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Upgrade Cartridge recommendations for PF-800


Phil Williams
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Guest Karl Rand
1 hour ago, philwill1971@gmail.com said:

Hi, running a Yamaha PF-800 with original MC cartridge which sounds great, but if I upgrade the cartridge would like to do it justice. Running LK-1 Phono Stage for amplification. Thanks Phil.

 

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I’m only guessing here but suspect your aim is to record a collection of older LP’s onto CD or other digital medium. If that collection is only small and if those LP’s are available on CD now  you’d be better of replacing them in a digital format and forgetting the turntable.

(Sadly many who post here will read your comment about how good your cartridge/turntable sounds to you and turn their noses up in audiophile snobbery anyway.) On the other hand if you’re sitting on a large collection of LP’s, many of them not available today in a digital medium I’d suggest saving your money for a while and buying a better 2nd hand turntable from the classifieds section of this forum.

Come back and ask for advice once you spot one that interests you. Once you had the turntable home and still wanted a better cartridge than the one it came with it, if it did, I’d then come back here and ask for cartridge recommendations. The other question you need to answer for yourself is how much vinyl snap, crackle and pop you can tolerate if your old LP’s aren’t in excellect condition. It’s probable a new cartridge on your old Yamaha is going to emphasise these surface noises in a very annoying manner. 

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the Yamaha PF-800 is a solid and quality turntable, i would look at a garrott P77i, Ortofon 2M bronze as a minimum, others will chime in with their preferences, you may consider a moving coil, i use an Ortofon Quintet Blue MC on an old Rega Planar 2, sounds fantastic, not much dearer than precious MM's mentioned.  as far as the above post, has obviously moved to digital, his choice, if noisy reccords are an issue, cleaning them seems to be the go, lots of info on record cleaners posted

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37 minutes ago, Karl Rand said:

I’m only guessing here but suspect your aim is to record a collection of older LP’s onto CD or other digital medium. If that collection is only small and if those LP’s are available on CD now  you’d be better of replacing them in a digital format and forgetting the turntable.

(Sadly many who post here will read your comment about how good your cartridge/turntable sounds to you and turn their noses up in audiophile snobbery anyway.) On the other hand if you’re sitting on a large collection of LP’s, many of them not available today in a digital medium I’d suggest saving your money for a while and buying a better 2nd hand turntable from the classifieds section of this forum.

Come back and ask for advice once you spot one that interests you. Once you had the turntable home and still wanted a better cartridge than the one it came with it, if it did, I’d then come back here and ask for cartridge recommendations. The other question you need to answer for yourself is how much vinyl snap, crackle and pop you can tolerate if your old LP’s aren’t in excellect condition. It’s probable a new cartridge on your old Yamaha is going to emphasise these surface noises in a very annoying manner. 

Thanks for insight but just looking for suitable MC upgrade replacement cartridges. I like to enjoy all my LP's live.

Edited by philwill1971@gmail.com
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19 minutes ago, wen said:

the Yamaha PF-800 is a solid and quality turntable, i would look at a garrott P77i, Ortofon 2M bronze as a minimum, others will chime in with their preferences, you may consider a moving coil, i use an Ortofon Quintet Blue MC on an old Rega Planar 2, sounds fantastic, not much dearer than precious MM's mentioned.  as far as the above post, has obviously moved to digital, his choice, if noisy reccords are an issue, cleaning them seems to be the go, lots of info on record cleaners posted

 

23 minutes ago, wen said:

the Yamaha PF-800 is a solid and quality turntable, i would look at a garrott P77i, Ortofon 2M bronze as a minimum, others will chime in with their preferences, you may consider a moving coil, i use an Ortofon Quintet Blue MC on an old Rega Planar 2, sounds fantastic, not much dearer than precious MM's mentioned.  as far as the above post, has obviously moved to digital, his choice, if noisy reccords are an issue, cleaning them seems to be the go, lots of info on record cleaners posted

Thanks, existing cartridge is MC and arm has a double arm setup so cant see a standard head fitting, so thinking MC cartridge and stylus replacement only.

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22 minutes ago, philwill1971@gmail.com said:

 

Thanks, existing cartridge is MC and arm has a double arm setup so cant see a standard head fitting, so thinking MC cartridge and stylus replacement only.

