I Got Some Classic Cartridges Need Set-Up Advice

My old man gave me a box of his old treasures, he says they are still all in great working condition, and the suspension doesn't seem shot on any of them, and he didn't use them much. He experimented until he landed on his favorite cartridge, and has been using it exclusively since. So, here is what I got:

1) Madrigal carnegie (Mark Levinson design)
2) Supex Super 900
3) Audio Technica AT14Sa (Shibata)
4) Ortofon MC10
5) Grace F9 Ruby (got this one mounted now)

So, the questions:

1. The suspension seems good, is there anyway that I can check the diamond with a loop or is this inaccurate? Would a microscope be more suitable for gauging diamond wear? Is this type of evaluation better left to an expert; at a good HiFi shop? Obviously my ears, test records, and reference discs will tell me what is most important; but I am curious nonetheless

2. Does anyone have an direct experience with these cartridges and setting them up, aligning (Stevenson, Baerwald, Leongren), tracking force, comments, audition results or any other pertinent information I may be interested in knowing?
1. Meaningful visual inspection of stylus wear requires a microscope with excellent lighting. A loupe isn't powerful enough.

Before inspecting OR playing, I recommend you clean each stylus thoroughly. Magic Eraser and a dry brush at a minimum. Inadequately cleaned styli may require more aggressive techniques. Don't give up on an old stylus until you're sure it's clean. This CAN be seen with a loupe: if the stylus isn't crystal clear (like a diamond!) it isn't clean. That will affect sound quality and, in extreme cases, tracking ability.

2. The optimal alignment scheme (Stevenson, Baerwald, Loefgren, etc.) depends on the tonearm, not the cartridge.
I suppose you are right, the arc length does change. But the difference between Stevenson and Baerwald will won't diverge dramatically even if you add an inch to your tonearm.

Could you explain this magic eraser method please. As well, I am open to any other suggestions on how to clean the stylus, so please do explain.

Have you any experience with these specific carts directly, if you have any tips, tricks, mods, suggestions etc..?

My original Magic Eraser post is in the threads beneath my signature. A search will turn up lots of other info.

This thread includes a post by member "Lak" of my most recently updated article. The tips offered by other users are valuable as well. A large majority who've tried the ME method prefer it over other methods.

No experience with any of your cartridges. Hopefully others who have will chime in.
Dear Defelkai: +++++ " Grace F9 Ruby (got this one mounted now) " +++++++

fortunately for you an unfortunately for all your other cartridges that I owned.

As Doug say it well cleaning the stylus is almost the first step along cleaning the cartridge pin connectors.

Usualy the Ruby perform a little better loaded at 100Kohms with 100-150pf on total capacitance ( bt can work at the " normal " 47K ).

Here and today IMHO the Grace F9-Ruby is one of the best quality performer cartridges out there ( vintage or today ones and MC or MM type. ) and lucky you are to have it and running in good operation condition ( yes is better tha your 2M, no doubt about. ). Over time as you improve your TT/tonearm/phono stage you will note that the quality performance of your Ruby is way better than the one you are hearing right now even if you you for " the best of the " best in an audio system the Ruby don't be on " shame ".

The MC10 and 14Sa are a " so so " cartridges and the Carnegie and the Supex are good MC cartridges but not near the Ruby performance..

Btw, I run my Ruby at 1.25grs on VTF with a slightly postive VTA and no anti-skate, but yu have to decide about according with your system, ears and music priorities.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I quite like the Grace f9. I am extremely curious if your f9 made it through a test lp with that weight setting.

Rauliruegas, do you mind if I send you a private message to discuss the Grace f9, I have a lot of questions.

I think the Madrigal cartridge might give the f9 a run for its money. I have never understood the concept of loading and i have not the slightest clue what to get my self in terms of a step up to go along side my tube phono. As a technical guy, maths student, I remain baffled by loading, yes this is a little embarrassing. I have read many articles and have only confused myself more. I suppose I should start another thread for that discussion though. I do want to purchase a step up and experiment with some moving coil designs.

Couldn't get my hands on a magic eraser yet, but I will report my findings. I think given that I have an abundance of cartridges that are clearly in need of cleaning, it forms an excellent means of testing this method.

For those who wish to make some suggestion in the way of step up, here is what I am using in terms of phono stage. I will warn you in advance it is a strange, but beautiful, phono section I am sure none of you have heard of (this makes the task more difficult, I know).

Soundtech Preamp one. The tubes are very unusual - 6CL8A I know nothing about them though I am eager to find out if I can put something else in there and improve things sonically. The loading impedence is the usual 47kohm. Though the guide says that "loading is set at 47kohms and less then 20 picofarads" and that changing these setting are not recommended. Perhaps this suggests that adjustments can be made; by someone who know what they are doing!

Gain= 56dB at 1khz phono.
Here is the interesting thing;

Input Impedence:
Phono----> 47kohms
CD-------> 2Mohms
Tape-----> 100Kohms

As per your suggestion, should I be running my Grace f9 through the tape in?

I am not sure if any of the other statistics are relevant to the discussion, but if you need more information before offering some advice ask away.

Hope to hear some more input, thanks a million guys!

Dear Dfelkai: You can email me any time you need.

Regards and enjoy the music,