what cartridge?

I am relatively new to returning to vinyl. I was lucky enough to purchase a Music Hall mmf-7 here on audiogon several months ago in great condition at a great price with a goldring eroica H installed. Unfortunately, I broke the cantilever a couple days ago and am already missing my daily vinyl "fix." Complicating matters (other than my obsessiveness) is the divergence of information I get from different sources. Salespeople at even the most rputable of sources seem to have their own agenda - N*********** pushes Ortofon, G**** pushed Benz, A**** A****** pushes clearaudio, etc giving me the feeling perhaps that the mark-up may be different at the different vendors - or perhaps I am just skeptical?

In any case, I am getting a headache trying to sort out my best options and look to you all, who have served me well thus far in my audio journey, to help navigate.

My current system:

Music Hall mmf-7
Jolida JD9 phono pre-amp (which I love)
Benchmark DAC1pre
Parasound Halo A21 power amp (occasionally switched out with my Jolida 302 tube integrated)
Snell b minor speakers (of which I have become quite fond)

Options thus far considered:

Trade in damaged Goldring Eroica for either another H or, more likely LX (either would be new - $288)

Repair Goldring through soundsmith ($150 - $350 depending upon repair/mod)

AT95E with a "Shibata" tip ($130) which I have heard will strongly resemble the clearaudio virtuoso (of course without the wood body) due to the fact that the virtuoso body is based upon the AT95 body.

Clearaudio virtuoso (around $450 used)

Benz line - I have looked at all from the Micro MC-20e2-L ($215) to the Glider-S ($600 factory rebuilt) The lower priced MC20e2 is intriguing not only because of its price but because of some of the wonderful reviews.

Currently, I am leaning toward the AT150MLX because of a couple raving (and seemingly objective) reviews and its impressive specs at the price point ($300 with boron cantilever and microline stylus)

I am willing to pay up to $600 or so - but see no reason to pay that much if there is not a significant bump in quality.

I listen to all music (except rap, "easy listening" or country) but primarily jazz and classical. A rich tone, clarity, dynamic range and a wide soundstage are thus important to me.

Thanks for your help!! I look forward to your responses,

A new "vinyl junkie".
The biggest issue facing you is getting it mounted.
If you have the skills and a software program to get it aligned. then great. If you do not, then I would look for someone in your area to sell you a cart and correctly mount it.
The following is total heresy, and may get me burned at the stake, but I am (nearly) fearless:
It IS possible to just 'sort of' stick it on there and fiddle a bit til' it sounds ok. But if you are in any way obsessive about it. get it done by a pro, or get the tools to do it yourself.
I confess I CAN (and will) toss a $100 cart on a used $30. (Goodwill Dual) TT and if it seems good enough.. then that is all I am gonna do. but that is just me.
As for brands... Pick your price, read the reviews, and buy one. It ain't rocket science at under a couple thou for a cart.
If your phono has enough gain, 60db at least, then I would buy a Denon 103-R. It's a giant killer for the price.
Coming back from a long cartridge,I will recommend returning to whence you came.Or speak with a dealer about the Goldring line.Only take this advice if you enjoyed the original set-up.You may get something better,but you may not.It is always a spin of "the wheel of fortune".You pays your money and you takes your chances.
Long cartridge "quest",I think faster than I can type.&-)
I have the same table purchased new with the Goldring Eroica cart. After replacing it with a Dynavector 10x5 I realized what I have been missing. The 10x5 has clear wide soundstage with terrific mids and steady low ends. I cant recommend this cart enough on this table. Compared to the Goldring it is like a veil had been lifted off the music.I dont think the Eroica is a good match at all for this table.
The table/arm combo is sold through a number of on-line dealers.You might take a look at the pairings offered.The Dyna mentioned above and possibly the Sumiko Evo/Blackbird is another to consider.Also researching this through the AudioGon members systems might yield some other combos.
In the search window (AG),first page-type in "mmf-7" and go to the "systems" section.I am sure that the members found would be willing to assist.
Take all of the pain out of your life, get a Shure 97. I know, it is too cheap to really provide good sound. That is until you actually hear it. I have, and it is the best value in the under $500 category. I have many cartridges, including $2K ones. What to have to lose? Only a closed mind. This cartridge will give you some mounting experience and put you on the road to a great vinyl experience.
Thanks to all for your advice. It is appreciated. I am considering all. Thanks again.
I don't know I would go too crazy spending $$ on a cartridge given your TT. Very Good TT, but just balance the cartridge cost w/your other components. And like someone else asked--can you install the cartridge yourself?

