Turntable cartridge upgrades and the Nagaoka JT-80, great Father’s Day gifts (Week 22, 2022)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 22, 2022

Q. I saw your recommendation of the Goldring E3 cartridge for the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB turntable, which is the turntable I own. I also saw your recommendation of the Vessel A3SE cartridge for this turntable. Which one would you recommend for digitally recording my records?


A. The sonic character of the cartridge will come through whether recording or listening directly, so just pick the cartridge you prefer or think is best.

I prefer the $169 Goldring E3 over the $99 Vessel A3SE, as one might expect given the Goldring costs about 70% more. Both cartridges lead at their respective price points and either should make you very happy. An important consideration is upgrade path, and here the Vessel A3SE has the edge. The Goldring E3 is at the top of its model line and cannot be upgraded by changing the stylus. The Vessel cartridges all share the same cartridge body, so you can take your entry-level A3SE and upgrade it with a new stylus, and adapt it for 78 RPM records as well.

If you can stretch your budget a bit I heartily recommend the $275 Nagaoka JT-80LB, which I recently reviewed. This moving-magnet cartridge is a real revelation, with extreme definition, clarity and musicality while sounding more neutral and accurate than the warmish Nagaoka cartridges of the past. It’s my new under-$300 favorite.

Popular gifts for Father’s Day and beyond: Two popular products from past columns are running attractive promotions, and there is a newcomer here that looks to make waves, too.

Hanasco Sonic Electric Toothbrush with 8 brushheads for $32.99: Earlier this year I wrote about this special package and it received a very enthusiastic response from readers. This toothbrush uses sonic vibrations to clean your teeth and gums as you brush, leaving your teeth and gums feeling like they were just cleaned at the dentist. Since I started writing about these products I have asked my dentist and dental hygienists what they personally use, and every one has stated they use a sonic toothbrush of some type. As I have stated before, the difference a sonic toothbrush makes really must be experienced to be appreciated and once you try it, you won’t go back.

This package is especially enticing because it includes 8 brushheads. The $32.99 price for everything is significantly less than you would pay for just 8 brushheads from other brands, and it includes a high quality, full-featured rechargeable sonic toothbrush. Offers like this tend to go fast (I received a lot of emails from readers who missed out last time) so if you are interested in this it is best to act quickly.

ZVOX AV257 TV Speaker and AV30 AccuVoice earbuds: ZVOX TV Speakers are small television soundbars acclaimed for the way they improve television sound and make dialogue easier to understand. The new AV257 has 12 levels of AccuVoice boost is normally $269.99. It is on sale for $219.99 and a $50 coupon brings the price all the way down to $169.99. The $119.99 AccuVoice AV30 True Wireless Earbuds also have a $50 off coupon, bringing the price down to $69.99.

ChargeCard phone charger: I will have a full report on this product soon, but it is so good it bears a quick mention now. This power bank phone charger is the size and shape of a credit card (though slightly thicker) and fits in your wallet. Charge it up and bring it with you and it is unlikely you will ever run out of power again. ChargeCard sells for $69.95 at theaquavault.com.