I once owned a PF 800 and although I agree about headshells, you are not restricted as to what type of cart you can fit. MM or MC makes no difference in mounting, set up and adjustment and each and every cart will require its own set up parameters.

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54 minutes ago, philwill1971@gmail.com said:

 

Thanks, existing cartridge is MC and arm has a double arm setup so cant see a standard head fitting, so thinking MC cartridge and stylus replacement only.

My PF800 runs an Garrot MM , it’s away at the fixit shop atm.

But was was looking at getting some extra head shells and trying some other carts just for the hell of it.

Still enjoying the Yammy lots.

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Guest Karl Rand
2 hours ago, wen said:

 . . . . . . . . . . . .  as far as the above post, has obviously moved to digital, his choice, if noisy reccords are an issue, cleaning them seems to be the go, lots of info on record cleaners posted

Actually I  run a VPI ‘Airies’ upgraded to recent spec with a selection of MM & MC cartridges used to play a collection of LP’s in the many thousands. As to digital I hated all digital when it first arrived but now run a number of digital sources which make me happy although there’s no subsitute for sitting down with an LP cover and reading the notes.

My suspicion, having re-read all  this is one the the latest Audio Technica AT 700 series MM cartridges would be perfect. In particular the VM 750 SH which on my system gives a number of ultra expensive moving coils a run for their money. Which leads to the most important question, how much does Philwill1971 want to splurge? 

 

https://www.stereophonic.com.au/audio-technica-vm750sh-duel-magnet-cartridge/ $699.00

https://www.stereophonic.com.au/audio-technica-vm670sp-duel-magnet-cartridge/ $299.00 (In my opinion one of the great audio bargains of the 21st century)
Edited by Karl Rand
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I have my $0.02 worth, 2 that come to mind under a grand are 

 

Hana 'S' MC Cartridge in either high or low output

 

Benz Micro Ace 'S' in either high, medium or low output

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57 minutes ago, Karl Rand said:

 

Which leads to the most important question, how much does Philwill1971 want to splurge? 

 

 

Yep, Phil??

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Guest Karl Rand
2 hours ago, Neurone said:

I have my $0.02 worth, 2 that come to mind under a grand are 

 

Hana 'S' MC Cartridge in either high or low output

 

Benz Micro Ace 'S' in either high, medium or low output

I’d put the new Audio Technica moving magnets up against any number of silly money moving coils. The excellent VM 750SH especially is a MC killer. That is unless you’re one of the significant number of well off older audiophiles whose deminished treble sensitivity is compensated by most moving coil’s rising high end frequency response.

Then there’s the issue of not needing an extra level of pre-amplification and the fragility of so many expensive moving coils which can cost you thousands if you simply sneeze at a critical moment. 

Edited by Karl Rand
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1 minute ago, Karl Rand said:

Excellent cartridges in their day but can I suggest the lastest Audio Technica MMs have changed the whole game.?

I’d put the M 750SH up against any number of silly money moving coils.

Interesting. I have not heard one myself but they do seem to have a great reputation. I would be very interested to know how they smash the barriers and change the state-of-the-art.

I tend to prefer MM carts myself and I dislike cheaper /high output MCs

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Guest Karl Rand
21 minutes ago, rantan said:

Interesting. I have not heard one myself but they do seem to have a great reputation. I would be very interested to know how they smash the barriers and change the state-of-the-art.

I tend to prefer MM carts myself and I dislike cheaper /high output MCs

Rumour has it Audio Technica are about to release an up market version of the VM750SH. A little Pixie whispered in my ear recently it will have a 3D printed body with some form of exotic anti-resonance damping. Given what I hear from the stock standard VM750SH in my JMW 3D printed arm (OK, I’ve said this before but didn’t expect to live as long as I have) this may well be the last cartridge I ever purchase. The only other cartridge I use now and again is a Decca ‘Gold’ mono rebuilt by Kerry Williams at Garrott Bros. Brilliant dynamics and no sign of the standard stereo Decca ‘Gold’ chucking a wobbly at large lower bass transients. 

Sorry, I’m wandering way off topic. 

