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Escoteric audio choices - phono carts.
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Just west of DC.
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Jan 16, 2014, 05:31 PM
I have no idea what level of audio types visit here, and no idea if I should trust the opinions....but...

I have a few choices. I have a Grace F9e super phono cart from the late 1980's. the stylus is worn out. I can have a new cantilever made from ruby with a lots better stylus swapped in for $350. I also have a Stanton 681eee, with similar wear, and a new cantilever/stylus for $250. AND..... I have a DB Systems preamp I bought used and abused, and for $200 I can have this low distortion preamp upgraded to current specs. What should I do? I do listen to vinyl. I have over 4000 LP's and many have only been played a few times. The rest of my audio system is fine, but I would like a replacement woofer for my 2nd set of KEF 104aB's, but they are like finding hens teeth, and they cost about $200+.

The possible outcomes for whatever I choose:

upgraded phono carts - I can listen to my LP's as if they were almost new.
Preamp upgrade I have a back-up to my primary preamp of the same type, which is one of those super low distortion jobs.
Fix my second pair of KEF's - I get to use 2 pairs in my main listening room with 3dB louder playback, or as back-ups to my primary pair.

I know, but this is the kind of stuff I do in the winter, Listen to music on my really nice stereo.
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: 46 & 2
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Jan 16, 2014, 06:21 PM
I use mostly Clearaudio carts, their Talisman is an excellent performer in the midrange of the MC market. I do like the Stanton 681EEE MK3, I needed a cart for my dad's Denon TT and I saw it at Guitar Center for $150. It has a very clean sound for a MM, so maybe just get a new stylus?
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Mac Elite
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Jan 16, 2014, 06:41 PM
This is where I buy parts for my turntables: Needle Doctor

Give them a call perhaps, they have given me excellent advice.
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The Rock
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Jan 16, 2014, 07:35 PM
Partial to the Denon DL 103R.
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BadKosh  (op)
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Location: Just west of DC.
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Jan 17, 2014, 07:40 AM
I used to work at a store dedicated to phonograph carts and have been able to listen to many. I too like Denon 301 and 103D, but their is something special about this particular 681eee body. I'll most likely send both my Grace F9e and Stanton(both stylus) to be re-done. I'd LOVE to hear some of the ClearAudio carts, but nobody in the DC area has them. A special cart is the Decca Gold too. Unlike any other cart as far as sound. I'm regretting the trade of my MicroAcoustics 2002e these days. I hear they still work great, even with replacement cantilevers!
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