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£500-600 MC suggestions

Discussion in 'audio' started by matt j, Jul 1, 2017.

  1. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    Enjoying vinyl enough to justify a cart upgrade, currently using an Ortofon VMS20 II into a Lehman Black Cube SE which has great versatility and sounds great to my ears.

    So bearing in mind the budget what should I be looking at? Arm is a 3009 S2 Improved so I presume something light and compliant is the order of the day.

    How do the Ortofon MCs stack up in this price range? Some of the Denons are well in budget also but no idea how one sounds, not been mad keen on Dyna carts previously, any AT carts fit the bill? apart from that I'm open to suggestions, not into an overly warm/ploddy presentation that some consider "analogue sounding".
  2. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    A fairly typical 7-11gm cartridge certainly needs a compliance in the high teens ideally (unless it's the earlier Series 11, not the S2 arm in which case it IS light and needs a 6-10 gm cart in the mid 20's compliance).
    MM's are probably out then, so I think you might check out the Hana EL. It's certainly light enough at 5 gms, but I can't find a compliance figure for it. VERY good sound for the money tho. Zu's 103 is far too massy. I'd be guessing (I ran an MC30s) that the Ortofon Quintet black would be a slight improvement over the 20 your running now, but that IS a guess. It's not such a mechanicaly good match as your 20 tho.
    The AT-OC9 111 matches well and gets well reviewed.
    Hope that helps.
  3. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

  4. KeithL

    KeithL pfm Member

    The biggest bang for your buck is to upgrade your arm. I went from a 3009 S2 Improved to a Jelco 750D. My Goldring 1042 sounds so much better in the Jelco, so good that I frequently play the Goldring rather than my new AT33PTG/11.
  5. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    Hanas...to add they're silly priced at under £500 but really don't sound like that...more 6-700 I thought.
    Anyway I found compliance at 20 so, perfect for any 3009 improved.
    The low outputs EL and SL vary only in stylus profile The S is Shibata, digging more detail, but the EL is likely to be quieter on worn recordings. Both need a loading over 37 ohms. 100 ish will be perfect.
  6. slawekt

    slawekt pfm Member

    Where is that figure coming from ?
    Hana low output have internal impedance of 30ohm and should be loaded >8x, something from 200ohm up
  7. pil

    pil pfm Member

  8. lennyw

    lennyw Still throwing Eephus pitches

    I just ordered a Benz Ace S MC cart for a little under £700. Highly rated, though can't yet comment (will be using on Gyro with 3009).
  9. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    no you're right....to hurried and looked at the internal resistance figure. 400 Ohms or thereabouts according to the makers stats chart.
  10. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    Second the Benz Ace (SL in my case). Ran one quite happily on my SME20 before I got into Koetsus.
  11. slawekt

    slawekt pfm Member

    400ohm is a good starting point ,
    Hana is a good match for 3009 s2 improved arm ,
    another cart to consider would be Zyx R50 but it requires extra weight added to the headshell and prices gone up lately from £500 to £800 for mk3.
    Benz as mentioned earlier would be very good choice
  12. hifi_dave

    hifi_dave Hi-Fi Retailer

    Hana or Rega Ania.
  13. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    You rate the Ania then Dave? How does it compare to the Exact?
  14. hifi_dave

    hifi_dave Hi-Fi Retailer

    Like a good MC, it does the imagery better. Both are very fast and dynamic with 'body'.
  15. Howdy

    Howdy pfm Member

    I've finally made a conclusion AT33PTG/II is all the cart I'll ever need.
    That's after trying Ortofon Cadenza Red, DV 10x5 etc.
    I've also had AT OC9ML/II (different beast from OC9/III).

    I also wanted to try Hana - hard to escape quite aggressive pushing from some dealers... but after reading some user's reviews, I've decided, it's not really worth the gamble. Hana being described as more full bodied and warmer than 33PTG - but I get all the body and warmth I need from 33PTG, any more would be just too much.

    I also liked OC9ML/II very much, it may be analytically even better, or better in some hi-fi aspects (it's by no means clinical or anything, it's really good), but when I installed 33PTG/II... well it just feels like home. It's pure joy.


    P.S. From compliance/weight point of view AT33PTG/II should suit your tonearm as good as any MC could.
  16. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Cheers Dave. I do like the Exact, so might give the Ania a go when the time comes.
  17. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    The 33PTG is definitely on the list. How does it compare with the comparable Ortofon equivalent? I must admit I'm tempted to stick with Ortofon but there's so many top options out there it's hard to come to any sort of conclusion.

    I'm not sure about the Hana, they seem to be flavour of the moment and I'm always wary about fad products and the like.

    Any of the Denons worth a punt, DL301/304 etc? No idea what they sound like.
  18. FireMoon

    FireMoon pfm Member

    It's a tad unfair to characterise the Hana as a fad given that the company behind them Excel Sound Organisation, have been quietly manufacturing cartridges for other companies for 50 odd years. They've been making moving coils for 40 years and there's a good chance many have used their products unaware it was a actually a rebadged Excel.
  19. Gromit

    Gromit Plasticine Dog

    I've owned a Hana EL for a few months now, finding it a very fine cartridge indeed. Nothing earth-shattering but just gets on with the job Just Fine. However with the Hana range's recent price rises (way above inflation and the £/$/Yen exchange) they're entering the territory of some very fine cartridges indeed and imho not the bargains they were at the start. The EL isn't that great for supressing surface noise either - it's a darn sight noisier than my old DL110. Oh- the Hana does need plenty of load - 400 ohms at least, preferably more.

    For 600 quid I'd probably go for a Benz SL - in fact when my Hana wears out (having had a Benz before) I'll most likely go for another one.
  20. tenpercenter

    tenpercenter Don't ya rile 'em.....

    Audio Technica AT33-PTG/II is a great cartridge for £450 in the UK. It is so well balanced and responds to improvements in your system.

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