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1 hour ago, Karl Rand said:

Then there’s the issue of not needing an extra level of pre-amplification

 

That is absolutely a valid point!  :thumb:

 

Although if you have an MC-rated phono stage ... you may not need an "extra level of amplification" - it's built in!

 

Quote

and the fragility of so many expensive moving coils which can cost you thousands if you simply sneeze at a critical moment. 

 

That is 'fake noos' IME.  :P

 

I had a A$6K MC cart for many years (Benz LP) - I would not say it was any more fragile than the MM carts I have also owned.

 

1 hour ago, Karl Rand said:

I’d put the new Audio Technica moving magnets up against any number of silly money moving coils. The excellent VM 750SH especially is a MC killer. That is unless you’re one of the significant number of well off older audiophiles whose diminished treble sensitivity is compensated by most moving coil’s rising high end frequency response.

 

Them's fighting words, KR!  :lol:  You mean MM carts don't have a "rising top end"?  IOW ... their top end droops?

 

1 hour ago, rantan said:

I tend to prefer MM carts myself and I dislike cheaper /high output MCs

 

I agree with you absolutely, rantan, that inexpensive LOMCs and HOMCs are not necessarily great sounding.  :thumb:

 

However, IME very few MMs sound as good as - or better than - good LOMCs.  Two I can vouch for that do are:

  • the 'Statement' series of Grado carts (MI but low output - 0.5mV), and
  • my Stanton 'WOS CS100' (very hard to find).

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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Guest Karl Rand
22 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

That is absolutely a valid point!  :thumb:

 

Although if you have an MC-rated phono stage ... you may not need an "extra level of amplification" - it's built in!

 

 

That is 'fake noos' IME.  :P

 

I had a A$6K MC cart for many years (Benz LP) - I would not say it was any more fragile than the MM carts I have also owned.

 

 

Them's fighting words, KR!  :lol:  You mean MM carts don't have a "rising top end"?  IOW ... their top end droops?

 

 

I agree with you absolutely, rantan, that inexpensive LOMCs and HOMCs are not necessarily great sounding.  :thumb:

 

However, IME very few MMs sound as good as - or better than - good LOMCs.  Two I can vouch for that do are:

  • the 'Statement' series of Grado carts (MI but low output - 0.5mV), and
  • my Stanton 'WOS CS100' (very hard to find).

Andy

 

"Although if you have an MC-rated phono stage ... you may not need an "extra level of amplification" - it's built in"

I didn’t make myself clear enough here. Any level of amplification at the radically low level of moving coil output is a task often only managed properly with exprensive devices. Even the best transformers can cost silly money. 

 

"I had a A$6K MC cart for many years (Benz LP) - I would not say it was any more fragile than the MM carts I have also owned."

 

We’ll just put it down to my clumsiness except for me moving magnets survive my treatment better then moving coils.

 

Haven’t any experience with the Stanton’WOS CS100’. Did they ever come into Australia? As to the Grado’s I found them very suseptible to picking up hum from some turntables, well at least the ones I was using at the time. 

 

Back to the Audio Technica 700 series. I want to suggest anyone who holds as gospel moving magnets will never approach the virtues of moving coils take a listen. It could save you a fortune. 

 

 

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Guest Karl Rand
14 hours ago, rantan said:

Interesting. I have not heard one myself but they do seem to have a great reputation. I would be very interested to know how they smash the barriers and change the state-of-the-art.

I tend to prefer MM carts myself and I dislike cheaper /high output MCs

Much as I respect Peter Familari’s Peter Familari's avatar  reviews , hearing acuity and catholic musical taste I want to suggest his take on several of the VM700 series published here on 9th March 2018 missed the mark in trialing them on a decent arm when any valid judgement   requires installing them in the absolute best tonearm available. (I suspect he’d argue with me about that) Not that purchasers of the cheapest of the VM 700 range will be putting out silly money mounting them on VPI 3D printed devices, Graham ‘Phantoms or such.

I’m told there’s a very  positive review of the series in Hi-Fi World Magazine but I can’t track it down on-line. 

Whatever, I’m compelled to scream again from the rooftops the cheapest of the series, the VMN 740 ML is one of the great bargains of 21st Century hi-fi ( do we still use that term?)

