Mm Cart for Aro?

Hi all,

Is there a good quality MM cart commonly available for the Aro? From what I've seen most people use MC. Is there a reason for this at all?

i recently picked up an Aro but need a cart, so if you are able to assist with specific recommendations (in sensible budget) that would be good. I have MC cards for my Nac 32.5 anyway so can always swap them out of needs be. 

System is Nac 32.5, HC, Nap 135's, SBL's, Sondek.

Thanks in advance. 

Original Post

My fave MM with ARO:

There are a several great sounding vintage cartrdiges including the K9. The problem is that you are glued to the Ebay and  sometimes, cartridge suspension is a suspect.

Linn K9

Linn Adikt:

Audio Technica 140LC:

I generally prefer these MM over inexpensive MCs but recently I tried out Audio Technica's AT-F7 MC and it sounds terrific. This is my first decent budget MC. ( works great with Linto so far but I reckon it will work with a Naim stage, too ) Highly recommended!

Output voltage @ 1kHz,5cm/sec: 0.35mV
- Tracking force: 1.8-2.2 g (2.0 g standard)
- Coil impedance: 12 ohms (1kHz)
- DC resistance: 12 ohms
- Channel separation @ 1kHz: 27dB
- Channel balance @ 1kHz: >1.5dB
- Dynamic compliance: 9.0 x 10-6cm/dyne (100Hz)
- Static compliance: 35 x 10-6cm/dyne
- Stylus: Nude elliptical 0.2 × 0.7 mil
- Suspension wires: Stainless - Vertical tracking angle: 23°
- Dimensions: 17.3 (H) x 16.8 (W) x 25.4 (L) mm
- Weight: 5 g

250USD!

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hi Lewis, while it's not an MM cart., i've had good luck with a Zu Audio DL-103, which is a 103 repotted in an aluminum body. this adds a bit of mass, allowing the Denon to work better in the Aro. this setup really locks into the beat and has great tone. i've found this to be a very "Naim-y" cartridge, for lack of a better word.

once i knew that i liked the 103, i got an A23 step-up transformer that's designed for the Denon -- which put even more "lead in the Denon's pencil." great stuff!

Robiwan posted:

What about the new Audio Technica line, for example the AT VM 540 ML or the 740 ML. AT and Naim is a great synergy. 

Why not try some and report back?

When I settled on Linn Adikt as my reference MM, I stopped looking. Maybe one of those AT could be an Adikt beater for less but you never know till try one.

Clay Bingham posted:

Kuma

I've been looking for a cartridge for my Aro and hadn't seen reference to the AT AT-F7 so your heads up is appreciated.

 

Clay,

If you end up getting one, let us know what you think. Which phono?

I am not gonna claim it's an Etna SL killer but I am really surprised how well it tracks and it times well. ( rare for an entry level MC carts which gives a better details but musically sort of meh )

Lewis posted:

Thanks gents that's great. The other one I've read to be decent is the Denon DL 103 which comes in at a few hundred pounds. Looks quite good on the arm too! 

I must be the only one who did not care for the Denon variants. ( I had both the DL103 & 103R ) which got out of the system rather quickly! This goes to show you this cartridge business is very personal and subjective.

Compliance wise, tho, AT would be a better fit for ARO, I'd reckon but it has many fans.

Also, DL103 isn't a Moving Magnet. It's a Moving Coil pickup.

 

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Some food for thought there guys. I need to have a look and see what these examples cost before making a decision. Also I have 'K' boards for my 32.5, will they work ok with any of the above carts? I notice there are different outputs of the MC cart etc, all very confusing when you compare to a simple MM! 

The Denon DL-103 is well liked by many but it's no universal panacea.  It has been around a long time though, so it's something of a "standard", and inflation has been kind to it so it's relatively inexpensive too. However, while its bass can sound nice and meaty, it can lack insight and detail, probably thanks to that conical stylus. The latter also means that performance drops off rapidly towards the inner grooves. The plastic body adds colouration and it's beaten by a number of other cartridges for "speed" and agility.  The output is low.  

