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RX2 cartridge question

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spensom
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spensom posted on Thu, Oct 23 2014 10:31 PM

I've been using my father's RX2 for about 4 years now with an SMMC4 cartridge from Soundsmith. It sounds really good, but have always felt it could be upgraded to gain a clearer top end and a bit more dimension to the sound.

I recently came across a vintage MMC1 cart in good condition for a great price. Is it worth the upgrade? I've heard the original MMCs had deterioration issues.

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sonavor
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sonavor replied on Thu, Oct 23 2014 11:19 PM

If it is in good condition and is priced where you rate it as a great price then I would recommend buying it. If you can't tell a difference between it and the MMC4 later...you can sell the MMC1 to me for a great price Smile.  Had to throw that in. But seriously, if it is a great price and good condition then snatch it up and give it a try.

-sonavor

Lee
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Lee replied on Thu, Oct 23 2014 11:37 PM

Chances are the suspension will be shot, these cartridges are over 20 years old now and the rubber in the suspension stiffens up with age, meaning it won't track the high end frequencies very well. So although it has a better stylus profile and a sapphire cantilever chances are it will do no better that your SMMC4.

If you do get the MMC1 send it off to Axel (schallplattennadeln) to have the suspension renewed.

Lee

 

Rich
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Rich replied on Fri, Oct 24 2014 4:03 AM
Time out! Is the RX2 a good enough phonograph to even warrant an MMC1? I have several RX2s - including one since new in the early 90's. It's an entry level phono, albeit a fine one. Surely upgrading the deck would give better fidelity than upgrading the cartridge.


Søren Mexico
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Rich:
It's an entry level phono, albeit a fine one. Surely upgrading the deck would give better fidelity than upgrading the cartridge.

I dont think so Rich, checking these BGs there is not too much difference one to the other, and in the sound track less so, I have a TX2 and it playes just as good as any BG 6500, except for a little clicks from the relay at start and end of record. Where it get interesting is with the BG 5000, for the radial tracking ones, a much better build than any other I have seen.

Collecting Vintage B&O is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.

spensom
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Forgive me for being uninformed. But what difference in fidelity does a deck provide? I figured most of the sound quality came from the cartridge.

Dave Farr
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Depends on what you mean by 'sound quality'?

Clarity of sound is one thing and even a top quality cartridge can sound awful if full of fluff and grime as it won't track the grooves properly.  You wouldn't expect a 50 € TT to sound exceptional just because you put a 500 € cartridge on it.

Different cartridges have different frequency ranges so you may lose detail at the higher frequencies or have muddled lower frequencies.

The TT itself has a huge impact on performance and sound.  If the motor runs at inconsistant speeds it will sound terrible and If the motor or bearings are poor you will get rumble, wow, flutter.  The build materials and design of the deck impacts the sound too - some people spend a fortune on 'upgrade' kits for decks (I'm really thinking of Thorens here) to improve the acoustic qualities of the already well performing TT's.

If the TT and tonearm aren't set-up properly this also has consequences to sound quality and record wear.  If the headshell isn't aligned the channel separation will be poor.

The internal RIAA (if it has one) also makes a big difference as do many other internal components - quality and spec of capacitors for example.

This also doesn't take into account the amp used - I'm not going to get into expensive cables and snake oil things like that!

I'm sure lots more will come from other members.

Dave.

 

pfcs49
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Answered (Not Verified) pfcs49 replied on Fri, Oct 24 2014 5:58 PM
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Sorry, but I am contrarian by personal experience.

I have 4 MMC2 and a MMC1, as well as a 3 & 4. When I purchased my Voice, Peter (Soundsmith) examined the 2s and 1 on his microscope, and confirmed what my experience and listening had suggested: of the 5, only one has moderate degradation.

If I had an opportunity to grab an MMC1 cheap, I'd grab it fast! And if you're concerned about the quality oof the RX2, you can always up-grade later.

pfcs49
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pfcs49 replied on Fri, Oct 24 2014 6:07 PM

PS MODS!

Clicking on more does nothing; I was unable to edit or delete either of the above posts?!

Rich
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Rich replied on Fri, Oct 24 2014 6:11 PM

All valid opinions.

My personal point of view is not to bother with anything "better" than an MMC4 on the RX2.  Afterall, that was the B&O recommended cartridge for the RX2 back in the day.

My personal record collection numbers in the several hundred in all conditions from barely listenable to mint "audiophile" pressings.  I also have a range of turntables and cartridges on which to play the range of LPs (and 45s).  The RX2's with MMC4's are perfectly adequate to play the good records as well as the not so good records.  But I wouldn't dream of using my two best cartridges to play the not so good records.

We have been making recommendations without knowing anything about OP's record collection (or the rest of his system, for that matter).


Søren Mexico
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Rich:
We have been making recommendations without knowing anything about OP's record collection (or the rest of his system, for that matter).

Makes sense, I use my MMC2 only for new or like new records, all other are for the MMC4s or the SP14

Collecting Vintage B&O is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.

spensom
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. The rest of my rig is all new. I have a NAD 356BEE Amp, Cambridge Phono Stage and Dali Zensor Speakers. My record collection is about 200, spanning everything from classic rock, hip-hop, indie, jazz, classical and dance. I'd say 65% is new vinyl, audiophile pressings when I can get them. My system sounds great, but sometimes I feel like I could get more out of my vinyl, particularly when it comes to jazz.

In terms of BEO, where would be the next step from the RX2? Is the TX2 superior, or is it just a different style of tonearm? My fiance really loves the auto-tonearm of the RX2, and it helps when we have people over because I feel safe about anybody putting on a record.

Going back to what Dave Farr said, if my motor is running consistently, and my tonearm is balanced and set-up properly...where is the RX2 falling short? And why wouldn't a TOL cartridge improve the overall sound?

Thanks again everyone.

Søren Mexico
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spensom:
Going back to what Dave Farr said, if my motor is running consistently, and my tonearm is balanced and set-up properly...where is the RX2 falling short? And why wouldn't a TOL cartridge improve the overall sound?

As Dave said, everything has to be well adjusted and in order to enjoy the difference between a MMC2 and MMC4, I have a BG 5000, pizzabox model, and I consider it my best BG, it is build the same way as the RX2, the sound tracks are exactly the same. From cartridge to pcb, from pcb to plug. and the difference from MMC4 to MMC2 is clear to hear. The TX2 has a tangential arm, but is a lot cheaper build, but also here the sound track is the same from cartridge to plug. the TX2 is a good BG and underrated, I hear no difference between the TX2 and my BG 5000, but I like the BG 5000 more, because it is better build when it comes to the mechanics.

So yes get a MMC2, use it for new or very good records, and get another TT for the rest.

Collecting Vintage B&O is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.

pfcs49
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pfcs49 replied on Mon, Oct 27 2014 10:19 PM

If you can score an MMC1 for a great price, grab it even if you're just saving it for a better setup!

Why he hell not?

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