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  #1  
Old 12-19-2013, 04:57 PM
CJ Branda CJ Branda is offline
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Ortofon NCE mk2 - stylus options

Hey there wave board,

I have been using Ortofon Nightclub E mk2s for a while now and although they are great for playing out they can be fatiguing for home use on the Urei 1620LE. I'm interesting in swapping out just the stylus to another OM type which is easier to listen to yet still with an elliptical diamond. Any suggestions? I read somewhere that the cartridge body of NCE mk2s are the same as super OMs - is that correct? Perhaps the OM 10 could be a good match for what I'm looking for but any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:19 PM
1620_nz 1620_nz is offline
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I was thinking the same thing so I sent Ortofon this email a few weeks ago;


"Hi,

I am replacing the styli on my Nightclub E Om carts originals, the ones with the yellow styli.

Is there any benefit in replacing them with the Gold styli or Nightclub Mk II styli?

Cheers,
Jeromy"

and got this reply;


"Hello Jeromy

Physically, each series of our DJ stylus, except for S-120, will fit on alternate cartridge bodies. However, these combinations are not supported by Ortofon, as each cartridge series is designed with a synergistic combination in mind - that is, each stylus is made to compliment the magnet and coil configuration of each cartridge body. Using a Gold stylus with a Nightclub body will not provide the full benefit of either product, and might even provide undesired results, including (but not limited to) differences in output, unbalanced sound reproduction, etc.


Note: In the case of the NightClub MkI/MkII and DJ series cartridges, it is perfectly alright to use the respective S (spherical) or E (elliptical) version stylus. The cartridge bodies are designed to accommodate either of the respective series' stylus types.

Best regards
Katarina H. Nielsen
Ortofon A/S"



I don't know, according to some discogs forum members, all the OM DJ series are the same.

This is what they have to say about the new DJ OM 120S: The Ortofon-Serato S-120 represents a completely new way of constructing and designing cartridges. Its breakthrough patent pending technology has been designed to provide maximum freedom for DJ performance.

An innovative technology, called asymmetric suspension, takes the cartridge performance to the next level. Its superior tracking force ensures the S-120 stays in the groove even under extreme live performance conditions.

In addition, its design achieves an unprecedentedly low level of record wear, which helps protect your valuable vinyl. On top of this, the S-120 is capable of providing a level of sound quality never thought possible from a modern DJ cartridge.

But it's a spherical stylus.

Last edited by 1620_nz : 12-19-2013 at 09:43 PM.
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2013, 10:31 PM
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mynameismatt mynameismatt is offline
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Yes, both the Super OM and the Nightclub Mk2 have an internal inductance of 580 mH and internal impedance of 1k Ohm.
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2013, 05:44 PM
1620_nz 1620_nz is offline
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Hey Matt,

I was thinking of putting some Ortofon Gold styili on my Nightclub Mk. 1's but they have different internal inductance and impedance. Would this be a problem?

Cheers.
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2013, 12:33 AM
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It seems, when comparing the specs, that the Golds are the original Nightclub E's just painted a different color.

The Nightclub MKII is the one that has higher internal inductance and impedance.

You have the original Nightclubs? IMHO the Gold is the same as the yellow Nightclub E stylus.

Hopefully Reticuli or vinyl_junkie will see this and know for sure.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2013, 04:53 AM
CJ Branda CJ Branda is offline
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After researching around the net and other forums I opted to go with the OM 10's for now to give my ears a break from the nightclub E mk2's, with the intention to upgrade to the OM 20's next year when finances allow. Quite a few of the audiophile guys on other forums rate the OM 10's quite well for their price range and as I won't be mixing out or performing any heavy cueing with them they fit the bill for what I'm after. The OM 30's seem to be the best in class for price/performance and are supposedly better that the Audio Technica 440mla's ,but that's a steep rise in cost and don't want to be shelling out nearly $600 for a pair of needles (probably wouldn't benefit fully being mounted on a 1210 anyway). But yeah it's been an interesting time learning all about the Ortofon OM and DJ series needles. Will report back with an update at some point
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2013, 01:35 PM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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I wish people would stop falling for Ortofon's gimmicks and marketing, if you don't want harsh sound just don't buy a Ortofon.

