... i have a rega25 TT .... i like the sound i'm getting except for the treble. cymbals tend to be splashy instead of shimmery. VTA on regas is a problem..i'm running my tonearm level now..maybe tail-end up would lead to treble improvement.
Since I have a Technics SL12x0 series, I've been able to play with VTA easily to observe the effects. Actually, if you want to smooth out the treble and sibilants, you need to run the tonearm slightly tail *down*.
The last MM cartridge i used was an ortofon OM20. when i went to the denon 160, i found more clarity...u know, "the veil has been lifted" stuff. i never thought i'd go back to MM, but after your review i'll ask: has the treble gone 2 steps up in resolution compared to the denon?
I find the AT150MLX to be better than the DL-160 in every way, and I *like* the DL-160. The AT150MLX sounds like it's in an entirely different category, and it is. The DL-160 retails at $180, and the AT150MLX retails at $499, typically sells for $399, and sounds every penny of it. The thing is, currently J&R, LPGear, and a few other vendors are offering the AT150MLX for (I don't know why but I'm glad) $250-260. And get this! The replacement stylus from LPGear is the same price as the replacement cost of a DL-160, so once you pay the intial $250, they cost the same to own (for now, anyway).
Anyway, compared to the DL-160, the AT150MLX is faster, you hear more of everything that forms the notes and you year the tones decay more specifically. In soundstage and imaging, once broken in the AT150MLX has it all over the DL-160. The DL-160 gave a big left-to-right smear with some hall depth, but not much specificity. I could forgive it that because it does so much right, especially frequency linearity, frequency extension, reasonable speed and clarity, etc. But the AT150MLX does ALL those things better, and on top of it, creates a sonic hologram where you know where everything is, assuming the recording was mixed to do that.
The AT150MLX also beats the DL-160 on both microdynamics and macrodynamics. You can discern more subtlety and expression at the one end, and there is more jump and stronger transients at the other. This cart kicks ass on drums.
As for treble, the AT150 is better there too. I didn't really have a problem with excessive sibilants before anyway, but they *are* smoother with the AT150MLX. What is really noticeable, however, is how well this thing tracks percussion. I'm a lifelong percussionist, and I know. This thing nails it when it comes to any kind of cymbals, finger cymbals, triangle, tambourine, jawbone, you name it. All those percussion instruments with a sharp transient followed by lots of high, crazy overtones--the AT150MLX tracks'em and tracks'em good. The Denon didn't do them poorly, but the AT150MLX hits the transient harder without overshoot and then gathers in far more of the overtones and after-ring.
...should a LOMC, like an AT 33ptg, "automatically" give me better treble?
I don't know specifically how the AT150MLX's moving mass compares to that of an LOMC such as the 33ptg, but as MM carts go, the 150 has very low moving mass. I don't know if they use neodymium or not, but they have a patented configuration of two very tiny magnets set at 45 deg. apart, one for each channel, and the channel balance and separation are exemplary -- .8db and 30dB respectively.
I can certainly say that the AT150MLX is a big jump ahead of the moving mass of the HOMC DL-160 (or, that's what it sounds like).
Considering the low price of the AT150, the moderately high output that enables it to interface with a wide variety of phono stages, and the relatively low cost of a replacement stylus, the AT150MLX is certainly a practical choice and cheaper to own.
That said, given my experience now with Audio Technica carts, I don't think you'd lose with either one. But I have no complaints with the 150's treble whatsoever, and I think your problem is VTA-related.
An easy way to see is just put a thicker turntable mat on to set the arm slightly "butt-down" and see if it smooths out the treble.
Also, according to the tonearm database for the Rega RB600 tonearm
, the resonant frequency with an AT150MLX should be around 11Hz, which mathematically figures to be a little better match than the DL-160 or the AT33PTG.