Just Snagged a Micro Seiki DD-35 - Need Help With Affordable Cartridge Options for SM-505


Hi All! Just picked up a decent MS DD-35 for a steal at Goodwill. I know very little about tonearms and cartridges, having only purchased a few for DJing with Technics and Numarks over the years. Was hoping one of my old DJ cartridges would work for testing this bad boy out, but alas, they don't seem to fit. Any advice on an affordable cartridge for this bad boy. Poor millennial, so my budget is tight. Honestly, if I can't afford a cartridge, I'll probably just sell this bad boy. Hopefully it won't come to that.

This model was recommended by others, but dang... $400 is way too much for me.
https://www.ebay.com/p/SIGNET-TK7LCA-Cartridge-and-7lca-Stylus/673171598

Am I S.O.L. (surely out of luck)?

Here's the DD-35:
https://imgur.com/k090Pxu
mycoscott
Your DJ cartridge will work, but if you want a significant upgrade in sound quality you need a Hi-Fi cartridge, for this tonearm look only for MM or MI type. Your turntable looks nice.

I’ll give you a few options ...

1) If you want all in one: Grado designed a DJ series of cartridges based on their popular hi-fi models, if you want to combine a nice sounding DJ cartridge with the ability to swap the stylus for much better souding and more delicate Hi-Fi stylus then you can buy any stylus from Prestige series ... they are compatible with DJ100 or DJ200 cartridge body, i even asked Grado to make sure).

2) If you need just a separate Hi-Fi cartridge look for SoundSmith MI cartridges, probably used (you can find them for a good price). Make sure to check new Garrott Brothers cartridges from Australia. Other members will definitely add all those Nagaoka, AT and ususl suspects as always.

3) BUT If you want something very special and MUCH better than relatively cheap modern MM/MI you can look for some amazing vintage cartridges at $300-400 range from Audio-Technica (AT-ML150 OCC with Beryllium cantilever and MicroLine stylus), Grace (F-9), Pickering XSV-3000 (with Stereohedron stylus), Victor (X1-IIe with Titanium cantilever and elliptical stylus) for example. In this case you have to buy only from reputable source to make sure they are perfect.

PM me if you have specific questions 
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A great match with that particular arm! This is the best sub-$500 cartridge available!
This is funny statement.

In my opinion even Grado Signature XTZ ($750 in the 80s and probably twice as much today) is not the best cartridge compared to some others in sub $500 category, but the cheapest Grado MI can't compete even with vintage $350 Pickering XSV3000 or $450 AT-ML150 OCC. 

What is good about Grado Prestige series is a range of different styli avaibale today from Grado, including top of the line 8MZ, TLZ, XTZ, so the upgrade of the stylus (and oversall sound) is always possible. 

Grado DJ100 and DJ200 has the same MI generator as the Grado Black.
Those Grado DJ carts belong to the Prestige 2 series and they are the best sounding DJ carts designed today (with extended frequency response up to 50k Hz and does not require high tracking force as most of the other inferior dj carts).     

@mycoscot Maybe you just have to replace your dj carts with a pair of Grado DJ100 or DJ200 ? Technics headshell will work fine on your Micro Seiki tonearm. 
Thanks for all of these suggestions. Very helpful and I've got somethings to look over now.

For some reason, I couldn't get a Numark cartridge to fit on the SM-505. It fit in well, but not fully set into the tone arm and there was no locking mechanism.

I'll try again tomorrow, but do these tone arms require some sort of twisting or turning to get the cartridge to lock on? Thanks again!
Do you have a Bayonet style headshell to put on that arm? If the arm is missing the locking wheel that holds the headshell on the arm then you are SOOL!

https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGPROHEADSHELLB.html
This is what the arm should look like with the locking wheel!
https://www.lpgear.com/product/JELCOSA250.html
Nagaoka MP-110 will be a nice match to that arm. 
For some reason, I couldn’t get a Numark cartridge to fit on the SM-505. It fit in well, but not fully set into the tone arm and there was no locking mechanism.

Do you mean something like Numark CC-1 or this one ?
Both are better in recycle bin than on a turntable, those are very bad quality cartridges, don’t waste your time with it even for djing.

Buy yourself a pair of Grado DJ-100 to mount on any lighweight headshell and use them for DJing or for home listening. When you are ready fo upgrade just buy a better stylus for this Grado.

If your Micro Seiki has some problem with headshell lock just send it for repair to anyone who can fix Micro Seiki. Your Micro Seiki tonearm designed for use conventional headshell, they are universal, nothing special.

Pictures worth a thousand words, here what I’m working with:

https://imgur.com/uVoifzg
https://imgur.com/IXPdhA6
https://imgur.com/tXL2pjW

Do any components look to be missing or damaged from these pics? It just seems like the cartridge should push into the housing on the tonearm another 1/2" or so. I don’t want to push too hard and do damage, but I put some pressure on it and the cartridge didn’t go in any further. Thanks again. Glad to know it’s compatible and hoping that I'm dealing with operator error here!


