I own an Infinity, and it errs towards the bright, so I think it works best with an MM, to wit a Grado. You haven't heard what a Grado can really do until you've tried one in a low-mass tonearm. The dynamics, detail and bass become astounding relative to it's usual partner the Regas, and you wonder if it's really a Grado you're hearing, and you won't be looking for an MC. An alternative would be a Shure V15, but the Reference series Grado being lighter, you can capitalize on its low mass more. And I'd suggest a Sonata or higher. What 'table are you mounting it on? I've tried mine on several, and settled on an classic three-point suspension design, an Ariston, with a Platinum: this combo tracks warps like they weren't there, and the rhythm'll have you playing your pizzas into the wee hours, with no thought for audiophile neuroses.
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Try a Stanton 881S in this arm. The very high compliance ( 35 ) of the Stanton makes it perfect for the very low mass Black Widow.
If ordering one of these, i would suggest doing business with Kevin at KAB Electro-Acoustics. At the time of ordering the cartridge, i would also order an NOS ( New Old Stock ) Stanton D88S stylus at the same time. This is a better, low noise stylus with wider frequency response. Rather than use the stylus that comes with the cartridge, I would use the D88S Stereohedron as my primary stylus. When it finally starts to give up the ghost, you can then use the original D81S Mk II Elliptical stylus that came with the cartridge as a spare.
If you can fine tune the phono input impedance and capacitive loading ( taking into account TT interconnect capacitance ), adjust it for appr 47K ohm's and 200 pF's of capacitance. This tends to flatten out the rising high frequency response above 10KHz or so and lower the noise floor of this cartridge.
Taking this approach will put you at about $200 total, provide you with a brand new cartridge that is ideally suited to your arm, offer the added convenience of having a spare stylus on hand and will absolutely smoke a Shure that costs 50%+ more money. Sean
I agree that the Stanton is a fine choice but don't agree that it smokes the Shure V15XMR (I have both) which you can buy for $199 incl. shipping from Jake's Music Factory in San Luis Obispo. But either one should work great in your Black Widow. The Grado is more iffy. I have the Reference and, IMO, it needs a higher-mass arm. Good luck.
Hmmm, I should have posted a request for info on the Black Widow tonearm a long ago, but I only just discovered this website recently, and I bought the BW a while ago. I love the info on the Stanton, a cartridge I've been meaning to add to my collection for a while now (sicko that I am, I collect 'tables, cartridges and tonearms: I just can't get over the fact that a rock dragged through a groove can reproduce a violin). I assume KAB sells the NOS stylii?
As to higher mass for tonearms for the Grado, which is a high-compliance design, calculations show that to attain best performance, the Grado should be accompanied by a tonearm in the 6-8 gram area, being 6.5 grams in weight, and requiring a total system mass of around 13 grams, which definitely means a low-mass tonearm. The Regas are medium-mass tonearms, and so not particularly well-suited to the Grados, where, however, they still manage to sound good. Those who have speakers which reach lower into the bass can actually see the famous Grado wiggle at work in the form of woofer-pumping, which is far more pronounced in medium and high-mass tonearms than in low-mass tonearms. I have put the Grados (an 8MX, a Silver and a Platinum) in a variety of tonearms, Regas, air-bearing, unipivots, etc., and so know from experience as well as from calculations that they gain significantly in detail, dynamics and at the frequency extremes in low-mass tonearms (I tested them in a Grace and the BW) as well as tracking like a bloodhound, as compared with a Rega or air-bearing tonearm, where they are, however, smoother, but more "muffled". I don't think anyone who hasn't heard a Grado in a low-mass tonearm knows what these cartridges are capable of. I think that claims as to this or that cartridge being significantly better than the Grados in detail and slam at the price are pronouncing themselves due to the Grado being traditionally partnered with Regas (an obvious partnership due to price and the fact that almost no one is actually producing low-mass tonearms these days, one of the few being the Morch), which is a mismatch. In fact, I was thinking of starting a thread to this effect, but seeing as the Grado is almost always matched to Regas, I thought this would generate too much flak.
