Charlie1 wrote: ↑
I recently read that you've not heard the full potential of mono LPs until you've used a mono cartridge.
Where did you read this and what is the experience of the person posting? I have found that 100% of the folks who write this are NOT
source-firsters and actually believe the cartridge and tonearm are more important than the turntable. This includes cartridge designers and manufacturers.
Also, does "not heard the full potential" mean it sounds better using tune-dem or it sounds
I have also noticed, from photos, that most installers have no idea how to properly set up a cartridge in general, let alone wire a mono cartridge properly.
Anyone here heard a mono cartridge?
Yes, quite a few. Mostly playing 78 rpm records on dedicated 78 rpm turntables. The best hi-fi I have ever heard did not have an LP12; it had a Rega 78 with a Goldring 1042 moving magnet cartridge. Another hi-fi myth I tire of reading is that "master tape" sounds the best, or DSD-999.9 is Nirvana. Those are the same folks who've never heard a Rega 78. I need to get another one!
There are many different permutations and designs of "mono" cartridges. There is no standard. There are stereo cartridges with a larger conical needle called "mono cartridges". There are mono generators with stereo diamonds called "mono". there are stereo generators wired for phase-cancelling called mono. Yet on all these hi-fi sites, I never see anyone mention this!!
Advertising blurbs for some really expensive moving coil cartridges state they take an existing moving coil design and rotate the coils 90° because the left and right channel difference isn't needed. How do they know it will sound better musically doing it this way? They don't, as it's all just theory. One manufacturer brags about having two separate, independant, coils in their "mono" cartridge stating that sounds better than flipping a mono switch. Well, it's not "mono" then is it?
My opinion is the reason most original mono jazz LPs sound better than stereo is they are most often first pressings, not because they're mono. Also, some jazz (and most pop records) are mixed differently generally using less processing resulting in a clearer sound. On top of that, the grooves are, in general, farther apart on older recodings, reducing pre and post-echo.
My advice is just play any mono LP or 7" as you would a stereo and just enjoy it. Another hi-fi myth is stereo needles will ruin a mono record and vice-versa; poppycock
! It is impossible to know if your "mono" LP was cut with a 1 mil or .7 mil cutter unless you measure it under a microscope.
If one wants to have a dedicated mono 78 player, my advice is simple; buy a Rega 78 and an AT-VM95SP. Wire it to phase cancel. Done and done. Enjoy.
If one wants to have a dedicated mono LP and 7" 45 player, my advice is simple; buy an LP12/Radikal and an AT-VM95SP. Wire it to phase cancel. Done and done. Enjoy. [and if you buy an AT-VMN95E stylus for $40., and make a phase-cancelling RCA adapter, you'll have pretty good stereo playback as well].
What is phase-cancelling? Have you heard of humbucking pickups in a guitar? Same thing electrically. How it works in a cartridge is a stereo model has two coils. One is left, one is right. Opposite wound on the same magnet. In a mono cut record, left and right are the same. However, from the moment a record is pressed it is subject to dust, dirt, and scrapings from the playback needles. This produces a difference
between the two channels. One coil "picks up" one groove side, the other coil, the other side. Generally most phono cartridges are wired with the left channel grounded (blue). You connect the right channel + (red) to the + of the RCA phono lead output. Connect - (blue) to the - of the RCA phono lead output. Then jump right - (green) and left + (white). This is easily accomplished via a single cartridge wire tag. If you're hard-core like me, solder two tags together formed to fit across the green and white. "Humbucking" also cancels electrical noise and radio frequency noise.
The next step depends if you are using a moving coil or moving magnet. I have always soldered together the cartridge tag wires going to the left and right tonearm wires. + to +(red to white), - to - (green to blue). In a moving magnet cartridge, this will matter little. In a moving coil, remember you are summing two coils and dividing by two, so your loading will change. My experience shows this to also matter little, but it matters a little more.
If you're hardcore (like me), you'll only use one tonearm cable channel (left because it's grounded) into one channel of the phono stage. You'll snip the power supply to the right channel power of that stage and use a mono'd cable to your pre-amp.
If you're like me and have a couple hundred mono LPs and dozens and dozens of 7" 45s, you can make your own humbucking mono phono cable adapter. You simply combine two female and two male RCAs, some solder, wire, and heat; then you have a temporary "mono" phono cartridge. The connections are as I advertised above. Always double check the grounding of your cartridge and tonearm cable. I have read recent online reviews of increased
hum and noise with mono cartridges. This is the exact opposite of why you should go mono with a phonograph. You will get complete silence
if done correctly.
I'm sure I know more than most on this forum regarding this topic. Feel free to correct me on any inaccuracies. It is the end of the week after a beer or three and I'm a bit vociferous, so call me out if you dare.
Ron the Mon
I am NOT a fan of humbucking pickups, per-se, in electric guitars. In a phono cartridge pickup, the one
needle is moving the two coils almost exactly the same. In a guitar, the two humbucked pickup coils are magnifying different
points of a guitar string. I have compared many different electric guitar pickups and much prefer a single coil, though stacked
humbuckers come close.