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Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order! (Read 7257 times)
Archie
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Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
10/30/15 at 01:48:28
 
I've decided to upgrade my TT with a MC cart and a ZMC1 SUT.  I'm thinking of getting an Ortofon Quintet Black.  If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them.  I'm trying to stay under 1k for the cart but price-point creep is the name of this game!   Cheesy
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hdrider
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #1 - 10/31/15 at 23:26:20
 
Archie - I have a ZMC1 in front of my ZP3 and it's great. Right now I am using a Shinon Red LOMC since I have it and really shouldn't buy the Dynavector 17 I really want. Let me/us know how you like the Ortofon Black, that would be another option for me. The Shibata stylus is something I had on a few previous carts and I have always loved that tip. I have the knob on the ZMC1 turned fully clock wise, I never got a good explanation on why it's there so I figured if its turned all the way open it's almost out of the circuit (??). My phono system really makes me smile now, even without a new cartridge. Happy listening, Chris.
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Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, SE84CS, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Shinnon Red Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Stax Lambda Signature Pro & SRM-T1 tube amp, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #2 - 11/01/15 at 01:21:05
 
I decided against the Quintet Black in favor of the discontinued Ortofon Kontrapunkt b which was replaced by the Candenza Blue.  They both have a ruby cantilever and a FG stylus.  The Candenza line is a big jump above the Quintet and the price is almost triple.  I think the Kontrapunkt b will almost get me there and by buying from a German company the Kb will only cost a little more than I could get the Quintet Black for and I wont have to sell my car!  If I want to both sell my car and get a second mortgage then I could afford the Candenza Black.

Steve told me that to use the knob on the ZMC1 you turn it all the way down and then slowly turn it up.  The music should get louder.  At the point where it stops getting louder you stop.  He also said that the knob can be used to dial in the sound on an LP when you don't want to change the VTA for, say a thin record, if you have things dialed in for 200 gm LPs.
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« Last Edit: 11/01/15 at 01:45:54 by Archie »  
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hdrider
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #3 - 11/01/15 at 14:57:43
 
Keep us posted on the cart when you get it mounted. Thanks for the info on the ZMC1 control, that's more info than I have ever had. Happy listening, Chris.
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Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, SE84CS, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Shinnon Red Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Stax Lambda Signature Pro & SRM-T1 tube amp, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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JD
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #4 - 11/01/15 at 15:03:49
 
Yes please share results as I am also thinking of upgrading to mc cart and sut, possibly a new table as well.  

Thanks in advance

JD

PS  Not sure it would be understood elsewhere but on this forum throwing a new set of all season radials on my 99 corolla and spending my cash on a new rig and new listening chair prob makes total sense instead of newer car.

haha
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #5 - 11/01/15 at 18:31:48
 
You bet I'll be posting results.  Unfortunately, the ZMC1 has to be built and Sarah tells me that it's 5 to 7 weeks out!  :(  I actually told her this was probably a good thing since it keeps us all from going broke sooner!   Cheesy

Right now I'm running Ortofons STY 40 (FG) on a Concord body.  It's something KAB puts together.  The integrated body is supposed to deliver tighter mids -- or something, as compared to the OM40.  Some think the OM40 is equal to or better the 2m Black.  Either way I am expecting greater things from a Kontrapunkt b.
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« Last Edit: 11/01/15 at 18:42:20 by Archie »  
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #6 - 11/17/15 at 01:25:14
 
I received my Ortofon Kontrapunkt b MC cart today and I thought I'd at least get it mounted on my extra headshell.  Well I did that and tried it out with just the ZP3 and I was amazed to find that I can play it all the way to clipping if I turn my CSP3 and ZMA almost all the way up.  The downside is that the slight hum becomes pronounced.  This will not be an issue once I get my ZMC1 though.  I didn't expect that I'd get much sound at all since its output is 0.47 mV vs 4 mV for my MM.

Initial impressions are that it is similar to my MM Ortofon but with greater detail and a more pronounce high end.  These carts take about 30 hours to break in so I think things will get even better with more time (and a SUT).  This is my first MC cart and I can see why the response would be so much faster given how stiff the cantilever is compared to my MM cart.  The stylus is an FG mounted on a ruby cantilever.  My MM was an FG mounted on aluminum.

