View Full Version : Best cartridge for Technics sl qd33


Josh Simpson
04-14-2011, 12:35 PM
I know with this table I'm limited to a p-mount, but I might as well get the best one I can find. As someone who is still fairly new to this, I could use some help.

Thanks.

hakaplan
04-14-2011, 01:01 PM
For what budget?

For cheap, you can't beat the AT-92ECD at Amazon for under $30.

Does the QD33 have any adjustment in the tracking force?

Josh Simpson
04-14-2011, 03:47 PM
I think there is a little screw adjustment thing at the back end of the arm that adjusts that? I just don't know much about how it works, but yes.

As for budget? I didn't know costly p-mount cartridges get. Last I got may have been the one you mentioned. I was just curious how much better the quality can get with those type.
I'm using a Kenwood basic c1 preamp and some yamaha speakers and a newer Sony theater receiver, so I'm by no means high end. I'm just looking to upgrade one piece at a time.

SA-708
04-14-2011, 04:41 PM
At the high end of the price range, as far as currently-produced p-mount cartridges go, you can get the Grado Gold1 as a p-mount. Grado cartridges can have shielding issues that cause them to hum in some Technics direct drive turntables. I'd be certain that it would work with your SL-QD33 before spending around $220 on one. The Grado line includes 5 other p-mount models ranging down to $60 for the Black.

Another option would be the Ortofon X1-MCP, a high output moving coil p-mount that I have been impressed with. I think it lists for under $200. Your Kenwood preamp should be able to handle the slightly-lower output volume.

At the other end of the range, Stanton and Shure still make one p-mount model each, both with rather basic stylii, positioned at the bottom of their product lines. Both can be improved with stylus upgrades. The Audio-Technica model already mentioned is often mentioned as a good buy, with nicer line contact or Shibata stylii also available.

If you are willing to look at used or new-old-stock cartridges, perhaps with new replacement stylii, your p-mount options can open up. I've done this quite a bit (I have a collection of around 50 p-mount cartridges) and could give you some pointers if you wanted to start looking at used cartridges for sale or auction online.

Josh Simpson
04-14-2011, 05:25 PM
At the high end of the price range, as far as currently-produced p-mount cartridges go, you can get the Grado Gold1 as a p-mount. Grado cartridges can have shielding issues that cause them to hum in some Technics direct drive turntables. I'd be certain that it would work with your SL-QD33 before spending around $220 on one. The Grado line includes 5 other p-mount models ranging down to $60 for the Black.

Another option would be the Ortofon X1-MCP, a high output moving coil p-mount that I have been impressed with. I think it lists for under $200. Your Kenwood preamp should be able to handle the slightly-lower output volume.

At the other end of the range, Stanton and Shure still make one p-mount model each, both with rather basic stylii, positioned at the bottom of their product lines. Both can be improved with stylus upgrades. The Audio-Technica model already mentioned is often mentioned as a good buy, with nicer line contact or Shibata stylii also available.

If you are willing to look at used or new-old-stock cartridges, perhaps with new replacement stylii, your p-mount options can open up. I've done this quite a bit (I have a collection of around 50 p-mount cartridges) and could give you some pointers if you wanted to start looking at used cartridges for sale or auction online.

You've been very helpful. Thank you. I wasn't sure how high of quality I could go with my particular turntable, but from my $30 Audio Technica cartridge, I'd like to build on that a bit, as even with my modest equipment I think I can make some improvements.

Bob_in_OKC
04-14-2011, 07:26 PM
Among P-mount cartridges, the Ortofon OMP-10 is very nice and can be upgraded with their 20, 30 or 40 stylus.

SA-708
04-15-2011, 02:13 PM
You've been very helpful. Thank you. I wasn't sure how high of quality I could go with my particular turntable, but from my $30 Audio Technica cartridge, I'd like to build on that a bit, as even with my modest equipment I think I can make some improvements.

No problem. Someday when I get around to it, I plan to write up a guide to p-mount cartridges.

The more I think about it, upgrading the stylus on your $30 cartridge to something like this -- http://www.turntableneedles.com/Needle-213-DHE_p_3820.html -- would get you a good upgrade in sound quality.

Do you have a copy of the LP of Doppelganger, that's in your avatar? I have Vox Humana & Fearful Symmetry on vinyl, and the CD/book set of the whole Alarma Chronicles.

Josh Simpson
04-15-2011, 03:27 PM
No problem. Someday when I get around to it, I plan to write up a guide to p-mount cartridges.

The more I think about it, upgrading the stylus on your $30 cartridge to something like this -- http://www.turntableneedles.com/Needle-213-DHE_p_3820.html -- would get you a good upgrade in sound quality.

Do you have a copy of the LP of Doppelganger, that's in your avatar? I have Vox Humana & Fearful Symmetry on vinyl, and the CD/book set of the whole Alarma Chronicles.

