thoughts on the Madrigal Carnegie One

I recently purchases a clear audio turntable through Audiogon to replace an mmf5 and have started to look for a cartridge that would be an upgrade over the goldring 1012 that came with the mmf5. My local shop recommended a Madrigal Carnegie One with very low hours on it. As this is an older cartridge I can't find much in terms of reviews online. The other alternative they suggested in my price range was the Sumiko blue point. Anyone here have experience with the Madrigal? Any toughts on the sound and how it would compare to the blue point or the goldring?

Although the Madrigal Carnegie One was TAS HP's reference many years ago, I would take the blue point. Even though the Madrigal was claimed with low hours, but over time the rubber things around the suspension and other parts will get hardened. Thus the sound will be affected. If possible, I would ask the dealer if you can try it first. Otherwise, I will buy a brand new blue point which is quite good. Or better yet, get the Black bird.
I agree with the above poster. That Carnegie 1 has to be older than dirt. Steer clear and buy something new.
Just to confuse you, the Blue Point is the most disappointing of any cartridge I ever owned, in terms of its actual performance vs its reputation at the time I bought it, which was that it was a "giant killer". OTOH, the Madrigal still has an avid following among vinylphiles. I would however agree with the others that age of the Madrigal may be a problem. See if you can audition it prior to purchase, as Audiolui also suggests. If you do, give it a chance to loosen up before you judge it. For example, play a test LP or two prior to listening. Also keep in mind that if your budget eventually permits, the Madrigal can be re-tipped. If the Madrigal is in good shape it should blow away the BP, IMO.
During the reorganization of Benz, a collaboration was arranged between Van den Hul, Mori and Lukaschek. Lukaschek already worked for Benz, and Mori was well-regarded for his contribution in the development of the Sony XL55 cartridge which employed a novel coil. Everyone knows about A.J.Van den Hul, of course. The work of the men resulted in the production of the Benz Silver, the Van den Hul One, and the Madrigal Carnegie One.

Like the Sony moving coil, the Carnegie One has an unusual figure eight coil design. Another feature is that the Madrigal has a layered cantilever made from carbon fiber, beryllium, and aluminum. No other cartridge that I am aware of ever used this exact cantilever composition. The cartridge shares a common tip with Van den Hul models, the true line contact that Van den Hul designed.

Like the Sony, many examples tend to be low-riders over time. That said, if it doesn't ride low in the groove now you will probably be okay with it. If it does ride low, however, take a pass because the body is not easily opened for repair. That is the only mechanical downside that comes to mind. I own two, and one came as a low-rider. Check it before you buy it.

How does it sound? Everyone has a flavor he prefers, but reviewers at the time considered the Madrigal Carnegie One to be one of the most neutral cartridges ever made, and most of those guys ended up with one in his stockpile. I find the sound to be very clean, but not overly exciting. Still, it is a nice cartridge worth owning that is still capable of beating the performance of a lot of today's offerings.

If you get it, it has a Dynamic Compliance of 17 x 10-6 cm/Dyne, so it will work well with a wide range of tonearms. As far as VTF goes, mine seems to like 1.6-1.7 grams. I haven't used it in awhile, so I can't tell you exactly where I used it last, but it in that range.

Hope this helps,

Thanks Audiolui and Mepearson for the input. Although it seems obvious now, I hadn't really considered the actual age of the Madrigal regardless of how many hours it had on it. The dealer will mount either cartridge for me so I can probably run the Madrigal through a few tests before taking it home.

Lewm, you hit the nail right on the head in terms of why I even considered the Madrigal in the first place. At this price point it should be much better than anything new. The real kicker is its not a matter of budget but how much I can spend without alerting my wife :)

You are right in that the Madrigal should be a good value these days. It sold for $1,200 back when it was made, and will stand up to those selling for that amount now.
Sballs-it's always the wife isn't it? I wish I had a dime for everytime some guy used the wife as an excuse on why he had to sell somthing that he supposedly loves. One guy was crying over the fact that he had to sell his speakers because his wife said they had to go. I told him to get rid of the wife and keep the speakers. The speakers would probably bring more joy into his life.

