Nice and thorough review.
Just wanted to post a quick update on the sound of the MMF5 when placed on top of my DIY sand box: The MMF5 has now sat on the sandbox for nearly 1 month (since 10/06 to be precise) & I have listened to a quite a few LPs. It seems that the sound has not been degraded (some AudioAsylum inmates suggested it might). On the contrary, I think that the mids & highs might be a smidgen improved. The bass remains tight as it was before. Ever since I put the TT on the sandbox, I feel that it has become a bit more unforgiving - if the LP is not recorded well & has some sibilance, I can hear it now. I don't remember this when the TT was sitting just on the rack shelf. Many of my LPs are standard vinyl from the major recording labels (Capitol, WB, Asylum, EMI, Polydor, etc) & not all of them are recorded with utmost care. Perhaps the best standard vinyl recordings are my classical music ones from Deutsche Grammaphone & all these sound very good.
The stylus tracks too well sometimes, I feel, & bares my inability to get the record clean enough even w/ my VPI 16.5 machine! Oh, it's tough being an audiophile!!&@*!
Another small modification I made is that I have detached the dust cover from the hinges. When I play LPs I now completely remove the dust cover (& place it in another corner of the room). This helps me balance the bubble in the provided bubble-level (BTW, my Home Depot bought bubble level also says that the TT is level when the in-built bubble level does). Can't say definitively that it improved the sound but can tell you that it certainly *didn't* degrade it!
My sound room is far away from my garage door motor & from any kitchen appliances. Perhaps this is the reason that I don't hear the degradation in sound that was suggested??
In my opinion, so far, so good - I'm enjoying the sound from the TT as before. I will keep an ear out for subtle changes, if any. Probably do an A/B test with the TT on the rack versus on the sandbox when I get 3-4 hrs at a stretch. It's easy to get lazy on this since the sandbox weighs 50lbs just by itself!
Nice & thorough review, Bombay!
As to the sand box, I had trouble leveling my (heavier 3point) TT, so my experience was messy at best; I got excellent results using a simple Neuance under it.
BTW, I also found that an a/market chord mated well with the Cat (ultimate) and also some vibration control under the p. supply helped. True, Mr Stevens disagrees with these unorthodox applications!
I am trying to decide wether to go with the mmf5 or the 2.1.
The mmf5 retails around 800 or so where i am at, but there are several dealers that can offer me a demo model. The 2.1 is 300 dollars cheaper. I love vinyl, but i am not a fanatic(no offense to anyone who is, but i have a bigger cd collection than vinyl) i have around 500 or so records. Anyways my question is is the sound that much better from the 2.1 to the 5? I just would like peoples opinions on the cost per value aspect? Not wells it costs more so therefore is better....i hate that argument, well unless it's true...and dramatically so.
Thanks guys.....er and that one lone female out there..
Just stumbled upon your post today!!
Unfortunately, in analog/vinyl, it is very true to say that the more you spend on your rig, the better the sound & pleasure gets! I regret having bought just the MMF-5 'cuz I really, really should have bought the MMF-7! My dealer told me so & I did not believe him but in the end he was correct. I ended up selling the MMF-5 after just 11 months & got a much more expensive rig (don't regret it one bit!) but I'm quite sure that the better sonics of the MMF-7 would have stalled me much longer. At that time I had fewer than 100 LPs! Today, I still have fewer LPs than you!!
In the MMF line, I am quite confident to say that the best value-for-money is the MMF-7.
The MMF line 'tables are not upgrade-able i.e. you cannot easily change the tonearm or get a better platter or upgrade the plinth, etc. What you get is what you'll have until you change it.
If you get the MMF-5, the cart. will be the Goldring 1000 series. These stylus of these cartridges can be upgraded easily whenever you like. The MMF-5 comes w/ the 1012GX, which is good. However, when you are ready for better sonics, you can upgrade the cart. to the 1042, which is much better, IMO (from personal experience as I own a G1042). The MMF 2.1 comes w/ a lower grade Goldring cart. where the stylus is not upgrade-able - you'll have to buy a new cart altogether.
Depends on what you want. Personally, if you want to keep the 'table long-term, spend a little more than your budget, get something above your present requirements. The 'table will be w/ you as your interests in vinyl grow. If you buy something that you exactly need today, you risk out-growing it too soon & you'll be back in the market to buy another 'table. This route is more expensive in the long run.
