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Which cartridge to get for good SQ (general listening, archival)
christopher
post Oct 25 2010, 19:02
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At work we have a turntable (Numark TTX, with the integrated USB ADC) which we use for slowly going through some of our back catalogue and digitising (the company's been around a LONG time, before the advent of the CD!) However the turntable we were using before has a distinctly sub-par cartridge, hence why we've not done much archival in the past few years.

The deck's been left to fester and we've finally decided to fix it up - give it a service and buy a new cartridge for it. However the boss has VERY little technical knowledge of turntables, and he defaults to the cheapest option wink.gif (as do all bosses? wink.gif) but I'm determined that we get a decent cartridge.

Sadly I'm a bit deficient myself in turntable knowledge, especially with the slightly higher end stuff. We're talking "prosumer" level here - Ortofon M2 Red etc. In fact, that's one of the cartridges I've been looking at recommending, but given some of our vinyl is old and quite worn I'm wondering if it'd be more advantageous to get a cart with an elliptical stylus.

We're looking to spend 40-70 on a cartridge and then if I can convince the boss (through A/B comparisons!) that buying a more expensive cart has its rewards hopefully I'll be able to upsell to a three figure cart in the long run. For the interim though, we need a decent, balanced cart which has good tracking and reading abilities on vinyl which isn't pristine. A slightly robust construction would also help given it won't always be me handling it with kid gloves... rolleyes.gif

I use Shure Whitelabels at home but the boss has already pooh-poohed even considering them (they're elliptical but have a good tracking response, if a little groove noise for noisy records - but my needs are quite different; I have a pair of 1210s so they're well suited for what I mostly play on them but they do sound great on my funk, soul and old 45s)...

Aside from the Ortofon M2 Red I'm open to suggestions - anybody got any?


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DVDdoug
post Oct 25 2010, 20:33
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I haven't been in the market for a phono cartridge for a long time, and I'm not going to make a recommendation. I usually just suggest that a Shure M97 should be "good enough" for almost anything and I don't recommend buying anything much more expensive than the M97 for something that's never going to sound as good as a CD, no matter how much you spend. My attitude is that you shouldn't go too cheap with vinyl/analog, because there is a correlation between cost & quality. But, there's no point in going overboard chasing an unreachable goal either... (Again, I'm not recommending the M97... Its just a cost-reference point...)

I don't get why 100 or so is a big deal to a business. You didn't say what business you're in or what business purpose this has... Presumably this is an investment, and there is a payoff. If someone is getting paid to do this, the cartridge investment is insignificant compared to the labor cost. And, if there is going to be any "clean-up" of the digitized recordings, it could consume many labor hours. (And with EQ & de-clicking, the clean-up step can potentially make a bigger improvement than a different cartridge.)

QUOTE
...and then if I can convince the boss (through A/B comparisons!)
How are you going to compare, other than your Shure White Labels? Are you going to "drag" him tor a store? It doesn't sound like he's that interested... And, if he's not particularly interested, he might not hear enough difference to justify the cost.

QUOTE
I use Shure Whitelabels at home but the boss has already pooh-poohed even considering them
Why? Cost? Because they are "DJ cartridges"?
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