London Decapod Cartridge
A rigid alloy body holder to replace the standard plastic moulding - Sometimes yields an improvement.
The Decapod has to be factory fitted, so if you want one, order it with the cartridge or send your London cartridge to us for fitting. Can use 4BA or M2.5 bolts
London cartridges are absolutely unique in both concept and performance. The value for money is outrageous (in the best possible way) as they put most high end cartridges to shame in so many critical areas. The most immediate impression given is of fabulous live feel to music - in other words, notes start with lightening speed and decay with precision - just as they should - this makes the average cartridge sound almost glacial in its presentation. Those with slight hearing loss do not always notice speed so this may not be important to some folks. The next outstanding characteristic is huge dynamic range - this makes the music so much more listenable at low volumes that it is simply staggering. At normal levels it makes for an exciting and highly entertaining experience. However this is just the beginning - the London cartridges have it all - in spades. Tonal accuracy, delicacy, seperation and imaging.
I have heard London fans rave about these attributes with great passion and put it down to personal preference. After all these cartridges are a fairly old design and not exactly high end prices. If they were THAT good, surely one would expect a larger following. There are explantations for this as these cartridges take a bit of care to get right. However in a good system with the correct set up, these cartridges are unsurpassed in most key aspects.
As with any product you will always find detractors - most fault finding regarding the Londons circulate around lack of bass and tracking ability. Having spoken to a number of experts about these comments they can be explained largely by the need for correct effective arm mass and a decent balanced system.
Because the London is SO dynamic it can cause compression effects in equipment - this instantly causes bass to suffer - Compression effects can occure in all electronics from the phono stage to the Loudspeaker drivers. However a good system philosophy for ultimate performance is to start with a high quality source signal and sort out the rest of the system rather than dumb down the source which ultimately can never achieve the best results.
Please note: London cartridges are not available outside the UK unless purchased with an arm or turntable.
|Cartridge||Reference||Jubilee||Super Gold||Professional (DJ)||Gold||Maroon|
|Stylus||Exclusive line contact||extended line-contact||extended line-contact||nude elliptical||spherical|
|Frequency Response||-||20Hz to 40kHz||20Hz to 40kHz||-||-|
|Output Impedance||-||2k ohms||-||2k ohms||2k ohms|
|Channel Seperation||-||1kHz: >25dB||-||-||-|
|Load Impedance||-||47k ohms||-||47k ohms||47k ohms|
Superior Performance and Excellent Value for Money
The cartridges we sell have been selected from both personal experience and the opinions of trusted dealers and reviewers.
For this reason the range offers superior performance and excellent value for money.
Please note that we cannot send cartridges outside the UK – the only exception being our own Origin Live cartridges or cartridges less than £400 in value when ordered with an Origin Live arm or turntable.
How to choose your cartridge
One of the most common enquiries we receive is ‘What cartridge should I use with this arm/deck?’ There are many options so we try to simplify matters by offering a “hot list” of tried and tested cartridges, particularly recommended by those with wide experience. However we do provide most brands of Hi-Fi cartridges should you wish for something else.
To help your selection process the following aspects should to be considered:
The overall sound of your system – cartridge brands tend to have distinctive sound balances which we outline below. This aspect should match your system and affect your choice more than almost anything else.
The effective mass of your arm and cartridge compliance? This really depends on what arm you have – in short there is much more to matching than compliance and it’s quite rare that this has much serious influence on your cartridge performance so we do not advise on it. Origin Live tonearms seem completely impervious to the issue of compliance.
The quality of your phono stage – Budget phono stages (up to £600) tend to work best with moving magnet or high output moving coil cartridges. Most high end cartridges are moving coil or moving iron but due to their low output (0.5mV or less), you need a very good phono stage to realise their true performance. Poor phono stages usually lead to disappointment with MC cartridges. It’s worth adding that expensive phono stages are no guarantee of performance.
We suggest the phono stage should be around 2 to 5 times the cost of your cartridge if you are to get the best return on investment and so you might want to consider where you place your budget.
