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What's On This Page? Great Phono Cartridges From Ortofon, Shure, Stanton, Pickering and Goldring
Thank You For Choosing KAB
FAQ INFO HELP
Cartridge Mounting Styles
Current Brands
Goldring
Grado

KAB Audiophile
Ortofon Hi Fi
Ortofon DJ
Pfanstiehl Ceramic
Pickering Hi Fi
Shure Hi Fi
Shure DJ
Stanton Hi Fi
Stanton DJ
You are in search of a new phono cartridge.
It is important that you choose a cartridge that matches the mounting style of your record player. Take the time to look at the business end of your tonearm and match it against one of the pictures above. All of the brands we carry offer the 3 styles of cartridge.
Standard Mount style is the most popular and has been the standard for many years. The cartridge attaches with 2 screws 1/2" apart and 4 wires are attached to the back with spring clips.
Pmount or T4P style is a plug in style that has a single fixing screw that goes through the side. Turntables that use this will usually have the T4P symbol on them.
Integrated style is usually limited to DJ applications. However KAB also has a specialty audiophile line of integrated cartridges expressly for use on the Technics SL-1200 series turntables. Installs without hardware. Alignment is guaranteed perfect.
Related Links
- Stylus Force Gauge
- Phono Preamps
- Accessories
- DJ Straight Arm Dilemma
- Needles
- Understanding Phono Cartridges

KAB Easy Cartridge Replacement Selection

KAB Easy Cartridge Replacement Selection
For Hi Fi Turntables That Track Under 2 Grams
Ortofon Omega Shure M92E Shure Hi Fi M97XE
Ortofon Omega
Only
$29.95
Click Here To Buy Now
SHURE M92 PMOUNT CARTRIDGE
Only
$39.95
Click Here To Buy Now

Only
$69.95
Click To Buy Now
The new Ortofon Omega from KAB offers great performance at a low price and can be upgraded in 3 steps to an ulitmate audiophile cartridge simply by changing the stylus.
Elliptical stylus, 1.75 gram tracking force. Hardware included.
This great value in a universal mount hi fi cartridge. Fits all tables with either standard or P-mount style heads. Elliptical stylus, 1.5 gram tracking force. Hardware included. To round out the easy selection here is the Shure M97xE. Popular entry audiophile cartridge. Standard mount style. Elliptical stylus, 0.75 - 1.5 gram tracking force. Hardware Included.
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KAB Easy Cartridge Replacement Selection
Rugged Cartridges For Older Record Changers And Juke Boxes
Stanton 520V3 Stanton 520-27 Shure M44-7
Stanton 520V3 Only
$54.95
Click Here To Buy Now
Stanton 520V3 Only
$99.00
Click Here To Buy Now
SHURE M44G Only
$60.00
Click To Buy Now
Original Stanton 520SK. 0.7 Conical Stylus, 2-5 gram tracking force. Hardware included. Use this cartridge with our Custom 78 styli as well Stanton 520SK with Stanton D5127 original 78 stylus 2.7 spherical tip with 3-7 gram. Hardware included. Use this cartridge with our Custom 78 styli as well To round out the easy selection here is the Shure M44-7 , A lighter tracking cartridge with high output. Suitable for higher quality changers that can track under 4 grams, Conical stylus, 1.5-3.0 gram tracking force. Hardware Included.
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KAB Easy Cartridge Replacement Selection
Selected Audiophile Cartridges
Ortofon OM30 Grado Prestiege Gold1 Goldring 2400
Ortofon Omega Only
$249.00
Click Here To Buy Now
Grado Prestige Gold1 Only
$220.00
Click Here To Buy Now
Goldring 2400 Only
$475.00
Click To Buy Now
The Ortofon OM series actually outperform the new 2M series, so KAB Custom house will continue to offer this great performance at a great price.
Fine Line Stylus, 1.75 gram tracking force. Hardware included. See full specs and more models here.
Grado is the only hi output design that also features low coil inductance. This quality results in a superior soundstage usually reserved for MC cartridges.
1.5 gram tracking force. Hardware included. See full specs and more models here.
The new Goldring design features a threaded metal top building on the co's attention to detail regarding tight coupling of stray stylus energy to the headshell.
Fine Line Stylus, 1.75 gram tracking force. Hardware included. See full specs and more models here.
Sound Opinion"Very accurate, tight bass, articulate mids, detailed treble, 3 dimensional soundstage." Sound Opinion"Very musical, fat tuneful bass, full bodied mids, smooth treble, 3 dimensional soundstage. " Sound Opinion"Very dynamic, taught bass, smooth mids, detailed treble, 3 dimensional soundstage."
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BRAND & MODEL CERAMIC PHONO CARTRIDGES TOP
PFANSTIEHL
P-187D

