Marantz TT15/ Clearaudio Satisfy for MC carts?

I’m putting together a second system which I’m very excited about. My new Integrated is the Naim XS3, which drive my Harbeth Compact 7 (non XD) speakers. So on to my question...I recently heard the TT15, and was very impressed. I would say it’s now the #1 choice to be my analog source for this system. I can’t imagine doing much better for the money. I have learned from reviews that the TT15’s Satisfy arm may actually exceed the performance of the (Verify?) arm that comes on the Clearaudio Concept. But my concern for the future is how the Satisfy arm will do with MC cartridges. The supplied Virtuoso MM sounded very impressive running in to the Naim in the dealers showroom. But I would still like to gather opinions to see if the Satisfy arm will also play well with MC cartridges. Btw...for those who are not aware, the TT15 is made by Clearaudio.


"But I would still like to gather opinions to see if the Satisfy arm will also play well with MC cartridges. "

Like with any tonearm and cartridge whether it is a mc or mm it is the mass of the arm and cartridge compliance that is the factor for compatibility to perform best!

Here ya go!

There are both low and mid to high compliance MC cartridges so your question is impossible to answer without more information. But you can answer it for your self with that calculator.

It's a price point turntable-$1500.

Likely a good performer, based on the company that manufactured it. With those two factors in mind, I wouldn't think too deeply about technical absolutes.

Most of the popular MC's discussed on the forums in the $500-1K, along with a decent phonostage will do the deed. Perhaps you're just going to use the Naim's phonostage, so you will need a hi output MC.

Since you have a Well-Tempered already, you know setup to optimize it is paramount.

It's a pretty decent table.  I had the Clearaudio Emotion with the Satisfy arm which is basically the same table with a different plinth shape.  It shouldn't have any issues with MC carts so long as you match whatever you get to the arm.  Listen with the Virtuoso before you get ahead of yourself.  It's a very good cartridge.

I'm trying to keep this system as sane as possible. I have around 7k in to it so far...the Ton Trager stands didn't come cheap. I'd like it to be a well balanced system that will be less than 10K after the turntable. At the end of the day, I'm sure there are used options that were $5K new, and are available for $3K. That would be ok, but I'm not quite sure what table to target. tablejockey- I really enjoyed the Amadeus, but no longer own one. I had two here at one point. If I can reach the WT performance with a more user friendly (less finicky) table, that would be perfect. But I'm not sure I would want to go back to the WT. I'd likely go JA Mitchell, a Kuzma Pipe Bomb, or a GEM Dandy. BTW- I moved from the WT to a  Kuzma Stabi Ref 2/ Ref 313 arm.  I picked that up 3-4 years ago. It's likely my LAST table, but that's for my Tube/Horn setup. 

I can't speak to running a MC on the TT15, but I did own the TT15 for a few years and it was a fantastic table with overall performance that I think is above it's price tag.  The supplied Virtuoso cart is very good, albeit a little noisy in the groove.  I did a mod at one point and removed the stock elliptical stylus and replaced it with an AT VM95ML microline stylus.  (From what I understand, the CA Virtuoso is made by Audio Technica.)  It's easy to do, lots of videos and instructions out there on the web.  The ML stylus gave me better tracking and a nice reduction in surface noise.  I never really had a burning desire to replace the Virtuoso with a moving coil.

The key as others have pointed out is choosing a cart with the proper compliance that mates well with the Satisfy tone arm.  I use the cartridge resonance evaluator tool over at  At 8g effective mass, the Satisfy is a low mass tonearm, so you'll want to look at carts with higher compliance.  I've read of several people having a lot of success with the AT ART9 cartridges on the TT15.

