MENU
Introduction
Background
System
MI Cartridges
MM Cartridges
MC Cartridges
DaveyW Home

Audio Technica
OC9 ML - II

Pro-ject
Phonobox SEII
100 Ohm

LO MC

Approx 40 Hrs
Recording Level 6.5
Tracking 1.5g
Bias 1.4
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts:Taut punchy bass with a very open and detailed presentation. Vocals and instruments clearly stand out over the bass registers with superb detail and clarity. High hats and cymbals are very crisply presented with some added sparkle over the other MC's appraised here.
A highly revealing, detailed and dynamic cartridge with a notably wide soundstage, might be little bright in some systems though.

Bluenote
Boboli

HO MC

Approx 450 Hrs
Recording Level 7.2
Tracking 1.4g
Bias 1.2
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: Bass is taut, punchy and nicely extended, not quite as full as the DL-S1 or the Grado Reference Sonata 1 but ample enough. In the middle everything is clean, distinct and nicely defined, very much up to the benchmark set by the very best here. Top end doesnít disappoint either, symbol splashes are crisp and precise and I could not detect any form of sibilance or grain. Everything is refined and foot tappingly enjoyable. Not quite as fulsome in the bass and lower mids as the aforementioned, but certainly not lean or lacking. Critically, there are no top end excesses Ė everything appears to keep a nice even keel all the way through the frequency range. The best HOMC Iíve had on the Linn into a std. 47k Ohm setting.

Denon
DL 103R

Pro-ject
Phonobox SE II
220 Ohm

LO MC

Approx 70 Hrs
Recording Level 5.8
Tracking 2.5g
Bias 1.6
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: A bold overall tonal character with a very Gradoesque, fullsome delivery of lower frequencies. This tonal balance continues up through the mids with no excesses in treble response. Not quite as open as the DL-S1, which provides more distinction to the individual instruments and vocals. The 103R is also not quite as taut down below, giving slightly less punch, but possibly greater extension to percussion. In terms of top end the DL-S1 also has the edge, cymbal splashes being that little bit crisper. We are however, comparing carts at two quite different price points. The DL-103R coped extremely well with naturally sibilant and inner groove tracks. On a personal level (and on my rig) Iíd just like the mids and top end to open out a little more. If you like a big bold presentation and struggle with the slightly brighter leanings of some of the modern carts, then this is well worth an audition.

Denon
DL 103R
Expert Stylus
Paratrace

Pro-ject
Phonobox SE II
220 Ohm

LO MC

1 Hr
Recording Level 5.8
Tracking 2.0g
Bias 1.5
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: Over the standard cartridge, this cantilever and Paratrace tip brings the upper mids and higher frequencies noticably further forward in the mix. The naturally fulsome lower order response is retained, delivering a more open and expansive soundstage. There is also some added refinement to the overall delivery. Bottom end is better controlled; bass drums have more punch and definition. Vocals and instrumentation appear more open, but this may be mostly attributable to the brighter tonality. As well as possessing greater presence, cymbols and high hats are just that tad crisper. A significant transformation, but one that might not appeal to those with a fondness for the standard 103R's inherent warm and laid back character.

Denon
DL 110

HO MC

Approx 100 Hrs
Recording Level 7.2
Tracking 1.8g
Bias 1.7
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: Neutral overall balance without any particular frequency bias, good bass depth and articulate treble. Vocals and upper midrange a little recessed when compared to the AT OC9. Overall an excellent value HOMC that works well with a standard 47kOhm MM input stage.

Denon
DL 160

HO MC

47k & 1k Ohm
Input Load

Approx 50 Hrs
Recording Level 7.1
Tracking 1.6g
Bias 1.5
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: Good detail and quite lively, but an overall impression of a slight leanness, lacking depth of tone into a standard 47k Ohm input stage. At 1k Ohm the sound fattened out, providing added depth and warmth to the overall presentation, being especially noticeable on strings and vocals. The DL160 offers very subtlety enhanced crispness and upper frequency detailing over its little brother (DL110), but again is bettered by the AT OC9 ML II where the whole soundstage remains more open and revealing. Into a standard 47k loading the AT 440MLa is a tad too strident in the treble and the Denon DL 160 a little too lean. When tweaked to optimal loadings, itís a very difficult call to make between these two excellent low cost cartridges

Denon
DL 304

Dynavector P75 100Ohm

LO MC

Approx 20 Hrs
Recording Level 6.8
Tracking 1.2g
Bias 1.1
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: A superbly refined cartridge, delivering excellent dynamics and control with a taut & punchy bass. Like the AT 0C9 ML II it is a little on the lean side possessing some uplift in the upper frequencies (the OC9 being a little more accentuated). The DL 304 presents bright recordings with slightly more refined control, never really grating or unpleasant. This is probably the principal difference against the OC9 whose slightly more strident treble response can get a little tiresome with livelier productions. I found no unwanted excesses in any area, just a clean and natural portrayal of the music. Every nuance of the recordings that I've come to know well were accurately captured and reproduced in an entirely musical (as opposed to digital) manner.

