Although I haven't owned one, I have friends that have the Dl03 and love it and been very happy. I have owned a Grado Statement Series (long time ago)and always felt it maintained a veil over the music and wasn't revealing enough for my taste's. I traded it for a Benz which was more money but it showed me how much I was missing.
Probably not much help for you, but I would lean towards the Denon over the Grado, I can't speak to the others on your list.
Thanks for the comments on Denon vs Grado, Theo. It's always about hitting the right balance between "musicality" and detail...not that the two have to be mutually exclusive. Appreciate your time.
I have enjoyed Grado for years. Where did you get the info that they are not great trackers? In a medium mass arm ( SME 309)they have passed every test with my tracking test records. And as far as hum I never had that problem. If you like a warm cartridge then Grado is the way to go.
Yogi - I've been doing a lot of reading at quite a number of sites so would have to search some to find exactly what I came across. Here's one example I just found in attempting to reply to you (not something I'd read previously; it does seem a bit more extreme, possibly).http://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?t=18990
I wasn't trying to offend Grado owners. Glad you are enjoying yours. I tend to play older, used vinyl and not too many mint, "audiophile" 180g etc. releases. Need something that can sail through slight warping while minimizing surface noise and IGD.
I have used EVERY one of these carts and the Nag MP-150 is the best and not by a little bit.
The best I have heard solely on used vinyl suppression is the Sumiko Oyster, which though "cheap" is tuneful.
Ghosthouse- Thanks for that info. I just never had any type of that problem with the many I have owned over the past thirty plus years. Good luck in your search!
Clean your used vinyl well and be very picky when buying it in the first place. Look closely, under different lighting conditions. Then use whatever cartridge you chose. Still, always a bit of a crap shoot whether used or new. It ain't the cartridge. It's the vinyl. You buy bad vinyl, it's your own fault. It happens to us all but it's your fault, not the cartridge's. Some of my used vinyl is among the best I own. Then again, I've bought a lot of bad stuff too. Play bad vinyl on a $150 MM or a $10,000 MC. It's still bad vinyl. I've done both. My advise is not to go too pricey on the cartridge. Look for good vinyl. It sounds good on either. Save the other $9500 for retirement so you can play more vinyl. You deserve it.
Schubert, appreciate your comments. Most recently leaning towards a Nag; maybe raise the ante a bit and go for the 200.
Sonofjim...little risk of me spending $10K on a cart (that's actually kind of humorous if you knew me). While I try to be "selective' and do clean (AI solutions, steam and vacuum) it's the hidden groove wear that's killer as you know. Was thinking some stylus geometries might be better at contacting a less damaged part of the groove...but it's a gamble as you point out. OK. Further comments absolutely appreciated. Thanks again to all.
Ghost, stick with the MP-150 and change stylus every year or so.
Truth be told, I'd start with MP-110 which will take a MP-150 stylus .
More money just buys a more revealing cantilever and stylus. just what you don't need. I use a MP-300 which sounds little better than a MP-150 on the best vinyl.
FYI, the geo that contracts less is conical, I still recommend you try the cheap Sumiko Oyster first, you might be surprised.
Thanks, Schubert. Good practical advice. What I enjoy about this hobby is the
money you DON'T have to spend to enjoy good sound. Long ago I had (still do,
actually) a Sumiko Blue Point. Coming from a Shure V-15 something or other
back then, I was impressed with the BP. I'll look into the Oyster. If I went MP150
or even MP 110 and then 150 stylus later, could afford to try a couple of
Update. After going round and round. I ended up getting a Grado Black. Went entry level to sort of hedge my bet as I hadn't heard any Grados before. BUT based on the Grado reputation, seemed like one of them would offer the mid-range I'd been enjoying from the Stantons I had. Have had it a few days now with less than 30 hrs playing time. I am very impressed. The sound is way better than I'd expect from a $70 cart. What I like most is the solid, precise imaging and huge sound stage. Front to back positioning of instruments is more evident now. The music has weight and real presence. This was not what I anticipated given the impression I had from reading that Grados were warm but kind of mushy. Not hearing any mush. All recordings don't sound equally good with it, however. Upper bass can be a little too prominent and treble rolled off; vocals a bit recessed compared to what I'd been listening with. This might be a function of break in, or lack thereof. Noticed this most the first evening, not so much since (or is acclimation at work?). I've played at least one fairly warped record on it (warp affecting first track) and had no problems. I'm sure the KAB fluid damper helps with this and tracking in general. Played lots of used vinyl. Music with sharp transients. No nastiness. Surface noise is not a problem. The Grado is providing very enjoyable listening. I'm aware the Black stylus can be upgraded and look forward to what that brings. The Grado was not where I thought I'd end up at this juncture - but unexpectedly did. While it might not be a final destination, very happy to be here. Yogiboy - your assessment proved valid for me. Just another case where all that's written on the net doesn't necessarily apply. Thanks to all for the suggestions. I have a spare headshell. Can still see room for a Nagoka MP-150...or maybe a move up the Grado line beyond Prestige.
Personally I like the step above the oyster.. Sumiko pearl...very relaxed, laid back presentation similar to Grado..but sweeter top end and more balanced midrange... I also am a former Black owner. Updrading the stylus down the road I assume would give you improvements.Fwi...I thought it tracked well with minimal him. I probably being nitpicky. For $70 its a great way to test the waters. Enjoy?