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Linn cartridge replacement

About 15 years ago when I was young and single I bought a fairly decent (for the time) hifi setup.

It has been packed away now for some time but I have recently got it out from storage and need to replace the cartridge (bent stylus due to fiddling fingers!).

The system is LP12 Sondek valhalla cirkus, tonearm is one of the very first Origin Live (which I think is a modified Rega 250 arm) and the cartridge is a Linn K18. Amp is Arcam Alpha 8 / 9P, Alpha 8CD, Castle Kendal speakers, all mounted on a Sound Organisation rack. It was all pretty good in it's day but probably a bit old now.

Nowadays with other commitments I can't afford to be spending £250 on a new cartridge. I have no idea what cartridges are out there or what is good or not. I have listened to a friends Rega planer 3 with green Rega cartridge through older Arcam amp/mission speakers and it was all muddled and bass was loose, no detail compared to what my system used to sound like.

Can anyone recommend a cartridge which would be reasonably suited to my system for around £50, or do I really need to spend more? (When I bought the LP12 I seem to remember the turntable was the most important part, the the arm, then the cart came last so here's hoping!)

 

Thanks 

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Re: Linn cartridge replacement

Hi, and welcome to the forum!

Whilst you can get reasonable carts for around that price, the first point I'd be stopping at for your setup is the Ortofon 2M Red or Audio Technica AT-120E - around £70. The former has quite a "modern" sound - fast and forward, whereas the latter is more neutral. Both are excellent carts.

Above that, the next step up is the £120-140 range, where you will find the Denon DL-110 high-output MC, AT-440ML and Ortofon 2M Blue. I prefer a warmer sound, so have gone for the Denon, but have had the 2M Blue in the past and it was a really detailed cart. I've also heard lots of good things about the AT.

I'm not a fan of the Rega Bias - even on a Planar 2. It just didn't do it for me and lead me to sell my P2.

Anonymous
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Re: Linn cartridge replacement

As a benchmark, what was the Linn K18 cart sound classed as? nuetral / fast? It's so long since I last used the setup I can't remember what it sounded like but I seem to remember it wasn't quite as warm sounding as my Arcam 8 CD player

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Re: Linn cartridge replacement

From memory it was quite fast - if you want a similar sound, I would probably go for the AT-440ML (£130 from mantra audio) if you can stretch to it, the 2M red if not (£75 from needles and spins)...

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