Just MHO, of course.
I'm just curious, does anyone have any problems with the 1012GX cart 'bottoming out" so to speak on warped LPs? I only ask because I just bought an MMF-5, am waiting for it to arrive later this week, and have a few really good LPs that unfortunately are warped.
I just want to know if the "low rider" 1012 cart is going to be a problem.
Thanks in advance,
No problems here with the cartridge, even with some minor variations in the older records. I think that the MMF-5 is a great value I have not regretted it. I have no desire to look seriously at TT upgrades and I have heard analog systems with cartridges that cost 10X the price of the whole MMF-5 set up. I should add that it is now the focus of my music collecting. I always look for vinyl first if I can get it. It is a pity that getting it isn't so easy.
No problems while I owned the MMF-5. The cantilever is springy but not very. The static compliance is 16um/mN, which puts it at a medium compliance. I have some warped records that I played on this TT but the 1012GX never "bottomed" out. The whole assembly just rode up & down with the warp.
Besides the MC that I use now, I also own the G1042, which I'll say, w/o any shade of doubt, is much better. Same sonic signature as the 1012GX but more of every aspect. SO, if you are planning to keep the MMF-5 for a long time, do consider getting a cart. upgrade to the 1042GX. You won't regret it!
I started out with an MMF-5 and it's a good entry level table. I think it retails for 660$ now. I never heard anyone charging 800$ The MMF -5 has very limited upgradability. This is a table for wetting your analog whistle. If you fall in love with analog you'll quickly outgrow this table and want to step up. I retired my MMF-5 after hearing what other turntables could do. Read the turntable threads on audiogon. They are very informative. If you get the MMF-5 my advice to you is don't listen to any higher end stuff. You'll remain happy that way.
The Dynavector 10X5 is also a very good cartridge from what I have read (no personal experience tho). I do not know if the Dynavector can be aligned using just the 2 screws provided for the fixed holes on the MMF-5 headshell. The alignment for the Goldring & Dynavector cartridges might be entirely or slightly diff.
I realize that for a given tonearm the overhang is fixed & every cartridge should mount @ the same point. However, the Dyna & Goldring might have diff. cantilever lengths, diff heights, etc. that just might need some adjustment & you will not be able to do so as there are simply 2 holes (& not a slot like the usual headshell).
There is a very high probability that the Dyna will be an exact swap in the mounting point is the same & you don't need to touch anything else. I've haven't done this myself tho.
2ndly, it wasn't clear that you were willing to try out a MC sound so I just stuck to recommending another higher quality MM. Upgrading the removable stylus is cheaper than getting a new cartridge.
Contrary to what most people think (including myself @ 1 time), the Goldring 1012 & 1042 guts are THE same! This is so stated on the Origin Live website (I think) but not on the Goldring website for some reason! In fact, all the 1000 series cartridge guts are the same, it's just the quality of the stylus that sets them apart.
The Goldring website is: http://www.goldring.co.uk/home.html
Once on the home page, click "products" in the upper left. Then click "Moving Magnet cartridges". You can also download the PDF of the cartridge specs. Notice that, in this PDF, the 1000 series cartridges are spec'd in just 1 column! You can see the various stylii being used in the vsrious 1000 series models.
The 1042 uses the best stylus that Goldring has & this makes it a much better groove tracker.
"shrillness" from your stock 1012GX?? I cannot remember getting any shrillness!!
I know that the Goldring cartridges are more dependent on VTA than one would like. Is your VTA set correctly?? The tonearm should be set exactly parallel to the record surface (this is neutral VTA). I had mine set this way with excellent results. I searched the AudioAsylum archives & found that some people like a slightly postive VTA i.e. the pivot point is 1-2mm higher than the headshell. In general, this will emphasize the high freq. & de-emphasize the bass. OTOH, if the pivot point is 1-2mm lower than the headshell (this is negative VTA), it will emphasize the bass & de-emphasize the high freq.
It is entirely possible that you have positive VTA, which is giving you a shrillness? The Goldring cartridges are VTA sensitive.
Well, I already adjusted the VTA once already. To be honest with you, it didn't seem to do much in the way of changing the sound at all. Maybe I just readjusted it right back to where it was. I'll have to fool with it some more tonight if I get a chance.
As for the stylus, what happens to the [b]sound[/b] if I replace the current 1012 stylus with that from the 1022 or 1042?
