Is it possible to find a decent (or even passable) mono cart for around $50-60?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by mhjmhjones, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. mhjmhjones

    mhjmhjones Active Member

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    I haven't been able to find anything on eBay/Amazon, etc. except for antiques that I probably wouldn't be able to find a stylus for those. Am i missing something? I don't want to spend upwards of $100 for the 10-15 mono records I own. Thank in advance.
     
  2. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

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    Just wire a cheap stereo cartridge for mono.
     
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  3. mhjmhjones

    mhjmhjones Active Member

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    Really? How do I do that? Would the sound be compromised? Googling it now!
     
  4. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

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    There should be diagrams all over the place. The sound would be "compromised" in that you wouldn't have a stereo signal anymore.
     
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  5. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  6. mhjmhjones

    mhjmhjones Active Member

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    Thank you for your input! Yes, I have found some how-tos. I guess by "compromised" I mean are the mechanics inside the cartridge basically the same for mono and stereo carts? Will I get better sound using a stereo cart wired for mono as opposed to just using a stereo cart wired normally?
     
  7. mhjmhjones

    mhjmhjones Active Member

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  8. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

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    The "mono" cartridges that you see marketed in tone-y audio mags are basically stereo cartridges that have been slightly modified electrically for mono operation. There's nothing cutting-edge about their design or construction.

    Wiring a stereo cartridge for mono cancels out noise the generated by vertical motion of the stylus.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  9. Bill Ashton

    Bill Ashton AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Is there something wrong with using, say, an A/T 3600 or so as is? Shouldn't hurt anything right? And simple...
     
  10. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Turntable Whisperer Subscriber

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    There are some mono carts -- the Denon DL-102 as an example -- that don't transmit any vertical signal and thus (in theory) will reduce surface noise.

    That said, I own a DL-102 and while it does appear to reduce surface noise, a big part of that is a roll-off on the top end. So it ends up being hard to say how much of a difference the lack of vertical signal makes.

    If I needed to do a mono cartridge for vintage recordings with no mono switch, I'd get a Stanton 680/1 with a decent OEM stylus and strap it.
     
  11. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

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    Well, I'll leave people to discuss the particulars. It's just that generating a mono signal from a turntable isn't a black art, and so doesn't require an expenditure of hundreds of dollars. You can get the job done just using parts from your supply drawer.
    BTW, reduction of surface noise isn't "a theory". Noise is the only thing generated in the vertical plane on a mono record. Mono uses lateral motion of the stylus to generate the desired signal.
     
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  12. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Nope. Won't hurt anything, but you might not be getting the most out of your mono experience. The thread I posted a link to is worth reading. When mono is being discussed, it's also important to identify what kind of mono records you have. True mono with the modulations on the groove floor, or "mono" effect, which is basically a "mono" record cut on a stereo lathe in which both signals are simply the same and cut diagonally just like a stereo record. If that's the kind of mono record you have, like I have, then strapping is also unnecessary. Just use your stereo cartridge as is and forget it. Also, if using a true mono cartridge, with no horizontal compliance, you could destroy your "mono" effect records just as surely as you'd destroy your stereo discs.
     
  13. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

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  14. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Turntable Whisperer Subscriber

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    FWIW, this style of cartridge is really, really old. Probably not anything the OP would need to worry about.

    The DL-102 generates no signal from vertical motion, but it is vertically compliant.
     
  15. Ballylongford

    Ballylongford AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    PM sent regarding a NIB Shure M78S
    which is available
     
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  16. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Stereo cartridge manufacturers back in the day often sold "mono" cartridges which were nothing more than their stereo cartridges with the pins visibly strapped on the exterior. Pickering and Stanton used little coil springs. Micro Acoustics used little flat pieces of copper with holes in them to bridge the pins. I'm pretty sure that Shure used something like what Pickering and Stanton used: an external wire or bridge.

    AT is probably doing something similar here, perhaps just internally.
     
  17. mhjmhjones

    mhjmhjones Active Member

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    Needlestein it looks like you did a lot of homework back in May on this. I see that you discovered many ways to "strap" such as "bridging" and "summing" and connecting in series. What was your end result? Did you try all the listed methods? What solution did you end up going with?
     
  18. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

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    I choose to listen to my many mono records with a stereo cartridge and system. After all, I bought many mono albums when all I had was a mono system with the promise on the record jacket that "played on a stereophonic machine, it gives even more brilliant true-to-life fidelity." I have found this to be true and am totally satisfied with the playback quality I'm getting, but it will be interesting to hear your impressions if you decide to wire a stereo cartridge for mono output.
     
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  19. malden

    malden Super Member

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    :thumbsup:

    Or, if you really want to hear what those MONO records (assuming they are true mono) sounded like when they were pressed, you could set up a dedicated mono system.

    For example

    GE cartridge
    Rek-O-Kut 120 tone-arm on an idler drive turntable
    Heathkit mono integrated tube amp
    Electrovoice 12TRXB full range driver in a Aristocrat enclosure

    All of the above can be put together for less than $500.00 with a little patience.

    I did just that a few years ago and have to say it was quite enjoyable.

    Just a thought
     
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  20. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

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    The M78S is just another stereo cartridge strapped for mono. You can see the jumpers when looking at the back of the cartridge.
     

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