Replacement ceramic cartridge with single tip LP/45 stylus. This stereo cartridge fits in many popular table top record players. It has a separate mounting bracket that attaches with 2 screws about ½" apart. The stereo channels can be strapped together for mono. Click To Buy Now
Only
$24.95
PFANSTIEHL
P-226D

Replacement ceramic cartridge with dual tip LP/45 flip-over stylus. This stereo cartridge fits in many popular table top record players. It has a separate mounting bracket that attaches with 2 screws about ½" apart. The stereo channels can be strapped together for mono. Click To Buy Now
Only
$24.95
PFANSTIEHL
TETRAD

The Tetrad style cartridge is popular in sets with very thin tonearm heads. It is usually identified by a colored connector at the rear. There are many styles so a SEARCH is usually necessary. Cartridge includes dual tip LP/45 flip-over needle.
Enter part, click FINISH then add to cart.
P 4 D

Click To Buy Now
Only
$23.95

What's On This Page? FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
PHONO CARTRIDGES
Thank You for Choosing KAB
TOP INFO HELP
  • When should I replace my phono cartridge?
    Assuming you are not looking to upgrade performance, the only three reasons for replacing an entire cartridge is if a channel should go dead, if it develops an un-solvable hummm, or if it will no longer hold the stylus securely.
  • What can I expect from a cartridge upgrade?
    - All cartridges sound different. This is due mainly to variations in frequency response, distortion, and microphonics. These produce different forms of colorations to the sound. Moving iron cartridges tend to sound more full and "warm" in the mid bass registers. Moving coil cartridges are more transparent and offer the greatest harmonic integrity. Moving magnet designs offer the best compromise.
    - The other issue is the stylus. The stylus will influence the overall consistency of the sound. This is really where the cost factor plays an important part. Styli that track difficult passages without breaking up require low mass cantilevers and line contact styli. these are expensive to make.
  • Are Moving coil cartridges really better?
    - Though all moving coil designs will give you a glimpse of the magical sound of vinyl, not all designs are the same. Large variations in frequency response and large amounts of wire(to make hi outputs) can mar the true potential of a moving coil. The low output MC's are the best but will require a very quiet phono preamp for the best match.
    - Think of the ideal cartridge being a single turn of wire in a strong magnetic field. This ideal however, will not make enough signal so there must be many turns of wire to make a decent generator. The more wire, the more interaction between turns, and that is the compromise that mars the soundstage.For the ultimate vinyl experience, a low output moving coil design is the best choice.
  • How do I match a cartridge with my turntable?
    There are several issues here. The first is purely technical, the cartridge compliance must match the tonearm mass for proper performance on warps. All of our hi fi and audiohile cartridges are designed to match the most popular tonearms. Many inexpensive "DJ" turntables use fairly hi mass tonearms, and should be used only with DJ cartridges.
    - Cost is an issue. Unless you bought a used turntable of hi value, it seems ill advised to spend more on a cartridge then you did on the turntable. This is especially true if your turntable has little or no specifications supplied with it. If you know the performance parameters of your turntable and tonearm well, then you are qualified to make your own decision here.
  • Will any cartridge work with these new straight DJ tonearms?
    Straight tonearms are a re-appearance of the "underhung" tonearm designed in the late 40's for portable and miniature designs.
    They are intended for Scratch DJ applications. By design, the needle is more secure in the groove during backwards movement of the platter- But at a cost.