Push and lock, this is how it works. 
This is standard headshell and standard tonearm for this type of headshell. You can't damage it, maybe it's just too tight, but it's great for connection of the headshell pins and tonearm pins. Push and move the ring to lock it.  
Thanks guys! Good news! I took some sandpaper to the post on the cartridge and after that it slid right on! Ordered a cheap replacement stylus (don't have one currently) on ebay for $10 for testing purposes and if everything is mechanically functional, I'll order a nice setup!

Any basic maintenance I should do while I wait for my stylus?

I've got Deoxit for plastic sliders (has lubricant) and regular contact cleaner. The veneer is a bit chipped on the front corners. Not sure that can be repaired, so might just leave it looking rough... maybe some wood conditioner or polish to bring out the shine?


Well first off congratulations! That's a $300 to $500 turntable which I'm sure nobody at Goodwill knew so you must have got a helluva deal and now have a beautiful vintage table worth putting a little time and money into. Well in your case more time than money! lol!

Good. Way it should be.

Big chips can be filled with wood filler, sanded and stained. But often times less is more. Merely darkening the chips with a colored felt pen may be enough to hide them. Then wipe the whole thing down, anything from Lemon Pledge to Teak Oil will work just fine. That wood is probably thirsty so don't be afraid to slop it on and keep slopping it on as long as it keeps soaking in. 

Pull the platter. Clean the platter top and bottom. Clean everything. Disassemble, clean and lube as much as you can- especially the bearing, footers, arm, and whatever suspension you're able to find. I don't know that model but just based on vintage there's probably springs and/or rubber parts. Be careful. Some plastic/rubber parts may be brittle or cracking. In those cases may be better to carefully preserve than try and take apart and risk damage. 

Carefully inspect and check as much as you can of the wiring, every bit of it from the cartridge clips to the head shell/arm pins to the RCA connectors. Clean all contacts to shiny metal.

The bearing should be your biggest concern. Try if at all possible to disassemble the bearing, clean and lube. Failing that soak it as best you can. I have a similarly old DD table and it still works great except you can hear the bearing rumble. Well in my system you can! Maybe not with your associated components but still you will want that bearing clean and lubed it is after all nearing half a century!

These vintage tables have a pretty good following, you'll probably be able to find tips on all this if you search around enough.

Awesome! I should have a stylus by early next week and will open it up for a cleaning if it plays nicely. Very excited. I sample vinyl for music production. Currently using a Sony PS-LX520. I love the automation, but MS looks way cooler. Wonder how they'll compare...
If you sample music from the records you need the best possible cartridge to get exactly what's on the record in the best possible quality. You can't extract music from the vinyl groove with your cheap cartridge. The key factor is stylus profile, check it.  Look at the contact area in white. This is natural "nude" FineLine diamond under my macro lens. 

This is from the vintage Ortofon Hi-Fi catalog: "The 'FINE-LINE' shaped DIAMOND (on the right) distributes the stylus pressure over a much wider contact area within the groove (look at the white marks) than is possible with conventionally shaped diamonds such as Conical (on the left) and Elliptical (in the middle). This provides greatly reduced wear on both record and stylus at the recommended tracking force. In addition, the 'FINE-LINE' STYLUS also provides better tracking ability and lower distortion at high frequencies in the critical inner turns of the groove.
Diamonds used in Ortofon styli have several different shapes, each designed for a specific purpose. We look upon diamonds as our best friends. We use them exclusively. Compared with other stylus materials they do cost more, but the extra expense is fully justified by the resulting superior performance and extended life."


For the sampling for music production your current cartridge is the worst ever. You also need a decent hi-fi phono stage (not necessary expensive), but definitely not a dj mixer. I think you already have a high quality Analog to Digital converter. 

I think your new turntable and toneam is nice, but cartridge is much more inportant. Those DJ carts does not have "nude" diamonds and normally they are all conical (worst profile ever) or elliptical, but very low quality. Grado made a better cartridges for DJs, but for sampling you need a Hi-Fi cartridge if you want the best. I think it worth $300-400 investment and you will be blown away by the difference between your cheap cartridge and a decent hi-fi cartridge.  

  
Thanks Chakster. That’s very helpful information and not something I had any knowledge of. I currently run into a Denon receiver (found on the road for free) then into a Mackie mixer, FX send into a 90’s Symetrix compressor (with Valley People chip) and finally into a Roland audio interface. I’ve been sampling vinyl for well over 10 years, but never considered the sound quality as a relevant variable. I do so much within my DAW that the samples are processed well beyond recognition usually. These days I sample more from digital content for convenience, but I still prefer the color and noise of vinyl. I love the idea of starting from a nude sound and working with a higher quality source material. Although I can’t afford $300 now, what you said makes sense so this is definitely going to be a goal.

Current setup:  https://imgur.com/a/6KJ11Yt