Dollar for dollar it's tough to beat the 7 and/or 9. The arms are not "junk" but at the same time will not track more expensive cartridges very well. The Dynavector may work in the Project arm but the Shelter won't. The JMW-9 is not much of an improvement and the Spacearm is marginally better. Unless you're prepared to invest significantly more than what a 7 or 9 costs, I'd stay there.
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I've had the MMF-7 for some time and have had no problem with the tonearm, or any other component for that matter. In fact, it seems to have a more pleasing sound than the Rega P3 that it replaced. I have had a number of turntable set-ups in the price range of the MMF-7 over the years and would have to say that the MMF-7 is the best of the lot. I have it sitting on a Bright Star Big Rock, which is sitting on a stereo rack. This seems to isolate the turntable from vibration reasonably well.
I have an MMF-7 and have been very pleased with it. I do not have a depth of listening experience (just recently jumped into entry-level audiophole vinyl), but I know it is head and shoulders above what a CC or BB $89 turntable would have offered. I have read, in professional reviews and write-ups here, that the mmf-9 is not worth the extra $.
Have you looked at the Rega P25? Their tonearms are supposed to be the gold-standard, and I believe that one has a hinged dust cover.
I'll second Jependleton on the MMF-7. I'm not convinced that the MMF-9 is worth the extra money. I had a MMF-7 for a year and a half before I moved up to my Basis 2500. The 7 is a very good performer, perhaps a bit dark and speed challenged but not out of line considering the price point. A used MMF-7 in good shape is a huge bargain. As for cartridges, I used a Shure V15VxMR (if you can still find one) and I would bet that a Benz Glider (~$800) would work very nicely on the Project arm.
You will want to remove the dust cover while playing. Very easy to slide on and off the hindges.
I've also had the MMF7 and I have the VPI Scout now. I've used it with the Dyna 10x and now have the Dyna 17d2mkII. The MMF7 is a great TT for the money, and worth it. The VPI is better IMHO. If you can find a clear (plastic or glass) cover to put over the whole TT (not just the platter, it wouldn't be much of an inconvenience. I mean you ARE into vinyl, so convenience isn't your first priority. But either way you'll be doing good. They are both good players and match with your Dyna cartridge.
As Dan_Ed mentioned, it is all but universally agreed that an attached dust cover is sonically detrimental. Attaching a large, resonating sound trap to your turntable is not the way to get the best music from your investment. If you're going to lift the cover off its hinges during play anyway, as most do, the better tables plus a Gingko cover become equally viable, from the dust cover perspective.
FWIW, we have two cats and (judging by the volume of cat hair) several dozen more that we've never seen. Despite this my table and arm are uncovered. It just means a bit of dusting or an occasional blast with compressed air. Of course if your animals would be unnaturally curious about objects like tonearms and cartridges that's a different matter.
Okay, I like to keep things simple so I have just made a deal on a excellent used MMF7 with no Cart. about 440 for the table seems pretty damn good at about 2 years old, So I am going for that, the VPI is nice but again at about 1/3 the cost used for the music hall thats I think serious enough for my vinyl taste, and besides I am not looking to obsolete my Cd because it is very good overall and haveing a lot more invested in something in the range of the space deck or Vpi I would be almost obligated to use it far more than anything else, but I might be about a 50/50 guy so this is enough of depth into the vinyl when I look at priceing on these things. Thanks for the help and it looks that for the true bottom line priceing and performance without spending in the upwards of 2500/table and arm, and 1000 extra on a cartridge this will be the best to suit my needs.
Wow! That's a great deal. I think if you stay with any medium mass and high compliance cartridge the Project will do fine. As far as the Dynavectors, a well regarded A'goner once recommended a 10x4 to me for my MMF-7. I believe that is a high output MC cartridge. I never got around to trying it but I bet it would work for you.
Speaking of cats. I just got rid of 3 of the 5 furries that have been living with me for the last year. Nothing nefarious, my son and his fiance closed on a house and moved out taking their beasties with them. Sure is quiet at night these days.
Yeah with the cat She loves to play with things, and I know that the pretty spinning disc will have her right there watching and possibly batting, or putting a paw on the album in an attempt to stop it and stare if you know what I mean. Thanks for the answers I think for the money this is where I will be best off, and I am not super concerned about dust as much as she will jump up and sit on the player at some point... so rather just be safe and at least its a lower investment on top of it. I can not even leave my high end cables exposed, sometimes cats just like to go after what they should not, but thats the thing She leaves Everything else alone?? but She loves to get involved in the vinyl process, especially when I am cleaning on the Vpi, she has to inspect the Sleeves and stuff and sit right on them knowing I am doing something with it at the time, otherwise none of the stuff gets bothered unless I am using it.
I love my cats. They are not allowed in my listening room. But I do have the luxury of a dedicated listening room. You have to make a decision, if possible, to exclude the precious feline from the room while vinyl is spinning.
That's my PC side. My normal side says boot the little fur ball's ass out! :)
Enjoy your new table! If you get around to upgrading the tonearm wiring, let me know. I have done this and might be able to save some aggrevation with a few tips. It does make for a very positive tweak as would some experiments with different points.