Maybe just pick a price limit--$200-$300--from a local dealer dealer who'll do a good job mounting it--?
You need to consider what price level your system can support to justify the expense and then research that price-point. I would stay away from a "shibata" as this design will eat up your vinyl since it has 2 sharp longitudinal edges, one on either side that literally "scrape" the groove. Set up right they're the best, however at the expense of the record. The apparatus used to align the cartridge is so simple, you could easily make one out of cardboard. You need a roughly 4x5in. piece. Press a hole for. the spindle with a pen or pencil, a little too small. Now push it onto the spindle to the mat. Draw a line out from the exact center of the spindle to the outer edge of the cardboard. Now make a mark on that line at the half-way point of tone-arm travel ie: half-way between the spindle and the outer edge of a record. Puncture that point with a needle for the stylus to fall into. Draw a grid parallel and perpendicular to your original line, surrounding the spot you punctured. Install your cartridge so that it is just snug, loose enough to move it around. With the stylus in the hole the body of the cartridge must be aligned with the grid. This is trial and error. Don't try to align it with the stylus sitting in the hole, but simply take note of it's relative location, lift it, move it, and set it back down again and so on till it's in place. Now tighten the screws- firmly- 1/4 turn after snug. Be extremely precise as the retrieval of information depends on it. This coupled with precise rake-angle will yield very linear life-like sound. Granted your anti-skate adjustment must also be precise. I would do this by listening if possible.
The best thing that ever happened to my mmf-7 was when the stylus fell off the Goldring. I have used the Soundsmith smm2 ($500-600) and the ortofon m20fl super($180).Both are very good with the m20fl being my favorite.

Dear Erfmd: I agree with Acman3, the Ortofon M20FL Super is a great cartridge and better than we can imagine till we try it.

IMHO is better performer than any of the other cartridges name it in this thread.

You can see it here: http://cgi.ebay.com/Ortofon-M20FL-Super-MM-cartridge-M-20-FL-Super-NOS_W0QQitemZ120492170569QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0de49d49#ht_2634wt_973

and other than the opinion of Danny you can read here about:

Regards and enjoy the music,
Thanks to everyone who has responded. I genuinely appreciate all the advice.

I ended up purchasing a Benz ACE from a local dealer who was going out of business at a price I could not pass up. I installed it a couple evenings ago and was OK with it (but did not have time that evening to properly align,etc.)

I have since aligned and adjusted and proper installation certainly makes a huge difference! So far I am pleased - an improvement over the goldring for sure. Waiting for it to fully break in and make further "fine tunes" to adjustments.

Thanks again!!

BTW, what do you all think of the Hi-Fi News Test Record. Is it a worthwhile investment?

A newbie vinyl junkie.
P.S. I AM enjoying the music!
The mmf-7 and JD9 combination is a good one. (I used that combo for years.) And the Ace should compliment it well. (It's one I considered.) If you want a great cartridge alignment protractor to use, try Conrad Hoffman's "TemplateGen" arc protractor. It can be downloaded and printed onto a good quality heavy matte or photo paper. It's versatile and easy to use. And free. Be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully and you can't go wrong. The webpage is:


Have fun!

So far, after everything adjusted, I am very happy with the Benz Ace. Much superior to the Goldring. Thanks to all for your suggestions.