While I'm at it, I would suggest that those who haven't heard Grados through tube equipment also haven't heard what a Grado can do, for the Grado retrieves an enormous amount of information in exactly those areas where tubes excel, retrieving the resonances and full bodies of the instruments in a recording in a natural and beautiful manner. If you want to identify the type of lacquer of an instrument, or the strings, then here the Grados are practically unsurpassed by any cartridge. In case anyone is wondering, I'm also a Decca and Shure fan, each cartridge having its strengths and flavours. So Bro57, the BW gives you an opportunity to hear what a Grado woody can really do. For an ode to the Woody Grados, go to the late, great Dr. Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg's Gizmo Awards website at http://www.meta-gizmo.com/Tri/awards/awrd00.html. Throw out all your preconceptions.
Johnnantais, you could well be right. I've been using the Grado Reference/Reference (love their nomenclature) in a JMW l0.5 arm -- often a recommended pairing -- and experiencing both poor warp tracking and the dreaded Grado wobble. Worse, the Grado was soundly defeated, soundwise, in this setup by the Shure V15xMR, which surprised the hell out of me.
Dopogue, If you have the means - and your JMW tonearm suggests you do - then I urge you to buy a Morch tonearm, which can be ordered with a variety of arm-wands of different masses: a crucial issue (or you can do like me and buy a variety of old and new classics). The Grado is truly a world-class cartridge, even the Platinum is awesome, given tubes and a low-mass tonearm. As to your Shure, I believe that overall, taking into consideration things of musical importance (tonality, timing in the more complex sense of retrieving the rhythmic interplay between instruments: the heart of the music), the Shure may be the best cartridge in the world. Of course, given the ridiculous prices of "high-end" (and musically flat) equipment, only the rare reviewer has the courage to say so, but it does get said. I notice you mention only MM cartridges. I notice that again in terms of the more complex timing issues, MMs are superior to MCs overall, but I don't know why. But since almost nobody is producing low-mass tonearms (the cowards), not many people get to hear them like they should. If you get the Morch, then you can hear both the Shure and the Grado as they should be heard (which will require two arm-wands), though in terms of mass-matching, and from your experience, the VPI is a good match for the Shure. I confess I am a vinyl junkie, I just love watching those platters spin around. And more and more, MCs simply bore me. Now I've done it, they're going to crucify me!
Johnnantais, Thank you for your thorough review of experience with the Shure, and Grado. Although my own view that these are reasonably priced, quality reproducers is from use on the Rega RB-300 with the Kerry F-2 Titanium Heavyweight Counterweight, I am now aware of even better results possible with your low-mass tonearm recommendation.
Since the Grado already sounds so terrific, I guess I will just get more confirmed in my opinion that vinyl pleasure does not always require spending more and more, but learning how to use what you've got.
Bro57, the Black Widow tends towards brightness, so I would be leery of putting any type of MC on it, not because of lack of quality (I tried an MC on it and it worked OK, but did not sound terrific), but because it is bright. As well, I think the Grado is easily superior to the cheaper Denons, excepting, of course, the classic DL-103 which, being low-compliance (I believe), would be a poor match for your tonearm. Don't buy into the MC hype, get yourself a good high-compliance MM, you'll see, you'll be surprised at the amount fo detail and dynamics these can give when set up optimally.
Rwwear, if I remember, the Carnegie is a high-compliance cartridge, is it not? And as to the Shure being "mechanical" sounding, I have heard this said before, and this may be due to a mismatch with electronics and so forth. In my system and other systems, it was liquid and supremely musical, and I would just play record after record and forget all about audio crapola, and believe me, this was bliss. If the Carnegie was high-compliance, I would suggest it sounds as you say because of this. Perhaps this, after all, is why MMs are simply better than MCs at preserving/presenting that rhythmic interplay which is so important to the music (this has been noted by seevral audiophile acquaintances of mine, once we get over the flavour of the day stuff).