– MM = moving magnet cartridge with high output and 47 Kohm impedance
– MC = moving coil cartridge with low output usually and 100 ohm impedance
A number of the high output moving coils use moving magnet input at 47 Kohms
There are sources that offer seemingly amazing prices on cartridges – we would urge caution on these purchases as you may not know what you’re getting. For example some Kouetsu’s are made specifically for the Far East market. These Kouetsu’s have a suspension system suited for hot climates and will not give optimum performance in colder climates.
Hot List of Cartridges with Strong Recommendation
It’s quite hard nowadays to purchase a “duff” cartridge so the choice boils down to personal taste, compatibility and system matching. For this reason we can only offer guidelines on which cartridge to choose.
High end cartridges such as Dynavector, Lyra, Benz Micro, Zyx, etc. all have their various strengths and reviews help to clarify your choice depending on your system and priorities. We particularly recommend Dynavector and Lyra cartridges but there are many other excellent cartridges which will work as well depending on your system and phono stage balance.
Slightly lower in the range, the Dynavector 10X5 is almost without peer at the price point.
If you do not have a reasonable moving coil phono stage with adjustable gain settings (above £800) then the MusicMaker Mk III at £750 by The Cartridge Man is almost legendary as a design for moving magnet inputs.
Cartridges Below £600
The Goldring 1000 Series (£195-325*) – have excellent tonal balance with warmth, good bass and a nice top end.
The Goldring 2000 Series (£145-599*) – introduced because some listeners with more bass oriented systems wanted greater clarity and detail – the 2000 series brings this but at the expense of warmth. This series is not better than the 1000 series, just different.
Audio-Technica have an exceptionally good range of budget cartridges (£39-599) – exhibiting good tonal balance with punch and a lively performance.
Cartridges above £250
Brand sound descriptions
The remarks below are by no means definitive and are only intended as a guide to help those in no position to audition the multitude of options available.
Audio Technica – noted for definition, speed, clarity and detail – can be a little lean in the bass in some arms (seems most suited on Linn LP12 / Ittock or Akito combinations).
Dynavector – Excellent all-round MC cartridges – high output versions are 10×5 and 20XH suitable for moving magnet inputs, low outputs are also available higher in the range. Dynavector 17D Karat is a very highly regarded at its price point. The XX-2 is almost the same price as the Karat close and also a wonderfull cartridge. The choice comes down to preference but most prefer the XX2 for edging a better all round performance. The Karat however is preferred by some for its speed and transparency.
Goldring – Rich sound with plenty of warmth and bass depth – a popular phono cartridge with Rega arm users – a very safe choice that sounds good on most systems.
London – Outstanding Cartridges that lead the entire field in terms of vivid realism, dynamics and lifelike sound. Unique in construction and performance these cartridges have developed a loyal following for good reason. Drawbacks are poor tracking on damaged records and slight crackle on very worn records due to the fact that they pick up every tiny detail. The sheer dynamics, of these cartridges can cause compression effects and show up failings in poorer systems. This manifests itself in brightness and lightweight bass. In spite of these things many reviewers give Londons the highest praise. The benefits are so great that once heard there is no going back for some.
Lyra – Great tacking cartridges that deliver an organic presentation. May not always go quite as deep as Koetsus but have the edge in most other aspects such as transparency and imaging.
Ortofon cartridges are probably the most varied in terms of sound characteristics. High End Ortofon cartridges above £1000 are well balanced in their virtues and good value. Below this price there are various ranges some of which are ultra-clean and clinical with loads of detail like the Kontrapuncts and others like the Blue and Red which are the opposite in terms of capturing more warmth but which sound slightly thick in comparison to others.
Sumiko – A good choice for systems that are slightly bass heavy and need speed and agility adding, these cartridges have great resolution and are improved over previous models that tended to be lean in deep bass and low in warmth for some systems
Zyx – Very good tonal balance with slight emphasis on dynamic and deep bass. One of the most natural sounding mid bands available, excellent clarity and separation of instruments, sweet top end without the explicitness or slight overemphasis of some high-end contenders. Slight question on longevity of the suspension which may start to fade slowly after 3 years.
Please contact us to place an order or obtain a quote on the pick-up cartridge of your choice