March 2012 Issue - page 5

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As you know, this audiophile hobby of ours is an interesting, at times complicated and often frustrating and I am therefore on the bludge for some of your wisdom.

The story begins when I purchased a Goldring Moving Magnet cartridge from a UK based online store, to go on my Rega P2, a little over 15 months ago. I had decided to rejoin the vinyl fraternity and this purchase was based on Hi-Fi World’s recommendations of the Goldring as an MM to consider, although, I know it is often advised by you to try before buying, I am afraid that trying this cartridge is not possible in the far south eastern coast of this big brown country of ours.

The cartridge duly arrived, but not before I read an article on HFW about Audio Origami and the modifications and improvements that Jonny 7 could perform on Rega arms.

My Rega RB250 arm duly took a trip to the UK to get all shiny and re wired. Whilst waiting for its return, I read another article that told me all about direct drive turntables, specifically, the Technics SL1200 and how good it could become with a simple arm transplant. You can put the pieces together, freshly moded arm, new cartridge, new direct drive turntable, some more DIY mods = Audio Heaven.

The arm arrived back in OZ, I plugged it on the Rega with my old cartridge and listened to my vinyl until I could buy a SL 1200 at the right price and carry out the suggested mods (if the Rega is this good, imagine how good the Technics would sound).

So, fast forward to last month and here I am, the Rega P2 has been sold on, the Audio Origamied Rega arm is mounted on an SL 1210 with a DIY off board power supply, DIY Sorbothane feet, Isoplat mat and the Goldring 1042.

But here is the rub, I seem to have a 3dB difference from the left channel in the Goldring, so, I find myself with a cartridge that is over 12 months old, albeit unused, and in no way able to return it to the place I purchased it from to claim the thing is faulty, as the warranty is expired.

So here are the questions. Is about 3dB difference in balance OK for a Goldring 1042? ( I have temporarily fixed it by adjusting the balance in my pre amp) or is the cartridge faulty? Is it possible to have this fixed? (sealed unit). Should I suck it up and live with it?

Alternatively, would a Rondo Bronze be a good match for the current arm set up (given I purchase a MC phono pre or alternatively, source a couple of step up transformers for my current home made MM phono pre).

What ready made MC capable phono pre would you recommend for my set up (aforementioned turntable and arm, DIY solid state AB amps, DIY speakers using Scan Speak drivers, DIY phono pre solid state discreet circuit). (I know this little lot will be a mystery to you other than the turntable and arm).

Budget about 1k AuD (music, all genres from classical to punk). Should I sell the lot and continue buying CDs and SACD?  Should I stop reading magazines and getting weird ideas?  Please help!!


Gerry Martin,

Batamans Bay,




Hi Gerry. Your big brown country is a wonder to fly over though; I’m always transfixed by its size and by the fact that there’s no one down there! And the scenery; if you live in the smoke like I do it’s eye popping, even if your wild life isn’t so friendly!

On the subject of pickup cartridges your Goldring 1042 definitely should not have a 3dB channel imbalance. This is usually caused by shorted coil turns or a mis-wound coil (I have come across the problem just once), although stylus damage is a possibility. I spoke to Goldring and their view was it’s out of its warranty period and that is the end of the matter. Well, I tried! NK


I shall be updating my system next year and have a budget of between £2000-£3000. I have Rega Planar 2 deck and a Creek OBH 15 phono amp which I want to keep as the basis of a new system. The current stereo is a Technics separates system from 10-12 years ago and has the SL-BD22 turntable that has already been updated with a Pickering cartridge.

The Rega Planar 2 I plan to have upgraded via (inspire Hi-Fi). I am not much fussed about having a receiver for radio so will have most of the money available for an amp and speakers. Somebody told me that as a rule of thumb whatever I spend on an amp should be the same for a pair of speakers.

I was also told that to make my CDs sound as good as vinyl I should be looking at £1000 on a CD player Are either of these pieces of advice right?

I would need a system that was at home with both vinyl and CD (although vinyl is my preferred media) and capable of playing various genres of music including rock, jazz, folk and classical. Is this too much to ask for the budget I have? Could you recommend an all round set up?

Yours faithfully,

Ian Josland,








Shure M55E cartridge – best replaced.

Hi Ian. The Planar 2 is way out of date, especially if fitted with the Acos arm. You don’t say what cartridge is in this turntable either. Get a Rega P-3 24 with a Rega RB301 arm if you can, and a Goldring 1022GX cartridge. This is a great basic source with strong dynamics, well differentiated treble from a Fritz Gyger stylus and a big, well hewn sound stage. Only the turntable is a little weak in suffering vague timing against the best – but that’s why it’s not too expensive.

CD will forever sound different to vinyl and whether it could be “as good” is a specious argument. We are comparing apples to oranges here! However good CD gets, LP always seems to stay a step ahead, probably because CD is fixed to a 30 year old specification whilst LP is able to evolve. Try auditioning a CD player with valve output stage to hear an interesting alternative and Icon Audio have a nice one in the CDX1 and the Canor CD player in this issue (originally the Edgar) is another great player. You will be spending at least £1000 for a really good player or DAC, to avoid digital harshness.

Spending around £1000 on amplifier and loudspeakers also works well, although the loudspeaker side of the equation can vary somewhat. For example, Q Acoustics make good floor standers in the 2050i loudspeakers, costing around £500 and Monitor Audio the Bronze BX5 for a similar price and both are good. Moving up the price scale Triangle make the Antal EX for just over £1000 and this is a lot of loudspeaker for the money.

Your budget is plenty big enough but you do need to tread carefully as you obviously are casting your net a little wide at present. NK

Comments (1)
Got a cj61
1Thursday, 19 July 2012 20:05
Paul brown
Just done the mods you advise. It does work on both alignment and the tape slightly shifts the balance. Super suggestion

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