However, it gives a very even handed sound, with a nice sense of weight, and also provides an excellent basis for effective upgrades and refinements.  Adding mass to the body such as a stabiliser is a good idea.  Better yet, remove the body or re-body the cartridge, although it's a fairly tricky operation that risks damaging the very fine wires within or taking off the cantilever.  Re-tips with profiled stylus' such as with my own ESCo 103 bring mostly gains, and some go as far as a completely new cantilever.  It's the cartridge equivalent of the Rega RB250 - excellent and inexpensive as standard, but capable of reaching great heights with money spent on custom improvements.

On the Aro it definitely needs a stabiliser or, better yet, a new body - the Uwe Panzerholz works well and also improves the impression of "speed" considerably.  However, then it begs for a much better stylus...

kuma posted:
Lewis posted:

Thanks gents that's great. The other one I've read to be decent is the Denon DL 103 which comes in at a few hundred pounds. Looks quite good on the arm too! 

I must be the only one who did not care for the Denon variants. ( I had both the DL103 & 103R ) which got out of the system rather quickly! This goes to show you this cartridge business is very personal and subjective.

Compliance wise, tho, AT would be a better fit for ARO, I'd reckon but it has many fans.

Also, DL103 isn't a Moving Magnet. It's a Moving Coil pickup.

 

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Kuma, do you have any aerial shots of these carts fitted at all?  I have seen some that almost follow the shape of the aro's profile but unsure which type these are, thanks.

 

Thanks Richard, your knowledge is endless on this! 

I used to have Dynavectors - 17D2 and then 20x (the low output version). Recommended by Ray at Grahams. The latter - now updated - also comes in a high output version "suitable for most MM inputs". It's a while since I had my LP12/Aro but I was never less than very happy with the cartridges.

Richard Dane posted:

However, it gives a very even handed sound, with a nice sense of weight, and also provides an excellent basis for effective upgrades and refinements.  Adding mass to the body such as a stabiliser is a good idea.  Better yet, remove the body or re-body the cartridge, although it's a fairly tricky operation that risks damaging the very fine wires within or taking off the cantilever.  Re-tips with profiled stylus' such as with my own ESCo 103 bring mostly gains, and some go as far as a completely new cantilever.  It's the cartridge equivalent of the Rega RB250 - excellent and inexpensive as standard, but capable of reaching great heights with money spent on custom improvements.

On the Aro it definitely needs a stabiliser or, better yet, a new body - the Uwe Panzerholz works well and also improves the impression of "speed" considerably.  However, then it begs for a much better stylus...

One man's even-handed is another man's bore.

This cartridge was developed with NHK ( Japanese Government's Broadcasting co. aka Nippon Hoso Kyokai  )  for commercial use specifically to reproduce clear human voice and introduced in conjunction with 1964 Tokyo Olympics FM stereo radio program. Its emphasis was clearly heard in the excellent midband reproduction. For a vintage long running pickup, my preference is with Ortofon SPU which I find much more colourful and *interesting*. ( but I know it has other drawbacks )

Very first DL103 with No.1 Serial#

 

When I had them in my possession, I wasn't gonna bother with all the tweaks as I am generally lazy so I wanted a cartridge that works to my liking right out of the box. But I can see the project can be fun for some.  I didn't find its output voltage that low, tho. Actually I find .03mV is a pretty good spot with most decent quiet phonos.

This one is ultra low @ .12mV! For this one, you'll need a ultra quiet high gain phono!

Lewis posted:

For example this one in the far right of the pic below (I hope Peter doesn't mind me borrowing his photo):

 

That's Lyra Kleos to the far right.

Kleos SL (Single-Layer lower output version) also is a lovely cartridge and works well with Naim phonos. It will work better with S type.

Personally, the only cartridge that worked well with K type was Linn Akiva. Most all other cartridge I tried S type worked much better.

With your system, you can also consider getting a Linn Karma which K type phono was developed for is my understanding.

One of these days I'll get this one retipped.

