By Don Lindich
Week 29, 2023
Q. I bought a Technics SL-1200GR turntable and need a cartridge for it. I would like to stay under $1,000 and use it with the phono input on my receiver. What do you recommend that will work well with my turntable?
-E.M., Kansas City, MO
A. The $899 Goldring Eroica HX is a high-output moving coil cartridge and is my top recommendation for you. Fine-sounding cartridges are Goldring’s speciality, and the Eroica HX is one of their very best. The high output moving coil design will work with the standard moving magnet input found on most turntables, and the sound is very transparent, musical, and engaging with just the right amount of pleasing warmth. It uses a rare and expensive stylus shape to pull every last detail out of the record grooves, and should please most anyone looking for a high-end cartridge for their turntable.
One advantage to the SL-1200GR is it allows for easy adjustment. The Eroica HX requires precise alignment to perform its best, something ideally left to experts. This help is difficult to find these days since hi-fi shops are few and far between. The toughest part of setting up a cartridge is mounting it, and the SL-1200GR has an interchangeable headshell (mounting plate) so you can order the cartridge pre-mounted for Technics and it will just plug intro the arm. Adjust the tracking force with the counterweight and the vertical tracking angle with the dial under the arm, and you will be set to go. goldringusa.com
Another option for is the $699 Nagaoka JT-80BK moving magnet cartridge. I have tested the lower-cost version, the $279 JT-80LB, and it is my favorite cartridge under $300 due to its fantastic dynamics, transparency, and musicality that really gets your toes tapping as you listen. The JT-80BK takes those good qualities and takes them to the next level with its upgraded stylus. Nagaoka cartridges are available from lpgear.com.
Q. What is your opinion of the new TCL Q Class TVs? In the past you have strongly recommended the TCL 6-Series, and it seems like the 6-Series are getting more difficult to find. Also, do you still prefer Roku TV over Google TV?
-M.F., Plymouth, MN
A. The TCL TV line has been divided into the Q Class and S Class, with the Q denoting QLED and the S for the value line. A Q Class with MiniLED would be analogous to last year’s 6-Series. I have not tested one formally, but I have seen them on display and they looked great. Professional reviews are positive as well, and the new lines have brought down the prices of high quality big-screen televisions (75 and 85 inches) significantly.
I still prefer the Roku Smart TV interface over all others for its ease of use and wide channel availability. Sometimes I can find channels on Roku that I cannot find on Google TV or Tizen (Samsung) operating systems. For this reason I purchased a Roku streaming box to access these missing channels on my Samsung TV. The rub is that the picture was slightly, but noticeably better when I accessed content directly with the TV rather than the external component. This won’t matter if you do not have the channel to begin with, but when comparing channels that are available on both platforms the difference was apparent. Roku is not available on the Q Class so you will be getting a Google TV if that is what you buy, but as much as I like Roku I would not let that stop you from buying the TV if it meets all your other needs.