If you buy the Carnegie, you shouldn't have to pay much for it since it is as old as Moses.
A proper used value for that piece is between $275 and $375. Old or not, it is well worth that amount.
If you brought that old Carnegie into a stereo store and tried to sell it you would be lucky if they gave you $100 in trade. I certainly wouldn't pay more than $275 for it.
You know, audio is a lot like an ice cream parlor. It's all about flavors where one man's trash is another man's treasure. Me? I like a lot of flavors, and I wouldn't have at any other way. :)
I was going to try one of these a couple months back. Someone (with little or no feedback) had a NOS for sale at 595. I just happened to catch the post when it was under 10 views. I sent a full price offer email and a system full price offer. I did not hear back until the next day when the seller said that he had _so many_ offers and that I could make a (much) higher offer--I guess I was the first offer- he never said.

I thought that this was not in the spirit of Audiogon so I passed. Someone else though here thinks these are good...

I heard they are dry sounding.


I have owned both the Carnegie and the BP; and used both in the same two arms, ET2 (linear track/air bearing, and Syrinx PU3 pivoting). IMO, there is no comparison between the two; except that they are both mc's. The Carnegie is a true high-end cartridge, with a lot of refinement. It is very open sounding. I don't mean huge soundstage, but open because the sound has very little grundge, and the images are very well defined. I disagree that it is not dynamic. It is, but it is a little lean. Bass extension is good, but not particularly full. The BP, to me, has always been very overrated. I found it to be crude sounding, with an unusual sonic personality. Everything I played with it took on a strange, almost "cartoonish" sonic personality.
I did not like it at all. I believe the two are in very different sonic classes. The Carnegie would be a huge step up from the Goldring, the BP would be a step down, IMO.

You have a nice system, I would pass on the BP. If you can get a guarantee on the Carnegie from the dealer, that would be my choice between the two. Remember that the Carnegie is a low output coil, and may not have enough output for your system. Another reason to try it first. And, as has been mentioned, the condition of the suspension is a big issue. Good luck.
I wonder if that was the same guy that offered a pair of VTL amps on Audiogon and claimed that so many people responded that he obviously priced them too low and wanted me to pay more than his original asking price. He tried to tell me that he had already received offers that were $200 over his original asking price and wanted to know what I was willing to pay. I didn't take the bait either. It did make me mad though.
Frogman and I are in complete agreement. It also comes to mind that there are a number of other cartridges in the under $500 category that I would prefer over the BP, including any single one of the best vintage NOS MM/MI cartridges that have been under discussion in the "other" thread. If you are afraid of "vintage", think about the Garrott P77i or the better Nagaoka cartridges that are available as new manufactured items. But to stick to the question at hand, Madrigal is the answer.
I'll throw this out for consideration:

Signet TK10ml.

I liked it so much I had van den Hull retip it!

I also echo the above poster's thoughts on the BP.
Well boys and girls, the bottom line is our boy who started this thread doesn't have much money to fool with here as he is trying to keep his wife from cutting off his onions (if he spends more than 200-300 beans he might have to change his name from Sballs to noballs). We all agree the Carnagie is a better cartridge than the BP (assuming it works ok). The question is does he have a preamp capable of driving its output? He has a MF integrated amp that does have a MC input that is good for somewhere around .3mv. What is the output of the Carnagie?

The last time I heard a Carnagie was at least 25 years ago. It should probably come with an antique license plate.
Mosin, Mepearson, Frogman, Lewm, and Breuninger,

Thanks to all for your feedback. It was very informative... and entertaining (Mepearson, I should have dropped the balls from my screen name a long time ago!)

I will have the madrigal mounted, make sure it isn't riding low, and then have listen. If it doesn't work out I'll probably make due with the goldring for a month or so in order to squirrel away some more cash and look for something in the $750 to $1000 range.

I should have the new table by the weekend and will post back on the results.

Thanks again
Like others have posted, I have a carn. one. as well as several Benz carts. I have not had a problem with elastomer, as with some other MCs. The one thing you will need as Mepearson points out, is a quiet MC head amp. The output V on the Carn. seems to be a little lower than other Low output MCs.
Thanks again for everyone's advice. I did eventually pick up the Carnegie One. Although I've only had it mounted for a week, so far I'm very pleased. The system is finally giving me the sound from vinyl I had hoped for but not quite reached with the mmf5 goldring combo. In fact I've liked what I've heard so much I just keep listenting to the same four albums over and over (J.Cash American 4 and 6, Dire Straits Dire Straits, and Jeff Buckley Grace).

My integrated amp's phono section has had no issue handling the low output. Although the cartridge rides slightly low to the groove, it's no worse that the goldring I had been using.

I guess now I had better start hiding away some more cash for the next time I need a cartridge so that I can get something new but with comparable performance.