More info. The stock cartridge is an ADC QLM32MkIII, definitely a budget cartridge. Is a Moving Coil cartridge like the Denon 130 or 130R out of the question for this TT?
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The Denon 103 is probably too low in compliance for the somewhat light arm in the BSR, and the appropriate phono stage with loads of gain would be needed as well. The Denon DL110 and DL160 high output moving coils might be a good match though. They can both be sourced at the William Thakker shop on E-Bay. How about a nice Ortofon OM-10 or OM-20, $60.00 and $119.00 respectively, inclusive of shipping from www.jacksmusicfactory.com. J&R Music World is a bit more expensive on the 20, but a couple of bucks less on the 10. They match well with the arm and can be upgraded later for only the cost of a new stylus. In the end though, I would go to my local dealer, who has the gear to properly set-up a cartridge. An inexpensive cartridge, well aligned, will be competitive with an expensive cartridge that is not and it will protect your biggest investment, your budding LP collection.
I think that you are WAY over-estimating the capabilities of the BSR and wanting to spend too much on a cartridge for this arm. Having said that, i would second Viridian's recommendation of the Ortofon Super OM-10 or Super OM-20.
If you were to start off with the Super OM-10, which would probably be a good bet, you can easily upgrade the performance of the cartridge / phono system by replacing the stylus with that of the Super OM-30 at a later date. Ortofon was smart in setting these cartridges up this way, allowing one to minimize their initial investment and upgrade gradually should they feel the need.
Using this approach, you can get started with playing vinyl. It also keeps your costs down at this point in time. You can put the money that you saved towards a better vinyl rig. On top of this, you'll have plenty of time to decide whether or not your like the basic Ortofon OM sound enough to upgrade in that line or go elsewhere. This approach also takes into account that you may end up with a different tonearm that is better suited for a lower output / higher mass cartridge. Sean
Dear Ait: I agree with Viridian. The BSR tonearm " likes " a high compliance cartridge, the 103 is a low compliance one and it is not the best match.
You could go for the Ortofon, Audio Technica, Empire and maybe a Grado. You don't have to go for an entry MM cartridge you could buy a good one that you can use it ( too ) when you up-grade your TT/tonearm, in this way you could enjoy the music today and tomorrow.
The MM cartridges are really good and many of them outperform the MC counterparts and in many ways compete " bis a bis " with the best MC ones.
Btw, right now you can buy through e-bay a remote control for your BSR TT: take a look.
Regards and enjoy the music.
I would suggest that you do not. Please allow me to explain why. Extreme stylus shapes, like the one on the OM-40 are analagous to a screwdriver head, thin and with sharp edges to the sides, a standard elliptical stylus, as found on the OM-20, is more oval shaped. With the extreme cuts, if the arm is not at exactly at the correct height, the edges of the stylus do not meet the groove completely flatly, this can actually recut the grooves compromising record life as well as shortening stylus life. Unfortunately, the BSR does not allow this height adjustment, though there are Mickey Mouse ways of changing the angle of the cartridge in the vertical plane, with shims, they are quite imprecise. The OM-20 has an elliptical stylus and the edges are rounder where they meet the grooves, this means that they are much less critical of this vertical tracking angle adjustment and will be a better bet. My experience would suggest an elliptical or conical stylus on this rig. Not a MicroRidge, Van Den Hul or Fine Line. One more proof that you may need the guidance of a good dealer more than you think. Just my two cents.
Whatever you choose, keep an eye on the output voltage. the Chenin has a very flexible gain structure, but I would stay away from high output carts. Anything at 2.5 mV or up will overload the phono stage and result in a disappointing experience. I would avoid MM's altogether as Mick voices the phono stage for MC. It can drive even the lowest output MCs, but seems to function best in the .25 - .8mV range. If you are looking for a temporary solution, look for a used Dynavector 20X (low or high output). It's considered to be a "medium" compliance cart, and even the high output version is within the tolerance of the gain settings on the Chenin. IMHO an MM, any MM, with the Chenin would be a mistake.
OK, what about the Grado Statement Platinum? It is an MI type, not MC, but the output is 0.5mV (right in the Chenin's optimum range), it is fairly high compliance (20 CU), it is affordable ($300), it has an elliptical stylus, and it has gotten very good reviews. Sounds like a good fit considering I really don't want to buy a megabuck MC cartridge for this turntable.
That sounds like a really good choice, a couple of alternatives are the Denon 301 MK 2 available from www.audiocubes.com. It is a fairly high compliance MC with .4mv output and elliptical stylus. Weight is only 6G which is fairly light as well. The Benz Gold MC, available from www.needledoctor.com is another alternative that may interest you.
OK. Based on the fact that it seems like the best bang-for-the-buck at $259.00, it is a true MC design, it has the correct compliance and an elliptical stylus, and the few reviews I've found have been good, I'm going with the Denon 301 MK 2 cartridge. Thanks to all who have helped me here, I've really learned a lot in the last 2 days!