Table only as good as it s cartridge?

Does a turntable sound only as good & no better than it's cartridge? Your thoughts....
I think that a TT set-up is as good as not only the sum of its' basic parts ( tt, arm, cartridge, wiring, etc...), but also one must take into account it's mounting and support structure. Since vinyl "grooves" are micro at best, vibration of the platter & arm can surely affect the tracking ability. Sean
My take is that a cartridge is only as good as the table and arm.A superior cartridge will never be able to show its abilities unless given a precision reference platform to work from and having effective isolation from its environment.
This strictly my opinion. In theory no. The whole package and the stand is very important. In practice, yes everything makes a difference, but after you get to a decent table like a Rega 3, or better yet a 25, the cartridge becomes very important. The stand is also important. That being said I have an Oracle V with upgraded power supply, a Graham 2.0 and a Lyra Helicon with a tube phono pre. Most of this is lost if your records are not clean. On the other hand I have listened to a MMF-3 with a phenomena phono pre get the music right and sound superior to a $5k CD circa 1999. I repeat milage may vary. Enjoy the music.

Hope this helps
The folks at Linn would argue that the cartridge is the LAST thing you upgrade. The Linn hierarchy puts precise speed control above a better arm, and a better arm above a better cartridge. Following this philosophy, probably not worthwhile to spend big buck on a cartridge until the rest is taken care of.
Lolo, I'll follow on from caterham's motto. My personal view (after some 20-odd analogue yrs) is that a good, well set-up & supported TT deck with a modest cartridge will invariably outperform a modest, poorly set up & supported platter with a mega$ cartridge. Worse, the latter could damage that cartridge if the arm's tracking ability is lacking...
The better the deck, the more the choice in cartridges you can use -- for as long as cartridges are still available.
Interesting question. We all have heard high end turntables that just dont deliver the promise. I have also heard mid fi tables that blow away high end tables. However the one common demoniator in the equation has been the cartridge. For my money a Grado Cartridge will work and perform in damn near any table and any price,and sound vastly superior to its contempories. Proper set is the key. Such as VTA,Overhange adjustment,tracking and anti skate. Once those parameters are met,it is up to the cartridge to deliver the music. Grados have always delivered the music from their entry line to their top of the line. Grados as we know are not subject to capicitance loading,and work well most tonearms.
I once heard a Miracord idler drive turntable,sound better than my friends highly touted empire turntable at the time. The difference was the cartridge and it was Grado.

This is my opinion,and have been in this hobby since 1957 so I do know a little.
I am not a Linnie, but, I think I agree with their philosophy on this one. From what I have heard over the years, it seems to go like this in order of importance in an analog set up: Turntable, tone arm, cartridge. I am still not sure where the turntable's stand comes in. It seems to vary according to the tables design and/or capabilities.
In essence, what you are saying is correct.A $500 cartridge, will sound as good as it can, on a properly set up $10,000 table.The whole rig will sound like a extremely good $500 cartridge. But a $5000 cartridge, will not sound as good as it's capable, on a properly set up $500 table.The whole rig will sound like a good sounding $1000 cartridge. I have done this,with a Oracle MK4, and a Graham 1.5 arm, and a Ortophon X5, vs a Thorens 166MK2,Akito 2 arm, and Koestu Rosewood Signature. I wanted to see if the high dollar rig made a difference, or was it just the cartridge. It made a huge difference.