Dan_ed, Nope no dedicated listening space at the moment, but even then sometimes the cat sneaks in rooms I lock her out of anyway, oh well. Anyhow, What tonearm wireing did you use? How long of a process is it? Not looking to get too crazy or tweaky, actually I found a negative effect on my AR turntable just changing out the basic felt mat with a fancy one, the basic felt sounded better, More analog vs. with the other mat it kinda totally went towards sounding CD'ish and just not as Lush... So that pretty much defeats the purpose in my book! I know thats not the case always of course. Do you guys believe this MMF7 will be superior to the AR ES1? I think it will do a few things better, but just curious if its a resonable step up, mainly I read that the Music hall is very good with deep bass responce over a lot of other tables, but that the MMF5 is actually about equal in overall kinda sound quality as the AR series and that is why I did not consider it, as many say the MMF7 is worlds away from the 5 anyway. For the price hopefully it works out and retires the AR easily, but again I will not break the bank so if it does not do a whole lot better I guess the re-sale on either unit is pretty solid.
I used Cardas clips and Litz wire. I even changed out the RCA connectors with Vampires. Probably about $50 total and a couple of hours on a Saturday. You do need to be able to solder but nothing special about that. But you're right, you don't need to do anything and probably should get familiar with it for a while. You'll need to get used to setting VTA which is a pain on the MMF 7 but not that bad. Also, be sure to check the VTF against a good scale like the Shure guage. The dial on the tonearm weight is not accurate to use by itself but is pretty good once you get the VTF in the ballpark.
Another thing I remember is that the MMF 7 like many tables liked to sit on a light weight but rigid table. Like a small end table. I used an old sewing machine cabinet. It sounded way better than the MDF audio stand I first placed it on. More dynamic and it helped focus the bass.
Okay guys Now I'm stuck again, I got zero instructions on the arm of the MMF 7 and am not sure where to start with the VTA, in terms of even how to move it! do you just losen the tiny allen screw at the base of the arm and pull the shaft up and down or what? I have no clue it looks that it was set just about perfectly level so I do not know that I should mess with it at all to be honest, Please help, it sounds okay right now but not as Warm and powerfull bass as the table it replaces at this point, but it does sound better to some degree, such as Air and intricut details are more apparent, but it is slightly thinner sounding and it has the same cart. mounted as the other table it replaces, its not bad, but need to tweak, I will mess with the tracking weight a little first and see if it gets me closer, but I hate to get into screwing with the VTA but it may have to be, so tell me how exactly the mechanism works on this goofy arm to do it. Thanks
Now that you've learned how to adjust arm height, the obvious question is where to set it.
This does not depend on your turntable or tonearm. It depends on your cartridge and on the record being played. Which cartridge did you end up with? Others who've used it can advise whether it prefers to be nose up, nose down or level.
For fine tuning of VTF and VTA (which are interactive) the oft-mentioned link below is the best how-to I've seen.
I have an empire cartridge (NOS) that is now benz micro, so the vta is set level right now, but it is an MM type and sounds VERY, Very good with the tracking weight at the recommended 1.5g, I did not have it set right now I do, but if I do not have to move the VTA then I won't but as stated what would be better, Nose up, Nose down, or level with these type cart's? Problem is obviously its not a current model cart. that anybody would probably have suggestion too, but it is almost too good sounding right now to go screwing it up with changing the VTA.
It's ok to leave it where it is for now. Get used to the sound for a while by listening to many different records. Listen for any distortion that might be due tracking a particularly dynamic piece of music. Then if you think you want to improve the highs or lows you can change the VTA some and see what it sounds like. If you're careful and keep an eye on VTF you won't hurt anything.
Cool, firstname.lastname@example.org which cartridge do you prefer on that table out of the ones you listed and why? Yeah I got her sunk in now and without much more that I would say 30 hours of play its sounding pretty effortless and very detailed/dynamic, with some real bass slam now, almost to perfect, very flat, in otherwords not much missing for enjoyment.
I second the Nott - of course it's another $1500. plus carts and phono stages. I would go with the Project if you don't have a lot of money, the Scout if you think that is the level you will be stopping at in hi-end, and the Nott if you think you will get more serious. Even if you end up waiting 8-10 months before yu can afford it, like I did, you get somethig alot more satisfying. Plus a $100. cart and a Project Phone stage will sound alot better on a Nott while you wait to upgrade than they ever will lower down the rungs of tables.
hi matrixi love all 3 but slightly prefer the ortofon super om 30 mm for its wonderful tracking ability and great nearfield resolution. it glided effortlessly thru the telarc kunzel 1812 lp better than the 2 excellent mc pickups.to me the slight difference is demonstrated via heavily modulated passages on large scale symphonic music the unassuming looking ortofon is also a supreme bargain at $159.00 at the needle doctor. if one actually believes a reviewer from a mainstream rag would give it objective print time-i have abridge for sale at a discount for them. the super om30 is a great match for project 9 tonearm on the mmf-7 as well-happy hunting.