Jelco SA-750D cartridges

I know there are other threads on this subject and there have been some useful suggestions for cartridges that are compatible with the SA-750D. Unfortunately, though, the conversation inevitably gravitates into what cartridges should theoretically work if we just knew the effective mass of the tonearm or that the fluid damping should allow the use of a wide range of cartridges.

Without wading back through the same old theoretical stuff, I would like to hear cartridge recommendations from people who are actually successfully using them, along with whatever tweaks may have been necessary to make them perform well (lighter headshell, etc.). It seems that the most recommended cartridge for this arm is one of the DL-103's, but am not thrilled with idea of a conical stylus. I would, however, consider one of the modified versions of the 103 with a different stylus shape, but I'm leaning away from moving coil.

I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone using moving iron or moving magnet models that work well with this arm. I like the idea of a user-replaceable stylus, but the Soundsmiths seem pretty interesting, too. Their reasoning for keeping the coil fixed and waving a light piece of iron in there seems like a good idea.

I would like to set an upper limit of $1000, but could push myself a little higher with good reason. By the way, I'm currently using a Heed Quasar preamp, but don't worry about that. That could easily change.


I listen mostly to rock, blues and jazz. No heavy metal, though, unless you consider Led Zeppelin to be heavy metal!

For rock, I lean more toward stuff like The Band, The Kinks, Jeff Beck, Warren Zevon, Little Feat, old Fleetwood Mac (before Buckingham/Nicks), Steely Dan, etc.

For blues I like Buddy Guy, Savoy Brown, Little Walter, John Mayall, Paul Butterfield and the like.

Jazz artists I like are Charles Lloyd, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Herbie Hancock.

So far, the VM 740ML is doing an outstanding job on everything I've thrown at it. Missing is the random occurrence of distortion at certain vocal frequencies that I was getting from the Denon.   

Good to hear you struck gold with the 740ML.  My own examples from A-T's previous top series are superb performers, so I'm not at all surprised.
Thanks for steering me in that direction, agrippa. Probably the best AT I ever owned before this was the 120E. My memory tells me it was just OK, but my memory isn't what it used to be.

Since the 700 series bodies are the same, it also provides the option of SH or SLC stylii.
Buying an SLC will give you two styli with very similar charcteristics, so I’d probably advise against doing that. The Shibata on the other hand will provide a little more body and a slightly richer mid range, making it rather less like buying the same thing twice. Neither the ML nor the SLC is lacking in those departments, but rather than being absolutely neutral the Shibata will add a little extra romantic ambience to the final product. If that sounds good to you, then the Shibata is my recommendation for a second stylus.

If/when you want to branch out and try an MC, Audio-Technica has you very well covered there too. The ART9, AT33Sa and AT33PTG/II all perform very well indeed in the SA-750 and either one will have you smiling in no time. I wouldn’t advise moving futher down the AT33 line though, as the AT33EV with its nude elliptical stylus is about on par with the 740ML you now use. To my ears at least it will require an AT33PTG/II to conclusively better it.

There’s also the new OC9X line of cartridges, but to date I’ve not heard any of those.

Finally I’ll just reiterate that to my ears the ART9 is one of the greatest bargains there is, equalling anything I’ve owned or heard.

As always: in my opinion, based on my ears and my system.
Thanks for the advice, agrippa. I had to wonder how much different the SLC stylus could be and felt that paying almost twice as much to get it was probably not going to be a benefit in my system. I would probably upgrade my tonearm before experimenting with a stylus upgrade.

If I do upgrade the arm, I would probably want to step up to a better cartridge. I'll definitely put the ART9 on my short list.

Thanks to all for the great advice.