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Lewis posted:

Hi all,

Is there a good quality MM cart commonly available for the Aro? From what I've seen most people use MC. Is there a reason for this at all?

i recently picked up an Aro but need a cart, so if you are able to assist with specific recommendations (in sensible budget) that would be good. I have MC cards for my Nac 32.5 anyway so can always swap them out of needs be. 

System is Nac 32.5, HC, Nap 135's, SBL's, Sondek.

Thanks in advance. 

the best mm cartridges often cited:  clear audio virtuoso wood and audio note iq3.

Personnaly i like very much lyra(mc) cartridges. I had lyra delos before and i will choose next a lyra kleos certainly.  For now i have kiseki blue ns, also very good.  But lyra suits me more....

I was ,one point, interested in Decca but my understanding is that it's a mismatch with ARO. The problem is that the ARO rings and Decca needs heavily damped arm.  As with DL103, you might have to dampen the arm to make it work with Decca. You can certainly try one and report back.

This is from the past forum post from 2009 FWIW:

Well, I just had an interesting conversation with a London Decca dealer in San Leandro, CA.

I inquired of the London Decca Jubilee cartridge and when I asked for the distance from between the mounting holes and the stylus tip, he commented on why on earth I'd need to know that. I explained that the Naim Aro has fixed mounting holes instead of slots. He said he knew nothing of this tone arm, but based on this one piece of information, this arm is a piece of crap! This in addition to the fact that I would be using an LP12, he refused to sell me the Jubilee. He said if you can't set overhang exactly, that close is the same as a mile! He said that I should throw my tone arm in the junk! At this point he ended our conversation without even giving me a chance to respond or discuss anything. I am in total shock to say the least.

yeti42 posted:

Is a London Decca any good in an Aro? I've never heard one but they're reputed to be very dynamic. Having a superline or an iso to choose from I'm unlikely to go that route but with mm boards in a 32 it might be interesting.

Hi Yeti,

I can't really say if Decca cartridges work in the ARO as I use a Ittok on my LP12 but have been useing Decca Supergolds  the last 10 years.

There not as refined as moving coil cartridges but to my ears more than make up in excitement terms.Dull sounding they certainly are not the transients are astonishing.

I have a mate in the HiFi industry and he says you might as well put a nail on the end of the cantalever as the stylus profile is supposed to damage the grooves.Personally I haven't found to much record wear but Decca's aren't the safest bet with regard to groove wear.

Well worth investigating.

Maybe Richard Dane or Kuma  might be able to give more of an opinion on Decca's or Decca's in an ARO ?

Hope this helps 

Ian

 

Ian, I've never been brave enough to try a Decca, for the very reason you cite - record wear (oh, and poor tracking too).  Having said that, I do love the SPU Royal N and that tracks at a rather alarming 3 grams and isn't the best at tracking high level grooves.

I do have a new and unused hadcock GH242 Cryo in its box though, and I hear it's an excellent match with the Decca, so, who knows...

kuma posted:

I was ,one point, interested in Decca but my understanding is that it's a mismatch with ARO. The problem is that the ARO rings and Decca needs heavily damped arm.  As with DL103, you might have to dampen the arm to make it work with Decca. You can certainly try one and report back.

This is from the past forum post from 2009 FWIW:

Well, I just had an interesting conversation with a London Decca dealer in San Leandro, CA.

I inquired of the London Decca Jubilee cartridge and when I asked for the distance from between the mounting holes and the stylus tip, he commented on why on earth I'd need to know that. I explained that the Naim Aro has fixed mounting holes instead of slots. He said he knew nothing of this tone arm, but based on this one piece of information, this arm is a piece of crap! This in addition to the fact that I would be using an LP12, he refused to sell me the Jubilee. He said if you can't set overhang exactly, that close is the same as a mile! He said that I should throw my tone arm in the junk! At this point he ended our conversation without even giving me a chance to respond or discuss anything. I am in total shock to say the least.

What a dreadful attitude towards a potential customer! I hope you've never been back to visit that dealer.

Clive B posted:
kuma posted:

I was ,one point, interested in Decca but my understanding is that it's a mismatch with ARO. The problem is that the ARO rings and Decca needs heavily damped arm.  As with DL103, you might have to dampen the arm to make it work with Decca. You can certainly try one and report back.