If anyone is interested I can tell you where I got mine.  It was $851 delivered -- a really great price.  The Kontrapunkt b was replaced by the Cadenza Blue which could be had from the same seller for about $1500.  No warrantee though since these are gray market.
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #7 - 11/18/15 at 17:04:22
 
I realize that until I get my ZMC1 I might not hear what this cart is really capable of but it has so much more clarity than my MM I am kind of blown away.  It has lifted one of those proverbial "veils".  Or two or three!   Cheesy

Occasionally I get some painful high notes but if they don't get tamed by break-in I can always put my 2.7 ohm Mundorfs back in line on my HR1s.

Huge upgrade.
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #8 - 11/27/15 at 17:27:57
 
Quick update.  While the Kontrapunkt b has been sounding great all along, a couple days ago I noticed that it is now sounding amazing.  I think the break-in is substantially complete.  I don't have the language to describe in a critical way but the purity of sound and detail is wonderful.  It is pulling more out of the LPs.  My daughter too could really hear the improvement in some well beloved recordings.  Things are sounding "real" at times.  For a moment yesterday some voices in a recording made me think someone was in my house.  (I was listening from another room.)  I never really had that with my MM cart despite it being high quality.
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #9 - 12/27/15 at 20:40:45
 
I am still waiting for my ZMC1 -- I think I'm on deck!  Mean while I am continuing to use the cart with my gains near maximum with outstanding results.  However, I found my first tracking issue.  Fairly minor but there are a couple parts on Jethro Tull's Aqualung, Locomotive Breath, where I get a bit of a buzz.  It's on both my original and my 40th anniversary remix.  I tried increasing the tracking force to the maximum recommended but it didn't help.  Not a bad result -- all things considered.  I doubt that there is a perfect tracking cartridge out there.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #10 - 01/16/16 at 13:16:25
 
archie, you have that zmc1 yet?
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Pulse3, ZP3 jupiter, ZMC1, Schiit bifrost multibit, CEC TL5 transport, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/947/betsys. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #11 - 02/06/16 at 19:39:14
 
I received my ZMC1 yesterday after a looooong 3 month wait.  Worth it?  Absolutely.  :D

I don't know how my sound keeps getting better but it does.  Somehow the ZMC1 adds a fullness that I can't explain.  There seems to be a broadening of the soundstage and a refinement in the resolution.  While it sounds good at all volumes I seem to want things loud.  It's kind of like the exhilaration of speed but with sound.

Steve had suggested that I ground my TT arm to the ZMC1 and then go from my ZMC1 to my ZP3.  What I found though is that by keeping my ZMC1 isolated and just grounding my tonearm to my ZP3 I get the least amount of hum.  I did find that I had my TT power supply too close to the ZMC1 and it was adding noise.  With just a little separation, that went away.  I am using the Decware DSG interconnects between my TT, ZMC1 and ZP3 and the DSRs after that.  I have the ZMC1 dialed about half way for my Ortofon Kontrapunkt b cart.

I am now firmly in the camp that claims MC carts give better sound than MM carts.  I had a MM that some think superior to the Ortofon 2M Black and I wont willingly go back.  That said, I only have experience with Steve's SUT which might make all the difference?

While to each his own, going MC with the ZMC1 has been the best thing I've done and for me, worth every penny.
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hdrider
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #12 - 02/06/16 at 20:55:20
 
Archie - ZMC1>ZP3>Rachael>Omega 7XRS/Deep8 sub= major musical bliss. Congrats and happy listening, Chris.
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Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, SE84CS, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Shinnon Red Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Stax Lambda Signature Pro & SRM-T1 tube amp, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #13 - 02/07/16 at 00:51:42
 
Thanks Chris.  What MC cart do you use?  I have only experience with the Kontrapunkt b but I'm curious about other options since they don't last forever.
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hdrider
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #14 - 02/07/16 at 16:11:15
 
I am using a Shinon Red vintage 1980 sometime. I had a Monster Alpha Genesis that I wore the tip off of, sent it to Peter at SoundSmith for his Ruby cantilever replacement. Sounded great and lasted for about a year and a half then the suspension failed. No reflection on the work SoundSmith did, two different issues. The Shinon Red was referred to as ''the poor mans Kuetsu'' (spelling??). Any way my plan is for the Dynavector 17D3 or Ortophon Black, but that's got to wait for a few more months. Happy Listening, Chris.
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Rachael, ZP3, ZMC 1, SE84CS, Oppo BDP-93, Sota Star TT w/ FR-64, Shinnon Red Moving coil, Omega 7XRS Mk 2 walnut, DeepOmega 8 sub, Morrow Audio PH3 and MA3 IC's, Stax Lambda Signature Pro & SRM-T1 tube amp, Gamma Electrostatic phones.
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #15 - 02/07/16 at 19:34:09
 