bjp9738- This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much. I will check out my EMT TSD 75...I believe it’s high compliance, so it should mate well with the Satisfy. I believe what you mentioned about the Virtuoso being a bit noisy in the groove makes sense. It wasn’t obvious, but now that you mentioned it... I had also heard that the AT stylus can be installed on the Virtuoso. That would be a perfect scenario for this system, because I want to keep it sane and casual...meaning don’t pour much money in to it in the future...and don’t sweat things such as an LP not being perfectly flat. This is something I obsess over when playing the table in my main system. But the cartridge on that table was over $4K. So when (for example), I'm dealing with big dollar cartridges, I can’t help myself from being obsessive. So it’s not only that I’d like to have the future option to go MC, but I already have the Charisma (Denon) 103, and the EMT mentioned above. So I’d love to be able to play one of those, but I’m afraid the Denon may not be a good match. So I will have to brush up on my knowledge going forward. BTW- the Naim phono is indeed MM only, but I have a step up for my high impedance cartridges, so I’m covered there for both MC’s. Cheers -Don

I’m going to make a very radical suggestion for an audiophile. You heard the Virtuoso cartridge at the dealer and described it as “very impressive”. How about buying what you know you liked rather than buying a pig in a poke? Does this make any sense? The stock cart is a great starting place and you had the benefit of audition. You will have to replace it in a couple of years anyway and then you can screw around more. IMO

Absolutely agree...I had no issues at all with the Virtuoso. I have very little experience with MM carts, but this one was quite positive. It's more about choosing the right table and arm. And it's my bad for not making it clear that I'm not 100% set on the TT15. But if I do go for it, I'm not sweating the cartridge at all. Perhaps this is a naive outlook, but at < $1800 for the TT15 package,  I consider the Virtuoso a throw in. Beyond that, there is always next month, next year, and the year after...

A lot of turntables that come with a cartridge have "throw in" cartridges, but I would not describe the Virtuouso as a "throw in".  It's a very capable cartridge.  I currently have mine mounted on my souped up Technics SL1200 MK2.  

I would go so far as to say that the cartridge is the best thing about that turntable, followed by the tonearm, with the turntable itself being a little on the cheap side. 

There isn't much mass to the platter or plinth and the feet aren't that great.  The motor can have a tendency to slide around, which will affect speed, or introduce noise if it comes into contact with the plinth.  The power button is on the side of the motor, which sits under the table.  I'm not sure if the TT15 is the same as the Emotion in this regard, but there are two grounding wires, one that loosely attaches under the center spindle in addition to the tonearm wire.  You might not need to use the second wire under the spindle, but if you do it's a little fussy to set up since it connects underneath the table.  

I put a thin sheet of sorbothane under the motor to isolate it and keep it from sliding around.  If you have a surface where it won't slide around, that may not be necessary.  My table came with the Emotion Aluminum Feet (should also work on the TT15), which are very nice. 

The only downside about the Virtuouso cartridge is that the cantilever sticks way out in front of the body and is very easy to unintentionally remove.  When/if you snap yours off, Andy Kim will replace it with a better one and you'll have an even better cartridge.


I am using SL1200MK2/4/6 TTables for a long time, love them much for reliability and performance, here is my OP:

1): you will get nice SQ by adding Audio Technica MM cartridge, I personally found  the best sounding one is Audio Techinca AT20! Other AT MM carts will work well too, to name a few: AT-150MLX, AT ML160/170, haven’t tried yet latest 740/760 series, but those should be similar. For best results I am using high end AT head-shells, LS/LH/MS series.

2): the best tonearm for SL1200 I tried is SL1200MK4, which is Technics own “audiophile” version of S shaped arms, and uses Titanium to dampen resonances.  MK4 TT arm has handy RCA connectors for exploring variety of phono cables. Latest original series SL-1200MK6 table arm is cool too, seems it uses less resonating not fully disclosed alloy, and better wiring, SL-1200MK6 has better main body dampening as well, so, that table is worth to try.

3): There is one improvement I would recommend if you hear inner tracks 60Hz hum noise, is replacing power transformer with better shielded / toroidal one. 

The Best MM cartridges are MP cartridges from Nagaoka. I have two TT and run the MP200 on my Clearaudio Concept and the MP110 on my Thorens TD145. Fantastic. 

