Review: Shelter 201 Cartridge
Finally, a good match for my Thorens TD190 turntable,
as I prefer the automatic feature even though my
MMF5 Music Hall has had a better sound. Classical music
of all types from Symphonies to String Quartets is my
vinyl of choice. The Shelter 201 is the newly
introduced MM version, a first for Shelter. It's
full robust sound with good detail, compares very
favorbly with the Clearaudio Aurum Beta S,also a MM
unit,a $500 cartridge compared to the $200 list price
of the Shelter 201.The Shelter is somewhat warmer,
more like the wood Grados. It does have somewhat
better detail than the Grado and more the brilliance
of the Aurum Beta S (even with a plain elliptical tip).
It stands out from its peer group as an outstanding value with an attention holding listenable sound that would put it at are near the top of the group of other cartridges I have used in the lower or middle price range. It took all of 10 minutes to set up on my Thorens. A line across the top though perhaps not intended as a cartridge overhang mark, seems to work well in alignment. The tracking force range is 1.5 to 2.0. We set it at l.75. Apparently the 50 ohm impedance caused a problem on the pre-amp for the previous owner or he did not like to robustness of the sound. I purchased the 201 with about 12 hours previous use and am relistening to all my records as this is written. Over the years, I have drifted back and
forth between MM and MC and have decided that the
sound itself is the best measure for judgement. I hear bass not heard before and an ambiance that should not be present in this priced unit, along with a blow away sound and virtually no surface noise on good vinyl.The value for the price is outstanding and Shelter should be proud of this cartridge!
Thorens TD190 Turntable, Harmon Kardon
HK3480 Receiver, Klipsch RB15 (small)
Denon DL160 & 103, Shure V15 III & 5,
AT 440ML, Sumiko Blue Point & Special,
Clearaudio Aurum Beta S, Empire EDR9,
Goldring 1012 & 1042, Grado Platinum.