And no they don't work too well with 1620 as the output is way too loud imo amongst other design decisions which don't work well for sound quality but well for marketing/poor quality mixers or just mongs who dig hot rod graphics

The Gold is EXACTLY the same as the Night Club E mk1 but painted gold and a total rip off.
What cracks me up is that they say the Gold is the best, golden standard bla bla bla... But if it's the best why does it say the NCE mk2 is such a improvement? hahahah It's not that's why, it's just optimised for crap mixers and poor phono amps like the Pioneer's

The now discontinued Arkiv was just a DJ e painted white, great for archiving with a cantilever the size of the Chrysler building.

Ortofon stopped printing the stylus tip mass now too, hmm wonder why

Don't believe their whole buy the same stylus thing.
The pro, dj, night club mk1 all used the same OM body... Same as their hi-fi ones
The NCE mk2 is just a super OM body

Stick any stylus on what ever body you want or personally just don't touch the brand.

Ortofon's use horrible cantilevers that track like crap (see sibilance) and anything after the VMS line have a frequency response that tilts upwards as frequency rises, I guess it's so it sounds "detailed" and CD like in the show room until you get home and you have to live with this "fake" sound
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Last edited by vinyl_junkie : 12-24-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2013, 01:59 PM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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Did this a while ago as a joke hahah

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  #9  
Old 12-24-2013, 04:45 PM
1620_nz 1620_nz is offline
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vinyl_junkie, thanks for clearing the Gold/ Nightclub Mk. 1 thing.

Whats carts/ styli do you recommend (any brand)?
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  #10  
Old 12-25-2013, 08:54 PM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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It's a shame vinyl isn't as popular as it once was as basically it has taken a lot of the big manufacturers out like Stanton, AKG, Shure, etc out who all made great Moving Magnet carts at what were affordable prices which still imo sound better that most MM's today. To get the quality of one of those carts now you have to spend a lot more and probs opt for a MC.

Any way I like the Grado DJ-200i but the induced hum some times can bother me.
With dance music it isn't an issue and if you don't have any big transformers near by it's no biggie but it is there.
This is a issue that's plagued all Grado's for millions of years :-/
The sound is soft and they track almost anything you throw at them.
They lack the punch and excitement of the Stanton's but sound great on old jazz, most old records for that matter, track very light and very good stable back cueing. Track em at 2.5g

I'm back to using brand new old stock Stanton 680EL mk1's made in NYC.
Golden era Stanton, my personal favourite albeit the Grado is kinder to your records.
Back cueing is old school as in.. You have to be light handed :-) Track em at 3g's
The later mk2's had a smaller diameter stylus and lighter cantilever which is "technically" better but the trade off is poor build quality which still makes the mk1 the best one.
I think by the time the mk2 came out they already moved to the Florida factory and a lot started to change, starting with sacking most of it's old staff and solely concentrating on the DJ sector. Remember before Stanton the DJ brand, they made world class Broadcast/hi-fi phono pick ups and even manufactured sensors for the NASA space shuttle.
By the time the II came out (blue), they were trash.. 9 out of 10 of that range I had were inconsistent and poorly made.

Shure M-35x is my next pic, in blind tests most of my friends preferred this to a more modern day Stanton 680EL II (the one with the blue tip). I personally prefer the Stanton, more open and neutral.
Again a fairly neutral sounding cart that tracks well and light too but with a bit of boost in the lows. Tracks at 2.5g's and very kind to records
Modern shure build quality, nothing to write home about and expect 2-3db's channel imbalance as they have pretty loose tolerances now days but that's what the pan pot is for on the Bozak and Urei no? :-D
Perhaps the most annoying thing about the 35x is the recent increased price, no longer making it the greatest bargain it once was.

