There is an ADC XLMIII for sale right now on Audiogon that is slightly used for $90.00 that might prove to be a great fit. This is a cartridge of old that still will bring a lot to the TABLE and is a moving magnet design so you won't need a moving coil preamp and should pair well with the SOL. Enjoy the music
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It screams for a London/Decca but they’re not inexpensive. I heard it at AXPONA with a Nagaoka MP11 and their set up video uses a Grado Black(?). What I heard was a somewhat clear but mellow sound. With the Grado, which can be even more laid back, they may prefer that type of voicing. I prefer a lot more clarity and detail. At $400, you might look at the Audio Technica VM750SH. Quite bright before run-in of around 10 or 20 hours. Then it’s pretty awesome with 3D soundstage.
Well 1k for a cart isn't really considered 'bang for the Buck' I don't think, but that is the space where Schiit lies. I say if you have a grand you don't know what to do with them sure, get a 1k cart, but plenty of good deals at between 200-400 dollars such as the aforementioned Nagaoka MP150. I would buy that and just fuggetaboutit. If you want to spend 100 bucks more get the mp200 with a boron canteliever to squeak out just a bit more performance
I bought a Sol, and have been working with them through their beta program issues. I also bought a new Nagaoka MP-500 to use with it. I have about 20hrs on both now, and have a good idea for the combo’s sound.
There are some minor issues - head shell space (I had to jam the MP500 all the way against the head shell/tone arm connection), platter wobble (fixed by a replacement from Schiit), some buzzing noise (the tonearm cable was touching the counterweight and causing a buzz at high volumes), and some left/right pushing of the tonearm depending on how you route the cable under/over the tonearm to its connection point.
All of that aside, this is a fantastic sounding table and cart combo. At full price it’s roughly $1500 pre-tax for the Sol and the MP500. I’ve had a Music Hall MMF 7.1, Technics 1210 MkII, and a customized Dual 1219. Quite a range of tables, and this combo is by FAR my favorite. I hear subtleties and room reflections, raspiness in vocals and reed instruments, fingers moving on steel strings, and a slew of other things that appear in the music now.
How much of that is the Sol, and how much is the MP500? I honestly couldn’t care less - the combination of the two is musical, liquid, and allows me to immerse myself in some of my favorite albums like I never have been able to before in my home.
I’m simply enjoying listening to music again, and not getting hung up on the details. I haven’t REALLY even dialed it in yet, and it already sounds a heck of a lot better than $1500 should. I don’t know what revisions are still coming for the current gen Sol, but in my opinion it’s already a serious contender in the sub-$2k range. Being able to add a cart like the MP500 and keep $500 in your pocket vs. buying a $2000 table is just icing on the cake.
I think it’s a fantastic table/cart combo.
Hey, if you want to hear the essence of Moving Magnet look for vintage Audio-Technica or Stanton cartridges, but first just read this article, it will help you to understand why those carts is a choice of industry professionals who mastered and pressed some amazing direct cut records for audiophiles in the heyday of analog.
Their disc monitoring cartridges were Stanton 881s (Stereohedron Stylus) and AT-ML170 (MicroLine stylus), the price for those cart back in the day was great as you can see in the article. Nowadays vintage Stanton is still much cheaper than very rare AT-ML170 which is superior in my opinion. I’ve had them all.
In fact the AT-ML170 is very hard to find, but the AT-ML150 is cheaper and close to the level of AT-ML170. Very few modern MM cartridges can do the same. The benefit of the Audio-Technica AT-ML150 OCC is Beryllium cantilever, no one can use Beryllium anymore. Very complicated MicroLine stylus with life span up to 2000 hrs and Ohno Continuous Casting copper (OCC copper) wire in coil and pins. In 1985, Professor Ohno, from the Chiba Institute of Technology, developed his patented method for the extrusion of a grain-free copper wire. (Technical papers are available from the Japan Inst. Metals and from Chapman & Hall, publishers.) This is one of the best you can get at very reasonable cost! Sorry for too much technical details, but for me it is very interesting to learn everything about cartridges, especially rare ones.
Let me quote out member @simpikins5 who is a big fan of Audio-Technica too, see below:
"There was a thread on Audiogon quite a while ago in which a former engineer from Audio Technica was participating. He wrote a rather in depth post as to why Beryllium was the go to material for cantilevers and the panic that ensued at AT when the EPA came down with the order that it no longer be used due to the dangerous toxic dust released when machining the material. He stated that the engineering department underwent a lot of R&D to find a suitable replacement material and Boron was what they determined would be closest, however it was still a compromise. Apparently Beryllium allows for the largest frequency excursion without distortion and also permits better channel separation and signal to noise ratios. This is why it was so good."
Yet another superb MM at moderate cost is Victor X-1IIe with Titanium Pipe cantilever.
P.S. all images taken by myself.