LO MCs carts with RM-9/Shindo pre?

I'm a relative vinyl newbie currently running a Pro-ject RM-9 with a Blackbird. Rest of the system is a Shindo Monbrison, (usually, now) Fi 45 monos, and Lamhorns.

I am captivated with this sound and have no reason to change anything, but am interested in trying MC carts. I would like some advice on what would be worthwhile to try with the RM-9 and the Shindo (which has a tranny MC stage). Other than the Koestsu Black, I have nothing else in mind at this point (and I don't know if this cart is a good fit with the Monbrison or not).

As I said, no weaknesses to the system, but if I could nit anything I would say that the bass is a bit round. It's not with CD, so I know it's the analog front-end. Just a might pudgier than I'd prefer (but only on some stuff - Village Vanguard is one, and the CD version is tighter). Also, while very detailed and dynamic, it's not the last word in microdynamics. The microdynamic nuance is what mainly has me interested in MC carts.

If there is anybody that thinks it's not worth it for me to try MC I'd like to hear that too. I've never heard any MC cart, much less a good one.

Budget is around $1200 used max (not sure if I'd buy used or not either).

Paul Folbrecht
Norvinz Field Rep
Write to Jonathan Halpern and Tone Imports and ask him if the Koetsu would match well with the MC stage of the Monbrison. If not, he may be able to recommend a good step-up to place between the cart and the MM input on the Monbrison. Have all the Koetsu specs in place when you write him
Btw the Shindo built-in MC stage is optimized to work with SPUs... and does an amazing job with them. You can get the SPU GM Classic for about $650 these days I think.

Of course you also need to figure out whether your Blackbird arm is up to controlling the high weight and low compliance of the SPU cart.
"Of course you also need to figure out whether your Blackbird arm is up to controlling the high weight and low compliance of the SPU cart."

Can anybody answer that? :) I figured I might need a new arm. Right now, this is all tentative...
Hi Patrick,

I did write Jonathan, but I'd really like to stick to carts that will work well with the Shindo's trannies, which I'm betting just have to be pretty darn good. (The rest of this thing - that is, the MM and linestages - are so drop-dead stunning that the 1st stage just has to be too.)

The SPUs you mentioned - these are Ortofon? Same thing? Unless I am mistaken, no longer made?

Lots of stuff to investigate - Lyra, Dyna, Shure (?), etc. You can read about this stuff for days on end and still feel like you don't know half of what there is to know. Of course, it's in the listening, but trying carts is the biggest pain in the butt there is.

I think you are correct about the arm as well and that is another expense. The whole venture may need to wait a bit. I still love my current setup but every time I think "it can't get any better" I am proven wrong.
Put a denon 103 or 103r on it.Little investment to see if you like a MC.
The SPU is still made... in the G shell. The A shell was discontinued last year. Check Ortofon's site (ortofon.dk - really fun for browsing).

I second the Denon recommendation, though you'll only be getting its best in a heavy arm.

Yes, the stock trannies in the Monbrison are amazing!
Paul, unless I am missing something here, the Blackbird IS a moving coil cartridge. Are we talking about the same Blackbird? Sumiko Blackbird, right? You are saying you never heard any MC cartridge....

Beragamo, the Denon 103 may have tough time matching up to an $800 Sumiko Blackbird.

Paul, check the loading of the phono stage. This cartridge, according to cartridge database, requires load impedance of 47kohms.
Am now considering the Orotofon, Dyna 17D3, Shelton 901.

I also think it's entirely possible I'll like the Blackbird better than any of them, but only one way to find out.
I should have said any LO MC. Yes, the Blackbird is MC (high output) and, no, I was not really considering the Denon and would not expect it to compete.
that's cool
Paul, I believe the arm/cartridge match is the most critical, assuming your phono stage provides adequate gain. I would start by finding a list of cartridges that are compatible with your Pro-ject arm, then narrow that list down based on your Shindo match.
Paul,excellent choice of electronics for your Lamhorns
However I dont believe a low output cartridge by itself will
will get you to where you want to go.A better TT can help with bass presentation.Naturally the arm will play a big part in your cartridge selection.The Pro-ject arm can not support nor do justice to a SPU.Also without knowing the gain of your
of your tranny or of any load adjustments you can make it is very hard to make any suggestion.Again,your electronics and speakers are top notch and can give you much more with a improved front end.Good luck in your quest.
The Denon will most definitely compete with the Blackbird in the right arm and with the right step-up.

You really need to find out, perhaps from the Shindo ditributor/dealer, the electrical characteristics of the step up transformer. Unless the step up transformer has multiple windings and taps, it really will be optimized for only cartridges with a particular coil impedance and the need for a particular amount of gain from the transformer.

If I recall correctly, there is a Shindo preamp that has a step up transformer optimized for the Ortofon SPU. I think this is a low output cartridge with a very low impedance. Low output cartridges usually have fewer windings (hence the low output) which also means low impedance, so this combination is not unusual.

Whatever the case may be, you do need to some matching to the transformer to get best results.
The step-ups in the Shindo preamps are indeed optimized for a SPU. That means we are talking about 2 ohms impedance. The SPUs are still (for now available). Ortofon is currently making one last batch of SPU-As. I have two on order.

However, the SPU is a really heavy cartridge and is meant for high mass arms. If you don't want to go that route, it would be better to get a dedicated step-up instead.

I have heard most of the Shindo preamps (except the Petrus) with a variety of cartridges. Hands down, the Shindo modified SPU wins but that may not the right cartridge for everyone.

If you don't have a high mass arm, then I would recommend the following possibilities.

1) cheapest-get an Auditorium 23 100 ohm step-up and run a Denon 103. A pretty good combo.

2) Try the nude version of an EMT TSD15. The TSD15 is a great MC cartridge. The standard TSD15 is in a heavy housing and works in the same situations as a Ortofon SPU. The nude version is just that a nude mount TSD15 meant for standard mount arms.

3)The 47 Labs MC Bee. Another nude mount cartridge. Should work directly into the Shindo MC input. Different sound than the EMT. More like a Koetsu.

4) Miyabi 47 is a also a good fit. It has an impedance that's close enough to the Shindo for a reasonable match.

5) get the A23 step-up and run an EMT JSD5. The JSD5 is an awesome cartridge that is lightning fast but not clinical and dry.

Of these 4 possibilities, option #5 gave the best sound in my opinion. I owned that set-up for a month before trading it in for a Shindo 301 set-up.

If you like a dynamic and fast sound go with the EMT. The MC Bee or Denon is a bit softer/warmer. Both are good, it's a matter of preference and money.
Thanks for all the thoughts. Thoroughly sick as I am, I decided that the carts I'm looking at outclass my table/arm and I'll just upgrade the whole shebang.

I am looking at going to the Merrill MS2 - a Norvinz product, yes, and apparently an extremely good one. Will get to hear at RMAF.

Cart recommendation I'm getting is the Ortofon Kontrapunkt which is also an extremely low impedance cart that should work very well with the Shindo step-ups.

Arm might be a Triplanar or a more modest Hadcock or a Graham 2.2 I already bought.
Paul,Wise choices.I havent heard a Merrill table in many years
and the Triplaner 6 and 7 are top notch performers.The Graham 2.2 is not that far behind and being you already own it....
You now will have a 2 channel set up that could compete with the best out there.
Enjoy your new system and the RMAF