Stageline N with Rega Carbon mm or Ortofon 2MRed

I use a SL N with FC2x and the N has a high capacitive Load of 470 pF.

The recommended capacitive load for the Rega Carbon mm (it’s a AT91 in basis) is the usual 100-200pF (Rega Planar 2), and for the 2M RED it’s 150-300pF (Dual CS418). In theory the 2M RED would be a better match.

I like the Naim sound of course. Which cartridge would sound more Naimies the Carbon or the RED?

2M Red is just about the worst cartridge out there.
If you have the Carbon then click a fineline stylus on or go up to rigB VM level, they are so much better value.
Tbh no idea if they match a low mass Dual tonearm.

I could use some suggestions on this same line - I have a Thorens TD145 with an anonymous, old AT cart strongly resembling a Carbon, I want to buy a new one but options are too many, my budget is not more than €150 and I hate choosing…


Hi Per, the FC2 is fine.

2M Red is just about the worst cartridge out there :joy:

1 Like

You should be crying, not laughing

Inspiration for Ortofon Red

1 Like

You should be crying, not laughing :joy: Bought the Carbon mm.

Why ?
Its a rebranded Audio Technica, the original is half price, not that its much money.

1 Like

it comes as a package with the Rega Planar 2 that i bought.

Ok, that wasn’t clear in your post.

I have never understood Naim’s decision for the 470pf load of the Stageline N - they seem paranoid about high frequencies getting into the preamp? The same with the phono cards for the NAC 82 and 52 preamps. In the 21st century and trying to get the best match with MM cartridges the input capacitance should be selectable via switching in the phono stage. The Stageline and Superline are both many years old and imho ready for a complete redesign to allow modern MM and MC cartridges to perform at their best in a superb Naim system.


What about the Superline doesn’t allow for modern MCs to “perform at their best in a superb Naim system”?


Well it was for synergy with specific cartriges. And those also were not 470pF. Sometimes synergy is about more than capacitance loading. Even today, there are a handful of cartriges that work exceptionally well with the StageLine N and they are in the same 100-200pF range as the carts that don’t work so well.

And it’s not just Naim. My Luxman amp has a phonostage that sits at about 360pF… Though Luxman quoted the same classic Shure cartriges as Naim for their design cue.

1 Like

As I Understand It…

Capacitive loading is important for some (but not all - *) MM style cartridges. Its is far less important with high output MC cartridges, which are less affected by capacitive loading.

The Phono cartridge and the Phono input load form a circuit, which has a resonance at higher frequencies. With MM carts, this can be within the audio range and can be controlled by an appropriate/higher capacitive load (such as 470pf).

With a high output MC, this resonance is much higher in frequency and is often beyond the audio range.

(*) - Its depends on the nature of the HF resonance. The larger in amplitude, the worse the ‘problem’.

Richard if Naim deliberately goes against common practice let’s hear why please. There seems no reason for the 470 pfs capacitance on the Stagline N’s input which is for MM cartridges. Add the average capacitance of the tonearm cable and internal wiring - sa 100 pfs and you have 560 pfs in total. This diagram from the revered Jim Hagerman’s web site shows the effect of excessive capacitance on the frequency response of an MM cartridge.

Like most everything with Naim, It was likely down to listening. Beyond that, probably one for @110dB

1 Like

It’s not just the StageLine though. Yes it’s design is old but it performs. And the same specs were applied to the comparatively new SN3 and XS3 phono stages. Clearly it was felt that this design still sounds great.

And I’d tend to agree. With any synergistic cartridge (which are all 100-200pF by the way), it’s a great sounding stage for the money. Contrary to what one might expect from the specs, it doesn’t sound dull or chopped off. It sounds punchy and dynamic.

1 Like

Had several SL N’s in the past.

  • Wasn’t too great with Rega or Sumiko mm carts.
  • Was soundwise pretty good with a Dynavector 10x5 but because of “only” 35 dB of gain and the 10x5 low output it lacked drive and oohmp.
    -Was very good with Linn Adikt mm (in basis a Goldring type…).
    -Strangely with Technics 1210 GR and AT VM540ml it was so so.

Tomorrow the P2 with Carbon mm will arrive. So fingers crossed for good SQ.

Thats a good solution in price range.
IME Rega turntables are so much better than many similar priced decks, surpricingly Project decks sell higher numbers ww, a turntable i’d never give room myself.

To get max joy, solid placement and 100% correct level is mandatory for a Planar.
Not sure how many hours the carbon need to open up.
The previously mentioned fineline stylus would be more open and refined.