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Best value MM cartridge upgrade


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Hi all,

I am looking at updating the cartridge on the my Audio Technica  LP120 TT.  The stock cartridge AT95E is OK but am keen to try something different without changing anything else.  I have a great amp and speakers that will handle as much detail as a better stylus and cart can produce.

 

Any ideas?? 

 

PS: I am leaning towards Nagaoka PM-200 after reading and hearing reviews

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In terms of "best value" upgrade, perhaps read the topic on potting cartridges. 

Keeping the AT95 and "potting" it (ie, filling it with wax or glue).  For a few dollars it reportedly improves the quality significantly, bringing the humble cart in the range of cart's costing hundreds more than the AT95.  (similar reports from potting it can be found on other forums as well).

 

Further improvements can be obtained from some of the new AT95 styli (they come in a range of shapes), however, these will need to be trimmed to fit the old AT95 body.  The best value, indeed!

 

 

You are welcome to try other carts if you prefer, but don't throw out your AT95!  

 

 

Edited by audiofeline
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Thanks for the suggestion. Very interesting!  I am not that game at this stage to try something like this but you never know.. maybe one day.  I really an keen on the Nagaoka MP-200 but with the current value of the AUD it is bloody expensive.. :( 

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I agree with others about trying a better stylus...

Try a Jico HE or an LP Gear Shibata.

 

Nagaoka are lovely cartridges.. more on the smoother/neutral side of things than detail Kings. 

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I added a JICO hyper elliptical stylus to my AT95... in a word...wow!  I no longer listen to my moving coil its that good.  I have also put it in a wood body. I have posted this vinyl rip on YouTube, see what you think?

 

 

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5 minutes ago, nkoulban said:

I added a JICO hyper elliptical stylus to my AT95... in a word...wow!

Same reaction when I changed mine to a Vividline stylus from LPGear.   That has led me to my a VM95ML.  Superb!

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22 hours ago, Hawk66 said:

Sounds fantastic! I’ll have to do some research now on the jico styluses ?

I have also loaded it via RCAs with soldered in resistors (36K ohm loaded at 150K ohm)... this sweetens the tonal balance for me.

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Any suggestions on the best outlets to buy Jico stylus for AT95?  There is only a couple that pop up online for the hyper elliptical..Preferably a place in Melbourne..

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13 minutes ago, Hawk66 said:

Now I am also keen to get rid of the preamp from the at-Lp120. Just not that keen on doing it myself 

What? Take it out you mean?

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Installed the Jico hyper elliptical stylus today and as nkoulban said WoW.. I am  glad I listened to his and Douglas HI-FIs advice.. huge difference...thanks for the tip! ?

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23 hours ago, Hawk66 said:

Installed the Jico hyper elliptical stylus today and as nkoulban said WoW.. I am  glad I listened to his and Douglas HI-FIs advice.. huge difference...thanks for the tip! ?

Good choice  :)

 

Just wait to get around 50 hours of use to break in the suspension - then you will really be hearing what your system is capable of  :)

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 16/10/2019 at 7:10 PM, Hawk66 said:

Installed the Jico hyper elliptical stylus today and as nkoulban said WoW.. I am  glad I listened to his and Douglas HI-FIs advice.. huge difference...thanks for the tip! ?

I'm glad you are enjoying your AT95 cart, I know I am.  I have also just posted a vinyl needle drop of a Dire Straits track using this cart and stylus.

 

 

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13 hours ago, nkoulban said:

I'm glad you are enjoying your AT95 cart, I know I am.  I have also just posted a vinyl needle drop of a Dire Straits track using this cart and stylus.

 

 

Ahh....the magic of Moving Magnet!??

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Just a note on AT cartridges

They are generally underrated 

I have Stanton 681 EEE, Grado Black and Blue and the top one of about 20 years ago, Shure v15 IIII, At VM95E and AT 

150MLX.

I have had MCs as well as many others Grace,Ortofon etc. etc.

The ATs are up with the best of them

The advice is good going to a ML or Shibata on the 95.

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17 hours ago, nkoulban said:

I'm glad you are enjoying your AT95 cart, I know I am.  I have also just posted a vinyl needle drop of a Dire Straits track using this cart and stylus.

 

 

Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed the 'needle drop' and your video editing skills. 

May I ask what software do you use for editing? 