I own CDs of the alarms Chronicles, but have located copies of Horrendus Disc and possibly Doppelgänger. I'm going to Arlington TX to Forever Young records to find out for sure.

Josh Simpson
04-15-2011, 04:31 PM
For a newbie, is upgrading a stylus pretty easy? For the record, the cartridge I have is an AT3482p

jleon92f
04-15-2011, 07:51 PM
Audio-Technica 92ECD, I have used this one and found it to work nicely.

Thanks,
John.:music::D

davidro
04-15-2011, 08:33 PM
For a newbie, is upgrading a stylus pretty easy? For the record, the cartridge I have is an AT3482p

As easy as buttoning your shirt :D

hakaplan
04-15-2011, 09:08 PM
The AT-92ECD is the same as your cartridge with a better elliptical stylus. I forgot to mention the lpgear Series VL and VS cartridges and replacement styli, (line contact and Shibata, respectively) for this body style (3482). These are top notch and a very economical way to end up with a excellent cartridge.

krf1
04-15-2011, 10:33 PM
I've got an AT-331LP on an SL-Q303 (very similar table) and it works very well. Very quiet and tracks great. Highly recommended!!!

hakaplan
04-16-2011, 03:19 PM
I've got an AT-331LP on an SL-Q303 (very similar table) and it works very well. Very quiet and tracks great. Highly recommended!!!

The AT-331LP is not currently available, but the Series VL I mentioned is the current clone of that cartridge. I have the original and agree--it is one top notch cart.

garyglobal
04-04-2014, 12:22 AM
I have a SL-QD33, with an AKG cartridge, in excellent condition, however, one channel is missing. I've examined the inside of the turntable and all wiring appears to be in place. Any suggestions other than to try another p-mount cartridge?

Balifly
04-04-2014, 12:45 AM
I have a SL-QD33, with an AKG cartridge, in excellent condition, however, one channel is missing. I've examined the inside of the turntable and all wiring appears to be in place. Any suggestions other than to try another p-mount cartridge?

Have you checked the interconnect cables for continuity? :scratch2:

dlaloum
04-04-2014, 05:57 AM
Current production (or recent production still available new) p-mounts

Audio Technica AT92 and relatives (3482, 311 etc...)
Shure M92
Ortofon OMP10/20/30/40
Ortofon 310/320
Ortofon X1-MCP
Grado Black through to Gold

Of the above the very best is undoubtedly the OMP40 - performance is at the same level (many believe better!) than the 2M Black - a top cartridge by any standard.

There are also stylus upgrade options available for the above....

The AT92 family - there are aftermarket styli of excellent quality in HE, VL or Shibata format, and you can still get the Audio Technica Microline stylus for it (the ultimate for this body type) - pricing maxes out at $150 for these styli.
The body quality is not to be sneezed at either as it is the same generator used by Clearaudio for their $1200 Virtuoso cartridge (with differing surround/mounting and needle)

The Shure M92 is the same core body that was once used in much more upmarket Shure cartridge, up the the M97HE and M111HE - it can be upgraded hugely by fitting a Jico SAS stylus - this equips it with a high end boron cantilever, and a Microline/Microridge type Namiki needle on the end. Takes it from a nice / ordinary performer to an exceptional top end cartridge in one fell swoop.

Grado family - the current Grado prestige series, and the several generations before it (going back 30 years!) - all have shared the same body format - which means styli are interchangeable.

The current prestige series maxes out at the Gold1 - but the previous generations had cartridges that were replaced by the current wooden bodied Grado series - these were the Signature range(s). Luckily for us, replacement styli for the Signatures are still available - in rising quality - the 8MZ, MCZ and TLZ ($100, $150, $250 I think?)
A humble Grado black fitted with an 8MZ is more economical than a Gold1 and will outperform it. (a Gold1 with 8MZ will do even better...)
One thing to watch out for - the Grado's do need a higher VTF than standard p-mount so some arm adjustment would need to be made.

There are other options that can be found from the Golden age of vinyl (early 80's)..... but finding mint new-old-stock (NOS) can take time, and you do need to know what to look for....

we can help collate a list if you are interested in aiming for this type of "exotica".

Of the cartridges and cartridge/styli just mentioned, I would rank the OM40 and the Shure M92/SAS as the top performers - although I am going to be doing some serious listening to some of the better Grado options and may end up adding a Grado to my recomendations.... we shall see.