    These designs should only use conical or spherical styli and the entire line of sight from pivot to stylus must remain straight. DO NOT OFFSET THE CARTRIDGE. The underhung tonearm exhibits a maximum tracking error of 18° . (By comparison, a conventional offset arm exhibits <2° of error). KAB does not reccomend these turntables for home use.
    Warning: Use of elliptical styli in DJ straight tonearms may do harm to the record being played. Use only conical or spherical styli.
  • Can a stereo cartridge be used for Mono?
    Yes. any stereo cartridge can be wired for Mono by connecting the (+) terminals together and the (-) terminals together. Though for the best mono reproduction, it is better to actively mix the two signals further down the line if possible.
  • Can a stereo cartridge be used for vertical cut records?
    Yes. Any stereo cartridge will retreive vertically cut information. To do this, locate the channel that doesn't have the ground strap on it. Now reverse the two connections + to - and - to +. Now, strap the 2 channels together either at the cartridge or with a "Y" cord at the stereo. Now, the lateral information will cancel and the vertical information will sum.
  • Can I solder directly to the cartridge pins?
    No. Never solder directly to a cartridge, for it will destroy the cartridge. Always use connectors to attach to the pins on the back of a cartridge.
  • If I have the Pfanstiehl Tetrad Part Number, do I still need to get a quote?
    No. The price of tetrads is fixed. Just select the part number, click FINISH and add it to your cart.
  • My Stanton Cartridge is not listed. Is there are substitute?
    Click here for the Stanton interchangeablility list. There is a good chance there is a substitute.
  • What's the difference between Hi Fi and DJ cartridges?
    The difference is all in the stylus assembly.
    Hi Fi Styli are designed to track lightly giving good performance while being kind to your records.
    DJ styli are designed for rougher handling, back cueing and to stand up to the rigors of the club environment. For home use, Hi Fi styli will always give the best sound.
  • Can I replace a crystal cartridge with a ceramic cartridge?
    You can if the tracking force is the same. Our ceramic cartridges track at under 6 grams. I have successfully replaced the cartridges in many RCA 45 rpm players this way. The audio level will be a little lower, but that has never proved to be a problem. The biggest problem is with older sets that need to track heavier. I can only reccomend trying to find the original cartridge or somehow reworking the tonearm weight.

What's On This Page? INFORMATION
PHONO CARTRIDGES
Thank You for Choosing KAB
FAQ TOP HELP
DEFINITIONS
A phono cartridge is an electrical generator. The stylus , moved by the record groove, interacts either magnetically or mechanically with some additional elements to produce an electrical analogy of the moving stylus.
  • Moving Magnet: A moving magnet design features a small magnet affixed to the rear of the stylus cantilever. The electrical circuit consists of coils of wire wound on a iron core.

  • Moving Iron: A moving iron design features a small iron element affixed to the rear of the stylus cantilever . The electrical circuit consists of coils of wire wound on a magnetic core.

  • Moving Coil: A moving coil design features an electrical coil wound directly on the end of the stylus cantilever. this is immersed in a strong magnetic field. Unlike all the other technologies, the moving coil stylus is a permanent part of the cartridge and is not replaceable.

  • Ceramic Cartridge: A ceramic cartridge features the stylus cantilever in physical contact with a slender metalized ceramic element. The ceramic element , when flexed by the stylus generates electricity via the peizo electric effect.

OUTPUT LEVEL CONSIDERATIONS
  To Maintain the best signal to noise ratio your phono preamp gain should compliment the output of your phono cartridge. The table below is a good guide to follow. Higher gains than neccessary will reduce the overload margin and increase hiss.

  Try our gain computer below. Look up your cartridge output and type it into the space provided. The optimum gain of your phono stage will be calculated.


