Hi Pedrillo; I'm not sure but, some of those topics might have been covered previously here. Not to mention your question(?) is pretty broad. A good start might be to browse the existing knowledgebase and then ask more specific questions.
Just a suggestion.
This has been thoroughly discussed in Good Sound by Laura Deerborn, or The Complete Guide to Highend Audio by Robert Harley. I doubt that anyone is going to post something here that is more insightful or thorough...
You should be able to get both from the library if you don't want to buy them. They might have to be ordered, but they're worth the wait.
I appreciate the sincerity of your intention, but what you've done is like asking people to post a brief history of the world. People here are very helpful but your request is just too broad. Ask a more narrow and specific question and you'll get some good responses. There is also a ton of material in the archives for most anything you would want to know, and which would lead you to specific follow up questions for discussion. The books suggested by Nrchy also have lots of good, basic information for the newbie.
Pedrillo, I hate to ask, but Have you really built a three-hundred pound TT with a platter mass loaded with 28 lbs of shot? If so, I doubt anyone here would be able to offer you any advice about an appropriate tonearm. You're using a one-of piece of equipment. You're the only one that has any experience with it.
It looks really cool though!
It's 430 lbs! ..... as though that makes a difference, well actually it did.
What I am hearing with the grado is incredible, I am just wondering was the blackbird a mismatch for my graham 2.2?
And for newbies is it wise to invest heavily first in the table and arm then with the cartridge?
There are those on these posts that say the table, the arm and then the cartridge. It always seemed to me that I got the biggest bang from a better cartridge. That seems logical to me since the hardest work is from the transducers...the cartridge and the speakers. By the way...when I changed my Grado to my Benz, I heard a huge improvement. The Grados have lots of good stuff, but they are certainly far from the last word in cartridges.
I can't wait to move up from the grado. I agree!
The transducer can only do its' work if it does so unrestrained and unincumbered.
So one more time, and for those who just don't get it, an average cartridge in an excellent tonearm will outperform an excellent cartridge in an average tonearm every time.
I've demonstrated this to customers and friends for over 40+ years and yet some self appointed "experts", many of whom post in these threads, simply don't understand or want to believe the facts. Not understanding is ok, not wanting to believe is simply stubborn and ignorant.
For those who truly want to get the most from an analog front end, spend the preponderance of your money on the table and tonearm. The cartridge and phono stage are your last concern and can always be upgraded.
Bank on this information my dear readers.
In addition to A'feil's above comment, it is an opportunity to budget yourself efficiently since you can get a $40 cartridge for the short run and not feel like your loosing money when you go to upgrade it as budget allows. When you do get a better cart, you'll hear more of what it has to offer.
I would like to learn, what are some of the better tonearms?
Turntables can be listed as well!
Audiofiel, I am in the process of upgrading my cartridge now for my VPI Junior. Currently mounted on my Auidioquest tonearm is a Benz ACE, but it is 6 years old and has way too many hours on it. I plan to upgrade my table within the next year, but need a cartridge now. I have just ordered the Benz L2 "S" series (brand new upgrade to the old L2). Anyway, if I upgrade my table to something like a VPI Scout or price equivelant, would you consider that a mismatch. Not necessarily wrong cartridge for any specific tonearm, but is a $1600 cartridge mounted on a $1600 turntable/arm combo out of step? I know price doesn't necessarily equate with quality, but you get the basic idea. If you spend $1600 on a table/arm what price range of cartridge should you be looking at. Would it be ridiculous to mount something like a Lyra Titan on a VPI scout. Just a theoretical question.
Do NOT bank on Audiofeil's dogma!
Yes....there are many who share his view.
It does not make it truth nor fact.
I too have had major revelations in changing cartridges....more so than arms or turntables.
Once you have reached a certain level of competent turntable/arm synergy, the cartridge will change the sound almost as much as the speakers will.
Don't BANK on this view.......just accept it as another with some truth and experience behind it?
I certainly don't bank on anyones comments that I read in a forum, but I will always give them consideration and thought. I think I am going to try and track down the Robert Harley book on Hifi for some of these answers. I am guessing there is a lot of information about this very stuff in that book.
There never seems to be a clear cut answer. That's the beauty of it.
Dear Pedrillo: IMHO, there is a lot of non know-how over the Web and in this forum and in this thread about the analog " whole stage ".
Stringreen like Halcro have very good points here and other persons has no idea about ( even if they think they have. )but I think that you are looking as much opinions as you can get on the subject, so in an open forum like this every body is welcome for the good or wrong.
IMHO, first you have to have a " decent " platform ( TT ) to play back and this first does not means is the more important analog link because it is not, second and more important than the TT is the cartridge/tonearm choice that it is more important than the TT/tonearm couple, the cartridge/tonearm analog audio link ( IMHO ) we have to see it like one link ( one audio item ) not two separate audio items: please read something about on the next link:
and third the ( IMHO audio experiences. ) most analog important link ( everything the same. ): the Phonolinepreamplifier where the cartridge signal can/could suffer heavy degradation due to inaccuracies in the inverse RIAA eq., noises/hum/distortions/colorations on not so good designs.
Once we " install " all those " colorations " in the cartridge signal we can't do it nothing to eliminate it.
Of course that there are many other " subjects " that are important around like: cables, cartridge set-up, room interaction, etc, etc. and every one counts.
To obtain a stellar quality home audio system performance is a very complex subject and needs not only in deep know-how but very good ears, very good knowledge about live music, a lot of patience and an " adventurer " spirit to test/try different " things " almost all the time, nothing we can try is in vain it will be part of our audio experiences.
Btw, +++++ " and which phono stage will match that cartridge? " +++++, Pedrillo if the Phonolinepreamplifier has a good design it will match any cartridge, no question about.
Regards and enjoy the music.