PS: You got a new sub :-)

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On 31/12/2019 at 3:56 PM, Willmax said:

Thanks for sharing this, I enjoyed the 'needle drop' and your video editing skills. 

May I ask what software do you use for editing? 

PS: You got a new sub ?

Thank you for the kind words.  Just checked out your channel, very cool.

 

I use a DSLR with a 50mmm F1.4 lens for the video, iMovie for video editing and Audacity for the audio recording via an Xtel Inport.

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On 31/12/2019 at 2:07 PM, Colin Rutter said:

Just a note on AT cartridges

They are generally underrated 

I have Stanton 681 EEE, Grado Black and Blue and the top one of about 20 years ago, Shure v15 IIII, At VM95E and AT 

150MLX.

I have had MCs as well as many others Grace,Ortofon etc. etc.

The ATs are up with the best of them

The advice is good going to a ML or Shibata on the 95.

I wonder could you offer some thoughts on the At150MLX - i always thought i wanted one. I runs DL110 now. I also have an AT95E but hardly used.

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On 30/12/2019 at 10:44 PM, nkoulban said:

I'm glad you are enjoying your AT95 cart, I know I am.  I have also just posted a vinyl needle drop of a Dire Straits track using this cart and stylus.

 

 

Different body to mine, which is in the pic on the first page. My cantilever sticks out prominently in the front. I cut the plastic body away and just use'd the plug.  I have the VL stylus .

thumbnail_IMG_5776.jpg.d395c65448f06db79a4629c374ae9253.jpg

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11 hours ago, JPete9 said:

I wonder could you offer some thoughts on the At150MLX - i always thought i wanted one. I runs DL110 now. I also have an AT95E but hardly used.

I can't offer thoughts really other than I like it. 

The tech. behind it is interesting but "the proof of the pudding is in the eating"

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16 hours ago, Colin Rutter said:

I can't offer thoughts really other than I like it. 

The tech. behind it is interesting but "the proof of the pudding is in the eating"

I have listened to the AT150MLX, its a good cart.  I find it a little bright, but that can be tamed with with a bit of parallel resistive loading. I think the new VM740ML may be a more balanced sounding, however, I have not heard it.  I'm also keen to try the LP Gear The Vessel R3SM, this runs a microline stylus on a ruby cantilever, however, at around $1,000 AUD its more than I want to pay right now.  The reason I went with the AT95 with the Jico Hyperelliptical was to get to a good level of performance without spending too much.  My modded AT95 owes me $250, however, it is so good that I no longer listen to my $1,000 moving coil and it has the lowest surface noise of all of the carts I have used.

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On 03/01/2020 at 7:43 PM, JPete9 said:

I wonder could you offer some thoughts on the At150MLX - i always thought i wanted one. I runs DL110 now. I also have an AT95E but hardly used.

I also use the DL-110 myself, for the money I think it is good value. Have not felt the need to upgrade. I have a DL-103 which I seldom use as I've got a feeling it does not match well with the MC loading from my current amplifiers.

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On 03/01/2020 at 8:13 PM, JPete9 said:

I wonder could you offer some thoughts on the At150MLX - i always thought i wanted one. I runs DL110 now. I also have an AT95E but hardly used.

Have a read of this Kavi Alexander describes the ML-170 as very close to the sound of the master tape.

 

http://www.regonaudio.com/Stanton881AudioTechnicaATML70.html

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10 hours ago, Willmax said:

I also use the DL-110 myself, for the money I think it is good value. Have not felt the need to upgrade. I have a DL-103 which I seldom use as I've got a feeling it does not match well with the MC loading from my current amplifiers.

 

What loadings do your current phono stages offer, W?

 

Specs for the D103 say:

  • output impedance 40 ohms - by which I understand to mean the coil impedance is 40 ohms.
  • load impedance 100 ohms - which I take to be the minimum  you should use!  So anything from 100 ohms to 4K ohms (100x coil impedance!) is feasible, as the optimum loading.

 

Andy

 

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9 hours ago, Warren Jones said:

Have a read of this Kavi Alexander describes the ML-170 as very close to the sound of the master tape.

 

http://www.regonaudio.com/Stanton881AudioTechnicaATML70.html

That was the 70, not the 170.

Review was done 30 years ago.

Note which cartridge I own?

Edited by Wimbo
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