Low compliance MC cartridge with good detail and good treble extension.

F456GTM

VIP/Donor
Oct 22, 2015
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Pinecrest, FL
Hi,

I am searching for a low compliance MC cartridge with good detail and good treble extension. A factor which many users do not take into account is the effect of the turntable itself on cartridge choice. Belt drives tend to softness which some equate to delicacy, direct drives are mostly neutral and speed stable, and idlers are bass-heavy. These are generalisations of course, with some exceptions, but need to be considered when choosing a cartridge. With my focus on classical music and a 401 idler (which is bass-heavy) I should look for a cartridge with good detail and good treble extension. Otherwise the delicate end of the sweep of classical will be lost.

My search has turned up no new low compliance cartridges within my budget of no more than $1,000 other than the Denons. Does anybody know of any new low compliance carts other than the Denons that would fit my criteria and price range?

The AT AT33PTG/II is a high compliance cartridge, it fits the criteria that I have in mind but I am not sure if it will be a good choice for a high mass tonearm like the Groovemaster II for example.
 

sktn77a

New Member
Dec 26, 2021
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Then you don't want a Denon. They have a prodigious bass that you probably won't like with your 401. Otherwise, they're great cartridges.
 

Gandra

Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2013
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Sorry to divert the discussion in a different direction, but while this is not the first time that I've seen such generalisations, I have an issue with such a description. From my almost 40 year experience with hifi, during which time I have heard and owned many different turntables, I can honestly say that turntable on its own has the least impact on sound quality. Certainly less than the cartridge/tonearm/phonostage combination.
If you're looking for a cartridge with a particular characteristic, the turntable is the last place you should be looking at, well behind the tonearm and the phonostage.
Just my experience. Enjoy the journey
 

TheMooN

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2013
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With my focus on classical music and a 401 idler (which is bass-heavy)
Perhaps a Thorens TD124 - I/II might suite your music predilections more that your Garrard, opening up a wider field of choice where cartridge’s are concerned.
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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Hi,

I am searching for a low compliance MC cartridge with good detail and good treble extension. A factor which many users do not take into account is the effect of the turntable itself on cartridge choice. Belt drives tend to softness which some equate to delicacy, direct drives are mostly neutral and speed stable, and idlers are bass-heavy. These are generalisations of course, with some exceptions, but need to be considered when choosing a cartridge. With my focus on classical music and a 401 idler (which is bass-heavy) I should look for a cartridge with good detail and good treble extension. Otherwise the delicate end of the sweep of classical will be lost.

My search has turned up no new low compliance cartridges within my budget of no more than $1,000 other than the Denons. Does anybody know of any new low compliance carts other than the Denons that would fit my criteria and price range?

The AT AT33PTG/II is a high compliance cartridge, it fits the criteria that I have in mind but I am not sure if it will be a good choice for a high mass tonearm like the Groovemaster II for example.

Try used EMT TSD 15
 
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Yeti

Member
Dec 25, 2020
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France
I don’t know US pricing but taking a guess at them the budget’s a bit on the low side given your requirements. An SPU might fit the bill but the Royal variant which can do the detail is quite a bit over, even in its naked N series form. The elliptical ones might just scrape in. I use a Royal N, which was £1000 but they’ve gone up since.

London Decca cartridges need a bit of mass in the arm or damping to cope with the low vertical compliance, excitingly dynamic but might rattle your bearings and probably slightly over budget by the time they’ve crossed the pond.

Soundsmith Irox blue is low compliance and on budget, I don’t know it however.
 

shakti

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May 9, 2015
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one if the best Carts in that price region is the

Phasemation PP-200

an interesting alternative is

Skyanalog G1
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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From my almost 40 year experience with hifi, during which time I have heard and owned many different turntables, I can honestly say that turntable on its own has the least impact on sound quality. Certainly less than the cartridge/tonearm/phonostage combination.

My take is different. Imo the turntable has a significant impact on sound quality.

I agree it is tough to rank components of an analog front end. The signal sent to a linestage is a product of each playing its role. As far as relative importance, consider that the amplitude portion of the musical waveform comes from the cartridge, but the frequency portion, the time element of that waveform, comes from the turntable.
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
4,051
4,295
845
the Upper Midwest
one if the best Carts in that price region is the

Phasemation PP-200

an interesting alternative is

Skyanalog G1

Shakti, the PP-200 looks great on paper for the OP's specs. In the States it is a little over his price range. I'm always interested in low compliance MC for my 4P. Can you tell us more about the sound?
 

shakti

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2015
1,148
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Shakti, the PP-200 looks great on paper for the OP's specs. In the States it is a little over his price range. I'm always interested in low compliance MC for my 4P. Can you tell us more about the sound?
The PP-200 is not too far away from their top range Cart, the PP-2000, which was used in Munich from different vendors, like OMA, so some may have heard the Phasemation DNA of carts already.

Phasemation carts do play with well balanced energy over the complete bandwidth. Their task was, to develop a generator, which can make the output voltage with "power" from low to high frequencies. If you compare the PP-200 (or the PP-2000) to other vendors carts with a similar output voltage, you believe to hear, that the PP-200 plays the music louder.

From the tonality perspective, the PP-200 is comparable to the well known carts from My Sonic Lab,
means a well balanced Japanese type of cart.

The main competitor will be the AT ART9, but in Germany the ART 9 is now price increased to 1500,- versus 1150,- eur for the PP-200
 
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Solypsa

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Jun 7, 2017
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www.solypsa.com
Phasemation carts are technically medium compliance, no? I was reading something Ana Mighty wrote on the topic once... Not to diminish how good they are.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
4,051
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the Upper Midwest
The PP-200 is not too far away from their top range Cart, the PP-2000, which was used in Munich from different vendors, like OMA, so some may have heard the Phasemation DNA of carts already.

Thank you for your write-up - appreciated. US price for PP-200 is $1800 USD
 
Last edited:

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
4,051
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the Upper Midwest
Phasemation carts are technically medium compliance, no? I was reading something Ana Mighty wrote on the topic once... Not to diminish how good they are.

The PP-200 is cited at 8.5x10-6cm/dyne.

I have a Fuuga that I think of as low compliance at 7x10-6cm/dyne.

These are at 100Hz whereas Euro/US get measured at 10Hz. My understanding is there is no straightforward conversion, I multiply the Japanese numbers by 1.5, so by that approach they could be labeled as medium compliance. The whole low,medium,high scheme seems to vary by who you consult. It comes down to what works.
 
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shakti

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2015
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The whole low,medium,high scheme seems to vary by who you consult. It comes down to what works.
yep, finally I am just trying it . Even the soft ART9 do like the heavy FR64s tonearm.

Looking to the new Kuzma Safor tonearm with an effective weight of 60, Kuzma is saying, that carts around 10 will work fine.

So we might see this parameter more flexible than in former times.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
4,051
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the Upper Midwest
So we might see this parameter more flexible than in former times.

I had taken the whole compliance--effective mass---cartridge weight--resonance thing as some kind of gospel and then internet calculators made it seem even more authoritative. I learned to be a bit more sceptical but you still must try and find out.

Who would think a 60g effective mass would work with today's cartridges when there is this:

60g eff mass.jpg


I put my money on Franc.
 

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