View Full Version : phono cartridge for 34xx 43xx

09-12-2004, 03:54 AM
I have not seen on this forum any talk about phono cartridge used in 33rpm or only one .. .
I believe the cartridge must be choosen considering your speakers .
I use jbl 34xx and 43xx for years and the best phono cartridge i ever use with my jbl was the empire 4000 DIII for his very deep low medium and very fine high frequency .( i did try grado - shure - nakamichi ... )
Any comment ?


09-12-2004, 05:33 AM
hi! i have tried many diffrent ones. and the one i liked best was ortofon MC-200 but the stylus gave up on it...at the moment i use a AT-95E very cheap! $50...maybe it cant compare to zillion dollar pickups...but unbelieveble bang for buck factor! highly recomended to those searching for new pickup! it really brought my sleeping tt back to life! (had grado before)

i have a empire something lying around....maybe iŽll hook it on and give it a listen!

09-12-2004, 06:42 AM
I have a Shure V-15 IV that I like and sounds damn nice.


09-12-2004, 06:46 AM
hi rob:wave:

iŽve heard much about that pickup, but never had the pleashure of listening to it...its a MM right?

09-12-2004, 07:37 AM
yes it is aMM
you can still have diamond at Musonic and an uk company keep selling sued cartridge I believe ...

scott fitlin
09-12-2004, 01:31 PM
For serious home listening I MUST recommend the Grado Reference Platinum Woodbody! Pristine highs, natural sounding mids, great, I mean GREAT BASS extension, without excessive or muddy boom! particularly, this cartridge makes audible sense out of extremely low frequency notes! Uncanny how you can hear little things in the very bottom you never knew was there! And its not that expensive! $300, and this particular Grado model always gets reveiws that are consistent, and seems to best cartridges that are considerably more expensive! I really like it!

There is also the Grado Prestige Gold, $180, that is also a good sounding cartridge!

Grado sounds great on JBL, I have a pair of 4312,s in my bedroom, and Ive brought em to my commercial system!

Gardo labs, Brooklyn NY!

scott fitlin
09-12-2004, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by Robh3606
I have a Shure V-15 IV that I like and sounds damn nice.

Rob:) I have the Shure V15 IV, and its from the eighties, and I even still have replacement needles for it! And in the 90,s when they re-introduced the Shure V15 V, I ran out and bought one, and it wasnt nearly as good as the older ones.

But, I do like the sound of my Shure!

Grado is where its at these days! Small company here in Brooklyn NY, making dedicated high quality cartridges!

If you can afford the Shure V15, you can afford the Grado reference Platinum, and they say it rivals some Moving Coil designs! I say, try it and hear the difference, Rob, when I get out to visit you, Im bringing a Grado!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

scott fitlin
09-12-2004, 02:55 PM
Another interesting cartridge is the Australian made Garrott Bros P-77.

Very dynamic midrange, requires very precise alignment, but really good for classical music.

09-13-2004, 10:55 AM
Originally posted by Figge
it really brought my sleeping tt back to life! (had grado before)

to scott: the one i had was the cheapest...black?

it was pretty boring. but the guy who:s selling these here in town had the one u mentioned (Reference Platinum) and i really loved it when i was getting a demonstration...however i couldnt afford it at the time...so i got home with the black.

scott fitlin
09-13-2004, 01:01 PM
Well, the black is entry level, and I find the highs on the lesser models to be slightly dry sounding!

You might like the Prestige Gold, it has a very prominent lower midrange, and midbass that gives the music a very full sound, and easygoing tonality! Wont get you into the nether regions of the bass like the Reference Platinum though!

The reference Platinum has a silky sounding top end, and makes mids that are gorgeous! Lower and upper! The bass extension, well, you can hear what seems to be WAYYYY down deep, and clearly, not muffled, or muddy, clear sounding sub bass!

My next upgrade is going to be the Reference Sonata! They say what the Platinum does, the Sonata does even better! Its $500! Still not bad, considering how good they sound!

When I talk to people about grado, like Needledoctor, among others, and the reveiws I read, the Grado woodbodies seem to best cartridges costing much more money! And this is consistently recommended, even when I talk to them about buying cartridges that are more expensive! What I can tell you is that EVERYONE I have let use, and listen to the Platinum has flipped for it! At Shorty,s house the bass through his JBL 18,s and 15,s was Unreal! But DEEP bass, NOT thick sounding bass! Basslines were lithe and articulate sounding, just that it seemed to get down deeper than ever before!

Now the mids have a natural quality I was too impressed with! Pianos, female voices, flutes and woodwinds, well......

