Nagaoka MP-110 Cartridge – Review, Test and Final Verdict


In spite of the speed, internet, streaming, easy access, and even better classic CD players, the analog turntable is still here, because the comfort of the room contrasts with digital options. This review of the tested cartridge will hope to answer some of the most important questions…

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NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110

The price of this Nagaoka cartridge is competitive with Ortofon, who is a ruler in the sale of affordable cartridges in the US market. As for MM cartridges or as they are called in Nagaoka, “moving permalloy”, they offer a spare needle for all cartridges. This makes it easy to replace the needle, something that is not possible with the MC model. Apart from the classic cartridges, it is possible to put it together with the headshell and this is a nice option as many tonearms allow such mounting.

NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110
NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110

The standard line of cartridges contains 6 models. MP-100, MP-110 (subject of this review), MP-150, MP-200, MP-300 and MP-500 top model. The prices range from about $100 to $1000. When we leave the two most expensive models aside, all the other prices and qualities are affordable for the majority of the US market. Rega and Pro-Ject turntables are the most common among our fans of analog sound, and almost all of those come with the factory-installed cartridge and would profoundly benefit from installing a cartridge of $100 to $400 depending on the quality of the turntable.

In addition to the cartridge and spare needles, Nagaoka offers a variety of accessories for maintenance of the records, recorders, DVD players and cassette tapes. As far as the number of products is concerned, I recommend that you visit the manufacturer’s website for detailed information.

NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110
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NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110
  • NAGAOKA, MM (MP) ,Cartridge, MP-110

The tested model, MP-110, is usually priced at around $100 – $200 and is in the lower part of the series. This price seems to me to be optimal for US audiophiles that have a serious turntable.

The basic technical data for the MM Cartridge MP-110 are:

  • aluminum cantilever
  • superfine polished diamond needle
  • 6.5 grams of weight
  • 5mV output voltage
  • frequency range 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • channel balance 1.5 dB
  • separation greater than 23 dB
  • recommended impedance: 47 kOhm
  • the tracking force range is from 1.5 to 2.0 grams.

All the necessary mounting gear is in the package (rods, nuts and small screwdriver for easy assembly) and mounting should not be a problem. I adjusted the tracking force to 1.8 grams, and for the precision of this parameter, I used a small digital scale. The MP-110 is, for the needs of the review, mounted on the tonearm of S.A.M. Calista II and turntable S.A.M. Aldair. It is hard to believe that the tested cartridge will be found on the turntable of this class but at least in this environment, it can show everything it can. How many times the cartridge needs to tune in is hard to say. Before listening seriously, the cartridge was used for about 30 hours and after that, I did not notice any significant changes in the sound.

NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110

Nagaoka MP-110 Hearing Test

The sound everybody loves…

The average enthusiasts of the analog turntable puts the warmth of the sound as the main reason they love to play music from records. Of course, when we go to high-end spheres, the devices of different configurations do not show significant differences in character, while in the middle class this difference is easily noticeable. The sound of MP-110 is on that track. This cartridge seems to have been designed to appeal to passionate vinyl lovers. The sound is round, warm, and gentle, and it can be listened to for hours without fatigue. This feature mainly corresponds to the rock and pop songs, so I was excited about Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Simple Minds, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, Sade, and similar classics. The described character of MP-110 has made this music great and powerful, it is compelling and authoritative and though slightly eroded, to such a small extent that much of old recordings do sound great. This observation should certainly be correlated with the time when these older recordings were created and the way they were recorded and produced. High-resolution cartridges like my Ortofon Contrapunkt B in such cases can do more harm than good. The same situation is on the other side of the spectrum. High tones have a slight roll-off and are less noticeable, warm and rounded and do not jump out from the overall sound image.

nagaoka-mp-110-test-and-review

With its features, the Nagaoka MP-110 is intended for a wide range of affordable turntable sets available on the US market. The setting is not complicated, small deviations from the ideal parameters will not disturb the sound, and the price is good for upgrading most of the turntables that come with the built-in cartridge. A good turntable is always worth investing, and every dollar spent could cheer up the proud owner of the analog turntable.

Conclusion:

The arrival of Nagaoka on the US market is surely the news that will be greeted by all the fans of the turntables. This happiness certainly contributes to the fact that it is a price-sensitive cartridge that has a relatively large market in our country. With its price, the MP-110 has shown a whole host of virtues that future owners would like to enjoy. Its warm and rounded sound, easy adjustment and excellent price are great recommendations. Thumbs up for Nagaoka!

Here is a manual for this great cartridge: Nagaoka MP-110 Manual Download

Make sure you read our Nagaoka MP-200 Review.

 

√ Check The Price and Read Customer Reviews √

Pros

  • A tempered, rounded and dry sound
  • that can be listened for hours,
    easy to adjust

Cons

  • sensitive to VTA (vertical tracking angle), skip this cartridge if your VTA is not adjustable
  • For this price – not too bad

Nagaoka MP-110 Features:

Model: Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge

Price range: $100 – $200

Specifications:

  • Type: Moving Magnet
  • Cantilever: Aluminum Alloy
  • Tracking force range: 1.5 – 2 g
  • Stylus type: Superfine Polished Elliptical Bonded Diamond With 0.4 x 0.7 mil Radius
  • Weight: 6.5 g
  • Output Voltage @ 1kHz,5cm/sec: 5mV
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Channel Balance @ 1kHz: > 1.5dB
  • Channel Separation @ 1kHz: > 23dB
  • Recommended Loading: 47k ohms
  • Dynamic Compliance: 6.0 x 10-6 cm/dyne
  • Static Compliance: 18 x 10-6 cm/dyne
  • Tracking Force Range: 1.5 – 2.0 g
  • Break-in Period: 30 hours
  • Stylus Replacement: Nagaoka JN-P110

Final Verdict:

Production: 4/5

Performance: 4.5/5

Fit-Out: 4/5

Does It Worth Its Price: Definitely

Final Conclusion:

This is an affordable cartridge that has a relatively large market in the US. With its price, the MP-110 has shown a whole host of virtues that future owners would like to greet. Its warm and rounded sound, easy adjustment and excellent price recommendations are by itself. Thumbs up for Nagaoka!

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