Nagaoka MP-500 for a full and chunky sound, Ortofon 2m Black for a brighter sound. Also have a look at Soundsmith and Clearaudio.
19 responses Add your response
I agree with Schubert. You can spend a lot of money buying various cartridges and just wind up with different flavors of the same sound. But you might want to buy a 440 MLa replacement stylus. The ML stylus is a little brighter than the MLa. This would give you that 'change' that we all occasionally look for and not cost you much money to do so.
BTW: Welcome to our community!
I think the Soundsmith offerings at or below the $500 level might please you, but so too would any number of vintage MM cartridges, made by Acutex, Grace, Nagaoka, AT, Signet, Grado, Astatic, AKG, etc., and for well under $500, probably under $300. At those prices you can often find top of the line vintage MMs. A Clearaudio cartridge, purchased new, would not have nearly as much bang for the buck, IMO.
Flieb, serious question.
I'm not a rocker but I did sell a lot of hi-fi in the 70's.
My memory is that saying rock pressings of that area were lousy would be kind.
I agree a 150MLX stylus would be a big jump if you were playing Brahms on a minty Erato or Phillips .
Do you really think it would do anything on vintage rock?
with your very cool set up, I would suggest a Shure V15 VxMR. If you can find the body only with no stylus even better. You will want to replace the stylus with a new stylus from JICO of Japan.
This is a great combo, and a great cartridge needle combo. I bought one for a vintage table, and sold the table but kept the Shure and use it all of the time.
It's a great cartridge for rock music. Tons of weight and impact to the music.
I think it's more like a certain type of music from a particular era, might be better served with something else?
In this case I don't agree, depending on what change 33off is looking for. I bought a lot of rock LP's in the late '60 and '70's. Many of them had good SQ. Seems to me an early pressing of Elton John, James Taylor, Hendrix, and many others were pretty good. The ones that are too bright will also sound better with that stylus, as will most copies with wear.
I have a 440ML OCC. I used to load it at 32K to get a balanced sound. With an ATN150MLX it smooths out like a baby's ass and it's back to 47K. Sure, you get all kinds of detail, harmonics, layering etc that's great for acoustic music, and for rock I'd still rather have it than not.
The 440/MLX will sound more like a 160ML than a 150MLX.
The point is, 33off already has the 440 and seems to like it? It's so much better for $200, why not?
That Pioneer looks like a decent arm w/removable headshell. If 33 wants something more forgiving or mellow or a mono cart, he can always swap.
I think what it comes down to is my inexperience with a variety of cartridges. So I don't really know what I don't know. I am not sure that my 440MLa is the right cart for my current setup. While I said I listen mostly to classic rock...I lean more to the acoustical side; not the heavy metal. Going to the 150mlx my be a good starting point. I've also been reading about the Clearaudio V2's. They seem to have constantly good reviews.
Pardon me for speaking of you in the third person, but I was trying to make a point. What I'm suggesting is not getting a 150MLX, rather using that stylus on your 440. They're interchangeable. The result might be greater than the sum of the parts. For the past 30 yrs or so, I listen to acoustic jazz almost exclusively, and the 440 with a 150 stylus is really good.
With a removable headshell it's relatively easy to swap cartridges if you have a shell for each cart. Once it's aligned and mounted, to swap carts all you need to do is rebalance. You might want a mono cart for those type records and maybe others with a different sound or presentation. You already have the 440, why not see what it can do and take it from there?
Greetings 35off, You have a great and somewhat rare turntable and arm combo that's in the top of the vintage direct drive class. I have had the same PLC590 table and PA 1000 carbon fiber arm in my system since 1980 and mine are still going strong. The only complaint I have is that the arms two set screws for the post make it nearly impossible to change VTA on the fly.
Both Flieb and Bdp24 above are giving advice that I would strongly agree with. If I were going to try an new MM type cart right now, I would give the Soundsmith Carmen very serious consideration. I heard its predecessor at an audio demo in Atlanta by Soundsmith a few years ago and was gob smacked at the level of clarity and detail. I have run a number of carts on my arm and table over the years, started with the Micro Acoustics 2002e, a Dynavector Ruby with step up amp, then the AT OC9, and recently the AT 150MLX mounted into a vintage Supex head shell. However, currently my best, most detailed sound is coming from an Ortofon OM10 cartridge body with a stylus and cantilever rebuilt with a line contact stylus by EXPERT STYLUS in the UK; that cart is mounted in a vintage Adcom "Skeleton" style head shell with Litz wire leads. My phono pre is a MS Phonomena II feeding into an Anthem D1 pre/pro, feeding a Cary Cinema 5 amp that's feeding a pair of Salk Sound V3 loudspeakers.
I also, have a JVC QL50 with Premier MMT arm in my upstairs system that is running an Ortofon 2m Bronze in a Jelco headshell that I really like. I have not yet tried it in my PLC590/PA 1000 setup, because I am so satisfied with the OM10 body with upgraded stylus retip.