Choices: Nagaoka MP-50, MP-300, or Garrott P77i?

Visitor (now ex-friend! ... just kidding ... kind of) castrated my beloved Nagaoka MP-30.
It had an unknown amount of hours on it and was probably due for a new stylus... none-the-less, I'm now in the market for a new stylus. Thank goodness I've got the Jico SAS-MM1 on hand as a backup.

Anyhow - for Rock + Jazz listening, any thoughts on these three?

I can buy a complete MP-50 cartridge, a brand new MP-300 stylus to fit the MP-30 body, or go completely off the deep-end and try a Garrott P77i all for about the same amount of money.

I really liked the Nagaoka MP-30's sound, so the MP-300 stylus SEEMS to make the most sense. A part of me, however, says while I'm doing this I may as well upgrade to the MP-50 or try the Garrott.

The only Garrott I've ever heard was the Optim-S and, while I liked part of it A LOT, I found it a bit laid back in the high-end. Not sure how the P77i would compare and if it might be a bit more "open".
i own an mp-50/300....bought of of ebay before they hit the u.s...inquiring minds ) but its not as as balanced as the k3 or the p77, and both of those (imo)are about as good as mm gets (bass articulation is superb). i also have a london/decca maroon, gold, and an AT150(which is the best bang for the buck) (the deccas are cool, but fussy), and perhaps the best allrounder.
Thanks Jaybo! - I'm very curious about how you feel the Garrott compares to the AT-150MLx. I have one of those too and absolutely love the way it sounds but it does seem to be just a tad bright on certain recordings.
the garrott(77) is a longtime favorite. as good as any mm out there. they're generally hard to find in the u.s., and a bit pricey, so i usually default to the at, which always is a no brainer for the money. the garrott 77 is more dynamic than the k 1, 2 or 3 (that laid back thing you spoke of), but the garrott character is near perfect in my book. i would recommend to anyone who thinks they need to go with a tube phono or tube preamp to get a stereo to go into 'magic mode'. i may try something else down the road, but it certainly will never 'need' anything more.
Interesting. It might be worth noting that I run an all tube system: Bottlehead Seduction Phono Stage to a Cayin A-70T (Tung-Sol 6550 tubes) Integrated and out to a pair of Usher X-718's.

You're making me want to just order that damned thing from Australia!
Dear Vinyladdict: I own all the cartridges you name it but the 77i, I own the P77.

If you really want something better IMHO these are better options than the ones you ask:

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hey Raul - Thanks for the suggestions. The Empire is a P-Mount cartridge; the Ortofon I've looked at before and my main concern with it is that it has a compliance of 40mm/┬ÁN (!!); the Arzden's are intriguing - I've never heard of them before.
Dear Vinyladdict: The Empire and the Azden are P-mount type
designs and comes with its dedicated universal adaptor, both
are very good and the P-mount design IMHO is no drawback in

The Azden YM-P50VL IMHO is superior to any other cartridge (
either LOMC or MM/MI at any price. ) I
own/owned/borrowed/heard in all my audio life. Nothing I
know come close to its high quality performance. In the last
three days I was testing my sample against other top MM/MI's
and against the Dynavector XV-1s and Ortofon A-90 LOMC
cartridges and either can cope with the Azden performance

Btw, don't worry about that high compliance figure on the
Ortofon M20E Super, please read here ( my last post on the
thread ) about:

Regards and enjoy the music,
Well, after much mental volleying, I placed an order for a P77i from Decibel Hi-Fi in Australia.

Brian at Decible tells me it should be here in about a week! I'll report back as to if it was the right decision or not...

Raul - I'm very very intrigued by the Arzden carts - still doing some research and may end up with one of those yet.
Dear vinyladdict: You don't have to worry anymore, that Azden top of the line samples already sold.

Today the persons that bought it can be proud to own IMHO the best quality performance cartridge ever made!!!!!

Please share with us your near future experiences with the 77i.

Regards and enjoy the music,
No offense Raul - but I've been following your thread over many months and your "best quality performance cartridge ever made!!!!!" seems to change every few weeks.

I'll report back on the P77i once I get it.
Dear Vinyladdict: Absolutely, what do you report when you are testing several/many cartridges and find something better than the last one?

Think what will be your opinion if you test these cartridges one next the other for weeks or months? ( and you don't know if exist better cartridges that the one under test ):

103, Celebration, Helikon, Titan, Xv-1s, Colibri,Supreme, Allaerts, Olympos, A-90, Coral, etc, etc

We are in the start/beguin discovery of the MM/MI cartridges where almost no one of us had an in deep knowledge on its quality performance not only that but where we really don't know and have no reference about, no reviews, no cartridge sources, almost no-nothing.

We are building from the beguin and fortunately many of us that are searching and testing on the MM/MI alternative have very good knowledge with the LOMC alternative, with live music and with what means " quality performance " levels.

If you test the AKG P-100LE there is no single doubt that you will think is the better cartridge out there, then after you test the Technics EPC-P100CMK4 you can think the same, after this you test the Audio technica ATML 180-OCC and can think in the same way, after that the Azden YM P50VL and you can say the same and we can go on because the Azden is not the last cartridge we will test in the near future but here and now is the " best ever ".