This is from the past forum post from 2009 FWIW:

Well, I just had an interesting conversation with a London Decca dealer in San Leandro, CA.

I inquired of the London Decca Jubilee cartridge and when I asked for the distance from between the mounting holes and the stylus tip, he commented on why on earth I'd need to know that. I explained that the Naim Aro has fixed mounting holes instead of slots. He said he knew nothing of this tone arm, but based on this one piece of information, this arm is a piece of crap! This in addition to the fact that I would be using an LP12, he refused to sell me the Jubilee. He said if you can't set overhang exactly, that close is the same as a mile! He said that I should throw my tone arm in the junk! At this point he ended our conversation without even giving me a chance to respond or discuss anything. I am in total shock to say the least.

What a dreadful attitude towards a potential customer! I hope you've never been back to visit that dealer.

 

What a dick! He clearly has no appreciation for what is the the finest and most excellently styled Hifi equipment in the world!  It does amaze me how some of these so called agents manage to maintain a reputation and operate with such negative attitudes. Such a shame. 

Lewis posted:

System is Nac 32.5, HC, Nap 135's, SBL's, Sondek.

Just my 2 cents worth but a system of that excellent vintage is begging for a Prefix, which is probably the best bang for buck phono stage on offer for an LP12.

A Prefix would of course require a power supply, such as another hicap, and MC cartridge...

Debs

kuma posted:

One man's even-handed is another man's bore.

 

Just took a listen to my DL103, just to confirm it isn’t boring. It sounds anything but boring through, my 62/ mono 110’s. I’m on my second DL103, when it needs replacing I will buy another, with a Zu or Uwe body or a DL103R.

Perhaps your amps are boring.

I don’t know what amps your using, but I’m sure the 103 will be a perfect match with the 32.5/135’s Lewis is using. Synergy is the key.

fatcat posted:

Just took a listen to my DL103, just to confirm it isn’t boring. It sounds anything but boring through, my 62/ mono 110’s. I’m on my second DL103, when it needs replacing I will buy another, with a Zu or Uwe body or a DL103R.

Perhaps your amps are boring.

I don’t know what amps your using, but I’m sure the 103 will be a perfect match with the 32.5/135’s Lewis is using. Synergy is the key.

Are you using ARO tone arm with your stock DL103?

Karma and Prefix as Deb suggested or K type phono would be a better *synergy* as you call it as they were developed to work together.

The amp I used for 103 experiment IIRC, was either 52/300 or it might have been 52/Nait3R. I tried various phonos to make it work to my liking.

As I said in my earlier post, cartridge choice is subjective. In fact I was with my friend listening to this and he liked it whilst I thought it was *nice* in a flowery floaty way.

In the same system, we switched to Linn Akiva, to my ears the energy and timing came back, the music was more alive to my ears, and he did not like it at all claiming too in your face and forceful.

I think anyone who's looking to get a new cartridge really ought to listen in their own system and use the arm cuz, it makes a significant difference.

But for MY 250$, Audio Technica's AT-F7 suits me better.

kuma posted:

I generally prefer these MM over inexpensive MCs but recently I tried out Audio Technica's AT-F7 MC and it sounds terrific. This is my first decent budget MC. ( works great with Linto so far but I reckon it will work with a Naim stage, too ) Highly recommended!

Output voltage @ 1kHz,5cm/sec: 0.35mV
- Tracking force: 1.8-2.2 g (2.0 g standard)
- Coil impedance: 12 ohms (1kHz)
- DC resistance: 12 ohms
- Channel separation @ 1kHz: 27dB
- Channel balance @ 1kHz: >1.5dB
- Dynamic compliance: 9.0 x 10-6cm/dyne (100Hz)
- Static compliance: 35 x 10-6cm/dyne
- Stylus: Nude elliptical 0.2 × 0.7 mil
- Suspension wires: Stainless - Vertical tracking angle: 23°
- Dimensions: 17.3 (H) x 16.8 (W) x 25.4 (L) mm
- Weight: 5 g

250USD!