OK, I suggest that you play carefully with the VTA. Before commencing, mark the position of the present VTA so that you can always return to the start point w/o guessing. Do the VTA adjustment as carefully as possible: using shims at the point where the arm is bolted to the plinth or using a laser level or a pair of vernier calipers, etc. Any technique of your choice that allows you to accurately record how much up or down you shifted the VTA. (BTW, it's a royal PITA with the MMF-5! This is perhaps the only thing I hated about the 'table).
What happens to the sound if you change stylii? Assuming that you have the correct VTA before & after the stylus change, the better quality stylus of the 1042 will track deeper & truer in the groove vs. the stock 1012. You end up with a more refined sound, less grainy midrange & a sound truer to true (if this makes any sense).
Bombaywalla, thanks for all the advice! I really do appreciate it.
Now, what I have done is just say the heck with that Goldring cart all together and installed my very well trusted and hand-built Signet TK7E cart. It has never let me down, and is now producing some of the very best sounding music I have ever heard come from an LP!
From the sound of it, the MMF-5 and TK7E are a perfect match. I have tried pop, rock, classical, jazz, blues just to name a few, and everything is right-on. From pipe organ to orchestral, to sythns, to drums, to vocals (both male and female), to brass, from studio to live recordings, everything is just the way it should be.
I used to use this cart on a Technics SL-1700 Mk II TT which sounded great. However, now with the Music Hall TT, this Signet cart sounds excellent. It's definitely the best it has ever performed.
This Goldring 1012GX cart just got its doors blown off by a 24 year old Signet TK7E cart, and there's no turning back!
If anybody is interensted in this Goldring 1012GX cart, make me an offer. Please keep in mind that it only has about 40 hours of use on it.
Glad to read that you finally found your nirvana! It's these moments when everything gels together that we live for. Enjoy the music.
BTW, one of the reasons that you might have been getting "shrillness" from the 1012GX is that it is NOT broken in! Duh of me for not asking right off the bat! The Goldrings (& most other cartridges) need atleast 75 hrs before things begin to sound like music.
Also, the Signet seems like a MC whereas the 1012GX is a MM. A well made MC will blow the socks off most MM.
Actually, the Signet is a MM, just like the 1012. But I went ahead and bought a Shure M97xE to replace the Signet. It is getting old and I think the right channel in it is going.
I've been using this Shure since last night, and it sounds better than even the Signet cart!
Plus, I also switched speakers. Now I'm using a pair of Triangle Zephyr's, which are true audiophile loudspeakers, unlike the Klipsch, which are more like PA speakers.
Anyway, I'm really happy with my current setup, and plan on just breaking in this new cart of mine, sitting back and enjoying the music!
Interesting reviews all. A few quick comments from this MM5 user. The interconnects are a problem. I had a bad solder joint at the plug-in side and, not having a soldering kit, tried to make a cheap repair and it did not work. The problem was evident by a distinct hummmmmmm heard when I turned the volume way up. Thought it was the chintzy ground cable. The bad interconnect end also would not go completely into my preamp input, suggesting a cable connector problem, so I ended up getting two new very short RCA cables and a gender switch and connected to the old cables. Although I am not one to recommend this, it did work, the new cable ends fit now fit nicely in my old Yamaha preamp and there is absolutely no hum anymore.
I originally went with the 1012 cartridge that came with the unit but has since switched to the Shure V5. I find it actually works quite well and you cannot beat the tracking.
One other annoyance is the anti skate. With only (3) setting variations, I wonder about the accuracy and how well it works. I notice that using the middle setting (the Shure has a max force recommendation of 1.25g, which is my setting) has excellent tracking quality towards the end of the record when the force to the middle is strongest, but the beginning of the record seems less dynamic.
My original unit was a problem and had to go back. I think that a few sufferred from bad build quality, but the one I now have works beautifully.
Speakers - Paradigm Studio 80
Amp - Adcom GFA 545 II
Preamp - Yamaha C60
Cassette - Nak 480 (old but still quite good)
Tuner - Yamaha T80
I own the MMF5.1 and could not be happier. I have heard other decks that are supposed to be big upgrades, and I simply don't get it. I am sure you can spend a lot of money on better a TT, but I would not be confident of better results. I have had no issues with the stock connections or ground cable as some have mentioned.
I think the MMF is a fine deck.