We already made a preliminar cartridge ranking ( LOMC and MM/MI ) and all the cartridges named here has a very top level over the Garrot that you choose and for a lot less money.

This is not something that I'm the only one that support the great MM/MI alternative, people that I respect like: Halcro, Lewm, Axelwhal, Dgob, Phaser, Downunder, Dougdeacon, Dgarretson, Timeltel, Pryso, Driveman, Lavigne, Porter,Vetterone, Royj, and many other with very good know-how and very good audio systems.

So, today our opinions about are no more a " lightly " one but an " experienced " one.

That you prefer to expense more money for a lesser product only means your preference and nothing more.

I always say that every single day is a learning one that help to improve/grow up on our each one audio learning curve, even our each one mistakes are learning.

No, I'm not offended by your post because ( with all respect ) comes from a person with out the right and precise knowledge on the specific subject: ignorance always is controversial.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I'm not ignorant, Raul - I've been playing this game for quite some time - probably longer than you. Have I focused my energy on collecting equipment and cartridges, no. I've focused my energy on the music I love.

I will say, I had a healthy respect for your thread and your opinion, but your elitist comments make me question that respect. And, your nullified "with all respect" comment, aside - calling someone "ignorant" whose experiences you know nothing about shows me exactly what kind of person I'm dealing with.

For your information - I made my learned decision to purchase the P77i because there were NUMEROUS listeners I trust who have indicated it exhibits the qualities I seek. You are ONE person, sir - regardless of your deity status here on these forums - you would be well advised to remember that.

Your experience, as extensive as it may be, is YOUR experience in YOUR system and with YOUR music and YOUR ears. For you to suggest that anyone is ignorant and without "right and precise knowledge" who doesn't fall in line with your opinions is, well.... an ignorant point of view.
Dear Vinyladdict: I don't know why you are so angry with the word " ignorant ". Here in my country if I unknow on some subject any one can tell me " ignorant " in that specific subject and I accept because I don't have the konwledge about.

If you tell me for example that I'm ignorant on the Clearaudio Titanium performance I accept it because I'm ignorant in that precise subject, what's wrong to call with its name something we don't have the knowledge?, fortunately I'm ignorant on many audio subjects because this tell me that I have a lot to learn and learning for me is always a exitement subject.

In the specific Azden subject you don't have the knowledge so: how do you name this unknowledge?, I'm accustom to name it: ignorance because is something that we don't know.

Seems to me that with that word you think I'm trying to insult you and that was not my attitude in any way with you or any other person, I don't have any single reason to do it.

This is what the ignorant word means in an english dicctoniary:

+++ " lacking knowledge or education in general or in a specific subject " ++++++

Is something wrong with that?

Regards and enjoy the music,
I'm not angry.
Not to butt into the middle of this, but Raul, you're right about the denotative meaning of the word "ignorant." Here in the U.S., however, the word also carries connotations of "stupid" or "unintelligent." I would not expect a non-native English speaker to know this. Just as I'm sure that if I tried to use my Spanish in Mexico, I would probably start another war.

All the best,
You're right, Bob, and I should have taken the cultural differences into consideration when responding.

I've got no issue with someone saying what they own is the "best ever" as long as they're doing so in the context of THEIR goals. When they overstep to apply their sole opinion as universal fact my radar gets tweaked.

I can't afford to buy dozens and dozens of cartridges and $500 is a big spend for me. I'm not about to base my purchasing decision on one individual's opinion - I can't afford to. What I look for is a multitude of positive and consistent opinions on a product and I then read carefully what their individual findings are. If the product meets my goals in a variety of systems, I'm convinced it will meet them in mine.

What I really take issue with, however, is the derogatory and gratuitous tone of things like,

"You don't have to worry anymore, that Azden top of the line samples already sold. Today the persons that bought it can be proud to own the best quality performance cartridge ever made!!!!!"


"That you prefer to expense more money for a lesser product only means your preference and nothing more... because ( with all respect ) comes from a person with out the right and precise knowledge on the specific subject"

I mean, come on, even Michael Fremer isn't this egomaniacal! Maybe that's a cultural thing too - who knows. Raul seemed to think I was angry, I'm not - I just find it so over the top I can't help myself but to comment on the situation.
Check this out. Google -Remembering The Garrott Bros/AV Forum- It doesn't get any weirder than this...At least in audio. Let us know what you think of the cartridge..I think you'll agree that this 'old school' product will do its job as well as anything.
Dear Vinyladdict: Now that Hesson11 ( thank you, could you give me the right word? even out of the thread. ) put things in prerspective I only want to confirm that that USA means was not my intention.

Btw, many times my form to post/write made/makes think the people that my opinion is and " absolute/universal " opinion but no it is not either my intention, my opinion is only that an opinion like the opinion of any one else.

Normally through my posts I try to help people and that's why I suggest to you the Azden cartridge over the Garrot and not because the Garrot was not a good cartridge ( because is a good one. ) but because the Azden IMHO is way better.

