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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.