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.


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.