For $300 the reference Platinum is a great buy! You could spend $1200 and maybe it isnt the Grado, ya know? And this woodie got DYNAMICS too! Very dynamic!

09-29-2004, 09:00 AM
the grado black was really boring at the start but after a couple of days it seemed as if it had beaked in a bit. and opened up! but still pretty boring so i removed the steel shell that surrounds it so the pickup was "open" i could now see the coils. and WOOHOO! now it really opened up! totally diffrent pickup, smooth, airy sound instead of the "heldback" original sound! it was like playing it outside of a beercan instead of iniside! i did this on a ortofon VMS-20 also with the same results! higly recomended. not on 500 dollar pickups but on the cheap ones, could howerver work on the expensive pickups too.

scott fitlin
09-29-2004, 11:16 AM
That open body happens to be the theory behind some good cartridges too!

Sumiko, and Benz Micro, and many very high priced cartridges offer the open body concept as one that reduces resonance, and colorations induced into the sound by way of closed body!

Save up some money, and get a Grado reference Platinum, you wont be disapointed! Definitely more open sounding than the Grado Prestige Gold, and if one looks under the woodbody, at the stylus, you can see the coils! But, IMHO, theres something about the sound of the woodbody cartridges!

09-29-2004, 02:46 PM
I started to get back to really listening to my music again, about 6 months ago. I was an Audio Eng in the 70s.
I really enjoyed the writing of Marc Phillips regarding Cartridges. It is worth the read
I contacted Marc via Email regarding the Ortofon OMP10 vs. Ortofon X1-MC about two months ago because they were on sale at Needle Dr and the Grando's were not... at that time he said that the OM20 or OMP20 (P mount) was his top pic now for cartridges under $300. At that time this cartridge was on sale at Needle Dr for around 130, I went with the OMP10 on sale at 64 with the idea that I can upgrade to the OMP20 with a new stylus for $100, anytime. Plus my vinyl is in poor condition. Marc can be reached at

09-29-2004, 06:32 PM
We're an Ortofon dealer at work... and have had considerable experience with the OM and X series cartridges.

The OM series stuff is certainly good sounding; it's just that we've had CONSIDERABLE reliability problems with OM- series stuff over the years. The most common problem is pickup coils going open circuit- which takes out a channel, and is un-fixable.

Due to that, we no longer recommend the OM-series stuff. The X-series, IME, is more entertaining sounding ('faster' transients) anyhow, on a table with a decent amount of arm mass (wouldn't use an X-series on a super-lightweight tonearm such as an Infinity Black Widow or whatnot, but anything along the line of a Sumiko, Fidelity Research, Audioquest or VPI arm is plenty massive). Matched with the right arm, they sound REALLY impressive.


09-29-2004, 06:59 PM
Will those cartridges work on a 12 year old, hardly been used Technics SL DD 22? Will the OMP10 work OK?
Best solutions for mounting Turntables? My 8' tall solid oak ent system rack is in the corner of the room with L-7s and their center firing woofers about five feet away. The solid wood and corner placement of the rack along with two woofers firing center stage and back makes the deepest base channel to the rack... Heck you get the best base in the room when you wire up new equipment in small corner space behind the rack. Should I build a box to hold sand and then legs out of that to support the TT?

10-01-2004, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by scott fitlin
Sumiko, and Benz Micro, and many very high priced cartridges offer the open body concept as one that reduces resonance, and colorations induced into the sound by way of closed body!

:) thats where i got the idea! i read a review on the sumiko, and :hmm: decided to try since the black wasnt gonna stay on my turntable for long. (had it over a year after the mod!) after that i got hold of a Ortofon MC10 and a MC200 after awhile of swiching i decided to go with the 200. the mc200 was a demo at a local hifi shop i i got it for free! wooho...used it a year and it got worse everyday, worn out stylus? so here i am with my at95....gonna follow scotts advice and save up for the reference grado. but meanwhile im looking for a shure V15 3 or 4

10-01-2004, 11:56 AM
When I was a JBL rep in the late 70's we also repped Ortofon carts, as they were part of the Beatrice Foods family of fine audio products. Always thought the transient response and definition were a nice match for JBL speakers, especially those with compression drivers.

This one is a little red high output moving coil, which I purchased on the grey market in Hong Kong.;)

10-01-2004, 03:11 PM
Originally posted by scott fitlin
Well, the black is entry level, and I find the highs on the lesser models to be slightly dry sounding!
I tried the Grado black and it was as wiry as a marathon runner. Put me off the whole line. But you are making me reconsider. Do you think the Platinum wood-bodied would work in an SME arm? (the one on my Thorens 125--I think its a 3009 with removeable shell).


scott fitlin
10-01-2004, 04:24 PM
Originally posted by speakerdave
I tried the Grado black and it was as wiry as a marathon runner. Put me off the whole line. But you are making me reconsider. Do you think the Platinum wood-bodied would work in an SME arm? (the one on my Thorens 125--I think its a 3009 with removeable shell).

