Would you put a $7,000 cartridge on a $4,500 turntable?

Should I buy that TT + cartridge, of save money and buy a house?

My very short answer is: “Yes!”

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What gets in between my money and a high dollar cartridge is the fact that cartridges wear out, often 3,000 to 5,000 hours. And mine gets a lot of use.
That said, I just installed a cart that for me, was my high limit on price and it’s worth every penny.
(Kiseki Purpleheart)



Linn used to run a demo where they played a K9 MM cartridge in an Ekos arm vs a Troika or Arkiv in an Ittok arm (same table and PS). The Ekos/K9 decimated the Ittok/Troika or Ittok/Arkiv. I’ve heard a similar dem with a Rega P10/Exact absolutely destroyed a P8/Aphelion2. Those are both slightly hyperbolic, but there was no question for anyone in the room of the results.

@Serhan made an invaluable point when he wrote about balance. People need to avoid the reductio ad absurdum that is commonly deployed on such questions and recognize that no, most people are not going to put a $69 cartridge in a $5k arm (even though that is exactly my setup at the moment while I decide between an ART9X, a Dyna 20x2, a Hana ML, or a retipped Linn cartridge). Using a 7K cartridge on a 4.5K deck/arm will result in a lesser musical result than the other way round. Seriously, would anyone put a Clearaudio Goldfinger at $17,500 on a MoFi Ultradeck? Ivor Tiefunbrun of Linn got the essential hierarchy generally correct (generally because he didn’t consider the phono stage), and it saves people time, money, and angst if it’s followed.

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My situation is likely a rare exception to the rule.

My deck, the Technics SL-1200GAE (not to be confused with the SL-1200G of the same generation) has the same magnesium tonearm as that found in the $18K reference SL-1000R. It’s an Anniversary deck built to reference standards.

My Soundsmith Hyperion + Technics setup has been nothing short of exceptional and I see no reason to change it.

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Correct, imo tonearm and motor rule (everything else assumed decent).

With the table it’s easy in definition (but expensive and complicated in design): just as far as possible isolate the platter from any connection to the base and spindle.

Isolation from the floor (which is in the focus for most) is not so hard to achieve and not that meaningful except under hard conditions and for the last 3%.

Recommend cart from VPI, I believe…

I always wanted to try a Koetsu Rosewood Signature, just can’t make myself pull the trigger in large part due to the limited lifespan of carts

I put a lot of hrs on my cart as is and when the weather turns “cool” in Buffalo, which if I’m being honest, could be next week🙂 we will spin even more vinyl spending many more hours inside



Yup. Harry just said: “get one”, so I got one. The dynamic range is great. And the density everywhere is wonderful, especially the bass.

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John, not to troll this thread, but I am about to receive my Koetsu Rosewood Signature back after retipping and suspension tuning from Steve Leung of VAS Audio (he’s got a great reputation and I’ve retipped four carts with him). PM me if interested as I will sell it for a fraction of the original price.

And to contribute to this thread, last year I put an Air Tight PC-1s (MSRP $9K) on a VPI Classic 3 with a JMW 3DR tonearm (~$5K?) prior to upgrade to a Clearaudio Innovation Wood table (MSRP $15K). The cartridge was worth housing on both tables, and I got more benefit from the cartridge than the difference in quality between the tables.