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Good to see you like the ATF-7 Kuma, I think it's a really great VFM and musical low cost MC.

I generally don't post much here these days but  I've referred to it many times in the Blue place over the last year or so.

 

KR

Peter

kuma posted:

I was ,one point, interested in Decca but my understanding is that it's a mismatch with ARO. The problem is that the ARO rings and Decca needs heavily damped arm.  As with DL103, you might have to dampen the arm to make it work with Decca. You can certainly try one and report back.

This is from the past forum post from 2009 FWIW:

Well, I just had an interesting conversation with a London Decca dealer in San Leandro, CA.

I inquired of the London Decca Jubilee cartridge and when I asked for the distance from between the mounting holes and the stylus tip, he commented on why on earth I'd need to know that. I explained that the Naim Aro has fixed mounting holes instead of slots. He said he knew nothing of this tone arm, but based on this one piece of information, this arm is a piece of crap! This in addition to the fact that I would be using an LP12, he refused to sell me the Jubilee. He said if you can't set overhang exactly, that close is the same as a mile! He said that I should throw my tone arm in the junk! At this point he ended our conversation without even giving me a chance to respond or discuss anything. I am in total shock to say the least.

LOL! It's a reaction and mindset I have sadly come across myself on occasion............ 

Cymbiosis posted:

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Good to see you like the ATF-7 Kuma, I think it's a really great VFM and musical low cost MC.

I picked it up last year or a  year before but sat in the box till this year. I wasn't expecting much of it since my experiences with inexpensive  MC carts have not been great. So this one is the first musical ultra VFM MC.

The problem with an entry level MC is that it'll give more details than a typical MM but they tend to sap life out of the music. I can't really do a direct AB with Adikt, ( my current reference MM ) but have you compared side by side? You have the Uphorik so easy to do a fair demo. ( I have to swap to Stageline N for Adikt )

Gammaboy posted:

I am using an Adikt on an ARO and think it sounds great, very musical. Playing it through a Lejonklou Gaio (soon to be Slipsik 6) into a SN2. I believe the Lejonklou phono preamps are built with the Adikt in mind. Excellent value for the money.

Linn Uphrik is also a great phono for the Adikt. It's even better because you can adjust a loading on an MM cart.

Sorry for the delay in reporting back on this guys, it's been busy!

Ok, so to start with I fitted up my Audio Technica AT95e as it was all I had to hand, and I must say it sounded very nice.  It's certainly no slouch that cart and offers excellent sound for it's modest outlay.  I have recently acquired an old but mint Dynavector DV-20X2, and subsequently fitted it up last week and this is a step up in SQ.  I am pleased with the results!  Annoyingly I thought I had MC cards spare for the 32.5 but only have another set of MM, but the DV works with these as it's a high output cart.  Would there be any benefit swapping out to MC cards?  

Also I noticed my Sondek has some wobble and I've traced it down to the motor so I am going to fit a new motor to increase stability also.  Sounds bloody cracking at the moment though!! 

Lewis posted:
I have recently acquired an old but mint Dynavector DV-20X2, and subsequently fitted it up last week and this is a step up in SQ.  I am pleased with the results!  Annoyingly I thought I had MC cards spare for the 32.5 but only have another set of MM, but the DV works with these as it's a high output cart.  Would there be any benefit swapping out to MC cards? 

No. Only the low output version requires MC cards.

Congrats Lewis.

DV works well on the ARO. After the K9 I briefly tried the X20 on the Basik Plus  ( my first Sondek ) Later I tried Dynavector 19A on the ARO. It worked out much better. ( incidentally I still have this cartridge! )


Later if you want to go up on a Dyna ladder and switch to an MC, they all work well with the ARO.

Enjoy your journey.

 

I'm really glad this thread came up. I had been thinking for some time about a replacement for my ageing Goldring 1042. Saw the reference to the Audio Note IQ3. Had one fitted today by the splendid Jack at Audio Barn. Listening to JJ Cale right now - stunning even though it's only been playing for an hour or two. More of everything I always liked about the 1042. Not cheap for a MM at £700 - but I'd say well worth it. I feel a vinyl fest approaching.

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