And Listener57, you're absolutely right, money is not the key to music: a little knowledge, and trusting your instincts ("Hey, I like this! as opposed to "Hey, this is really impressive") is the key. I find that truly musical "budget" pieces are far more numerous than musical "high-end" pieces. Musically flat but extremely detailed equipment prods the unhappy owners to buy ever-more expensive equipment in an attempt to justify the ridiculously high outlay for a lot of this stuff. The more information a piece retrieves, the more difficult it is to preserve the music, which ends up just getting dissected, and the timing evaporates. Without timing, stereo equipment is good for boat anchors. Find a used Grace or Mayware - both cheap - for your Grado, and you'll hear what I hear, an opening up of the Grados, greater slam, more information at the frequency extremes. On a Black Widow on an Ariston RD80 (not particularly notable, but very musical) the Grado Platinum is a bass monster. And don't forget, these cheap tonearms benefit just as much as Regas do by re-wiring. I've just bought an ASL Mini Phono stage for $250 with NOS tubes classics new, and I can't wait to hear the Grado through it! I'll be reporting on it in the ASL Mini Phono thread later.
Steelhead, I believe it was an OM30, a highly-regarded low-mass MM, and good to finally ehar a report on it, as the OM20 from the overlooked Ortofon MM line has received some quite enthusiastic reviews in the last couple of years. To Bro57 and Listener57 (you members of the same club?) and Dopogue: I've just received my new ASL Mini Phono (I want to stay away from the high end and concentrate on music and already this thing is almost too detailed!) and everything is out of balance again, but in a quick A/B the Grado in an old Ariston RD80/Black Widow sounded better (same detail but smoother and better rhythm) than the same Grado in a re-wired RB300 on my best high-end 'table! The low-mass tonearm is that important! (Plus, and I'll keep this low as it is heresy, I'm beginning to think that the Linnies were right, with the caveat that the old Aristons and ARs are even better than the Linns at rhythm. Shhhhh.....It's not all about detail, which in the end simply interferes. Keep it under your hats.) Now I will make myself a tonearm board out of solid Purpleheart for the Ariston to increase that natural quality: I think the Arsiton/Black Widow is a keeper, and damned my high-end 'tables, at least for now. Now to the Purpleheart!
Dopogue: I have both a Stanton and the latest Shure V15. The Shure is slower, less revealing and lacks coherence during complex dynamic passages. It is a good "universal" cartridge in that it is competent and works reasonably well in most any arm that you throw it in, but it doesn't work optimally as compared to a more specialized cartridge in any of the given arms that you might use it in.
Having said that, the Shure is much more stable in terms of sonics from system to system. The Stanton is measurably more finicky in terms of cartridge loading and sonics WILL vary for this reason. Much of this has to do with capacitance, as quite a few TT's have interconnects that are too high in capacitance to obtain optimum results with the 881S. Couple this with the capacitive loading that is built into most phono stages and the Stanton suffers quite noticeably in anything but a system that is designed to let it sing.
On top of all of that, i'm basing my comments on the 881 using the "S" / Stereohedron stylus, not the current model that comes with an Elliptical stylus. That's why i mentioned picking up the NOS Stereohedron stylus from Kevin at KAB while he still has some in stock and keeping the Elliptical as a spare.