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Last edited by vinyl_junkie : 12-25-2013 at 09:05 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12-26-2013, 05:01 PM
Reticuli Reticuli is offline
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The super bodies are just a little higher inductance for a little more output. It's maybe slightly more immune to capacitance changes on the phono stage end overall, if I remember correctly, but at the expense of high frequency extension regardless of electrical loading. This is sort of marketing hype. What's really happening is that the roll-off is now at such a lower frequency, that little you can do with capacitance is going to alleviate it. The tips are all interchangeable.

The Golds are just NCE tips. DJ has a double wall cantilever. They all have pretty high intermodulation distortion from the tip mass, but the DJ's rigidity always seems to slightly counteract this for some reason. I believe the Arkiv was like a single-walled version of the DJ, or something? It's been a while since I messed with them. All the Ort DJ tips are really too high of a tip mass for my comfort, but the DJ-S is a classic for a lot of people.

There's nothing preventing you from using an Ortofon OM hifi tip on the OM or Concord bodies. The OM5 and the nude NOS tips sound quite nice, all tracking well. The OM5 is probably my favorite sweet spot for the Ort hifis to spin real records with.

Moving Irons will tend to have lower IMD because of the use of a little iron pieces that moves between the coils or magnets or something on the cart-end. So it's almost moving coil-like in its reduced mass on that end. You have to worry about both ends when talking cantilever momentum. It produces all sorts of issues with high frequency extension, cantilever rigidity, the type of suspension that can be used, and is hard to make really optimal. You either end up with rolled-off top, low output, or inability to back cue. You can get great transients and stereo width, but no tracking ability. You can get great tracking, but sound like wool is over the sound.

However, in my opinion you should stop worrying about this stuff. Most DJ tips are too high mass. Most hifi tips are too expensive or probably will trash your records eventually even if you calibrate them properly, clean the tips, clean your records, etc.

Get some Audio-Technica AT3482P (or the version with the included p-mount converter if you don't already have them for headshells) and be done with it. They won't sound even as good as OM5E, let alone in the same realm as a Grado, but at least they track AND are forgiving.

The spherical diamond will probably be kinder to your vinyl (electron microscope photos seem to prove this), and the thick, ridged carbon fiber cantilever has surprisingly low tip mass for reduced high frequency IM distortion, which also reduces record wear, not to mention improves sound.

Pretty big, gooey, tuneful bass... if a little bloated. Not terrible mids. And it's just a little closed-in spatially and treble extension-wise. It's got enough of a mid-treble (or so) lift to counteract ultimate extension without being bright. Carbon fiber is too rare in phono and has too many advantages in my opinion to justify passing up on the AT.

And cheap as dirt. Use antiskate. Calibrate each cart by ear with Hifi News test record. And be done with all this shit. It's not worth your time or the wear on your records using styli that are too expensive for you to want to replace when they wear. Keep your records clean. Done.

If you're rich (and damn you if you are), then just go for moving coils. MMs really can't hold a candle to them. And MCs tend to have greater tolerance of various types of suspension, so you're more likely to find ones that can back cue than MI and the Grados.

As for myself, I'm doing the whole digital dance. The only time I really enjoy the digital stuff is either when it's music I cannot possibly mix by ear manually and can just use sync (gasp!) or I'm using a really cheap all-in-one unit that can't do sync and doing everything by ears, which is truly kind of a joy again... in spite of the unit's serious quirks. Little thing will even let me turn off the BPM readings to keep from distracting me. That's the most fun I have since vinyl.
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  #12  
Old 12-26-2013, 06:44 PM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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The Grado's back cue just fine, one of the best I've had to be honest.

There isn't any wobble at all, I was really amazed with them. The only thing that bothered me about them was the induced hum.

Some people also aren't that keen on the "soft" sound of them so change the resistive loading. I've been told to try anything up to 100k with the Prestige line too add more bite.