One range of discontinued P-mounts for which styli are readily available is the Audio Technica AT102 series (AT102/112/122/132/142/152 - and derivatives - TK4/6, SLT96, RX1500 etc...) - these have the sames stylus mounting as the current AT100/120/440/150 - although the proper authentic p-mount styli for them are a bit lighter, and he current production ones require a higher VTF than p-mount standard.
It so happens that in many cases the additional weight of the stylus on these brings the VTF right into the zone that the styli need .... and the AT150 stylus fitted to one of these is on a par in performance with the Shure/SAS and OM40.... the AT440 stylus on one of these is a great sounding combo too...

hope this helps

bye for now

David

needlestein
04-14-2014, 10:39 AM
a Gold1 with 8MZ will do even better

I was told that this was no longer the case and that the 8MZ is now just an elliptical. This came from a very reliable source, when I inquired about making this upgrade. But, of course, I can't verify; don't have the equipment.

There are other options that can be found from the Golden age of vinyl (early 80's)..... but finding mint new-old-stock (NOS) can take time, and you do need to know what to look for....

Absolutely! I have been on a quest that last few years to find a really great-sounding P-Mount for my old Technics. The problem started because it was always raspy sounding, and I was a kid when I bought it, so I didn't know any better. This table, actually, made me long for CDs and a CD player that I could never afford at the time. Finally, with the internet, I went looking for a new stylus for kicks, and that's when my education began. I didn't know that there were all different kinds of stylus profiles and available upgrades. I became a bit fanatical.

I bought a new conical replacement before I noticed that I could get an elliptical. So then I bought a couple ellipticals before I found out I could get a hyperelliptical and on and on. This is for a Panasonic P22 cart. I was impressed with each upgrade and began looking for more.

I got an Ortofon 3320U, an OMP10 to which I fitted an M30 stylus, an X1-MCP, the Ed Saunder's AT with a line contact stylus, and on and on and on, finally ended up very recently with a Stanton Stereohedron P-Mount stylus.

In the end, the quest was the quest and fueled my own obsessive tendencies, but, giving a listen last night, I have to say that that original Panasonic/Technics cartridge holds its own against the best that I've gotten. The different stylus types, to me, are viewed, generally, as upgrades, but I've come to see them more as options. We have a tendency to prize the more expensive cartridges and stylii while seeking the Holy Grail, but, being honest with listening, I find that each stylus profile has strengths and weakness.

Conicals: Can have excellent imaging, richness of sound and great detail--everything you want. PLUS, conicals are the quietest in my listening experience and if you are looking for the old school deep range "tube" Golden Age of HiFi sound, a conical/spherical will give it to you. You can hunt all around for exotic brands and names, but you can stop at the AT3482 for about $20. This is an excellent allrounder and tracks like a pit bull with that carbon fiber stylus. I have never heard sibilance from mine, EVER, even on my hottest pressings that give much more costly carts/styli a hard time.

Hyperelliptical/Shibata/Stereohedron: These can make the music really come alive in a delicate refined way, offering much detail and presence than the usual conical. These are expensive (although only five years ago, before the sudden and furious demand caused by the rebound in vinyl interest, they were CHEAP). With a good cartridge with good stereo separation, you will be rewarded with a wide soundstage and very clear highs. One drawback, though, is increased surface noise. To really enjoy a Shibata, you need an immaculate record. These are not for your old dusty collection.

Elliptical: As you might imagine, these are somewhere in between offering lower noise than a Shibata, but a wider soundstage and, usually, more detail than a conical. But there is lots of overlap, too. I have a number of high end carts that I have fitted with conicals for the right occasion or record. When you are switching styli based on the type of record you are playing, you have entered fastidious land. Welcome!

Going deeper than stylus profile, you can choose between moving magnet, moving iron, high output moving coil, and, perhaps some others, but I've found that the former three apply to P Mount these days.

I have two HOMC, both Ortofon. The X1-MPC, to me, lacks bass in my system, and my system is by default BASSY. I've got all tubes and big subwoofer. To make my system sound thin in the bass department is saying something. This cart is for people who like highs and aren't so fond of bass. Now, we are also touching on something else: personal preference for sound profile. If you're not a big bass person, and you love highs, this could be a great cart for you. Some find it to be bright, though, meaning a bit sharp, perhaps fatiguing.

I also have an MCP100 Super. Sounds great. Can I tell the difference between it and, say, the Ortofon 320U in my system? Nope. Not without spending a lot of time listening as though I'm tasting wine. Are you going to do that? I have a small child and won't be doing that any time soon. By the time I will have the time to do that again, I probably won't be able to hear that well anymore. Like all Ortofons I have, though, bass, to me, is not a strong point. Maybe there's a bass tax in Europe. But a high end detailed sound is a strength with Ortofon, and this one has it without the harshness of the X1-MPC.

Do I play these over my MM's or MI's? No. But that's mostly because I can't replace the stylus if it breaks and that freaks me out to ponder. If they sounded so much better than my other types so that I couldn't live without the sound, I'd leave them in. But I don't feel that way. They're fun to have, though.

