Moving from mm to mc

In prior threads I did a poor job of communicating. Let me state quickly where I am and where I want to go. In the days before children I ate, drank and slept vinyl. Since they are grown and gone, I have pulled the vinyl out and picked up a Garrard 401 with a SME 3009 Series II improved tone arm and a Shure V15 Type III cartridge. I drove 100 miles from Charlotte, NC to Raleigh, NC to have the tone arm rewired and the 401 checked out. All was well until I recently listened to a Benz Micro Glider through a tube amp and was blown away. That is where I want to go … to a system using a mc. However, getting from a 7.1 home theatre system to a viable mc system is proving to be a major undertaking, because the quality and technology has changed so much. So I will use my existing system until I figure this out. I did pick up an EAR 88pb at an outrageously low price, because I read enough to know that I would need a decent phono preamp to support mid to low output mc’s.

I have read about matching the tone arm to the specs of the mc you want to use, and selecting a good turntable. Please indulge a few questions: 1) Can I realistically incorporate my 401, or should I move on to something else? 2) Can I use my SME? As I understand it, the SME is not designed to work with mid to low output mc’s. 3) Finally, should I change out the power cord on the EAR, and what cabling would you recommend? Realistically, I know this will take a while to figure this out. In the event I have to replace all, I am estimating $4,000 - $6,000 for a tt, arm and cart, depending on new or used. I would like to think I can incorporate my Yamaha RX-V3900 in the loop. At this point, I could use some sound advice. It is tough when you live in a city without a good stereo shop. Thank you.
There are many who rate the Garrard 301 and 401 as amongst the best turntables ever made. Others respectfully may disagree but they have a strong following so given that Yes you should be able to incorporate your 401. If you really like the SME sound, and only after trying it, trust your ears, you might look for an SME V, if you feel you need to. As for the power cord the best advice is to check the archives and see what others have used on their EAR88pb and let that be a starter for you.
Keep your 401.

It's pretty good, and there are guys who can make a wonderful plinth for it. Steve Dobbins and Chris Harban are two good plinth makers who hang around here, if you aren't inclined to make your own. I don't know what they charge, however.

The 401 probably needs someone to check it out after all these years. There are lots of websites dedicated to the Garrard, so you may want to do it yourself.

Most moving coil cartridges like at least 12 grams of effective mass, and that's where most tonearms in your range spec. Some like heavier arms, so be sure to study that aspect a bit. There are nice used arms all over for around $2000, or seven less. The main thing is to not get one that is too lightweight. AudiogoN has a good selection right now.

Most can be matched up using this site as a guide. Once you know the effective mass of the tonearm, it is easy.

There are dozens of cartridges, but the old Denon 103 still holds its head up fairly well, if you aren't sure where you want to end with this madness. It's a good starting point that won't beak the bank.

Oh, don't forget a step up transformer or a phonostage that will handle MC cartridges.
If you buy about eight MCs you might get lucky and find one that suits your tonearm/turntable.
That is what I did.
I still prefer my Empire 600LAC MM however.
Thank you all for your advice. I now have a good sense of direction now.
I also own the EAR 88PB phono preamp, and believe the stock power cord that comes with it is a very good one, though for quite some time I've been running the Wegrzyn Copper Slam with it. In my system, the Wegrzyn helps impart a spacious,slightly warm,slightly laid back and very musical sound. Once you get your system together, and before you decide to buy a different cord, do give the stock EAR cord a fair listen. You may feel it deserves to stay exactly where it is. Best of luck. Incidentally, you've got a very fine sounding phono preamp there!
I do not know what stuck you on Glider, but I had this cart for like two years, and after switching couple month ago to Denon DL103 I feel very sorry for it. Other than crystal clear highs Glider is lifeless compared to Denon. I could listen to my top 10 percent of LPs with it, while Denon opened up gates to almost all %100. I am pretty sure now if LP does not sound good with Denon, its pretty much worthless. Oh and for the price of Glider you can buy Denon + phono stage or SUT.

ps.: my vinyl rig consist of Rega P25/RB600 and decent tube MM phonostage. Since selling glider opened up some funds, I could buy a denon dl103 and a graham Slee AMP3 MC phonostage.

>All was well until I recently listened to a Benz Micro >Glider through a tube amp and was blown away.
Thank you. I get a lot of positive fedback on the DL-103. Is the DL-103R an updated 103?
Glider is mostly considered as one of the best carts up to $1000, and if you go trough discusions, you will find many happy owners. So it might be very dependable on WHOLE sound system in use, not only raw-compatibility with table/arm/phonostage... And you first meeting with glider (was it at dealer, or someones personal system?) as pointed out was very positive, do not forget that.

To be specific, lets take Alison Krauss and R. Plant album - Raising Sand, with Glider I could not listen to it, the music was sort of compressed, uninvolving, and my verdict was poor mastering/release. I even brought this LP to dealer, and played with Benz Micro ACE. Feeling were similar - in totally different system. But with Denon DL103 - I CAN PLAY, listen, and enjoy this album.

I went with a basic version of Denon DL-103, "R" is 6N pure copper wire used in coils. There is a good thread here in audiogon about differences between R and basic versions. I like how mine sounds right now, I do not feel the need of upgrading the cart itself, just heavily buying used and new vinyl, and enjoying the music. Maybe thinking buying a SUT.

Good luck.

You could always try a better MM cartridge and save some money.Plenty of models mentioned in the big thread about MM cartridges,lots of vintage models you could try might blow you away.But you have to spend a little time to find one via ebay or audiogon.
I have contacted Steve Dobbins and Chris Harban about a plinth and tone arm / cart for the 401. I also had a long discussion with the gentleman at Vintage Turntable Restoration. It appears he has done a lot of plinth work and restoration of 401’s. He recommends a thorough cleaning / maintenance of the 401. More often than not, he rebuilds and mounts SME Series II or III tone arms on his restored 401 turntables. He thinks my Series II, with the correct cart (mm or mc) and my EAR 88PB would provide excellent results. He says the key is the correct wiring, bearings, dampers, etc. Have any of you heard of Vintage Turntable Restoration or their work?

I am inclined to stay with a SME tone arm. He sells Grado, so obviously, he is pushing them. He thinks the Grado Reference Sonata 1 wood body cart would be a good match. He uses a Thorens with a SME Series II and a Grado Reference Master 1 wood body cart. It will take a lot of research and forums to decide on the cart. Your thoughts on the decision process.