I gave mine away to a friend, same with the Shure's.. I started with Stanton and will end with Stanton, bit biased there hahah :-D

I can't remember how the 680/681 differed but the moving magnet 881 used a piece of tie wire as the suspension and is a rather complex little thing that required a hell of a lot of skill to put together
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Last edited by vinyl_junkie : 12-26-2013 at 06:50 PM.
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  #13  
Old 12-27-2013, 02:22 AM
1620_nz 1620_nz is offline
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Thanks for all the great responses.

Is it possible for Grado to maybe make a DJ300 with no hum? As it sounds like a nice cart with the exception of the hum. They are much cheaper than ortofons too.
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  #14  
Old 12-27-2013, 06:20 AM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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I doubt it, every Grado I heard of since the 70's has hum and is inherit to their design which didn't change much.

Check out those pissed off people with Rega Turntables hahahah

It really is one of the most stupidest things ever considering a Stanton is DEAD SILENT and I mean it. Or make that almost anything, Ortofon have pretty good hum rejection as do Shure.

I talked to Grado about it and they will do nothing about it, they tell me this design works better for the sound quality (to do with the way the coils are placed) at the small (apparently) cost of induced interference which I personally find unacceptable.

It may be ok on a simple belt drive TT with a out board PSU in a simple hi-fi setup in a empty listening room but a complex DJ booth or broadcast studio, forget it.
I tried to explain that to them... Notice the tried hahah

Imagine using these in a radio station back in the day, no chance... Hence why once again Stanton was the choice of the professional ages ago.

I'd still say try one though, most people aren't as fussy as me and it's slightly less apparent on something like a 1620LE.... Why? The LE is god damn noisy, the noise floor kinda covers up the hum
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2013, 10:11 AM
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It's odd that ortofon does not seem to be able to make a good DJ cart. Their high end MC SPU carts are considered among the best. The tone arms they made and continue to make are also top end. But i guess they feel that unless you are willing to shell out thousands of dollars that you don't deserve good sound.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:16 AM
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Incidentally, has anyone here used any Denon 103 variants with DJing? I have recently been playing (mostly jazz and not DJing) with a Zu bodied 103, and the sound is sublime. I know that it was developed by Denon in the 60/70s as a radio station work horse. So should be able to take some abuse. The only issue as far as I can see is that it is a MC and would need a step up transformer. Though one can make a SUT for relatively cheap. Though you would be looking at around $200 for the 103 and probably another $200 for the SUT.
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  #17  
Old 12-27-2013, 02:05 PM
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well Ortofon does have it uses though. I own Concorde PRO's (silver ones) and I really like them. They're plenty loud so they even work nicely with budget mixers. Is this important? Considering these carts are pretty cheap (75,- a piece, but I got them for 60,- euros) I'd say so. Needles are like 25 euros a piece, bargain.
Plus they just screw right in, no need for fiddling around with screws and tiny wires on a headshell. Soundwise? They're DJ carts allright, use them for that. They stick to vinyl very nicely with only 2.5g (recommend 3g). Yes they're spherical but this makes them very nice DJ carts as opposed to listening carts. And they can take a beating (like the infamous 500 ALs)

So maybe Ortofon does indeed make carts that aren't all that critically acclaimed sound wise, but they make damn fine DJ carts.
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  #18  
Old 12-27-2013, 03:05 PM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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That's probs cos the Pro is probs the only decent one they make in my opinionated opinion hahah

It doesn't suffer from the excessive distortion or sibilance the more expensive ones do including the elliptical tips. They also track a lot lighter too as you say, I found them the most usable out the whole range.

The black ones were more intended for mono records, 25um stylus radius.

If sound isn't that important for DJ'ing why spend a lot of money on a decent front end i.e. Bozak and expensive speakers if all you are amplifying is crap?
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  #19  
Old 12-27-2013, 03:10 PM
Reticuli Reticuli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinyl_junkie
I doubt it, every Grado I heard of since the 70's has hum and is inherit to their design which didn't change much.

