I need some sound advice

I've got the upgrade itch. Presently, I have a Music Hall MMF-9 that I really enjoy but want a bit more. I do like it because I don't like to fiddle with things. Would a change in cartridge be a good bet ( if so, any thoughts) or would i need to start over with a new rig? ARC SP-16 pre, ARC 150.2 amp, LM Labs 926 Electra speakers.


John, I'm not specifically familiar with your TT, but I used an SP16 for a couple of years. IMHO, the phono stage in that unit is a bit limited. I bit the bullet and upgraded to a VTL 6.5 line stage and an ARC PH5 phono stage. Prior to selling the SP16, I compared its phono performance with that of the PH5. I realize that the PH5 costs as much as the whole SP16, but I was frankly shocked when I used just the phono stage of the SP16 into the VTL. Compared with the PH5, the SP16 phono section was quite compressed and a bit glarey on the top end. Others will weigh-in on your TT and cartridge, but you may find a good deal on Audiogon for a used PH3 or other nice phono stage and this may make a big difference.
Well John, it sounds as if a cartridge change may scratch that itch. What cartridge are you using now? How much are you willing to spend? What do you feel you are missing? Transparency? Musicality?

Answering these questions would help us help you.

I'd go with John's advice. The MMF-9 is pretty well regarded.

The grass isn't greener. It's just a different shade of green.

Have a look at the line of Sumiko MC cartridges... very nice indeed!

Thanks. Having just bought my preamp in 3-06, I'm not ready to spend that kind of cash. Budget for a new cartridge is no more than $1000. Lookig for an overall more musical presentation.

I'd have to agree with Dewald here, try a Sumiko Blackbird. It's a very nice, musical cartridge with a high enough output (2.5 mV) that should work well with your ARC SP-16.

Good luck,

Like John said... the EVO III aint bad either...

Thanks again. I think I've narrowed it down to the Blackbird and the Dynevector 20 H. Any thoughts between these two??
another thing that you can try is the Ortofon Kontrapunkt B Cartridge. This one is sweet for the price, its about 1200 new.

I personally prefer the Lyras, they are also amazing, but for your price check the Ortofon out.
John, Chad here.....

I have a Dyna 20L if you have a Coil stage you can borrow it then swing it by an "Ears and Beers" if you dont like it
Email me..... good to see you lurking around.
01-24-07: John_fink
Thanks again. I think I've narrowed it down to the Blackbird and the Dynevector 20 H. Any thoughts between these two??

Two very nice choices, you really cannot go wrong with either. I would think the Blackbird would be just a tad sweeter, while the Dynavector would be just a little more transparent. Your choice.