Steelhead & John: I agree that the Ortofon OM 20 & 30 would also be a good candidate for this arm. If i can remember correctly, Ortofon designed these cartridges while working with Dual. For those that aren't familiar with Dual TT's, they also used straight arms of low mass design. Some of the later Dual's even came stock with a special version of these Ortofon cartridges. The cartridge body & headshell were built as one integral unit, offering increased rigidity and no need to adjust the overhang. You simply installed the cartridge and began playing as the cartridge / headshell combo was already optimized for that specific arm. I seem to remember something about these cartridges being called "Concorde" or something like that, as they somewhat resembled the fancy French aeroplane of the same name. Sean
Must...resist..temptation...to reply...cannot...Sean, while you are a fountain of information concerning MMs, and I really appreciate all your knowledge here and would like to hear more, as I am now convinced that MMs are simply better than MCs at the all-important timing issues (the heart of the music), what you apply to the Stantons - careful set-up and so on - applies equally well to the Shures. You say simply that the Shure V15 is universal and so on, but this simply isn't true: while it does mate well with todays' almost universal medium-mass tonearms (we - must - standardize - wash - out - all - colour), it absolutely shines on medium-mass unipivots! This was my first intimation of the Shure's Greatness, when in my ignorance one day I decided to match it up with a Mayware I had set up out of curiosity on an Audiomeca 'table. As the Grados open up on low-mass tonearms, so the Shures open up on medium-mass unipivots! But I also believe that Shures sound truly great on Regas as well, depending on the 'table.
Unfortunately, it's not just a case of getting a great 'table and then putting a great tonearm on it: everyone should get a Decca for the thrill as well as the education! While my Decca so far works best on a Mayware on an AR-XA I've modified, the same Mayware-Decca combination absolutely will not work on a high-mass idler-wheel I built (and there are no vibration problems, I traditionally use low-output MCs on this rig). Which means that the whole thing - weep for us audio hobbyists! - tonearm, cartridge and 'Table, works together as a system, so that the Decca in a unipivot prefers low-mass 'sprung 'tables, in which it outshines all, but otherwise...pffffttt. I would suggest that your experience of the Shure is partly due to your not taking due diligence in setting it/them up, and partly out of one of the aforementioned variables. Every cartridge has a secret combination, a website like this is an opportunity to find out what those combinations are. Thanks for all the info. By the way, the sirens have been calling me to an Empire P10 (or soemthing like that) selling for $140, would you know anything about it? Any info would be much appreciated.
Sadness, I was hoping it would be something special. Thanks, Sean, and by the way, I have an air-bearing also, which of course shines at the imaging thing. And Bro57, there's a very good, very detailed MM on sale here on Audiogon (for somewhere around $70), an Acutex 320LPM fitted with the legendary Shibata stylus: I owned this one - having gotten it NOS for about the same price a while ago - and it sounds beautiful, great bass and absolutely great-sounding with strings. If you'd like to see what an MM can do, then here's your chance to do so on the cheap while you figure things out.
I can't believe anyone would prefer an MM over a good low output MC. Of course you must have a phono stage capable of driving a low output cartridge but there is no comparison. My Madrigal Carnegie is very old but simply makes the Shure V15 sound mechanical in comparison as I said in an earlier post.
Rwwear, tell it to the staff at TAS, who have for the most part mounted the Shure on their $20,000 record players and SME Vs, I assume not because it sounds inferior to the alternatives out there. Perhaps they did not have Carnegies. Like all cartridges, the Shure benefits from an effort to set it up optimally. As your Carnegie (I've owned better MCs) must be run through equipment that will show it to best advantage, so does the Shure, which is a true, world-class cartridge on the cheap. But it's too cheap, and does not fall into the audiophile Dogma that MCs are superior, and must eventually be considered by those who want to get serious in analogue. I've been through that mill ($2000 MCs), and I emerged on the other side with a fresh apppreciation of MMs, and the Shure in particular. And so far, I would say that MMs time better (and the Shure especially) than MCs, I know not why, I just trust my throbbing, pounding heart. And for "telling the truth" and tonal neutrality (secondary issues as far as I'm concerned), nothing, and I mean nothing, even comes close. Perhaps it's the neutrality that's bothering you, then again perhaps you simply did not give it a chance. Then again, different things appeal to us all.
