Systemdeck iix cartridge ( maybe tonearm) suggestions

As the title states I have a Systemdeck iix with a Linn Basik arm and Grado ZT+ cartridge. I run this with my Erhard Audio phono Amplifier which can accommodate MC and MM cartridges.

The current cart is pretty low level, it sounds fine, but maybe it could sound better 🤔, so I'm wondering if I was to stick with MM carts what other might suggest I consider?

I've been told that moving to a Denon 103 could be a good option, but when I put that cart in the Vinyl engine calculator, it doesn't show well, which I think its telling me I would need to upgrade the arm to a much heavier tone arm, because as I add the weight to the tonearm portion of the calculator it gets me closer to the 11Hz range where it begins to show acceptable. Which begs the other question, should I be shooting for 11, 10, 9 or 8Hz?

And if I have to upgrade the Tonearm and the cart, would I just be better off buying a different table that better accommodates a larger range of MC and MM cartridges?

This is ALL new to me, as I have had a Dual1219 with a Shure cartridge for years and that has been just fine in our living room setup, but this table is in the listening room and thus prone to being modified if reasonable.

Thanks for any help!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I had many carts on my Basik LVX arm (Linn Axis, but I also owned a systemdek). I would not recommend the DL/103 on that arm, it likes higher compliance carts and behaves like a fairly light tone arm. Beyond that it’s kind of up to the sound you want, and what you feel that you’re missing. Everybody is going to offer up what they like but the key is what do you like?
 
I had many carts on my Basik LVX arm (Linn Axis, but I also owned a systemdek). I would not recommend the DL/103 on that arm, it likes higher compliance carts and behaves like a fairly light tone arm. Beyond that it’s kind of up to the sound you want, and what you feel that you’re missing. Everybody is going to offer up what they like but the key is what do you like?
That's very helpful in taking stock of what I feel like I'm missing. I can't put my finger on what I am missing right now, but will sit with that for a bit and think about it. I will take some notes in my Tunes log as I listen to music over the next couple weeks.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
The Grado should be a nice match to it. Maybe just too old or too low down the Grado pecking order to appeal to you? How old is the stylus?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
That's very helpful in taking stock of what I feel like I'm missing. I can't put my finger on what I am missing right now, but will sit with that for a bit and think about it. I will take some notes in my Tunes log as I listen to music over the next couple weeks.
Just some random thoughts. An AT cart on that arm will be open, detailed. Image well. Might not have the weight/drive of certain Ortofons, or Nagaokas. I loved an old Shure V-15vmr on that arm. I’ve also had a couple of LOMCs on it. There are many carts that will work, but again- they need to work for what you’re after.
 
The Grado should be a nice match to it. Maybe just too old or too low down the Grado pecking order to appeal to you? How old is the stylus?
I bought it with this cart on it and the guy had the table for a long time, so long that he didn't even remember which cart was on there when he sold it, so a long time. It does look like they sell a replacement stylus for the Grado cart
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, I would certianly like all of that!
I had good luck with an Audio Technica AT 150mlx on that arm. Also an OC-9, similar character. Not sure what the current equivalent of the 150mlx is but there is one. Fast open detailed sound, tracks really well. Won’t be a “thick” sound if you like that. Can be tailored somewhat with loading.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I'd start with a new Grado stylus. You could even upgrade it a few notches, without spending a lot of money. If nothing else, you would know if you like the Grado sound. That cartridge has to be close to 40 years old now. Unless changed, the suspension has to be stiff and tired. It can't be sounding the way it should.
 
I'd start with a new Grado stylus. You could even upgrade it a few notches, without spending a lot of money. If nothing else, you would know if you like the Grado sound. That cartridge has to be close to 40 years old now. Unless changed, the suspension has to be stiff and tired. It can't be sounding the way it should.
Is it hard to change the stylus myself? And if I do that, will I need to realign it all as well? Meaning, I cant change the stylus while its on the tonearm?
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Is it hard to change the stylus myself? And if I do that, will I need to realign it all as well? Meaning, I cant change the stylus while its on the tonearm?
Nope. It just slides right out, and the new one slides in. Easier if you have the Grado tool for that, but that's just a little u shaped piece of plastic. Last one took me 30 seconds.6794F120-106E-471E-B3C8-25BC5C4422AA.gif
 

kirk57

Junior Member
Having gone through several Grados back in the late 80s (8mz,MCZ if I recall correctly) I gravitated to the Audio Technica line (AT150mlx) where I’ve been content for many years.

It’s a preference thing, I suppose.
 
That's great! Thanks!

I just sent an email to Grado about a new stylus. If I was to upgrade a notch which would you suggest I look at as upgrades?
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
That's great! Thanks!

I just sent an email to Grado about a new stylus. If I was to upgrade a notch which would you suggest I look at as upgrades?
The guys who play with the upgrades, usually go for the 8MZ. However, I think you might need to do messing with cartridge loading to make that work. Been a while since I messed with tweaking Grado bodies And Styli. I just sent to the top of the old Grado line and stayed there.

Id figure go for a Gold if you can swing it. That should just work correctly without any other tweaking. But stay where your wallet is content.
 
Listening to this in headphones on my phone, seems to exude what I want in the sound from my record player. I've listened to it like 4 times and have been enthralled. I was searching around to see what the Grado Gold might sound like.


Also, any idea what those speakers are?
 
Grado has always had a place in my heart since my Grado journey in the 70's-early 80's (FGE, F3E +, F1 + and several other models, ended with a Signature 8MR) so I agree that a Grado Gold ( latest incarnation) may be a good match on this turntable / arm combination.

The Systemdek turntables are a bit tricky to get right but careful setting to get the suspension to work as intended is the secret behind the success.

The deck proper needs to be level to get a really good bounce
from a correctly adjusted suspension, adjust the suspension with
a record in place. Try to get the clearance below the top-plate
and above the motor nearly equal for a clean bounce.
A solid,sturdy and firm platform for the player to sit on.

There is some modification and upgrades if you will increase the performance a little bit further (acrylic platter is the most popular and the way to go),but do not let it go to excess money vice!
The original motor may be a bit noisy after a few years and there are some options in case you want to change it (new outboard PSU for example = expensive!))
Google: systemdek mods and you will find a lot of info on "how to"!

Audionote has bought the rights to Systemdek and sells a "variant" (TT1 & TT2) for a lot of money (from € 1200 to € 2900 without arm and cart/ price list 2018) that plays very nice, but for less money it is possible to get the original Systemdek player to become a wolf in sheep's clothing with a few simple tricks.
Have a nice and joyful trip with your Systemdek tt.


PS
Speakers looks like BBC studio monitors Ls3/5a (Rogers,Chartwell etc etc)
 
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If you go for a replacement stylus do not remove the famous Grado black-goo it is there by design and dampens vibrations in the cartridge body, leave as much as possible for best performance .
 
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