Check out those pissed off people with Rega Turntables hahahah

It really is one of the most stupidest things ever considering a Stanton is DEAD SILENT and I mean it. Or make that almost anything, Ortofon have pretty good hum rejection as do Shure.

I talked to Grado about it and they will do nothing about it, they tell me this design works better for the sound quality (to do with the way the coils are placed) at the small (apparently) cost of induced interference which I personally find unacceptable.

It may be ok on a simple belt drive TT with a out board PSU in a simple hi-fi setup in a empty listening room but a complex DJ booth or broadcast studio, forget it.
I tried to explain that to them... Notice the tried hahah

Imagine using these in a radio station back in the day, no chance... Hence why once again Stanton was the choice of the professional ages ago.

I'd still say try one though, most people aren't as fussy as me and it's slightly less apparent on something like a 1620LE.... Why? The LE is god damn noisy, the noise floor kinda covers up the hum

If the Grados tracked well for you, I don't know why you didn't either move over to single-voltage Technics or have the power supplies put in outboard boxes or a rack unit. If they'd worked like that for me, that's what I'd have done. Diamond shape be damned.

And as for the lack of "bite", they sounded phenomenal to me all the time. The best way to add attack is with discrete-type phono stages. The ones I bought add attack and definition to everything, sometimes a little too much. I suspect the Biamp SCM 7500/7600's very thin, sharp-sounding internal phonos would do something even more profound to it. I unloaded all those, though.

You guys REALLY need to get the Hifi News Test record and make sure you calibrate your carts. And most of the high tip mass DJing carts on the market are just shredding the high frequencies on your records. That durable little 500ALII was the worst culprit of them all, followed by the NCE.
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:19 PM
1620_nz 1620_nz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli

And most of the high tip mass DJing carts on the market are just shredding the high frequencies on your records. That durable little 500ALII was the worst culprit of them all, followed by the NCE.


Do you mean wearing them out?
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  #21  
Old 12-27-2013, 03:32 PM
vinyl_junkie vinyl_junkie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reticuli
You guys REALLY need to get the Hifi News Test record and make sure you calibrate your carts. And most of the high tip mass DJing carts on the market are just shredding the high frequencies on your records. That durable little 500ALII was the worst culprit of them all, followed by the NCE.

Exactly! The NCE's couldn't track for shit, that wasn't nice to your records.

Re Grado's, they can stick it up their ass hence why I gave them away.
I'm not putting in any more money just to stop them getting hum ps most of the hum isn't from the TT but near by amp's, mixer, farts what ever
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  #22  
Old 12-27-2013, 08:42 PM
Reticuli Reticuli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1620_nz
Do you mean wearing them out?

Frequency intermodulation distortion is literally the cantilever vibrating and oscillating violently in the groove AGAINST the high frequency groove modulations in the polyvinylchloride traces. This can be due to the inertia of the cantilever's tip mass and/or from high frequency resonances that feedback between the actual groove's high frequencies and the resonant characteristics of the cantilever.

The Stanton 500 series tips, for instance, tend to have an intentional resonance that's part of its frequency response. It's one of the reasons why it is so linear from mid bass to mid treble, but makes it susceptible to re-grooving the highs, even on a very thin, delicate cantilever like the Emk2 (or whatever version they've got now). The AL2 has that resonance AND is a heavier tip mass. Flat, but flawed, and it's not particularly finessed, extended, or refined. A mint AL2 on a mint record can afford a very brief, silky linear playback, but will never sound that way again. And I'm not just talking about a little grunge and increased noise. Raspy, nasty, damaged treble transients will be left behind. On cantilevers that do not have an intentional resonance in the treble band to smooth the response, having an overly massy cantilever will still cause errant oscillations on high-amplitude high frequencies.

