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Name that no-name phono cartridge...

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by vwestlife, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,810
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    Well, I don't know about modern listeners. When would a modern listener of a modern magnetic cartridge even have an opportunity? I've never had one. I wish this seller would just sell one stylus!
     
  2. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,810
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    I looked up that JT-555 and the TTN site says it's diamond. LPGear site seems to make the assumption that it's understood that it's diamond. I was excited there for a minute.
     
  3. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,194
    Location:
    Toronto
    Yeah, I was fooled by that too...wualta (I think it was) pointed it out to me. Corundum is Nagaoka's description in the data sheet. They make a big deal out the fact that the extended line lifespan is comparable to a normal diamond. Kind of how today the makers are boasting a 2k+ life expectancy for line diamonds.

    The 555 isn't bad, but I feel the CF cantilever holds it back. Hard to say as I have nothing to compare it to; the treble extension is very good within my hearing ability....better than most in it's price range. Should be.....the build quality is well above anything we're discussing here.
     
  4. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,810
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    So it is indeed a Shibata sapphire?
     
  5. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,194
    Location:
    Toronto
    That's what it looks like. Sound, too.

    If you're getting an itch, I have to warn you....the sound is the opposite of what you've been chasing lately.
     
  6. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,810
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    Hmmmmm. So dark, muddy and slow?
     
  7. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,194
    Location:
    Toronto
    Not dark or slow; it becomes confused...loses definition on heavy, dense passages. Tonally, I'd say it's fairly natural, in a way that suits chamber music, especially period instruments that used metal parts sparingly. Dynamically, it's unaggressive, in a way that also suits acoustic music more than electric. Instrument separation is good, but stage is not spectacular. Again, better suited to a quiet, small acoustic ensemble, IMO.

    None of this is necessarily criticism; one can spend a great deal more for a cartridge that can deliver these qualities in a more complete package. It's more a matter of the direction one is looking to go within a limited budget.
     
  8. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,810
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    Thanks! As much as I'm curious, I've already got cartridges with that particular set of attributes.
     
  9. Starquest

    Starquest Super Member

    Messages:
    1,022
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    Weeknights can be brutal. After the bedtime battle, I'm too tired to head down into the cold basement and mess around with records :)
     
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  10. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,194
    Location:
    Toronto
    The 555 has it's own unique voice, but yeah, not the direction you want to go. I'd skip the sapphire detour and look for a way to get a quality diamond on the Sonotone, if it's at all possible.
     
  11. vwestlife

    vwestlife Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    Longines Symphonette did "suggest a diamond stylus for finest reproduction" -- also note those tracking force recommendations! :eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. vwestlife

    vwestlife Active Member

    Messages:
    246
    I ordered one of these no-name "M7" cartridges pre-mounted on a headshell from stereoneedleslady on eBay:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/201528995643

    She also has replacement styli available -- the only place I've been able to find them. The stylus body is similar to the Pfanstiehl 901 (MG-09 / GrooveTool) stylus but is slightly larger. With a little effort, a 901 stylus will fit on it, but not well -- it pops off easily. I wouldn't trust it.

    The cartridge has a long "nose" -- I need to have it pushed almost all the way back in the headshell to achieve the proper 52 mm overhang for my Technics tonearm. But other than the rather flimsy flip-down stylus guard, the build quality doesn't seem too bad.

    I mounted it and set it to the recommended 3.0 gram tracking force and my first impression is that this cartridge is extremely bright! It has a very prominent treble boost peaking at around 11.5 kHz, followed by a strange sharp dip in the response at 16.5 kHz (but my ears don't go that high, so it doesn't bother me as much). It's even brighter than the MG-09 / GrooveTool, which is already a very bright-sounding cartridge.

    My example is also about 2 dB louder in the left channel than the in the right channel. And the claimed output level of 5.5 mV also seems to be an exaggeration; comparing it to my 3.5 mV AT95E, I'd say it's somewhere around 4 mV.

    Otherwise it seems to be an average low-budget performer in terms of stereo separation, bass response, and tracking ability -- in fact, on some records it actually has less sibilance splatter than my Ortofon 2M Red, although that could simply be due to its conical stylus.

    Here are some audio samples (use Private / Incognito mode in your browser if the links don't work):

    M7 Pink Panther Theme.wav:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_oqlENevINHQ0RHN1BLbXRVSms

    M7 Make Up My Mind.wav:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_oqlENevINHclc3SnozMjRkOHM

    If you want good phono cartridge at an absolute rock-bottom price, just stick with the AT3600 (a.k.a. CN5625AL / AT91). I cannot recommend this one except as a curiosity!
     
  13. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

    Messages:
    2,194
    Location:
    Toronto
    Thanks for taking the bullet and posting your review.

    Frankly, I'm not surprised....that cantilever looks brutal....I can only imagine what the tip looks like.

    Several years ago I bought a Chinese LOMC that looked like a Benz, except it sported a stainless cantilever and ruby conical tip. I'm open to different materials and the price seemed reasonable enough to take a chance. Overall, it look not bad....from a distance. Up close under the m'scope it was apparent the tip was badly bobbled. In fact, it clearly hadn't undergone *any* inspection after assembly.

    Never got to hear it because it went back in the box and back to the vendor. I respect badly worn vinyl too much to do that kind of damage to it.
     

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