View Full Version : Cartridge collection - Need help ranking them - Best 6


Audio Fan
09-02-2010, 11:28 PM
Hi All,

In some previous posts, I was listing my cartridges by manufacturer to try and get down to the best of each company. It was suggested I just list them all, so here they are listed out by manufacturer. Also, the pictures are listed in the same order starting with the top left corner.

What I plan to do is get the best 6 cartridges in working order with a new stylus. Six because I plan to have 4 tables, so two for backup and/or swapping around.

Not included because I don't have it in my possession yet is a Shure Type 5 V-15 with low hours, so please include that in any comments. I assume a couple will naturally fall into the top 6 like the Shure Type 5 and the Signet perhaps. Also, I included some older Empires to solicit comments about them and what kind of turntable might be best to them them with.

Thanks in advance.

AT
LS300
AT2211EH
AT2214SH
AT1100E
AT88E
2002
AT102EP
AT125LC
Signet TK5Ea

Grado
GF1 = Silver
G w/Blue Stylus
GC = Green

Empire
100S
1D50
2000 E/III
2003 AE/X

B&O MMC 5

Shure
TM2E
V15 Type III
M91ED
M74CS
V15 Type 5 (not pictured)

Sony VM-26G

Pioneer PC-35

Yamaha MC-705

Stanton 681EEE

Blue Shadow
09-02-2010, 11:34 PM
Signet
V15 III
V15 V
681EEE
2000 E/III
Grado Silver

How is that for a list?

Big Bill
09-02-2010, 11:43 PM
.....Six because I plan to have 4 tables......

I can see you're also a glutton for punishment!:D

shelly_d
09-02-2010, 11:45 PM
Only ones I've used in that list are the V15 III and Stanton 681EEE. I'd rank the Shure over the Stanton but not by much. Both sound great and track treat in my tonearm.

Audio Fan
09-03-2010, 12:02 AM
I can see you're also a glutton for punishment!:D

It's a disease. :screwy:

Thanks for the feedback thus far. Surprised to see the Shure III over the V.

Audio Fan
09-03-2010, 02:40 PM
I neglected to include the cartridges still on tables and one B&O. Only one I think is necessary to add to the list is a Micro Acoustics, but here is an updated list.

AT
LS300
AT2211EH
AT2214SH
AT1100E
AT88E
2002
AT120E
AT102EP
AT125LC
Signet TK5Ea

Grado
GF1 = Silver
G w/Blue Stylus
GC = Green

Empire
100S
1D50
2000 E/III
2003 AE/X

B&O
MMC 5
MMC 20CL

Shure
TM2E
V15 Type III
M91ED
M74CS
V15 Type 5 (not pictured)

Sony VM-26G

Sansui SC-50

Pioneer PC-35

Yamaha MC-705

Stanton 681EEE

Micro Acoustics 2002 e

nailer
09-03-2010, 02:57 PM
Blue Shadow's ranking is a good start. With your additions I'd push off the 2000 E/III and Grado Silver, and put the B&O MMC20CL in the #1 spot and the MA 2002e at 4 or 5. The only caveat is that I've not heard the Grado Silver, which if it was a Signature 8 or better would be my #2.

Audio Fan
09-03-2010, 03:11 PM
Well, I did have a Q about this B&O, from what I can tell, this does not look to work on regular headshells unless it can be fitted into some kind of special case? Also, stylus does not look like it is replaceable on it or the MMC 5 or are they?

This is great because I would have never assumed the 2000 E/III was even close to any of the others and probably ranked the Grado Silver higher in the list.

jimreeves
09-03-2010, 03:48 PM
It seems to me that a big part of your decision would have to be the replacement cost for the stylii you choose. Also the types of arms your 4 turntables will have.

The two B&O's don't have user replaceable stylii, they'd have to go to Soundsmith for refurb at $150 a pop minimum. The 1/2" mount that your MMC5 is in is quite rare and might add cash to your project. I still have a MMC5 in a B&O RX turntable and it's a very nice sounding cart in a very low mass arm, even though it's the lower end spherical stylus.

That Yamaha would be a nice one too, may be the only HOMC in the bunch. I'm not sure whether that has a user replaceable stylus either, and even if it does might be hard to find.

Aside from that I like Blueshadow's list.

hakaplan
09-03-2010, 04:28 PM
Just to let you know what you have:

Regarding the ATs, these are the same bodies (clones of the AT-11E or 12E) and depending on the color of the stylus are most likely .4 x .7 ellipticals varying in tracking force:

LS300
AT2211EH
AT2214SH
AT1100E
AT88E

They can all be upgraded to Shibata stylus with the ATS12S or ATN12S at stereoneedles, making them contenders.

The AT2002 is a late p-mount body style that can be upgraded to an HE or Shibata stylus at lpgear or turntableneedles. Can be a pricy upgrade.

AT-125LC is no slouch--a decent line contact and shares the body with the current AT-440MLa. The AT-102EP is the same body in p-mount format with a lower end elliptical stylus. It can accept an upgraded stylus. You'll see that the 125LC will fit it.

