Cart Reccomendation for P5 re: roomate idiocy

Hello All,

I recently posted about how to upgrade my system and got some great responses! Well, I am back again in need of some expert advice. I really don't want to be buying a cart again but am forced too due to the incompetance of my roommate.

Here is the jist of what my situation is right now:

I have had a P1 w/Denon DL-160 cart and was going to swap that over to the P5 that I just acquired today from a great audiogoner!. I just got home and was about to go to work on it. I grabbed the P1 and was about to take the cart off the P1 when I noticed that the stylus was completely bent backward! I tried to bend it in to place but it was to no avail. The worst part is that my roommate won't even fess up to it, mind you he was the only one home all weekend. I can't believe the nerve of some people.

So now I am at a loss. I'm not sure what direction to go from here. One thing I do know is that my roommate will not be using my P5 ever!

My system will consist of the P5, Fisher 400, and Klipsch Forte II speakers. I'm wondering if you guys would have any recommendations of carts to go with? I feel like the Denon was a great sound for the money. I really liked the soundstage it threw out there. I'm tempted to get another one, but am wondering if there is something else out there that would be just as good if not better.

I am thinking I would like to keep my spending to around $500 or so. I only ever listen to rock music for the most part. So I'd love something that would gel with that. I just want something that will make most albums sound nice. I don't need something that will make anything less than an audiophile record sound like garbage. If you guys have any advice on what to do I would so greatly appreciate it.

In the meantime I am going to take a cold shower to keep from strangling my roommate!

Get an Audio Technica AT-150MLX. It will take you to the next step. It was designed and marketed to be a $500 cartridge, and it typically sells for $400, but you can get it for $259 at or for $250 with free shipping at J&R Music World. It is a magnetic cartridge with a replaceable stylus, which is available from for $179.95, or the price of a DL-160.

I have had both cartridges on my Technics SL1210M5G. The DL160 is a nice cartridge for the money--vivid soundstage, some speed, linearity, and clarity for the money, but for that little bit more for the AT150MLX moves you into a more high end experience--way more detail and clarity, soundstage, frequency extension, and dynamics, both in terms of nuance and jump.

When I was using the DL160, I liked what it gave me but I wanted more. With the AT150MLX I simply enjoy the music and don't think about it. I know that I'd have to spend quite a bit more to get noticeably better.
You may need some shims for the tone armwith the AT since the P5 does not offer VTA. Whatever cartridge you chose you will need to check the height and compare toRega cartridge ht. - I beleive they are 14mm. My Dynavector DV20-XH required 2 2mm shims.
Hey Guys,

Thanks for getting back to me. I'm feeling a little better after getting some sleep but the sting still remains. How would that AT cart compare with a Dyna 10X5. The Dyna seems to be loved by many, especially for a Rega.

I'm also thinking that I am going to have to disconnect my TT after every listening session and bring it down to my room as I really don't want to let my roomate have another chance to destory my expensive stuff.

I wish I could just kick him out but we are equals on the lease. I also wish I could sock him in the face....

I bought a Denon 160 new recently for $100. You might consider getting one of these again or one of the other cheaper ones recommended above and buy a VTA adjuster with the rest of your budget. VPI makes a good one, there are others available. These will permit you to get a lot more out of whatever cartridge you buy now or in the future.
I stopped by my local dealer and he really reccomended the Benz Micro Ace (high output version). Do you guys have any thoughts as to if this cart is any better than the Dyna or the AT?

Thanks so much,
IMHO if you liked the sound of the Denon, you'll probably not like the Benz. Two totally different carts. The Benz is mellower and more laid back. The Denon and the AT 150MLX are snappier, quicker and more open. I really like my AT150ML.
Well said, Mofimadness. I didn't have to go through any adjustment period going from the DL160 to the AT150MLX: tonal balance and basic characteristics were similar. The AT150MLX simply gave me much more of everything I already liked, plus a major leap in subtlety and refinement. If the DL160 makes for a good cart/arm match, the AT150MLX probably will be too. Differences in compliance and weight seem to balance each other out.

And consider this: You might be able to remove the stylus whenever you're not using it, preventing your roomie from busting another cantilever. At least you could flip the stylus protector down.

Maybe you need a locking dust cover.
My Rega dealer reccomended the Exact 2, but I have read that is pretty over-price for the performance.


I guess I don't understand what you mean when you say the ACE is more laid back? I was wondering if you could elaborate any more on that? I am fairly new to all this so that may have something to do with.

Also, do I have to worry about any of the carts mentioned being too revealing? I just want my records to sound good, I don't want anything less than audiophile vinyl to sound like crap.

Your roomie is going to burn you again. I'd stick with a cheap replaceable stylus for until you can get a new roomie. A Shure M97 would fit the bill. The other option is to go with an Ortofon OM10. The 20 and 30 are the same cartridge with a different stylus. Keep the 10 on there and simply switch to the better stylus when he's not around???

This is a valid option. I just feel like it would be throwing money away as I know I will want a better cart in the future. Also, it seems like it would be shortchanging my P5. After spending the money for the P5 I want to see what it is really capable of. OTOH it is surely throwing money away if my roommate were to trash another cart. I can't wait til I'm out on my own!
As an aside to that earlier post, how hard is it to switch a stylus? And does switching them very often wear them out quickly?
One thing, if you get the AT150MLX or Ortofon you can always remove the stylus when you aren't there and lock it in a safe place. That way your roommate can't damage what isn't there. :-) Switching styli shouldn't wear them out too quickly, at least no quicker than your roommate screwing up another stylus!
So to put a stylus back in place does that involve any alignment or anything, or do you just pop it in there? Sorry, I just have no idea how that process works.