My responses were based on the constraints of the arm being used. Off the top of my head, i don't know any MC cartridges that work optimally in a very low mass pivoted arm.
Other than that, i can understand how someone listening to a good MC cartridge could find the Shure to sound "mechanical". It lacks the flow, air, liquidity and sense of ease that some other cartridges bring with them to a system. Kind of like a professional gliding through a job and an unskilled laborer performing the same task. You may end up with what many might consider nearly the same results, but the amount of speed and finesse displayed obtaining those results is undeniably quite different. Sean
I use an SME sourced Oracle 345 arm and a Micro Seiki 1500 with vacuum platter and air bearing, a Linn Sondek, a Technics SP 10MK-11 and MK-111 and Teac TN-400 pro TT with magnafloat platter. I have various tonearms including a Linn, a Grace 707, Fidelity Research FR-64, and Signet. I use a Counterpoint SA-9 phono stage with slight mods by Mike Elliot. I also have an use an NEW phono stage and Counterpoint SA-3 preamp with phono. I also have in my system at this time an NAD S100 preamp which I have not tried with my TT yet. My speakers are Chario Academy 111Jrs. My amp is a Krell FPB 600. I have also used Fourier OTLs and Audio Research CL 120's and even have a pair of Audionics CC-2's that I keep for back-ups that sound really good.
I am sure you can find fault with my system or my ears. But, I have had almost every brand of audio equipment in my system worth mentioning because I have many friends in the audio business, I am in the audio business and can try almost anything I want and I have been around for a lot longer than I care to mention and have seen and heard a lot. So, I don't care if the Absolute Sound says about the Shure cartridge I prefer to listen for myself.
I don't think the Shure cartridge is bad, it is great for what it is and I don't think the Carnegie is great, I know there are better MCs out there. As I expressed earlier the Carnegie is an old cartridge but I think, as well as most of my friends who have heard it, that it sounds better than the Shure in my system.
I would love for the Shure to be the best there is. I am a Shure dealer and you would be surprised at what I can get them for. But it juat ain't so.
Hey Gang. Any of you remember the sonus blue mounted in the blackwidow or a mayware? Wowza!Set up on an Linn lp-12,It Magic, the airiest and most open sounding MM this guy ever has ever heard[to this very day].Haven't heard anything since that would float instruments or voices on their own cushion of air the way the Blue could! Unfortunately, the styli was so compliant, none of them lasted more than 6 months [even in the Widow.] I remember the guys with sme's and bruer's getting about 50 hours playing time before experiencing the dreaded stylus fatigue.I would really love to hear one today and compare it with the grado reference or the latest sure.At the time, the v15 type 3,or the grado signatures weren't even remotely close to the magic of the sonus blue.
Rwwear, you have fabulous equipment, and I'm sure there's nothing wrong with your ears. I never said or wrote that the Shure is the most detailed, or the most dynamic and all those audiophile goodies that we are all trained to revere. But in terms of neutrality, I will stand by it, as so many others - professional reviewers included - have done. Also, it is pretty good at all that audiophile stuff. But we are trained to look for ever-finer detail and so forth and eventually lose sight of the music. For those who want to look beyond the obvious audiophile obssessions to something difficult to describe, the essence of music, there are components which do it quietly, like the Shure. Do not assume those who follow the Shure path do so based on reviews. In fact the opposite is true, as the Shure has been dissed in the press ever since the first mega-buck MCs appeared - this is the current dogma, we are trained to look elsewhere: Shure afficionados listen for themselves, against prevailing opinion. My mention of TAS (which after years of damning it with faint praise is just rediscovering this gem - due more to a personal audio journey, a changing outlook) is to point out that people with very expensive systems and access to all kinds of audio goodies, just like yourself, choose the Shure. Different strokes for different folks, but the Shure cannot be dismissed as lightly as you do. The Shure camp is listening for different things than you are, evidently: a matter of personal philosophy. As I wrote before to be more constructive: is your Carnegie (which is also used by a member of TAS) a high-compliance cartridge, and if this so, which implies that the better timing I (and many others) hear in MMs as oppposed to MCs is due to their high compliance, is it perhaps time to start building high-compliance MCs again and so further the art? Isn't that what such a forum is for? And Ecclectique, where can I get a Sonus, as I am increasingly interested in MMs of any sort? And Bro57, how's your Rega doing?
