Goldring 1042 has more energy than the Nagaoka. I'd go for that. I wouldn't spend much more though. Upgrade table instead.
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Do yourself a favor and buy Pickering XSV3000 or XSV3000SP, both have Stereohedron stylus tip, nude diamond. Both cartridges are about $350-400 in MINT and nothing can beat them at this price.
This model of Pickaring is equal to Stanton 881s
It is interesting that "SP" version of Pickering has lower compliance (15cu for SP version versus 30cu for standard version).
Excellent cartridges with Samarium Cobalt magnets!
These are the best trackers for any type of music.
and Dustamatic brush is another feature patented by Stanton/Pickering
They will bring you to the heart of music for sure, and the cost is more than reasonable. For higher price you can get even better Pickering models like XSV4000, highly recommended!
As always some people have very limited knowledge about cartridges, but they like what they have. It’s so easy to check the specs for Nagaoka entry level models like MP150, some of them does not even have a NUDE Diamonds like MP-100 with Conical tip, the profiles are inferior even for the next models up to MP-300. The compliance is LOW, why a modern MM has such a low compliance, anyone can explain?
Compare all Nagaoka models on their website.
MP-150 has Elliptical tip and Dynamic Compliance is just 6cu, which is extremely low for MM cartridge even if it was measured at 100Hz.
MP-200 has the same Elliptical tip and slightly higher compliance (7.2cu) which is still on the low side for MM.
If you can’t afford Nagaoka MP-500 with Boron Cantilever and LineContact stylus then do not even buy Nagaoka. The MP-500 is the best Nagaoka, it is also the most expensive.
Now search online what you can get from Stanton/Pickering, priced nearly $350. You will get STEREOHEDRON nude diamond, high compliance (30cu). The most important is stylus profile, Stereohedron is one of the best profiles ever (equal to Line Contact), it will serve you much longer and sound quality will be much better.
If you looking just for a brand new cartridges then Audio-Technica with MicroLine styli are better than Nagaoka. Or look for Garrott brothers cartridges with Dynamic Coil and Micro Scanner MKII diamonds like P77i.
A must have for any good MM cartridge:
-Nude Diamond (not bonded)
-Advanced stylus profile (at least Shibata or better)
-Advanced cantilever if you don’t mind to pay more (Ruby, Sapphire or Boron... for vintage cartridges -Beryllium).
-Mid or High compliance (not low compliance).
I know that specs are not always everything and the Nagaoka gets good reviews. But I read the specs for 1042(Nude diamond line contact) and Eroica LX(elliptical)
I like the sound of the E3 but have heard nothing else on my table except it and the stock Rega Carbon. So figured if I can get more of what the E3 offers in a more refined way, will probably be happy until I upgrade the table and a phono pre. I never heard of Pickering. Will research.
I have owned the Stanton 881S for a long time. In my system, the Nagaoka is the superior cartridge. in fact any of the Nagaoka’s will out perform the Stanton. you don’t listen to specs, you listen to the cartridge. IMHO.
Nagaoka is a Low compliance MM (6cu)
Stanton is High compliance MM (30cu)
You can’t use these cartridges on the same tonearm, at least one arm cannot be ideal for both of them.
When you say Nagaoka which exact model do you mean? As i said the MP-500 is a good one (Boron cantilever, Line Contact tip), but the rest of them are inferior.
Stanton 881s mkII cost $350 with Stereohedron stylus tip and it’s cheaper than most of the Nagaoka you can buy today, except for the models with bonded conical tip and related entry level models.
With all my respect i will trust professionals like Doug Sax , here is the article.
I know that specs are not always everything and the Nagaoka gets good reviews.
I have never seen a bad review for anything in audio, all reviews are good nowadays, almost for everything.
But I read the specs for 1042(Nude diamond line contact)
Line Contact is much better profile, you can read this article from SoundSmith
I never heard of Pickering. Will research.
I bet people like you trust Michael Fremer? So you can read his article about Norman Pickering. Stanton was his plan manager and later bought his company. In the 80’s, when the best Stanton and Pickering cartridges were made, it was the same company owned by Walter O. Stanton.
Mr. Stanton invented the interchangeable needle grips !
Now you can listen to the last interview with Norman Pickering, thanks to Michael Fremer, the audio link is in the end of the article.
Strange that you never heard about Pickering, it was one of the greatest brand in audio in America.
Pickering cartridges with Stereohedron styli like XSV-3000s, XSV-4000s with Samarium Cobalt Magnets are great MM for very reasonable cost today. Some more expensive models like Low Impedance series (XLZ-4500s and XLZ-7500s) are simply the best from this brand and absolutely amazing cartridges (they are very rare).
I've been using Goldring 1042 for years with the Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm and have no plans to replace it. Bought it from analogueseduction.net from the UK. Sounds very good with all kinds of music that I listen to. Can't speak of classical music, but for jazzrock, acoustic music and vocals I find it satisfactory or better. It is very alive but does not 'throw' the sound at you, very dynamic. Well, so is the Nottingham turntable. Nagaoka MP500 might be more refined but I like the sound to have some 'edge and bite'. Yes, upgrading your table is a good idea indeed.
Though I don't listen to classical, I do listen to acoustic guitar and vocals.
It never sounds what I would call "harsh" but it can be a little edgy for some tastes. Of course, a lot depends on table, arm, phono and cable.
Also, classical is a very broad genre, piano solo is one thing and full orchestra another.
If going with Nagaoka I would go with top of the line MP500. Another possible option is Audio Note MM, more expensive, I think. I have not heard it. But after the table upgrade not before it. In my view, you start with a very good table and go from there. Besides, table can last for decades if you take care of it, and it does not require a lot of care.
When I bought my Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm lightly used for $1350, it was very expensive to me but I am glad I did buy it.
Every cartridge is fine until you will compare it to a better cartridge. And if you’re doing it often you know how many times you can upgrade to a better sound. An interesting process. I wish i could cancel the deals on some cartridges, because what i have found later are so much better. My advice is to ignore mediocre cartridges and start with some serious carts, it will save a lot of money and time, but more important - it will bring satisfaction. So the choice is not just between Nagaoka & Goldring, but you could add 15 more superb MM cartridges to the list.