Cart recommendation

I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that I’m gonna get rid of most of my record collection. It’s been collecting dust for many years now, and I’d rather have a few hundred that fits in the living room and that I really like and actually play than a full wall that I never can be arsed to flip through.

There are however lots of stuff in there which I’d like to rip before selling. Which brings me to my point: I currently use a Shure Whitelabel on my Technics 1210. While they’re definitely good DJ carts, I’ve started to wonder if I should possibly go for something a little bit more hifi now, to make sure I have a good rip of the tunes before the records go.

I used to have a bit of knowledge on this, as there was loads of discussions on this back in the days of old DJH. But I haven’t really looked into this at all since then. Does anyone have any advice on this? Suggestions for upgrades or are the Whitelabel perfectly fine for this?

Please don’t go all super expensive audiophile on me. I can pay a bit for this, but not willing to sell a kidney to do this. :wink:

1 Like

if you aren’t being super particular about sound quality then it should be fine, depending on how old it is.
Where possible I’d suggest trying to source the tunes from CD/digital just to save you time if anything, although the quality will (usually) be better.
I was ripping a lot of vinyl for a while and really noticed an improvement in quality when I bought a new mixer so worth doing a bit of research on sound cards and all that


I do switch the stylus when it wears out. Shure discontinued them a few years back, so I bought up a couple of replacement ones back then. I still have a new one left, but if I wear through that one too, I believe there are now other brands that make replacement styli for this particular cart, since it used to be a fairly popular one.

Not going full Koetsu maniac on you, but I think it might be worth looking into getting an inexpensive belt driven turntable. I’m sure you’re already set for a decent pre-amp.

Yeah, I have a decent pre-amp. Honestly can’t remember the name of it, but I think it might possibly have been recommended to me by Michael Cook back in the days of DJH. Not the Graham Slee that quite a few people had, but something in the same ballpark.

What exactly is the great advantage of a belt driven turntable for a purpose like this? Is it less noisy?


Yeah I believe so. Also I think technics were basically let down by their tone arms.

Decided to go a bit hi fi nerd about 12 months ago, and upgraded to an Audio Technica AT-VM95E/H.
Probably a bit too entry level for real purists and buffs, but really noticeable upgrade on the Ortofon DJ S that I previously had on my SL1200 MK2.


here’s a few at different price ranges that should get you started

£100 or less - Audio Technica AT-VM95E/H or Goldring E3

£200 - £300 audio technica vm540ml (my current Hifi cart and can’t recommend it enough or Nagoaka MP200 (not heard it but loads rave about it)

All of the above work fine on a 1210. Once you go over £500, you’re then entering the world of MC’s and that’s another rabbit hole entirely.

1 Like

Or, you can save yourself about 10 gazillion man hours, and probably source at least 80% of what you want to rip from, whispers Slsk.


I think the truth of it is, from a strictly copyright perspective you need to delete any copies you made when you sell the record as you no longer have the rights to the copy. So as Howler says save yourself the time unless you really can’t find them anywhere else

I would say any new cart will tell you the old one was well past it’s best. If that is a genune spare styli then that will tell you also.

Same goes for those still rocking a Stanton 500 from the nineties, with a coin glued to the headshell and a trail of vinyl swarf flying out the back.

Try and make sure your deck is level, buy some sort of eliptical cartridge. make the effort to align the thing with a at least the Technics overhang gauge. Playing around with the arm height might get you into audio nirvana, as you can match the cutting angle of the master. Sorry can’t recommend anything new, I have no idea if a demo in a shop is a thing anymore.

Hopefully you can get a great result for £100, bearing in mind this is 1990’s money and £100 then would get you a Stanton 680E maybe a Goldring Hi FI cart or such but not much else.

I have had very expensive MC carts into very expensive step up transformers, sounds amazing even on a bone stock SL1200.

1 Like

Yeah. Would obviously be easier, but where’s the fun in that? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

On a serious note: my day job means I really can’t dabble in such things, so I guess I’m stuck with the recording.

1 Like

Well, I’m a copyright lawyer. And while what you say might be right on a theoretical level, it’s very much just that (theory) as the infringement for making yourself a copy for your personal use of something you currently own, and later selling the original, is exceptionally small. At least compared to any sort of online file sharing. But let’s not get into a copyright discussion. I do that enough by day. :wink:

But I hear what you’re saying. It’s time consuming as hell, but I’ve ripped stuff as I bought it over the years, so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch. It’s just that some of the stuff I ripped in the earlier years were done with very mediocre equipment and compressed to mp3, so I have to do some of them over. But I’m not gonna do everything. Just the stuff that I think I’d like to have a digital copy of.


Thanks for the advice. I’ve made sure to change the styli quite often, so it shouldn’t be so bad. I’ve had my fair share of experiences in my early days of ripping vinyl, where I would record a lot of tunes, switch the styli and discover how huge the difference was, only to have to do the latest batch all over again. Not something you wanna do too often…

I have owned other carts in the past. Can’t remember the exact model, but I had a purple Audio Technica who I remember everyone raved about around 10 years ago, which was discontinued at some point. I wore that one out. I think the reason I went back to DJ carts, was that I found the whole aligning thing with carts that have to be mounted to a head shell extremely tedious. I remember downloading arc sheets (or whatever it’s called) from some turntable forum and spending days trying to get it right. But that might just have been me over complicating things, trying to get it perfect.

1 Like

I’ve had a dabble with alignment sheets and there are some Technics SL1200 spec ones on ebay. I’d just find yourself a nice genuine Technics headshell, a magnifier maybe and set it to the plastic gauge pointing as straight ahead as possible. Good time to give everything a Caig clean and stick some new cart leads on.

I think you would be able to set up arm height sweet spot on something very well mastered and pressed in the golden era. I found all the noise disaspears and the magic happens when things are set up well, without being a pedant about it.

I guess you will feedback with hopefully a new love for what records you do keep…?

I will give it a go. Sounds like the biggest issue will be relocating that little white Technics plastic gauge thing, I haven’t seen for years. :joy:

Look, truth be told, if you’re going to end up playing these tracks out on so-so soundsystems, or listen to it on OK headphones, then what you have will give you a decent quality rip.

I’ve seen a few people go nuts about ripping a record perfectly with expensive gear only to play it through shitty speakers in venues that would make it hard to differentiate between an MP3 file and an actual record…it’s funny to me when that happens but I guess they’re happy doing that.

You are probably right sir. I was just thinking along the lines of future proofing a bit here, without going completely overboard.