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£500-ish cartridge for SME V

Discussion in 'audio' started by uncl_nigel, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    I have come to the conclusion that I need a new cartridge for my SME 20 with SME V.

    The last two carts in the arm have been Dynavector DV20XL and Grado Sonata.

    The budget available is in the £500 range.

    The phono stage is upmarket with a good range of gain and loading settings (Aesthetix Rhea Signature - the recent upgrade to Sig spec explains why the budget is rather low).

    I liked the hifi aspects of the Dynavector and the musical aspects of the Grado. I had fun with a Denon 103 in my 12" Ittok but would want a little more detail than the 103 can provide. I have no prejudices concerning MM and MC...
  2. starbuck

    starbuck pfm Member

    I'd recommend speaking to Expert Stylus Co. and see what they can offer from the Benz Micro range within your budget, if you have any old, dead cartridge to trade in, I believe they offer good trade in prices. I used a Benz Micro Ace SL in an SME V with excellent results.
  3. i.j.russell

    i.j.russell pfm Member

    Hana SL (slightly over budget but excellent)
    Audio Technica OC9 or PTG33
  4. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    As above the Hana or one of my favourite carts the ZYX R50 (think Decca type sound and speed) The ZYX is quite a light cart and not being familiar with SME arms not sure if it would be a good match though.

    If you can stretch to £750 I'll be selling my Koetsu Black Goldline soon, it's going over to ESCO for a check before I advertise it.
  5. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    How long is a piece of string? I don't know the Denon but have a handle on the DV sound (neutral). Starbuck's suggestion of Benz (Wood, maybe) is good for the 11 g eff, mass of the Five. I used two Lyras (Clavis, Helikon) in mine, plus the Goldline Bigbowski has (if it's the Sugano Son one, not the earlier one). The Five is superb with many not too low compliance cart's, and esp. with Lyra. A slightly used Delos would be my choice here, with the ( slightly used)Benz. The former a little less warm then the latter, but both dynamic. A transfiguration should be okay, too, coming between the other two in presentational terms.
  6. brab

    brab pfm Member

    Asking for audio equipment recommendations is about as useful as asking for restaurant advice. At least ask for recommendations only from SME5 users.
  7. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    I’ve had great results with a number of ATs on an SME V. OC9 and a couple of AT33ptg’s.
  8. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    why? Do they know what every cartridge sounds like. The arms job, (and the V does this better than 99% of arms on the planet) is to be neutral.
    If you mean mechanical matching, any cartridge from 6-15g in weight with a compliance within +/- 2 of 9Hz at 10-6 cm dyne is perfect. Which is 90% of modern cartridges.
    naimplayer likes this.
  9. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    If you still have the 103 then I have heard great things about the souped-up versions with fancy diamond profiles, ally bodies etc.
  10. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Indeed, and the Five is certainly that, and probably especially so on an SME deck. Not a bad idea to add a little warmth (a.k.a. colour?). I'm a bit hypocritical, having had two Lyras in my Five, but with the benefit of hindsight............ Depends upon musical tastes really, I s'pose.
  11. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    I read the OP reasoning....How come the conclusion is that you need a new cartridge?

    I may be wrong, but I am sensing an imbalance here. Surely those lucky enough to be driving an SME20 with SME V arm would normally be looking way beyond £500 for a cartridge match? Or at least I should say that the TT/Arm are capable of showing off some true top of the tree cartridges?

    Seems a bit like buying a Bentley then asking for budget tyres from Kwik Fit? Would it be better to wait until the cartridge budget could be increased?
    JezmondTutu and Rockmeister like this.
  12. JezmondTutu

    JezmondTutu pfm Member

    I was thinking the same!
  13. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    £500 is hardly loose change. Plenty of Linnies will tell you that an AT95 is no mismatch on an LP12 so £500worth of grado, upmarket AT or similar is hardly out of place on an SME 5 and matching TT.
    naimplayer likes this.
  14. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    SME 20 + SME V and Aesthetix Rhea Signature - they deserve better but the funds went into the phono stage upgrade from standard spec to Signature spec...

    So for the time being I can afford about £500 on a cart which will start on the SME and once I can afford better it will be installed on a Sony TTS3000 with 12" Ittok...
  15. dudywoxer

    dudywoxer pfm Member

    another shout for the AT's, i would go with the 33tpg, but the OC9 is also enjoyable. The ZYX is a interesting shout, but it seems to be more like £800
  16. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    I'm still shaking my head at people describing a £500 cart as "like budget tyres from Kwik Fit". That's FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS. For a cartridge. Not a whole record player, just a cartridge that will be worn out after ~1000 hours, so 3000 sides, 35p for every album played. Kwik Fit indeed. Only on here. The reality is that a £500 cart is a bloody lovely thing and I would hazard a guess that tiny differences in phono stage loading will account for a large part if not all of the perceived difference. Who here has optimised their phono stage to the cable/cart combination? I hope so, if you are spending over £100, otherwise you are wasting your money.
  17. DavidS

    DavidS pfm Member

    Deck more important than cartridge.
  18. Rockmeister

    Rockmeister pfm Member

    And therein lies your dilema, because Linnies have indeed been sold that line, wrongly IMO. Rubbish in rubbish out is trite and only partly true,( for a start, no modern decks are rubbish, and neither are any tonearms or cartridges, and in any case, one mans rubbish may be another's heaven) but since Linn don't make money on cartridges, they conveniently play down what everyone else knows, which is that the arm and deck should do nothing at all except revolve and support the transducer. A record deck is not a tone control! All cartridges sound different, very very different, and £500 may be a lot of money, but it is near ground zero for MC's. My experience of MC's is that fine sound starts around £700, (the ZYX R50 that BigB mentions above being a great example of this, and the Low output version will be fine in the arm too), gets amazing between 1000 and 2000 and after that, VFM vanishes but like all hi fi, if you have the cash, why not? Since the OP owns of of the finest cartridge support systems in the world, he will clearly hear these differences should he choose to pay for them.
    At 500 the best MM's are the way to go I think, they really are fantasticly good, in fact I don't think you need pay that much. The ubiquitous Goldring 1042 is a great music maker, refined over years of production, and still about £300 I think, and Ortofon's 2M black is available around £420. That is a superb MM IME.
  19. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I think Rocky said it above about moving coils; they really do have a pricing structure far removed from m/magnets. Why m/coils are more difficult to design/manufacture I don't know, and the m/magnet has the added advantage (in most cases) of replaceable styli/cantilevers, so surely it's a no-brainer to buy an 'upmarket' m.magnet, esp. if you have a lower medium mass arm (another difference; compliance).

    There must be a certain magic in coils which are not present in magnets, but as my last one of the latter was a V15 in the early seventies, I wouldn't have a clue how the two compare.
  20. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    As said by others - A decent MC cartridge is barely doable for £500. Mind you - I have never had an MC cartridge ever. Goldring G800, Goldring 1042 and a Shure V15 V-MR are the only ones I have ever had. Shure in use on TD145 Mk II from 1979. I bet a Shure V15 VMR if made today would be a LOT more than £500?

    Many audiophiles truly believe that expensive MC cartridges are 'better' or more musical than any MM cartridge. A decent MC from Japan costs £'000s. I cannot comment personally whether than can ever be money well spent.

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