Edited by Karl Rand
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19 minutes ago, Karl Rand said:

Much as I respect Peter Familari’s Peter Familari's avatar  reviews , hearing acuity and catholic musical taste I want to suggest his take on several of the VM700 series published here on 9th March 2018 missed the mark in trialing them on a decent arm when any valid judgement   requires installing them in the absolute best tonearm available. (I suspect he’d argue with me about that) Not that purchasers of the cheapest of the VM 700 range will be putting out silly money mounting them on VPI 3D printed devices, Graham ‘Phantoms or such.

I’m told there’s a very  positive review of the series in Hi-Fi World Magazine but I can’t track it down on-line. 

Whatever, I’m compelled to scream again from the rooftops the cheapest of the series, the VMN 750 ML is one of the great bargains of 21st Century hi-fi ( do we still use that term?)

Thanks for insights. 

My first question is a rookie, are we sure that the PF800 released with an MC cartridge can accept an MM cartridge and all I do is change the LK1 phono stage to MM. 

Second is the AT model number. I see two for the 750. I see VM750SH for approx $700 AUD. Is this the one? Thanks Phil

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Guest Karl Rand
On 06/08/2019 at 9:38 AM, philwill1971@gmail.com said:

Thanks for insights. 

My first question is a rookie, are we sure that the PF800 released with an MC cartridge can accept an MM cartridge and all I do is change the LK1 phono stage to MM. 

Second is the AT model number. I see two for the 750. I see VM750SH for approx $700 AUD. Is this the one? Thanks Phil

I can’t see any problems with installing any of the VM 700 series in your Yamaha PF-800 BUT I have no experience with this turntable and more importantly with the twin tubed arm. Others here may have a better handle on what is often an esoteric question. 

In your turntable I’d go for the VMN740ML. It may be the cheapest in the range but I’m told the differences between it and the more expensive models are so small a seriously revealing deck and system ( read expensive) would be required to even notice. 

I’d also ask others who’ve posted here and know the Yamaha PF-800 if there could be any difficulties mounting a 700 series on your arm. Either that or purchase from a reputable retailer willing to install it free of charge. These days some will, some won’t and others can’t be trusted so phone first.  I would never recommend anyone purchasing a cartridge do so over the web. You may save a bit of money but you’ll probably pay in tears afterwards.

https://audio-technica.com.au/authorised-dealer-listing/

 

PS: In a previous post I listed the cheapest of the 700 range as the 750 when I meant 740. Sorry.

Edited by Karl Rand
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Being in some what a similar situation to the OP.

Can some one with experience with please help me understand what gains I’d expect to get moving through the colors of the carts from the 2m red through to the black?

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Guest Karl Rand
5 hours ago, joz said:

Being in some what a similar situation to the OP.

Can some one with experience with please help me understand what gains I’d expect to get moving through the colors of the carts from the 2m red through to the black?

Very few if any of us here will have compared the entire range of Ortophon ‘colours’ unless they’re working in the area. 

Instance, I’ve only ever used the ‘Black’ for a short time.

You could start your investigation here :- https://www.whathifi.com/ortofon/2m-blue-mm/review

https://www.whathifi.com/ortofon/2m-black/review

https://www.whathifi.com/ortofon/2m-red/review

https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/289779-ortofon-bronze-vs-black/

 

On second thoughts I suggest you find an autophon dealer in your area and ask them. If they simply tell you ’They get better as they go up in price’ it’s not that simple. Some are more suited to particular phono-preamps and some more suitable for particular systems/arms. Never buy a cartridge off the web to save a few dollars unless you’re purchasing a model you already have some experience of or one someone you trust has used - that is if they also know it’s suited to your particular arm. It isn't simple, in fact for anyone new to the analogue game this can all come across as a dark art. 

Your other option is to write to a trusted hi-fi magazine and ask for advice making sure you tell them what turntable, arm and phono pre-amp you’re using. If you could somehow gain the attention of one of the reviewers who writes on ’the dark art of analogue’ on this site you could ask them. Offhand I’d suggest Peter Familiar is one you could sure place your trust in. 

 

 

Edited by Karl Rand
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