  The optimum gain is based on acheiving 325mV rms output at 5 cm/s. For the current crop of CD recorders, 300mV is required for 0dB recording level with the recorder's level control set at max. Aiming for 325mV gives a little margin.

  If you want to know the gain of your existing preamp and all you have is a Senisitivity specification, type that into the second line and the dB gain of your preamp will be computed. The Sensitivity calculation is based on an output of 250 mV. That is still the standard for this specification though it really doesn't reflect the real world requirements when it comes to digital recording.


  If you know the gain and the maximum output, you can compute the maximum input overload. This is the maximum output generated by the phono cartridge, that the preamp can properly amplify without distortion.

  The Gain Factor is the maximum amplification produced by the preamp at the lowest RIAA frequency 25 Hz. It is an impressive figure to behold. It should give you a greater appreciation of your record player's sensitivity to seismic energy and the importance of vibration isolation.
KAB PHONO PREAMP PARAMETER CALCULATOR
 
 OUTPUT(@5CM/S)
  mV
 SENSITIVITY
  mV
 GAIN            MAX OUT
  dB           Vrms






 
OPTIMUM GAIN
 dB
GAIN       
 dB  
OVERLOAD
 mV@1kHz

GAIN FACTOR
X @ 25hZ

Get Your Own Copy Of The KAB Phono Preamp Parameter Computer

Copyright © 2001 KAB All Rights Reserved.
http://www.kabusa.com

Chart of Typical Gain Values
Output                  Gain
3 - 6 mV                36dB
1 - 3 mV                43dB
0.3 - 1.0 mV            53dB
0.15 - 0.3 mV           60DB


CARTRIDGE LOADING
A phono cartridge has an electrical circuit which consists of coils of wire. These coils have electrical resistance and inductance, parameters which make them sensitive to the resistive and capacitive loading created by the tonearm wiring, interconnects and internal circuitry of your preamp. Manufacturer's specify the proper load resistance and capacitance with each cartridge. The cartridge will present the flattest frequency response when the manufacturer's recommended load is observed. Improperly loaded cartridges exhibit frequency response dips and peaks and often emphasize surface noise.

To know all the pieces of this puzzle, you will need to know:
  1. The capacitance per foot of your interconnects
  2. The capacitance of the internal tone arm wiring
  3. The load components inside your preamp
Often this information is specified but you may find that it is not optimum for your cartridge. Many designers put way too much capacitance in their preamps forgetting, it would seem, that the tonearm wiring contributes to this quantity.

CARTRIDGE MOUNTING STYLES
  • Standard Mount: Standard mount cartridges attach with two screws on top ½" apart. They have 4 pins on the rear to accommodate the tonearm wires.

  • P-Mount T4P: P-Mount cartridges, often called universal mount cartridges, are designed primarily for turntables with tonearms that terminate in the familiar square T4P socket. The cartridge plugs in and is held with a single screw on the right hand side. They usually include an adapter so they can also be used in standard mount tonearms.
  • Stanton Stylus Interchangeability? Click Here!

What's On This Page? HELP USING THIS PAGE
PHONO CARTRIDGES
Thank You for Choosing KAB
FAQ INFO TOP
The Index Pages have three main attributes:
  • The Control Bar which features the Subject and click on points for Page, Frequently Asked Questions, Additional Subject Information and the Help page your viewing now. Use the Control Bar to navigate through the Index.

  • The MORE Button takes you to a full detailed page on that model.

  • The Shopping Cart Buttons
    SPACE Quantity, Buy Now control your ordering activity. Select the Quantity and left click the Buy Now button to place the item in your cart. Left click the Show Cart button to see what you have purchased so far.

  • Java Script Errors
    The cart program uses very basic JavaScript 1.0 programming so most browsers(IE3 or newer) should perform well with it. If you should have trouble or receive error messages. Let us know about it. And for the time being, click here for the Manual Order Form.
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