Over time, the NAGAOKA MP100 cartridge has achieved legendary status. Like all the models in the MP range, it’s hard to find any faults with this cartridge –word of mouth and glowing reviews from enthusiastic audiophiles have pushed it squarely into the limelight.
It has a fairly vintage design, which is positive in this case. The presentation and design are very high quality and are on par with competitor products. Nagaoka uses excellent Samarium/Cobalt magnets and high purity copper coils. The spherical stylus is mounted onto an aluminium cantilever. The stylus is naturally interchangeable. The comfortable output level makes it compatible with most MM phono preamps or phono inputs generally available on built-in amps. The combination of its high compliance (20) and low mass (6.5g) means that it is also compatible with many different tonearm models (Thorens, Dual, Lenco, Garrard, Pro-Ject, etc.).
The top end of the spectrum is detailed, without any artificial brightness or harshness. The bass is a little limited (we’re on a budget, after all!) but very well articulated. The response is relatively flat, and the mid-range has a certain charm and elegance to it that really brings out the presence in vocals. While it doesn’t have the neutrality and transparency of an Ortofon or the precision and dynamic range of a Sumiko Pearl, at this price it’s still a bargain! If what you're looking for in a cartridge is musicality and texture, or if you’re just feeling nostalgic for the days of Shure and Audio Technica, we recommend the MP100.
Compatible styli: J-NP-100 and J-NP-110 Franck
Stylus type: Spherical
Magnets: Samarium Cobalt
Frequency response: 20-20 Khz
Load: 47 Kohms
Channel separation: 21 dB
Output: 5 mV
Recommended tracking force: 2g
Break-in period: 35 hours