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Old 9th Jul 2019, 4:10 pm   #1
brightsparkey
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Default Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

I've owned this deck from new, though its not been used much for the last 20yrs or so due to space constraints. Now the new studio is almost complete, its coming out of retirement.

I've never experimented with cartridges on this deck (as a student, when I first got it, never had the cash..) and as such am a complete beginner with cartridge changing. I understand some of the physics of tonearm setup, but have no idea how easy it is to change the cartridge on this model.

It has the DN249 type stylus and the original Dual cartridge which always seemed to have mediocre performance (it was a budget deck).

What are my options? is it possible to replace the whole cartridge with a more modern one - what types are best matched to the deck etc.

Program is classical and jazz, not pop music Budget is still modest, btw, even if I'm not a student anymore!

Thanks for any advice.

Kevin.
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 4:35 pm   #2
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

A Rega Carbon would be a good budget choice for this setup. It's an AT91 with a tweaked stylus. If you want to spend more there's plenty of choice, but as you say this is only an entry level hifi deck and arm. It should cost 25-30. A bog standard AT91 is a bit cheaper if the budget is really tight.

Changing a cartridge is easy enough with the standard 2 hole arrangement, though it's a bit fiddly.
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 4:54 pm   #3
brightsparkey
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

I guess its the details I'm not sure about - the cartridge and head-shell seem to be one piece on this deck (its the 503-1 with the dual DMS249, not the Ortofon on the 503-2)

What the process to change the cartridge?

Thanks.
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 5:58 pm   #4
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Can you post a closeup of the cartridge and the end of the arm? I thought these used a standard headshell.
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 7:06 pm   #5
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

It's a pretty standard Ortofon (branded Dual) MM cartridge with ok performance and a new stylus is easy to obtain. Usual two screw fixing so the cartridges mentioned by Paul could be fitted. Much depends on your budget and expectations.

Alan
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 8:04 pm   #6
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Might even be branded Ortofon. Please see photo. Two screws and four push fit tags.

Alan
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 8:25 pm   #7
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
A bog standard AT91 is a bit cheaper if the budget is really tight.
Sadly discontinued, I believe.

Last edited by Nickthedentist; 9th Jul 2019 at 8:37 pm.
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Old 9th Jul 2019, 9:40 pm   #8
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Err only the name. It lives on as the Audio Technica AT3600L now made in China, but every bit the same and as good as the AT91 (and dare I say the Rega Carbon.)
A quick google will confirm and less than 10 delivered from China via ebay.
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Old 10th Jul 2019, 10:51 am   #9
brightsparkey
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Thanks for the replies - I will have to check, which will involve getting it out of its packing - as I'm due to travel to the US soon, may take a while to get to.

Mine definitely does not say 'Ortofon' on it. I know they changed the cartridge on the CS503-2 to a branded Ortofon, but mine is a CS503-1.

Will report back with some photo's when I get the opportunity.

Thanks for the recommendations - will have a look at them.

Expectations? Not really sure what's to be gained. I understand that bass response vs rumble is a trade-off with tonearm mass and tacking force etc. Hoping to moderately improve the sound without spending a fortune - but more likely to have a bit of fun experimenting

The engineer in me would like to make some measurements with different cartridges, but I suspect lack of time will prevent this actually happening...

Kevin.
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Old 10th Jul 2019, 11:35 am   #10
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Changing the cartridge won't make any difference to the rumble level or the bass response. The differences are mostly in compliance and the overall tonal characteristics.

I've no personal experience with your original cartridge, but a quick google suggests that it's quite well regarded. Replacement styluses all seem to be third party though, which may be a problem. If you fit a current production AT cartridge you know you'll be getting an OEM AT stylus. It's also possible that the original cartridge stylus suspension has deteriorated by now.

The Rega Carbon isn't simply a rebranded AT91/AT3600. The stylus assembly is a special for the Rega OEM contract, though it's still a conical tip design manufactured by AT.
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Old 10th Jul 2019, 12:40 pm   #11
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

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Originally Posted by snowman_al View Post
every bit the same and as good as the AT91.
A quick google will confirm and less than 10 delivered from China via ebay.
I had a quick look at these and if I'm looking at the right ones they're described as something like "dynamic magnetic needle stylus", no mention of a complete cartridge, although this is probably just a breakdown in language/translation as the picture shows the complete unit. I think it describes it as being made of metal and plastic, there's no mention that I could see of diamond or sapphire stylus tip in any of the descriptions. Yours, or any other members opinions on these particular 'cartridges' would be most welcome, as on the face of it they seem to be very good value.
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Old 10th Jul 2019, 1:36 pm   #12
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Techman View Post
I had a quick look at these and if I'm looking at the right ones they're described as something like "dynamic magnetic needle stylus", no mention of a complete cartridge, although this is probably just a breakdown in language/translation as the picture shows the complete unit. I think it describes it as being made of metal and plastic, there's no mention that I could see of diamond or sapphire stylus tip in any of the descriptions. Yours, or any other members opinions on these particular 'cartridges' would be most welcome, as on the face of it they seem to be very good value.
Yes that's 'Chinglish', they are the complete cartridge and stylus assembly with mounting bolts. I've now had 2, from China, for friends with damaged or faulty units. (Both delivered in less than 10 days too.) Spec is the same as AT91, 0.6 mill conical diamond stylus on carbon fibre cantilever. And they track at 2.5 gms no problem.
There are UK suppliers offering the same units with a proper description at slightly more money if you search...

There are plenty of 'reviews and comparisons' on the net, I guess it depends if you like the AT family stuff or need to buy at a price point in the end. But for a cheap (little risk) replacement ...
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Old 10th Jul 2019, 8:34 pm   #13
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Default Re: Cartridge options for Dual CS503-1

Just to be clear, the photo attached to post #6 is a close-up of a CS503-1 (not CS503-2) turntable.

Alan
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