed up my post, so not all of what I had to say appeared. I need to keep cartridge replacement cost in the $200 range. That rules out the Goldring that you recommended, and explains my interest in the Denon DL-160 and the Garrott P77 or maybe K2.
Oh -- the speakers are fast, not "fact":).
By the way, Twl, I've enjoyed reading your posts in the archives. What do you (or anyone else) think about high output MCs on my planar 2 with Nait3? I suspect that in my price range I may not be able to get much clear improvement over a Super Bias, but at least I can get an interestingly different and no less pleasing sound. Maybe MC would do that for me.
I could recommend that you drop down to the lower Goldring models like the 1022 or 1012GX. They all use the same motor assembly, and the only difference are the styli. You could upgrade to the 1042 later, simply by replacing the stylus assembly, which is user replaceable. But the 1042 stylus is over $200.
I'm not sure if the gain in your Nait will handle the hi-output MC cartridge output levels. They are significantly lower than MM, and some preamps don't do well with them. Also, most of them are more than $200.
Overall, the best MM cartrides under $350 are the Goldrings, in my opinion. Even the lower models are quite good. Stay away from the under $100 cheapies. If you pick any one from the 1012GX to the 1042, you'll be doing fine.
I haven't tried the Garrott cartridges, so I can't say anything about them one way or the other. The Denon DL160 is a pretty good cartridge, but I prefer the Denon MC cartridges from that line.
I don't think you could go wrong with a Goldring on that rig, for the money you want to spend.
I think the Denon is an MC, no?
I just found an allegedly new Dynavector 10x5 on ebay, for $215, from a guy who also advertizes on the 'gon -- named Juki. How about that? BTW, the dealer I bought the Nait from seems to think that it can handle a high output MC.
Also, there's a Goldring 1006 available for much less $. How about it?
Thanks very very much for your input. Eventually, I'm going to have to come to a decision, cause this is taking up way too much of my time!
You'll find people selling the Rega cartridges either new or nearly new on Agon for quite cheap. I have a super bias on my P3 and I quite like it ... it's not too bright and quite natural sounding. I'd be tempted to find an elys or super elys.
Had a friend who switched to goldring (though I don't know which one) and said that the sound was bright and lacking in bass compared to the rega.
I think that the moral is that if you can live with the rega perhaps get a new rega cart. else demo a cartridge since those that are "better" may not necessarily be to your taste.
I ran a BPS through my 42.5 w/ MM card/Hicap/110 and was very satisfied. I'm certain there are better MC cartridges for the same money and I do urge you to get a moving coil. I just offered this for your information since you are using Naim gear.
I second the consideration of a Dynevector. I have a 10x4MkII (which has recently been replaced by the 10x5) on my Planar 3. It is a very nice sounding cartridge and can be picked up reasonably. While it is a high output MC, I have used it through the phono section of a Denon receiver, without any problems. Good luck with whatever you choose.
Well, you caught me. I thought the DL160 was an MM cartridge, but it is a high output MC.
Since your dealer seems to think the Nait 3 will take the high output MC cartridges, and 2juki has the Dynavector for $215, I think that is a good choice. The DL160 is also a good cartridge that many like. I guess I should have said that I prefer the DL103 series low output MC line in the Denon brand best.
About the 1006, it is about the bottom of the useable Goldring lineup. Not bad, but not as good as the others.
I took TWL's suggestion a while back on a Goldring 1042 and love it. There happens to be a brand new 1042 for sale in the cartridge section right now for $185 which appears to fit your budget. The seller has it listed with several other carts available, but does say Goldring in the heading.
Well then. Looks like I am headed for either Goldring 1042, if still available at $185, or Dynavector 10x5 at $215 -- with Denon DL160 still in the running. I'll sleep on it, and hope for a bit more advice that'll clinch it -- advice of any kind: sonic, set up, MM vs. MC, reliability, karma.
Two things: smooth sonics would be a big plus -- I like to listen a bit loud, have very fast speakers, and fatigue can be a problem. PRAT is of the utmost importance too. Does that help point the way?
There is a review of the Denon on this site--and I think the reviewer used a Rega P2. You might look at that.
Thanks jc -- I've seen that review. It's what got me interested in the Denon to begin with.
Looks like the Dynavector may have sold while I slept:(.
Twl is hot on the Goldring 1042. How does it compare with the high output version of the Goldring Eroica? That's available in my price range.
The 1042 is actually better than the Eroica. Not just my opinion. Check the reviews by TNT, and others about the comparisons between the 1042 and the Goldring MC cartridges. Goldring has been making very fine MM cartridges for years, and that is their strength. They have only recently started with MC cartridges, and their MMs are still better. So far. The 1042 is smooth on top, with no exaggerated treble. It is a British cartridge, so that should answer the PRAT question. Both Linn and Audio Note re-label the 1042 for their in-house brand cartridges, the Adikt and one of the IQ models, respectively.
If you want to try high output MC, the Dynavector is the way to go. That is a real good value cartridge, and has been very popular for years.
It's a tough call between them. They are both real good, and you won't be disappointed with either of them. They were both made to compete in the same price range, and they were both considered at the top of the list for that price.