Hi. The name is Dave Pogue, but that was taken here at Audiogon, so I'm stuck with initials. Haven't you changed the frame of reference here. Rwwear? I thought the comparison was simply between a new top-line Shure (which you called "mechanical") and an old Carnegie. And the original thread, way back when, was to help a guy choose a cart for his Black Widow. Certainly there are better carts out there, but for this particular application, I still think the Shure, for $200, has a hell of a lot to offer.
Rwwear: from your collection (I also collect 'tables, arms, cartridges) I can see you're open-minded and love analogue as I do. I don't think Dopogue was dissing your system so much as disagreeing with your assessment: I know he has mounted the Shure on a VPI JMW10.5 in a very impressive system like yours. Someone else on this thread went on about liquidness - and having owned a Kiseki Purpleheart Sapphire which had oodles of this - I submit that this is a coloration. And this is where a Shure shines: listen to violins on an MC and then listen to it on a Shure. On MCs violins sound burnished, too "liquid" to be violins. On a Shure it sounds very raspy and meaty, as violins do in life. It was this tiny issue - I was running the Shure on one 'table while running MCs on others - which I noticed and which increasingly drew my attention to it, until I was pretty well completely converted. If you look elsewhere in this forum, you will see that I have a Decca thread going, and so know that different cartridges have different strenghts. I plan on buying a few more MCs soon, as I collect them (I'm a total addict). But if I were forced to choose only one, despite the fact it does not do filigree detail like the better MCs or have the slam of a Decca, I would choose the Shure. One of the reasons is our definition of information. We tend to think only in terms of detail, and though the Shure is respectable here, many beat it. But the rhythmic interactions between the different components of a piece of music - right down to the timing of the rising intensities or softenings of a singer in counterpoint to other instruments - is simply more clearly discernible especially on a Shure, and on MMs in general. First the violins got to me, and then the timing issue. I've been drifting away from the MCs ever since, which while they advance, still do not do the timing thing I can so clearly hear, due to the Shure. Perhaps it simply does not work in your system - hard to believe as you have so many components - but I would be interested to hear if you too hear these two specific things (violins and timing). Perhaps I am dreaming, but I have heard it across many systems, and underground Shure lovers across America hear it as well. There is also that superb tonal correctness, which is important in making obvious what an instrument is. Is your Carnegie high-compliance, or am I confusing it with the Accuphase?
Rwwear; if there really is an issue of mechanical sound in your system using the Shure, there is something I do which does improve resolution (and perhaps "liquidity") quite a lot, something I do with all MMs the moment I get them and so I don't think about it: to glue the removeable stylus in place with three small (very small) dabs of glue: one in the middle (or one top and bottom, depending) and one on each side, while the assembly is fully in place (don't get any inside!). I use fast-drying epoxy-resin, which is more substantial than Crazy Glue, and which means the stylus asssmebly is easily removed come replacement day. All owners of MMs should do this: being standard practice in the days when removeable-stylus MMs were still respected, I think many of us have forgotten now.
Johnnantais, Do you mean the Shure stylus assembly is held rigidly bound in position with the glue, but the glue contact points can be broken by simple pulling away from the cartridge body when it is time to replace a stylus assembly? Do you need to wiggle the stylus assembly to break it free from the glue's grip? If there is a different definition, or meaning, please clarify.