Denon
DL S1

Pro-ject Phonobox SEII 100Ohm

LO MC

Approx 20 Hrs
Recording Level 7.3
Tracking 1.3g
Bias 1.2
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: The DL-S1 delivers a fuller presentation over it's DL-304 sibling, without that slight top end lift typical in many LOMC's. The warmer midrange character is more akin to higher spec. Grado's, retaining all of the detail and agility of the better MC's. It delivers lower registers very nicely, plucked double bass strings vibrate, not just a simple bass tone, there's also notable timbre and feel to piano notes. Vocals are delivered naturally without any hint of sibilance.
Overall a dynamic, taut, detailed and punchy with a slightly warmer, fuller, bodied presentation when compared to some other LOMC's such as the AT 0C9 ML II.

Dynavector
10X5

HO MC

Library Picture Approx 100 Hrs
Recording Level 7.3
Tracking 1.8g
Bias 1.7
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts:Well controlled bass, marginally leaner than the Goldring 1042. Midrange (inc. vocals) and higher frequencies well defined with a neutral to slightly warm presentation.

Dynavector
DV-20X

HO MC

47k Ohm Input Load

Approx 200 Hrs
Recording Level 7.2
Tracking 2.0g
Bias 1.8
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts:A strong bass with a slight emphasis of the upper bass & lower midrange frequencies. Additionally, the mid to upper frequencies are a little recessed, yet are cleanly and crisply presented. Compared to the Ortofon 2M Black and the AT OC9 MLII the overall soundstage is a little compressed lacking some openness of the midrange and sparkle in the treble.

Dynavector
DV-20X

HO MC

1k Ohm Input Load

Approx 200 Hrs
Recording Level 7.2
Tracking 2.0g
Bias 1.8
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts:The above appraisal of this cartridge was delivered using a standard 47k Ohm Pre-amp loading. The DV recommendation is > 1K ohm.
After further experimentation with varied MM input loadings, my personal preference was actually at 1k Ohm. The empahasis of upper bass/lower midband is significantly toned down, the total balance opened up to be tight, detailed and totally musical.

Dynavector
DV-20X

Dynavector P75 100Ohm

LO MC

Approx 30 Hrs
Recording Level 4.8
Tracking 2.0g
Bias 1.8
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts:A similar character and quality of presentation to the HO version (when loaded to 1k Ohms). A marginally enhanced bass/lower midranange response and slightly recessed treble presentation when compared to the DV17D3 Karat, yet all instruments are cleanly and tightly defined. Certainly a warmer character than the slightly bright ATOC9.

Dynavector
DV 17D3 Karat

Dynavector P75 470Ohm

LO MC

Approx 50 Hrs
Recording Level 5.0
Tracking 2.0g
Bias 1.8
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: A highly articulate presentation, not quite as bright as the sometimes exuberant AT0C9, but just as detailed and revealing. Bass presentation is very tight and a little leaner than it's DV20X sibling. Overall a superbly taut, detailed and revealing cartridge.

Sumiko
Blue Point No.2

28k Ohm

HO MC

Approx 20 Hrs
Recording Level 7.4
Tracking 1.8g
Bias 1.0
Right Click - Open In New Tab or Window
Dave's Thoughts: I found this a little on the lean side for my tastes with a slight bright tinge. Reducing resistive loading calmed things down a little, 28k ohms was my preferred "Sweet Spot". Below this value, the whole presentation began to lose vitality and spark. Here I got quite a deep, punchy and controlled bottom end, which is nicely forward in the mix. A reasonably rounded feel to vocals and instrumentation, not quite as fulsome as a typical Grado, but certainly more so than say an AT OC9-MLII or 440MLa for example. A lively and dynamic character. In terms of overall definition and control itís not ultimately as crisp and clean as my preferred (notably more expensive) carts. The same can be said regarding the overall staging, this does not paint the same broad 3D image than say the Denon DL-S1, but at its price I wouldnít expect it to. I did detect an ever so slight accentuation of any natural sibilance in recordings. A Giant Killer it may not be, but I found it a rewarding and enjoyable listen, especially when having the opportunity to tune the loading.

Created by Mail To: davey_w@hotmail.co.uk