David YES! It will work on the SME arm, and its one really good sounding cartridge! I have this and the Prestige Gold, and my opinion is the Prestige Gold has a mid bass bump that gives the music a kind of fuller sound, but the highs are also dryish sounding! However, the Ref Platinum has a silkier sounding top end, a really nice sultry kind of sounding midrange, and the bass has EXTENSION not boominess! great transient snap, even the bass jumps, but real bass! I like it, and everyone that has heard it, or that Ive taken it to, has also loved it!

They say the Reference Sonata has an even finer sounding top end and even more natural midrange, but I havent gotten it just yet, so i cant really go all out with recommendations. Thats my next one, though, for $500 still not bad! They say the more expensive the cartridge the better the type of wood the body is milled from, and they say its the wood that also contributes to the cartridges sound!

I havent had any negative comments yet!

Ian Mackenzie
10-02-2004, 05:01 PM

I have been reading this thread and hypa links for an hour!

Great to see we have some real vinyl people here on the forums.

I must get my Kenwood Kd650 mobil again.

I have a vintage FR 12 arm and FR301 cartridge. Not in the realms of the new stuff sold by the Needle Doctor but not bad. .

I bought the MC 301 from a dealer in 1985 for about $350. its needs a step up device and that can be a pain, noise..loss of resolution and hum with transformers...

Your review of the better Grado has me curious. I mean so what about spending $300-400 on a top flight cartridge. With high output what you pay for is not having to worry about very expensive transformers etc which can be hundreds.


At the moment I am using a Pass Pearl that I built up designed by Wayne Colburn. Reference is made to a GradoSonata (47 Kohms load), in a review of the phono stage at the end of the article .

So I will be shopping for a Grado soon

Thanks for the tip Scott.



scott fitlin
10-02-2004, 05:12 PM
Youll enjoy the grado woodbodies!


10-03-2004, 08:48 AM
... are:

1) EMT TSD-15 (for EMT arms) or XSD-15 (for SME arms)
2) Denon DL-103

The EMTs might even work without a MC headamp or transformer as they put out 1mV (@1kHz).
The Denon needs a decent step-up device with 0.2mV output voltage. The stylus in the EMT lasts at least 3-times longer than the Denon one which justifys the higher price.



10-03-2004, 10:54 AM

Still the emprire 4000 DIII is the best cartridge I heard with a 43xx system...............


10-04-2004, 09:09 AM
Linn/Lingo/SME III/Shure V15 V works great for me. Thorens TD125 MkII/Mayware/Stanton 881S gets used for extra punch when needed and also for those records in questionable (some are really bad!) condition from garage sales.

I use two negative impedance home made phono preamps based on Ed Meitner's patent, an unbeatable phono stage for MM's IMHO. It uses the cartridge as a current, rather than voltage source.

John Y.
10-05-2004, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by scott fitlin
Youll enjoy the grado woodbodies!


Scott (or others),

Have you had experience with the problem of a Rega exhibiting a hum on the inner tracks when using Grado cartriges? I have a Grado (mid range - about $150 - can't remember the designation) that hums when it reaches the inner grooves played on my Rega 3. Hum is not very loud, but present. This is a problem that has been mentioned in various Stereophile reviews.

I have been thinking of trying some mu-metal foil on the underside of the platform to block the motor magnetic influence on the cartridge. Is this a feasable solution?

Would the wood body Grado exhibit this tendency like the lower cost Grados?

John Y.

scott fitlin
10-05-2004, 04:39 PM
As the arm moves over the turntables motor, the grado can get sensitive! However I use Technics direct drive tables and never had any hum!

I think its table dependent and some tables motors are better shielded than others!

I also had the reference Platinim on my Technics 1200,s just for listening, and NO hum as the cartridge moves towards the center, whatsover.

Mu-Metal foil might work, as shielding the magnetic field from the cartridge is the culprit of the noise. :cool:

BTW, in pretty much all of today high end tables its easy to see that they go to great lengths to effectively shield the magnetic fields emitted by the tables motor!

scott fitlin
10-05-2004, 05:26 PM
In going back and re reading your posat i see your talking about the mid line of grado cartridges! Its the woodbodies that can be sensitive to externally induced magnetic fields. You should be having no problems with the fully shielded grado prestige series!