In the last two and a half years many people were testing/trying several vintage MM/MI cartridges ( including the Garrot ), today we know due to those experiences where belongs almost any of these vintage cartridges and the Azden is a newcomer with very high " credentials ". Unfortunately all of these great vintage cartridges are out of productioso when I test one of them and saw it on the net I share/give the great opportunity to other persons to own it because maybe that was the last time we have to do it and this was what I try to share with you.

Why do you have to belieave in one person like me?, you don't. In this regard I want to add that through all these last years on the MM/MI alternative my " sole " recomendation ( normaly the first person that try a cartridge in that thread was(is me. ) almost always was precise and fullfill the expectations on other people. Please I'm not saying that always I'm right or that I'm the " Bible ", no because there are many other opinions on that cartridge subject.
What I can say you is that I'm extremely caress of what recommended to any person on any audio item, my target on any recomendation is that the person lower at minimum his mistake risk that always exist when we add any audio item on the audio system.

Almost always my opinions had/has foundation on facts, I don't like to post based on " imagination " or ignorance,

Certainly I don't compare with Mr. Fremer in anyway.

regards and enjoy the music,
We're good - don't misunderstand me, I really appreciate what you're doing and there's a lot of good information in that thread.

It just really bothers me when so many "audiophiles" think they've figured out the one and only trail to happiness and openly scoff others who don't see it their way. The "best ever" tag gets thrown on a lot of stuff too. This goes on A LOT here and on other forums!

I guess my point is that if an audio enthusiast finds that a Sumiko Blue Point Special makes beautiful music in *his* system to *his* ears, who am I to challenge that?!?

As far as recommendations go - all I can say is I look for a consistent appraisal of a piece of gear before I buy it. If 20 listeners all agree that the P77 is a fantastic cartridge, I'm game for spending some money to see if it works for me. I've been burned in the past by "flavor of the month" recommendations.
The subject of the Garrott P77 cartridge is rather interesting.
Brian and John Garrott committed suicide (together with their wives) in 1991.
I believe that they began modifying the English A&R P77 cartridge (which was manufactured in Japan) around 1985-6 with Brian selecting and carefully mounting, specially procured styli from their various homes around Sydney.

The last supplies of Brian's hand mounted replacement styli were exhausted by 1993 (I obtained one of the last at that time).
There was a long hiatus whilst the brothers' business and personal affairs were settled and it was not till about 1995 (I seem to recall), that a new company appeared bearing the brothers' name.
That company, formed in Melbourne (600 miles from Sydney), has an unknown (at least to me) relationship to the original Garrott Brothers who worked alone and had no other visible collaborators whenever I visited them.

That means that for approx. 7 years original Garrott P77 cartridges or styli were produced whist since then, 15 years of NEW Garrott P77 cartridges have been produced without John and Brian's hand-made involvement.

The original Garrott P77 cartridge quickly garnered a solid reputation and following both in Australia and England and achieved a kind of legendary 'fame' even during their lifetime.

I have two ORIGINAL Garrott P77 cartridges but have never heard or compared the new so-called Garrott P77 cartridges however, as there are probably at least twice as many NEW Garrott P77s around the world compared to ORIGINAL Garrott P77s, and no way I know of determining which is which, it leaves us in a quandary when people pass judgement of 'their' P77?

The fact is, that Brian and John had certain skills and secrets to their 'modification' processes (otherwise it would have been cheaper and easier to have them performed in Japan), and these 'secrets and skills' perhaps died with them?

So Raul, I don't know how old your P77 or its stylus actually is or if you even know for sure?....and thus your evaluation and ranking of the Garrott P77 cartridge should bear this in mind.
With all the hype over ORIGINAL Garrott P77s, it may be relatively easy for any past or recent 'sellers' to 'age' their cartridges to suit the market place?

The proper term is "desconocedor" instead of "ignorante".
Dear Halcro: As I always say: every single day is a learning one.

I remember that you posted some of the Garrot history in the MM/MI thread but I can't remember about Original P77 against the " other " P77.
Things are that I own(ed) two P77 samples and I sold one of them. I can't say if mine is Original or not, how can I confirm? only through listening?, for what you posted the real Garrot ( I mean the ones where Garrot brothers put their hands. ) must be better: how much better?

Anyway I like my P77 but as you know there are other cartridges than the P77 ( original or not ) that are great performers too.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Has anyone listened to the Garrott P77i and if so what are your thoughts on the sound vs the P77
Hi Vinyladdict.

So have you received the Garrott by now? I see it's a month since you ordered it. I'm curious to hear your impression of it.
i think vinyl addict bought it and sold it without playing...
I did indeed, Jaybo... which seems ludicrous after seeing all the discussion here I had prior to buying it.

It was a bit of an impulse buy - and I had more pressing needs, so I sold it. I've been so very happy with my Shure/Jico SAS pairing and a KAB mod'd Stanton cartridge, that I just decided to part with it to accommodate my other projects.
I've had stuff for years unplayed, so I'm not one to judge...Its a hobby.
I'm thinking about buying Garrot P77i too.
Right now I'm using, Empire EDr-9 and it sound pretty good, but it is bass shy. I'm very curious about your impressions with P77i.