Does the stylus assembly now act solely as a rigid continuation of the cartridge body, or is there some molecular absorption of resonance or vibration at the glue points?
Also, which brand of fast-drying epoxy resin do you use, as there are so many at hobby shops?
I first tried this with the laser assembly of my Cd player, and it works perfectly, preventing me from hearing any of that objectionable CD sound ;>) Now I'm ready to try it on my vinyl rig. If anything more goes wrong, I'll be reduced to FM tuner listening, with my family threatening to optimize that with just a touch of epoxy to the tuning knob!
Actually, thanks for conveying in such detail how you get things done.
I'm not sure about the compliance or not. It was a store demo that I got from a friend. I'll listen to the Shure again soon as I will be installing one in a customer's system. I usually have one of my own but I sold it to a customer that needed it. The SME arm that I have on my main TT is probably more suited to MCs though.
Have you had a chance to listen to the Walcot MM cartridge with the Shibata stylus? I bought some new old stock about a year ago and put one on my SP-10MK11 that I have at the store. But, I haven't listened to it critically in a good system.
Listener57, any "five-minute" glass-epoxy resin will do, but usually the really cheap stuff need not apply. Try to buy something of better quality. And be careful, as some of this stuff is black and some is clear when it cures. I buy the stuff which comes in a double syringe (though sometimes this is cheap and messy; the tubes are cleaner in the long run), which is convenient as it gives you perfect mix - again buy expensive here too. Pick the stuff you like. It all takes 24 hours to cure completely. I like the glass-epoxy because it is substantial unlike Crazy Glue which tends to dissolve plastic and paint and so does fuse the components. The epoxy bridges the gap at the four points (in any MM) in little blobs which turn to glass, thus effectively making the MM a single unit. The blobs are easy to break off with a little screwdriver when the time comes for a new stylus. This makes a huge difference, cleaning up the highs and focusing everything.
Rwwear, I actually haven't heard of the Walcot MMs, but I have a great respect for NOS stuff, as I recently acquired a NOS Supex which is actually superb (livelier than most of the new stuff and with the usual MC strengths), and a NOS Acutex 320 with Shibata stylus that was a true high-end performer which matched the legendary Purpleheart Sapphire in the highs and lows, with a touch of recessed midrange, but at that price, who cares...and it's reproduction of strings (more liquid than water!) was perhaps the best I've ever heard, at least in "liquid" terms. If you have any more, I'd be interested. As to the Shure V15, it was called the "V" apparently because it was designed with the SME V in mind, it's just that people don't normally pair an MM with such an expensive tonearm. I've personally never heard the Shure in a SME, but one of the reviewers at TAS does use it this way. If you do try this, then please report on your findings, at least to me, as I would like to know how it sounds here. The Shure seems to prefer medium-mass over low-mass tonearms, so those Shure engineers do know what they are doing, if they had the SME V in mind. But it really opens up in medium mass unipivots (bearing in mind I haven't heard it in a SME). Keep us posted, and listen to those violins and timing. It's like the imaging thing: you have to get "educated" before you can actually hear the imaging in a stereo, as your mind has not learned to expect this/hear it when a novice. The timing of MMs is like this too: the Shure showed me the way here, but slowly and over time, showing me complex timing relationships I wasn't really aware existed until the violins drew my attention. And once I heard this, I knew it was more important to the music than all those things MCs are traditionally strong at. Like so many reviewers write when reviewing the Shure, "it just sounds right." But they usually attribute this rightness to the tonality, which is only half the story.
By far the best cartridges were the Pritchard designed
Induced magnet and moving cartridges from the late 60s and
70s. Try the original (if you can find it) ADC XLM with
a high compliance or even better, the ADC 25 3-stylus
cartridge - the very highest compliance ever made (120X 10-16 cm/sec) and you can play your records at .5 grams on
the Ol' Widow. If you cannot find these two, the next best
was either the Sonus Blue or Sonus Gold Blue.