Author Topic: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??  (Read 157 times)

Offline S Clark

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Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« on: October 01, 2018, 04:53:50 PM »
In theory, where do you get the most bang for the buck?   Half and half? 
I lean toward spending more on the cartridge.  33% 67%
Where do you think the best break down is? 
Forget the measurements, are your toes tapping???

Offline Nick B

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 05:13:13 PM »
IMHO, it all starts with the quality of the table and the ability of the table to deliver accurate speed, so I would spend more on the turntable...67 to 33
ICEpower 1200as2 stereo amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Border Patrol SE dac
Auralic Aries Mini
Roon & Tidal
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline S Clark

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 05:42:19 PM »
OK, but accurate speed is actually pretty cheap.  A three hundred dollar quartz lock DD JVC or four hundred dollar Denon will hold rock steady.  Shoot  there was a Victor TT-81 that had no takers on ebay at $399 (I was sooooo tempted).
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 06:06:14 PM by S Clark »
Forget the measurements, are your toes tapping???

Offline Folsom

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2018, 06:17:20 PM »
There are sub $200 carts that IMO are very worthy with minor no-skill mods. The TT is what needs to be good. But likely need some mods.

Example, do you recall ChairGuy? Getting non-hardening modeling clay and packing a TT plinth with it where possible is a big deal. A good working mat system is a big deal. And just as big of a deal is properly setting up the cart.

Also IMO the powercable to the TT needs conditioning. That's a massively underlooked thing. On cheaper TT's it REALLY matters. A shielded power cable would be wise as well, but not common obviously.

Are you asking for a friend, or looking yourself?

Offline S Clark

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2018, 06:36:41 PM »
Absolutely I remember John, TCG.  We talked many times, and I still have a a JVC QL-F6 filled with clay per his instructions...and it still is a better table than the Technics 1200 series (maybe not the overpriced newer version). 
I suspect a well designed DD with a killer cartridge is the best sound combination over a VPI scout with an Ortofon Red. 
Forget the measurements, are your toes tapping???

Offline S Clark

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2018, 06:38:55 PM »


Are you asking for a friend, or looking yourself?
Actually, I'm just stirring the pot a bit to see how people see this issue.  Just curiousity. 
Forget the measurements, are your toes tapping???

Offline Folsom

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2018, 06:52:54 PM »
I think the VPI's could be better if they had mass. They don't. You need to operate a belt driven platter like a flywheel. It should weigh enough that you want help from a friend, ideally. Short of that I think DD/idler makes more sense. In that case a little decoupling and a little mat care goes forever.

Wimpy platters on belt driven things sound bad IMO. I haven't the slightest reservation in telling people low priced Rega's and Music Halls are bad choices. (I know, I used them for a long time)

Mat choice is the number one thing ignored that people underestimate. I used a herbies for awhile and it is better than felt, but it's still simply not good IMO. Herbies is for sale, $40 shipped...  :rofl: ($70 new)

Scott, get a cheap piece of cork from Home Depot, it could be off of one of their plant turntable things (mine is, the fancy stuff isn't as good that is too finely dense). Cut it smaller than the lip of the LP. Don't worry if it's a ragged edge, that's a good thing. Now put it on top of the stock JVC mat. Your record won't slip at all. Now Raise the VTA till it sounds good on a few records. There are numerous reasons why cork works well, especially on top of the rubber. No record weight... I hate them. What cart are you using?

The cheaper carts need the plastic stylus guards taken off. Then if they're the "box" style apply no-rez with foam removed on the board surfaces. Now when you insert it into the cart, if it has the slightly bit of play, use a tiny piece of paper to edge it tight. You can make something cheap sound kickass this way.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 06:55:31 PM by Folsom »

Offline S Clark

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2018, 07:17:58 PM »
A few years back we did a mat shootout at the local record store, using the very same JVC QL-F6.  Cork, stock, heavy rubber, Herbies, and some other aftermarket were compared. Herbies was the consensus choice.  But we didn't stack Herbies on top  or cork on top of stock.  Don't know if I even still have the stock mat. 
Herbie's was first, cork second, stock, then heavy rubber.  Don't remember the other mat.  Rubber sucked all the life out of the upper end of the music. 
The cartridge is usually a Dynavector 10x5, but current has a Sumiko Blackbird in it.  Sometimes, it has an Ortofon Quintet blue. 
Forget the measurements, are your toes tapping???

Offline Nick B

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2018, 07:57:30 PM »
I have little experience with turntables. My Basis has been mothballed for 20+ years. I am a big believer in excellent machining and I hardly ever find info on machining tolerances. Of course, vibration control as well. If I ever get the analog rig going again...with a different turntable....those would be my priorities. I know a few guys who had relatively inexpensive carts and got excellent results.
As to that Basis, itís going up for sale soon.
ICEpower 1200as2 stereo amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
KEF LS 50 speakers
Border Patrol SE dac
Auralic Aries Mini
Roon & Tidal
Don Sachs phono
Basis Ovation turntable
Graham 1.5 T tonearm
AT-ML150 cartridge
PI Audio Uber
All cables by Gary A

Offline Folsom

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2018, 09:35:02 PM »
A few years back we did a mat shootout at the local record store, using the very same JVC QL-F6.  Cork, stock, heavy rubber, Herbies, and some other aftermarket were compared. Herbies was the consensus choice.  But we didn't stack Herbies on top  or cork on top of stock.  Don't know if I even still have the stock mat. 
Herbie's was first, cork second, stock, then heavy rubber.  Don't remember the other mat.  Rubber sucked all the life out of the upper end of the music. 
The cartridge is usually a Dynavector 10x5, but current has a Sumiko Blackbird in it.  Sometimes, it has an Ortofon Quintet blue.

My conclusions WERE the same. Then I tried the rubber & cork... the rest is, well, bliss. Part of it was because I knew I would need like 3 pieces of cork to overcome the lip on my platter. The other part was testing what combos would stop 100% of slip. Slip is constant with felt, happens with rubber, and happens with the herbies if it is on a slick enough surface.

Offline BobM

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Re: Where to spend... turntable or cartridge??
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2018, 08:37:20 AM »
IMO the phono stage is the weakest link in the chain. Sure, the TT has to have stable speed and be as resonant free as possible, but you will never truly hear what your TT & cartridge can do unless the phono stage is up to the task. What % you allocate to each is up to you, but I say buy used and take advantage of some great deals.
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