The following Empires are the same bodies, and accept a variety of styli. The purple one is what they originally had. All excellent.
100S
2000 E/III
2003 AE/X

Shures:
TM2E (.4 x .7 elliptical) and M74CD (conical) are clones of the M75. Can be upgraded to the M75HE stylus from lpgear making them very respectable.
M91ED is the .2 x .7 elliptical successor to the M75, decent, and can be upgraded to an HE or SAS stylus from JICO.

Sony, Sansui, Pioneer, Yamaha are all entry level conicals--not upgradable.

Micro Acoustics 2002e was a .2 x .7 nude elliptical with beryllium cantilever. That's definitely a keeper if it's still viable. You won't find a genuine replacement stylus.

I'd agree that the V15 III and V are absolute keepers. And JICO makes top notch replacements for when they're worn out.

The Stanton is excellent.

I yield to those passionate about Grados and B&O for their advice on those.

nailer
09-03-2010, 04:36 PM
Well, I did have a Q about this B&O, from what I can tell, this does not look to work on regular headshells unless it can be fitted into some kind of special case? Also, stylus does not look like it is replaceable on it or the MMC 5 or are they?

This is great because I would have never assumed the 2000 E/III was even close to any of the others and probably ranked the Grado Silver higher in the list.

I've a spare adapter for the MMC20CL. Let me know if you want it.

Dynacophil
09-03-2010, 04:39 PM
The MMC5 looks pretty done (the angle of the cantilever - second pic...)

scottyh777
09-03-2010, 06:29 PM
I would keep these Three for sure.


Signet TK5Ea

Shure

V15 Type III

V15 Type 5 (not pictured)

Audio Fan
09-05-2010, 12:32 AM
It seems to me that a big part of your decision would have to be the replacement cost for the stylii you choose. Also the types of arms your 4 turntables will have.

The two B&O's don't have user replaceable stylii, they'd have to go to Soundsmith for refurb at $150 a pop minimum.

That Yamaha would be a nice one too, may be the only HOMC in the bunch. I'm not sure whether that has a user replaceable stylus either, and even if it does might be hard to find..

Stylus cost and arm will both play a factor to some degree. But I needed to start somewhere, so just trying to narrow it down to the best of the group is the first step. Both B&O stylus are indeed toast, so I don't see those coming into play. The Yamaha stylus looks good though, but what is HOMC?

Just to let you know what you have:

Regarding the ATs, these are the same bodies (clones of the AT-11E or 12E) and depending on the color of the stylus are most likely .4 x .7 ellipticals varying in tracking force:

They can all be upgraded to Shibata stylus with the ATS12S or ATN12S at stereoneedles, making them contenders.

The following Empires are the same bodies, and accept a variety of styli. The purple one is what they originally had. All excellent.

Micro Acoustics 2002e was a .2 x .7 nude elliptical with beryllium cantilever. That's definitely a keeper if it's still viable. You won't find a genuine replacement stylus.

I'd agree that the V15 III and V are absolute keepers. And JICO makes top notch replacements for when they're worn out.

The Stanton is excellent.
.

Thanks Hak for all the great feedback.

The MMC5 looks pretty done (the angle of the cantilever - second pic...)

Good eye, it most definitely has seen it's better days, completely broken.

With this great feedback, here's what I think I'll work on for this group of cartridges. I do want to try and have at least one contender from each of the top manufacturers, so that will put a Grado in the mix.

Group: MA 2002e, Shure V, Grado Silver, Signet TK5Ea, Stanton 681EEE, Empire 2000/e

Pretty much Blue Shadow's list from the outset and he probably would have chosen the MA cartridge if I had added it from the outset. The Shure V and MA already have a stylus (assuming they are fine), so that leaves just four to buy.

DENNYDOG
09-05-2010, 04:47 AM
The only help I can give. HOMC= High Output Moving Coil

jimreeves
09-05-2010, 07:37 AM
I think I've given you erroneous info about the MC-705. It seems that it is an unusual moving coil cartridge with a user replaceable stylus assembly that may or may not include the coils? That's the only explanation I can think of if the output (LOMC ~ HOMC) can be changed by changing the stylus assembly?

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=189671

Blue Shadow
09-06-2010, 07:49 PM
So nailer had the opportunity to see the complete list. I would do as he indicated and add the good B&O as well as the 2002e.

The Micro Acoustics cartridge is one FAST cartridge, excellent for many types of music, especially bluegrass. I have one but finding a stylus will be absolute good luck. If it is in good shape keep it if not, off the list it goes and into the back of the drawer.

Audio Fan
09-06-2010, 09:08 PM
The MA stylus looks to be fine, so will keep my fingers crossed it is good to go.

Both B&O's though are not functional, stylus on one is a nub, the other is broken and just hanging there. Even though this is the case, I have plenty to work on for now to keep me entertained and busy. :thmbsp:

BrocLuno
09-06-2010, 10:01 PM
You have a sterling pile-o-cartridges to run through. When you get to the Empires, I'd try for a series III stylus. Lots of keepers in that pile :)