Good, Cheap Cartridges

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Cressy Snr
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#1 Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Was prompted to start this list, after receiving yesterday, an E2 replacement needle for my Goldring E-Series, MM cartridge. The E2 is in the middle of the range and is equipped with a 0.6mm conical stylus.

https://shop.mantra-audio.co.uk/acatalo ... tml#SID=18

I’d had the time honoured mishap with the Goldring cart, in E3 (elliptical) guise, of catching the sleeve of my jumper on the underside of the body and had ripped out the cantilever assembly from the cart. :oops: There were a few choice words.

I bought the cheaper conical stylus assembly, because I no longer trust myself either to exactly align a cartridge, or to handle one consistently without some incident occurring sooner or later. My manual dexterity and eyesight are not what they were, so the days of Ortofon Rondo Bronzes and the like, are now gone.

Cutting to the chase: The E2 and the SME 3009 S2 imp, are an excellent match. The conical stylus gives a smooth, easy, soulful, sound, with plenty of weight and a wide soundscape.

At the ends of record sides, the presentation does get softer, as one would expect, but all that means in practice, is that everything smooths out even more, rather than getting coarse. There are no nasty surprises, such as mis-tracking, congestion or sibilance at the inner grooves; which’ll do for me. In actual fact, the tracking is better with this stylus than with the elliptical. It’s up with the AT VM540ML in that department, so no complaints there.

The sins of the E2 cartridge are of omission rather than commission, the E2 being warm, full, weighty and disarmingly musical in its approach to the signal in the groove, rather than being forensic and analytical.

The conical stylus plays my old 1950s and 60s original mono and stereo LPs, way better than anything else I’ve used, which is nice. Surface noise on old records is very low, and the green coloured stylus assembly looks cool.

Anyone else got a favourite cheap cartridge?
(Cue mellotron) I climbed on the back of a giant albatross, which flew through a crack in the clouds to a place where happiness reigned all year round and music played ever so loudly.
Cressy Snr
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#2 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Audio Technica AT-VM95C £29.99.
Astonishingly good cart with conical stylus.
Great for your classic SME arm. Put 1g on with the main counterweight, then another gram with the rider weight and enjoy the music.
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(Cue mellotron) I climbed on the back of a giant albatross, which flew through a crack in the clouds to a place where happiness reigned all year round and music played ever so loudly.
Cressy Snr
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#3 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Something I find particularly impressive is how flat the frequency response is. The treble is neither rolled-off nor exaggerated, and I'm not hearing any particular emphasis or de-emphasis in the other parts of the frequency range either. This is quite an impressive characteristic.

For a £30 cartridge to sound this good, and be this comfortable to listen to straight out of the box, and have such a a good upgrade path... well, all I can say is that Audio-Technica has been VERY good to vinyl returnees like me who can wreck carts just by looking at them. My hands are like shovels and my spatulate fingers seem to have a mind of their own these days. Wreck this and it only costs £21 to replace the needle. I don’t deserve anything more expensive or sophisticated :lol:
(Cue mellotron) I climbed on the back of a giant albatross, which flew through a crack in the clouds to a place where happiness reigned all year round and music played ever so loudly.
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Ali Tait
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#4 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Ali Tait »

I can relate. Set my TT up the other week after three years in storage, managed to trash my Benz Gullwing. :-(
Cressy Snr
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#5 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Ali Tait wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:02 pm I can relate. Set my TT up the other week after three years in storage, managed to trash my Benz Gullwing. :-(
Ulp! :pale:
Last edited by Cressy Snr on Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
(Cue mellotron) I climbed on the back of a giant albatross, which flew through a crack in the clouds to a place where happiness reigned all year round and music played ever so loudly.
steve s
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#6 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by steve s »

I'm halfway through making another plinth to test out my my refurbished decca, life keeps getting in the way
I still like shure m44 snd m55 for a bargain basement, along with the Golding g800.
The tube manual is quite like a telephone book. The number of it perfect. It is useful to make it possible to speak with a girl. But we can't see her beautiful face from the telephone number
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IslandPink
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#7 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by IslandPink »

Ali Tait wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:02 pm I can relate. Set my TT up the other week after three years in storage, managed to trash my Benz Gullwing. :-(
Ooof - far from ideal !
"Peridots and periwinkle, blue medallions Gilded galleons spilled across the ocean floor" ( Mitchell )
Cressy Snr
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#8 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

steve s wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:35 pm I'm halfway through making another plinth to test out my my refurbished decca, life keeps getting in the way
I still like shure m44 snd m55 for a bargain basement, along with the Golding g800.
Aye, the M55E is a nice cartridge.
(Cue mellotron) I climbed on the back of a giant albatross, which flew through a crack in the clouds to a place where happiness reigned all year round and music played ever so loudly.
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Ali Tait
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#9 Re: Good, Cheap Cartridges

Post by Ali Tait »

IslandPink wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 6:50 pm
Ali Tait wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:02 pm I can relate. Set my TT up the other week after three years in storage, managed to trash my Benz Gullwing. :-(
Ooof - far from ideal !
Those were not quite the words that came out..
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