If I might ask what do you find lacking with the Ortofon Bronze?
You have some nice equipment; what is not sounding right for you? Or do you feel that the Bronze is not in the same league as some of your other equipment?
Hana ML teamed with Pro-Ject 1Xpression carbon classic and Rega Aria
i have been in the process of upgrading my main system. I think my next upgrade is the phono cartridge.
I currently have a Ortofon 2M bronze and am looking to upgrade to a quality mid priced MC. My research seems to point to the necessity of pairing tonearm, cartridge and phono preamp. I picked the Hana ML based upon Steve Hoffman ‘The Big Moving Coil Cartridge Poll - $1000 to $1300’, then reading reviews of the top cartridges on that list. Looking for a neutral, quality sounding MC cartridge. My pro-ject model has the 8.6 cc Evolution tonearm. I know I will need a new counter weight. The phono cable is Mogami 2549, 1.5’ to phono preamp, so very low capacitance.
Pro-ject 1Xpression carbon classic
Ortofon 2M bronze
Marantz 7015 AVR
LSA Warp 1 amp (driving fronts)
IsoAccoustics Aperta center stand
Klipsch KSW 12 (left over… next to go)
Mirage nanosat rears (also left over)
Mirage unit-theater (using 2 channel for Dolby rear height)
Schiit Modi multibit 2 DAC
Transparent + speaker cables
Mogami 2549 interconnects - with a few core power mixed in
Thoughts on upgrading my system with the Hana ML? Any other recommendations? Thank you
Thank you. I feel the 2m bronze may have a harshness to it, perhaps related to its 10khz peak, an issue with the 2M’s. I could potentially equalize it out, but like to listen to albums in pure direct. Some vinyl recordings sound wonderful, but others not so, particularly with upper vocals. I replaced my cables and moved from a Schiit Mani 2 to the Rega. Better, but not perfect. Listening to Anita Baker right now. Music is perfect, but her voice is not. Cat Stevens in the lower octave singing sounds great, but not in his upper octave singing. Maybe it is not the cartridge, but it is the next logical step.
Curious. I had been using an Ortofon 2M Blue and vocals were not quite sounding right, they sounded off a bit, not as deep as they should sound, if that makes sense.
I swapped in a Goldring E3, a less expensive MM cartridge, and that helped, not the last word, but pretty good.
I am sticking with MM cartridges as I have a Decware ZP3 MM phono preamp. My TT's are Technics 1210 & 1500. I like direct drive, as well as bayonet cartridge mounting, as I have the option of swapping out cartridges.
I did use a Hana EH cartridge. I managed to damage the needle (dropped it or what happens when you have the option of swapping). Vocals were vastly improved, especially male vocals, most noticeable on Elton John (live in Australia) & Neil Young (live at Carnegie Hall).
I have no experience with Hana's MC line or with the LSA amp, so I can not offer an observation from experience. Can't imagine you going wrong given that you will be doubling your investment in your cartridge. It is cheaper than doing the plunge into tubes, which was actually the game changer for me years ago.
I’m in the process of trying a variety of cartridges with my Technics SL-1200GR. I own the 2M Black which I think has a very distinctive, bold, detailed sound. I don’t think it is colored but it is a lot like adding a big dose of vibrance and clarity to the music to use some photographic terms. The 2M Black is the brightest cartridge I’ve tried but I didn’t find it harsh or irritating but sibilance was a bit exaggerated on some albums like Lorde’s Solar Power. I felt the 2M Black was more nuanced than the 2M Blue which seemed brash and too contrasty to me. I’m not sure what the difference to the Bronze would be. I like the 2M Black a lot and it is fairly differentiated from streaming which I think is a good thing.
The Technics VM540ML is a solid all around performer without a lot of distinctiveness to my ear. It actually compares pretty well to the Ania MC I have on my Rega P6.
The Grado Sonata 3 adds a kind of warmth that is well suited to a lot of music but I found the high end to be fairly rolled off. I’m still deciding if it is a keeper or not.
I don’t think I have the Denon DL-103 setup properly and I have ordered a heavier headshell to see if I can figure out why so many people love it.
I just got the Dynavector 10X5, not the MKII version. That is a cartridge that immediately sounded right with vocal music like Allison Russell. The 10X5 has a fabulous mid-range warmth and sense of space that is beguiling. Highs are a smidgen rolled off and it isn’t as detailed as the 2M Black but it definitely leaves a smile on your face with the right kind of music. I think I will end up preferring it to the Grado Sonata 3.
I have a AT-ART9XI coming this week. That will be the first truly high end cartridge I’ll have to try and I hope it will be the best.
I have yet to hear any of the Hana cartridges but the Hana ML definitely gets a lot of love. So no real help with your question but I thought you would enjoy hearing about my experience so far.
And in a very general way I’ve been surprised that to my ear the differences between the cartridges I have tried haven’t been bigger. I’m used to rolling tubes that often have big immediately obvious sonic differences.
I had the bronze at one point and I am using the ML now. Your description of the bronze sound aligns with my experience. I switched out to a 2M Black and I really enjoyed it. It's a much smoother, bigger, more balanced presentation.
If I hadn't inadvertently pulled a pin from the generator/body I would still be happily listening to the 2M Black
I'm currently on the Hana ML and it's overall sound is very like the 2M Black, it is however much more detailed with tighter bass. Also, I found the ML is easier to align.
I enjoy my Hana ML a bunch. It may not be quite as 3D as the Lyra Delos it replaced in my Alphason/SOTA Sapphire set-up but it has more convincing tone quality. Orchestral strings are simply more natural. Dynamics and punch are about the same. The cartridge tracks excellently and its shape made it easy to align. And hey, I have no qualms with spinning the 45rpm singles I've amassed over the decades.
Yeah, a jump from the 2M bronze to an ML is a big jump. I went from the 2M Red (when I got back into Vinyl in 2016) to the Bronze. I didn’t like it much at all- the only thing that kept me in the Ortofon family was buying the Black Stylus to use on the same engine/body. I still think the 2M Red is a great value, it’s such a fun sounding cartridge.
The ML is so much more resolving than the SL, it’s easily worth the extra dollars.
You asked if there were any other recommendations.
Yes, it looks like you are running everything through your AVR. I was too. I was running a Yamaha Aventage 3050. The 3050 was preamp output to a pair of monstrous Aragon dual mono amps. I figured I had it made. You have a Marantz- nice unit. My AVR is a flagship unit as well.
I had, off and on, read and ignored that a 2 channel integrated or 2 channel pre and amp will offer superior performance.
I was preparing to move and those two 75lb amps plagued my thoughts, I decided to sell them and buy a 2 channel integrated with Home Theater bypass, which allows the AVR to control the volume during video sessions.
I chose a Cambridge Azur 851A because it’s well reviewed and pretty inexpensive. I thought I could check the truth of what I thought of as the 2 channel myth. If it wasn’t all that different I could sell it and go back to external amps.
The results were eye opening/ear opening- stunning. The sound is infinitely more dynamic. Everything is elevated. You can file this away as you see fit but the longer you delay the longer your audio sources sound half as good as they could.
Thanks for your recommendation. I do run the 7015 in preamp mode (shuts internal amps down) when playing all 2 channel sources.However, as you know AVR’s have to do too much and separate anything would more than likely be superior (DAC, Phono stage, Amp). A preamp with HT bypass is the next logical step. I was thinking Parasound perhaps the P8, when released. But your integrated amp idea is intriguing to save space. Thanks!