If you like bass, as I do, but also want detail and midrange, I prefer Stanton and Pickering, but you'll have to go looking on ebay. The L720EE two-coil type cartridge sounds great, but I find that it's tough to get a good stylus for it. I have so many OEM and aftermarkets that are disappointing. But I have a couple OEM and aftermarkets that make it shine. If you don't want to spend lots of time trying to find stylii, avoid this one. Instead, try to find the four coil types, like the Pickering TL range, or the Stanton L7X7 range. I love how these sound, but, again, the drawbacks today are finding a good stylus. The easiest route is to probably just order a good one from LPGear and the like. They won't be cheap, though.

Grado: great sounding cart, but may hum in your set up. I have a direct drive Technics and I have experienced zero hum with my Grados. I haven't found that you really need to adjust the tracking to 1.65g--mine tracks fine at 1.25g. Sounds good, too. Good detail, good bass, good mids, nice highs. I have a Gold, a Black, a Blue and a DJ stylus because it was on super sale. I'd hate to be an iconoclast, but I think that you'd be just fine with the Black for $60. My Gold is a nice cart, and I bought it in part to support Grado's efforts because I appreciate American industry. But if you're not doing that and just want something that will sound good, well, go for the Black. It's probably the fanciest, most high-end looking cart on your table, too. It's very elegant in a Rolls-Royce kind of way.

Shure M92e is a nice cart, too, and can be upgraded easily, as has been mentioned. I have one with a Shure .2 x .7 stylus from the M110E. Sounds fabulous. Lots of detail. Excellent bass, but, to me, sounds a bit like Ortofon. Seems to lack some heft. Doesn't reach down enough into the bass. I like to feel like my bass is coming up through the floors from the basement, but it also has to be clear. I'm not a turn the treble down and the bass up kind of guy. I want my highs. I just want that live music throw-you-around heavy kicking bass sound. Shure doesn't do it for me.

Audio-Technica: can't go wrong with any of them. I find that they deliver in detail, dynamics and definition. Good bass, good mids, good highs. These deliver and are hard to beat, especially for the price. They all kind of sound the same, though, because they are, generally. What makes them sound different is their stylii. You won't get a huge amount of upgrade by moving up through the line. What does this say? To me, it says that their low-priced models are really, really good. I got my 3482 for just $15 shipped new. You can't even get, to my knowledge, the carbon fiber stylus alone. You have to buy a new 3482. It spends a lot of time on my TT because I can enjoy it without the fear-of-breaking-it factor. Most of the time, I just want some tunes that sound really good, but I'm not going to sit down and lose myself in the imagery and soundstage. I will not tolerate sibilance, though, from a "cheap sounding" cart. AT never sounds cheap, even though they cost almost nothing. There's a reason why LPGear uses ATs for their house brand line. My 3482 sounds a lot like my Stantons in terms of sound profile and richness.

But, after experiencing all of these carts and plenty more, I have to say that, in the end, I expected to be able to really improve on the Panasonic cart that came with my table to begin with. I was able to, but only because the stylus that originally came with it was never very good--it sibilated badly. But the replacement conical I got for it of the exact same spec did not sibilate at all. Not even a hint.

The conical will sound great on your old records that might be dusty and need to be quieted. The elliptical will do most duty most of the time, giving you great playback and enjoyable listening, and the HE is for those special pressings or those times when you really have the option of getting into the music.

And, you can get all this with one trip to one online supplier and get on with your life. I don't have any regrets for making my particular journey of experimentation, but if you want my advice, the best answer is right in front of you. Plus, most stylii for Panasonic carts are dirt cheap.

needlestein
05-09-2014, 12:51 PM
Audio Technica AT92 and relatives (3482, 311 etc...)
Shure M92
Ortofon OMP10/20/30/40
Ortofon 310/320
Ortofon X1-MCP
Grado Black through to Gold

Somebody somewhere here on AK I think recently recommended an ADC psx-40 that LPGear still sells new on their site, just not under the p mount section for some reason. I picked one up used on the auction site and, wow, what a cartridge. I think it sounds fantastic in my P Mount deck. I mean really, really good. It's got the high end of a Shure, but the weight of a Stanton. It's like the best of both worlds.

KentTeffeteller
05-09-2014, 01:55 PM
Ortofon X1-MCP is not T4p compliant, it is best tracked at 1.8 grams force.

SA-708
05-09-2014, 02:03 PM
I'm probably the one that was talking up the ADC PSX-40 (which was also sold as the SER-IV as part of a "Digital Series"). I've really liked this cartridge for years, and have been recommending it more here on AK now that LPGear has new-old-stock available. LPGear and V-M Audio Enthusiasts still have new-old-stock original stylii too, so buying used and replacing the stylus is also an option.

Here's an older thread on these ADCs:

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=370003