Tonearm/Cartridge Combinations: What Do You Own (Or Have Owned) And Recommend?


I recently added vinyl to my system. I began looking for one place on A-gon that asked folks to list the tonearm/cartridge combinations they personally own or have owned and highly recommend. I didn't find anything, so I'm hoping this thread will provide a quick reference for the vinyl crowd to see what combinations other folks are using with satisfaction.
I'm running a Reed 3P tonearm with a Van den Hul Crimson cartridge. The turntable is a Dobbins modified Garrard 301.I highly recommend this combination.
Please grow this thread with your own personal recommendations.
Thanks-Al 
Ag insider logo xs@2xastewart8944
Brinkmann Bardo, Triplaner and a Lyra Delos....sublime...
Origin Live Resolution mk3, OL Illustrious mk3c, Ortofon Windfeld Ti 

Good topic, tonearm/cartridge synergy is a crucial factor often overlooked in discussions about what tonearm is best or what cartridge is best. Without taking their interaction into account any recommendation of either is rather - eh - pointless.

You have a great 'point' of departure, as the Reed 3P and VdHul cartridges have great synergy. I've been using the 3P with a Colibri XPW Blackwood for years and this has remained my reference. But I became curious to hear other cartridges so I decided to add another tonearm to my Micro RX-1500G turntable. Two tonearms in fact, Fidelity Research FR-64S and Audiocraft AC-4400. Both equipped with SME bajonet to facilitate easy 'cart rolling'. The VdHul has remained the permanent resident of the 3P, because mounting and dismounting a Colibri is NOT my idea of having a good time!

Since then I've tried dozens of different cartridges in both arms. You never know exactly what to expect, but sometimes you hit on a combination that exceeds every possible expectation. One such case is the Phasemation P3G in the FR-64S. This relatively cheap low output MC (predecessor of the current PP-300, which I think still retails around $1500) magically 'explodes' in the FR arm. In dynamics, in soundstage size and depth and in bass extension. While the P3G also sounds very good in the AC-4400 and FR-64FX (another tonearm I use, but in a different system), in the 64S it moves into a completely different league, comparable to top end cartridges like the Colibri. These are the unexpected surprises that make vinyl playback so much fun. 

Keep 'em coming.......



Jelco 850L and Decca Super Gold (on a modified 401)
I have 3 of these arms with various Decca cartridges and they sound great.
Here's what I used years ago: GAS Sleeping Beauty (Coral 777) with a Lustre GST-1 arm on the Ariston RD11S TT. Into the Verion P SUT. I now have another Coral 777 mc and a Fidelity Research FR54 arm awaiting installation on another Ariston RD TT!
drrsutiff, isn't that Windfeld Ti some cartridge! So far there isn't one cartridge tonearm pair here that is a loser. I'll add a Kuzma 4 Point 14 with a Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum and a Kuzma 4 Point 9 with the Windfeld Ti. 
Good results with a Koetsu Rosewood Signature on a Graham Phantom (original) tonearm. Mounted on a VPI TNT HRX (older version). Graham silver phono IC to Manley Steelhead and AQ AT Amazon silver ICs into Pass preamp and amps.
I will note that I own a Lyra Delos cartridge that I use with the Reed 3P too. This I also recommend. Different signature than the Reed 3p/VdH Crimson combo, but still very satisfying.
Jelco SA750DB
AT-150MLX with a ATN150Sa Shibata stylus.
AT-14sa
AT-33PTG/II
DL-103r with a hardwood body
DL-103r stockDL-103
DL-301MKII
DL-110
Ortofon Concorde with a 40 stylus
Ortofon OMP-10.  I have two TT’s with Jelco SA 750 arms. The AT-150 is always present and the remainder rotate based on mood. My recommendation would be the AT-150 which is no longer in production but NOS stock is out there but pricy. The DL-103r & DL-110 seems to get the most play time of the others.
Good Luck


@mijostyn... yes I love the Windfeld Ti. My second cartridge that I rotate onto the Origin Live Illustrious is a Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum. Each cartridge brings a different but equally captivating presentation.
Any stone body Koetsu sounds magical on either a Fidelity Research FR64fx or FR64S. In a lower price bracket, the Shelter Accord on FR64fx can be pretty shocking in just how much of the stone Koetsu’s musicality it replicates, for less $$$$. But this model may have been discontinued? It’s frustrating trying to get Shelter information here in the USA.

In an even lower price category, the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze is a great match in 64fx, but this is a bit more notable drop-off from the Shelters and Koetsus. On a tighter budget, a Cadenza Red on 64fx can do nicely in a pinch, but again the drop-off from Bronze will be noticeable. I fought a bit of brightness/fatigue with the higher-line Ortofons (Windfeld MC, Jubilee) on 64fx, which perhaps indicates that the Cadenzas’ lower compliance got on better with that arm? Either way, the midrange on those Ortofons didn't woo me like the Japanese cartridges. 

The FR arms on the used market can be quite a deal.
Micro DD8/MA-505 tonarm/Nagaoka MP-500 cart.
Lets see,Rega RB300 with Goldring Eroica L (long since discontinued in favour of the LX). My first MC and I loved it but I changed the deck from a Manticore mantra to a Townshend Rock mk2 and bent the cantilever fairly soon after. Next up was a Dynavector 17D2 and another (two version both superceded) and then a 17D3 (also superceded), over 20 years all but the last using the Townshend front end damping so not very transferable to other arms. The RB300 was replaced with a Naim Aro, still with a 17D3 but I stopped using the damping trough as I prefered the sound without it on this arm. I never knew the actual tracking weight with the Aro as I couldn’t measure it at the record surface but there was a distinct sweet spot where dynamics took a leap, both micro and macro. Set in the sweet spot I never found it lacking in bass and it was certainly fast. Next up was a Transfiguration Proteus, because I wanted to try something furter up scale and all the reviews were good, they were right too though the sweet spot was even more marked. This cartridge did everything i liked about the 17D3 and added more of it as well as a welcome increase in body. The next change was to the arm and deck, the Townshend was retired temporarily in favour of an Artemis SA-1 and a Schroeder Reference, the latter with an effective mass of 13g. This arm can get a lot more out of the Proteus than the Aro ever did but not straight away, there was a lot of learning to do and 2 years later I’m still finding improvements, just as the Proteus is nearing its end and the company has passed its own so no genuine rebuild for this one. On a wild whim I’ve ordered an ortophon SPU Royal N and a brass mounting plate to increase the effective mass by a few grams but that’s an adventure yet to come, It may need yet more mass but I’ll find out.
Meanwhile I’ve revived the Rock and Aro, now with a London Decca maroon but the mono version and this works very well for the old mono pressings I play with it, or it did until it started humming. This deck is now in a second system in an appartment I visit only occationally and the hum comes and goes, I may yet be able to cure it.I suspect most of this will be of use to very few if any.
+1 for @mulveling 

FR 64 FX and stone-bodied Koetsu is pure magic. Not so sure about FR 64 S and Koetsu, though....
Best combo so far that I've experienced that I would recommend is an AT Art9 combined with the Grace 707.   Manually adjusted bearings on the arm, little looser than how it came to me.   Sounds really really nice.