New MC Cart with Troika Sound

I’m using a Goldring rebuilt Troika on an pre-Cirkus/Ekos/Lingo deck, along with CB Naim amps and Linn Kans. The Troika replaced a Linn Krystal that was too soft and warm for this type of vintage system, and also seemed to be singing from a different hymn sheet.

The temperament and balance of the Troika fits perfectly, but it does sound slightly flat and out of tune at times, especially compared to a same spec’d deck with Adikt. Can folks think of any MC carts with similar Troika attributes that might be more tuneful?

Don’t really want to spend much more than £800. I’m using serviced 323/5 cards that I know sound tuneful.

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Blimey, a Krystal that was too soft and warm. That’s not how I’d describe a typical Krystal. If anything I’d say mine initially sounded very ‘hot’ and a bit stark to start with but this disappeared after about 60 hours of use. I quite like the Krystal. To me it sounds like a cross between a Troika and AT Art-1 that I had with lots of nice detail, rhythm and pace.

I alway thought the Troika had real soul but often painted a rather warm and rosy coloured picture of music. The Art-1 was more truthful and at least as musically involving.

The other Audio Technica cartridge that really impressed me was the AT 33EV. On my Aro it was very good. The Krystal is better but not by much and is three times the price.


Hana SL is very nice as is Audio Technica AT33/PTGII

Also, it may be worth checking your turntable setup and arm. If this is not right and there is noise/vibration being introduced or the arm/cartridge is not aligned right this can make things sound a bit flat or out of focus.


I use Krystal and it is not the least bit soft. Something else is going on here.

Thanks all.

The Krystal was very nicely balanced in my old Cirkus/Radikal/Keel/Ekos SE deck, as you’d expect. Tbh, I have the same overly warm sound with Adikt but I have mitigated that somewhat. These are modern carts designed for a much leaner, tighter LP12. Whereas, the rebuilt Troika and VM95s sound right in much older pre Cirkus decks.

The same very experienced dealer does all the work so Im confident there are no setup issues.

I will look into your recommendations. What about the DV20 in this situation?


There is a lot of ‘love’ for most of the DV range, hereabouts… Go listen to a DV20X…

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May I suggest a DV XX2, 17DX or possibly a Ortofon SPU Royal N (I have used all 3 on my Phonosophie Aro). All 3 are stunning. On my LP12, Ekos - I have used a Klyde (original) and it sounds amazing. I currently have a Hana which is good and a good match, but not as awesome as the Klyde. I do not think rebuilds are as good, better to get a new cartridge.

Regards Devraj


I am starting to wonder the same thing. I could stick another VM95EN on it but it’s nice to have the punch and weight of an MC when using little Kans.

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Personally I have long been a fan of the AT-OC9 and have used an MLII variant for years. In my view it gives a better taste of what high end cartridges are about than anything else at its price level. There seem to be a whole heap of new OC9 variants out there nowadays so hopefully lots of opportunity to tailor the result to the sound you are seeking and the budget.

One point to note - at the level you are at I think a dedicated phono stage would be a worthwhile investment. When I moved from Naim 523 boards to the Trichord Dino it was a real eye opener in terms of detail retrieval, dynamics and general open-ness. I should add that those boards are great value and have a tremendously pleasing sound but the Dino was much cooler sounding and I think more honest.

For £800-£1000 you could certainly buy something like the Dino and add a decent OC9 XML moving coil and that would I think sound better than a £800MC into your existing phono cards.

Just a thought,


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My LP12 lives in the Kan system and the Hana is good but not as transparent as the Klyde. In the Phonosophie it needs a really good MC as it fronts an active SL2 system and is very unforgiving of lesser sources. Only the Phonosophie, NAT01 and CDS2 sounds fully acceptable. The HDX, NDAC with 555PS sounds a tad unnatural.

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Thanks Jonathan.
I’m not really fussed about detail retrieval in itself - just want it to all communicate the music. I used to have a Urika and tried one other £1,200 MC phono stage and in both cases preferred the 323/5 boards - just more coherent and rhythmic to my ears. Will investigate the OC9 - familiar with the name but don’t know much about it

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Yeah, I know what you mean. My passive systems have a lower threshold I think and can get away with an £85 VM95EN.


The deck seems to have settled since being moved and is performing well enough now that I will stick with the rebuilt Troika. It still trails the Krystal and Adikt in tunefulness / coherence but it’s good enough in that area and I’m not very confident in finding as good a sonic match. Thanks to everyone that posted and I will have this resource to come back to if I change my mind (again!)

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