This is related to one of the reasons good vinyl playback usually sounds "better" than your average digital release... not the treble distortion itself, obviously, but this potential overt distortion that forces (or used to with competent mastering houses, at least) vinyl mastering engineers to preserve the full dynamic range and not over-do the highs. Mastering a vinyl master plate too hot overall, too compressed, and/or with two loud of high frequencies could cause even well-engineered cartridges and cantilevers to distort audibly and also damage the record. In vinyl, when the cartridge mechanically distorts it IS damaging the record. You can't separate the two, especially with the delicate high-frequency modulations in those grooves. The loudness war has traditionally been off-limits in the vinyl format, though there are certainly exceptions in cases of really bad pressings on recycled vinyl or cutting too hot (to maximize S/N ratio) or using too much compression.

Well recorded, mixed, and mastered digital in 20bit 48khz can sound as good as the very best analog, but it's easier sneak problems by than you can with a vinyl master. And for that matter, a good 16/48 recording can equal the best vinyl. Most commercial digital releases, though, are too compressed, and far too many of them show signs of 0dBFS clipped waveforms. If you use to cut vinyl, the diamond would never track that kind of groove accurately, leading to groove damage, diamond wear, and bad sound getting worse very rapidly with each play.
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  #23  
Old 12-27-2013, 08:46 PM
Reticuli Reticuli is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinyl_junkie
Exactly! The NCE's couldn't track for shit, that wasn't nice to your records.

Re Grado's, they can stick it up their ass hence why I gave them away.
I'm not putting in any more money just to stop them getting hum ps most of the hum isn't from the TT but near by amp's, mixer, farts what ever

They required a very high downforce to clear up even moderately, and that still didn't quite equal the Shure Whitelabels still paltry FIMD performance. You are certainly right that the Stanton thin cantilever MI designs perform extremely well in this regard. I just never found the sort of open, extended sound or carefree handling that I found with even cheaper hifi tips. I will say that the ATP series was a sort of wonder kid of hybrid carts, but the price started going up on those tips and you really did need fairly high arm mass to get a good low frequency resonance performance on it. You could do much worse than the ATP, but it never was lush or "lit" like an Ortofon... let alone the Grados. Tight, snappy, and solid as a rock sonically, though. The Grado lack of inner light and taught-ness was always made up with its unbelievable, expansive soundstage and effortlessness. I tend to think the Ortofon inner light thing is a house sound that's a combination of top resolution and the way they voice midranges. It's probably uneven, like their O One headphone outing was, but it works on some level. NCE certainly portrays that house sound, just with rapidly disintegrating diamonds and even more rapidly disintegrating records. You pay for that inner light.
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Last edited by Reticuli : 12-27-2013 at 08:59 PM.
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  #24  
Old 12-28-2013, 12:19 AM
1620_nz 1620_nz is offline
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It's just so hard. Is there no "go to" cart / styli for minimal record wear with excellent sound quality.

I currently have the Ortofon NCE MK.1 OM's which need new styli....Is there any nice styli compatible with this cart body?

I was thinking of upgrading to the Grado DJ 200's but the hum puts me off, especially as here in NZ we use 220-240V.


I swear I'll never touch any digital DJ equipment, but I can see why people make the change
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:36 AM
CJ Branda CJ Branda is offline
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Location: Brittany, France
Posts: 234
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1620_nz
It's just so hard. Is there no "go to" cart / styli for minimal record wear with excellent sound quality.

I currently have the Ortofon NCE MK.1 OM's which need new styli....Is there any nice styli compatible with this cart body?

Hi 1620, yeah that's why I started this thread. Ortofons have the advantage of being modular, meaning that you can fit any Ortofon DJ stylus (Arkiv, DJ S & E, Pro), or hifi stylus (OM5E, OM10, 20, 30) to your existing NCE mk 1 cartridge body. The NCE mk 1 body is the same as an OM body, whereas the NCE mk 2 is the Super OM body. I went for OM10 as they are elliptical and reasonably priced.

When I receive them I am hoping the OM10s will sound more refined than the NCE mk2s, and they track at half the weight also. I'll use them for light mixing and listening at home. If you want to stick with rugged DJ carts then go for a DJ stylus replacement, but if you want improved quality sound then go for a hifi stylus.
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