Try the Ortofon 2M Red or Blue
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Photok: okay, you made some solid buys. The Denon would be my favorite choice, but is not ideal with the Cambridge. I had them together. The ouput is low enough that your amp. will need make up for that. Some people don't mind this, but I had a small amp. You may experience a significant difference in volume between other souces.
Budget wise the Audio Technica AT120E ($80) plays well. The Ortofon Red I only heard briefly and can't make a call on that. The Blue is well liked, but there are a lot of options below $200 to get started. I'm a fan of the LP Gear house brand. I own a DeftII ($100) and that is hard to beat for a hundred(that is a taller cart. and may need a spacer for a rega arm). I also have bought a few replacement styli's (hyperelliptical) for other brands that did well also.
Thanks for the responses everyone. I think I had read a post somewhere about the Denon not being a good match for the 640, hence the question. Will having to compensate with the amp volume degrade the sound quality at all or just annoy me having to remember to turn the volume down for ipod and CD play?
How would the AT120e compare to the AT440mla? Does anyone know if it is worth the 100.00 more in sound quality? Seems like a lot of people like the 440 with the Rega's.
Is there a big difference in the Ortofon red or blue, on the specs sheet they look pretty close. I figure there must be something about them to make a 100.00 difference, but can really tell.
The LP house brand look intriguing but I have never heard anything about them until now. Might be a good place to start.
I've also read good feedback about Grado, any suggestions for them?
If it makes a difference I listen to a wide variety of music. Rock, jazz, punk, soul, singer/songwriter, old country, hip hop and even little bit of classical.
Any other suggestions or comments are welcome! Thanks again!
Thanks for the responses everyone, I really appreciate the advice. I am now leaning towards a Grado, I have a local dealer who seems like a decent guy and thought he might be able to play me a few different samples. Also the 2M Blue is on closeout at needle dr. for 159.00 so that is more appealing now. I think the Denon is out because it doesn't really seem like the optimum match for the 640p. The dynavector will probably be down the road when it eventually fits into a budget or comes up used and by then I'll probably be wanting to try an arm rewire, who knows. Thanks again, I'll let you know how it turns out.
Although no longer in production, I am pretty happy with my Ortofon OM 30 Super. The OM line, like the current Ortofon 2M series, is a cool upgrade path, since you upgrade by swapping in better styli. I went from the OM 10 to the OM 30, and the difference was huge - much smoother highs, better tracking (tracks almost anything), better separation and more extended, smoother bass. Starting with a Red or Blue, you can eventually upgrade to the Black, which seems to have a lot of fans. So, yes, to answer your question, there are noticeable improvements as you move up the Ortofon MM stylus line.
Dear Photok: These two vintage MM/MI alternatives IMHO are just great either in quality performance and very fair price:
the other is the Azden YM-P50VL ( in NOS condition. ) that you can get/ask to Nick ( the seller ) here: firstname.lastname@example.org
IMHO you can't go wrong with either.
Regards and enjoy the music,