Which Ortofon Black?  Cadenza?  That's a tempting cart for sure.  I've been sucked down the SRA rabbit hole though and I wonder how much Ortofon pays attention to SRA relative to their "tonearm level" spec.  I ended up shimming the back of my cart several degrees to reach their VTA and what I think is proper SRA.  I've seen examples of the Cadenza Black where they end up tail down too.  It's a bit unsettling not to follow the cart's manufacturer recommendations.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #16 - 02/13/16 at 20:11:35
 
archie.... so how is the ZMC1?
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Pulse3, ZP3 jupiter, ZMC1, Schiit bifrost multibit, CEC TL5 transport, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/947/betsys. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #17 - 02/13/16 at 23:15:09
 
Loving the ZMC1.  I don't know much about these but I think Steve's is still a deal despite the recent $250 price hike!  The variable loading is nice since you can tweak the sound on the fly and can use all kinds of MC carts with it -- I think.  Having it in the chain seemed to clean up some of the hum that I had with just the ZP3 although I did not ground it like Steve suggested, I just ground from my tonearm to the ZP3.

One thing I found out by mistake is that it doesn't work with MM carts but not in the way that I would have thought.  I threw my MM back on to see how it would track a section compared to my MC and the sound was not super loud like I would have expected but rather it played at about the same loudness as my MC with 1/10th the output of the MM but in a muted way -- kind of muffled with the high end mostly cut off.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #18 - 04/27/16 at 19:12:13
 
archie,
i've had my zmc1 for 3-4 weeks now and like it a bunch too.  the infinite loading is wonderful and this thing is dead quiet.  i was worried that i'd get some more noise adding the sut and additional ic's.... but just the opposite.  running a pulse3 (modified dl103).  working out pretty nice so far.
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Pulse3, ZP3 jupiter, ZMC1, Schiit bifrost multibit, CEC TL5 transport, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/947/betsys. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #19 - 04/28/16 at 00:56:44
 
Trip,

Glad your loving yours too.  How did you ground it?  I didn't ground mine at all -- gave the least hum.
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Tripwr1964
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #20 - 04/28/16 at 12:10:48
 
tonearm ic ground to zmc1, then ground from zmc1 to zp3.  is the combo that worked for my system.
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CSP3, CAD 120s MKII, Sota Star Sapphire, SME309, Pulse3, ZP3 jupiter, ZMC1, Schiit bifrost multibit, CEC TL5 transport, MG1.6QR w/ ext xo & mye stands/947/betsys. herbies iso, VH audio flavor diy pwr cords, Beden 8402 IC,
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Archie
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #21 - 04/29/16 at 00:43:57
 
Interesting.  That's the ground scheme Steve recommends.  In my case it paid to play around with other configurations.  I also put the ZMC1 on an isolation platform which seems to give subtle positive results.
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Falconer
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #22 - 08/12/16 at 14:33:41
 
Received my ZMC1 yesterday, hooked it up into the system as soon as I got home. Linn Sondek/Krystal cartridge to ZMC1 to AE PH-1 phono preamp to AE AE-3 preamp to AE SE-811 amp driving Decware HDT. Haven't played an album in some time due to the TT needing a new belt and a tuneup. First album up....Dark Side of The Moon. Ahh.......all is right with the world.   Wink
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HDT Alt Tuning, ZMC1, ZDSD, ZSB, REL Subwoofer, Audio Electronic AE-3 Preamp, Audio Electronic PH-1 Phono Preamp, Audio Electronic SE-811 Amp, (2)Otari MX-5050Bii-2, Otari MTR-10, (2)Otari MTR-12, Linn Sondek LP-12 with Krystal MC cartridge
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doukhobar
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Re: Taking the MC plunge, ZMC1 on order!
Reply #23 - 06/15/17 at 03:14:32
 
Archie and hdrider: some questions/thoughts, if you will!

The Ortofon Quntet Black outputs 0.3mV. The Shinon Red LOMC outputs 0.3mV, I think. The Ortofon Kontrapunkt b outputs 0.47mV. It looks like between the CSP3 and the gain stage in your amp, Archie got decent volume even without a SUT!

I was not able to get decent volume from the Hana SL MC cartridge (0.5mV output) using just an integrated solid state amp just to play with. The ZP3 needed more signal, as per Steve. Do you think a 1:20 SUT will cure all my problems? (recessed sound, noise/hum on line due to turning up volume at the amp level)
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