Nagaoka cartridges are very nice. Having said that, I had a MP-500 and sold it, while keeping the Clearaudio Virtuoso. I no longer have a Clearaudio turntable. Again, I would suggest listening to the TT15 with the Virtuoso and then decide if you want something else. 

I think it would be hard to go wrong with the Marantz. I even bought a $20 gizmo from Amazon, which is a grounded female outlet, wired to a male grounded plug. This comes with a mini hand held remote enabling you to turn on/off anything plugged in to it.... Sort of a heavy duty version of the ones Home Depot sells for turning a Christmas tree on/off via a remote. This device will allow me to bypass the power switch which is located on the rear leg of the TT15. So no chance of moving the motor like a few owners have mentioned. Another interesting option would be the Merrill GEM Dandy, but since Jelco is no longer making tonearms, that has become a pricier proposition. The Mo-Fi Studio/Ultradeck tables also look interesting. The shop where I listened to Marantz also had the Mo-Fi. They felt the Mo-Fi was more laid back sounding. I think my system balance with the Compact 7’s would appreciate the more lively TT15.


I have heard the Mofi Ultradeck, but not head to head with the TT15.  I thought it was a nice sounding deck and appeared to be more straightforward to operate and more user friendly than the TT15.

Mo-Fi is coming out with a new table, and judging from the photo, it's pretty sweet looking. A  bit more than I want to spend, but since we are on the subject...It's supposed to be coming in around $6K. 




Whatever you buy, IMO, you should buy from the local dealer who demonstrated the Marantz for you.  As a newbie, you will have a lot of questions about setup, and probably 10 other things.  It is really good to have a local person who can and will assist you, rather than running on forums looking for answers.  Do yourself a favor.  Analog requires a little more commitment than spinning CDs and it's nice to have some help at any stage, but especially in the beginning.  Also, just one more thought - don't drive yourself crazy about which TT to buy, as if it's going to be your last.  It probably isn't.  Just buy something good and play records for a couple of years until you learn what you like and what you don't.  Then you can jump into something higher priced. At this point, you don't know what's important to you as an individual as far as analog playback goes.  Nothing wrong with MoFi products either, but I think it's unrealistic to think your first TT is going to be your last at this stage of the game.  That's it. 

If you're going to bring your budget up to $6K, then you open up a new set of possibilities.  You could spend a lot less than that and have a much better table and tonearm.  This is a good starting place - Restored Turntables – Sota Turntables

The Mo-Fi ad says $6K for the Table, and $5K for the phono. If it’s $3K, I think my search is over. Chayro...I totally agree with you. Just so I’m doing my best to communicate.....I went to the dealers to hear the Naim XS 3. I purchased it on the spot. He happened to be using the TT 15 as a source, which sounded very good. If not, I wouldn’t have purchased the Naim. All that aside, if I choose the Marantz, I have no reason not to buy it from the dealer. I enjoyed my time there, and he was extremely nice, and quite knowledgable. So again, no reason not to purchase the Marantz from him. One other point I should note is that this is my second system. I have (for me) a reference table in my main system. So while I’m not a setup whiz, I do fairly well with my own setups. However, there is no doubt a dealer with good setup skills would be most valuable to me. Cheers -Don

@fjn04 , As a followup, just curious how your 2nd system and turntable eventually worked out for you. We hope well!

Very cool of you to reach out. I've yet to make the purchase due to finances. I am getting close though.. I am considering AVID, Thorens TD 150, and the Marantz is still in the running. I think the Thorens is the front runner now. The standard mystery tonearm appears to be an EMT. Its got some heft at 14 grams and should be a nice match for my TSD75, which is one of my backup carts from my main setup. The Avid tables are nice, but apparently I have to go up to the Diva SP in order to get a switchable (push button) 33/45 speed change. That may be a deal breaker. So that leaves the Marantz. and the TD 150, which costs $1,000 more. The Marantz of comes with the Virtuoso cart, so I suppose one could say the difference is more than $1,000. But in the end, I will choose the table which is better suited to my tastes.