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post #2611 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE View Post
 

 

Technics SL-1500 and an Audio Technica AT-20SL with an ATN-15 stylus (because holy crap the NOS styli are expensive)

I suggest you get the NOS ATN-20SLA ( SS ? ) stylus ASAP -  because, even after almost 4 decades, it is STILL one of the best overally accomplished "toothpicks" you can possibly think of.  AT did outdo the "20" with a handful of much later styli/carts, yet the properly adjusted and terminated 20 is still among the best carts ever. I agree NOS prices are expensive - but are at least manageable as of this time. If you decide to get one say within a year, the sources from which "20" is still coming in small quantities may become much drier still - pushing the price into non permissible region. 

 

So that you will not repeat the same 

 

 

I did for various carts and their styli.  200 or so $/EUR today is much - 500 or so in a year or two is TOO much. Just check the NOS  prices for  Shure to get an idea.

post #2612 of 2619
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE View Post

While we're on the subject of carts, what would you suggest for a warmer/slightly dark signature for around or less than $150? My setup right now is sickeningly bright as it seems (turntable has been leveled and is sitting on cork), for classical it's ok but anything else just sounds wrong

This one for me is easy: Shure M97xE. Do NOT buy an Ortofon! Very nice carts, yes, but they will NOT be less bright. If you want to mellow it out - buy the Shure.
post #2613 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Yes.  As a matter of fact, 5/10/20/40 - only three-s, 3 and 30 have so far proven elusive.

Of these, I find the Stylus 20 to be the most balanced/neutral - BY FAR. With its recommended load, it is so damn neutral/linear/flat I actually use it for test  record frequency response evaluation. It is usually paired with far too low quality arm/table to show off what it is really capable of. It may not be the fastest, it might not reveal what is going on in the dressing room behind the stage - but properly set up in a high quality table, it punches far above its 2.3 gram weight. It is extremely hard to match its neutrality - at any price. Bugger it is only an elliptical stylus and this is unfortunately 

40 sports VdH II  stylus and offers the best resolution of the lot, yet for some reason I could never come to terms with it.  It is faster than 20, yet can never match a good MC in this regard. 40 is also quite pricey. 

Anything from Stylus 20 and up should be kept WELL away from even medium, let alone high mass arms. Rega is already rather porky in this context. If you are running any recent-ish arm, 2M series is perhaps better match due to lower compliance figures.

Ortofon OM Super is THE best MM cartridge when it comes to low level resolution - thanks to the slit pole construction. Later 3X0 and 5X0 series, as well as 2M series have inherited slit poles as well.
Thanks for the info from everyone here, I pulled the trigger on the Ortofon Super Om10 cartridge. It was only $69.00 at elusive disc.com. Once here, I'll slip in the om40 stylus and let it rip. I'll post a comparison with the OM40 once I get a handle on it.
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post #2614 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

I suggest you get the NOS ATN-20SLA ( SS ? ) stylus ASAP -  because, even after almost 4 decades, it is STILL one of the best overally accomplished "toothpicks" you can possibly think of.  AT did outdo the "20" with a handful of much later styli/carts, yet the properly adjusted and terminated 20 is still among the best carts ever. I agree NOS prices are expensive - but are at least manageable as of this time. If you decide to get one say within a year, the sources from which "20" is still coming in small quantities may become much drier still - pushing the price into non permissible region. 

 

So that you will not repeat the same 

 

 

I did for various carts and their styli.  200 or so $/EUR today is much - 500 or so in a year or two is TOO much. Just check the NOS  prices for  Shure to get an idea.

 

well spit now I can't find one at all.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post


This one for me is easy: Shure M97xE. Do NOT buy an Ortofon! Very nice carts, yes, but they will NOT be less bright. If you want to mellow it out - buy the Shure.

 

I actually own one of those, haven't used it in a long time (less than 2 hours on the stylus)

post #2615 of 2619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post


This one for me is easy: Shure M97xE. Do NOT buy an Ortofon! Very nice carts, yes, but they will NOT be less bright. If you want to mellow it out - buy the Shure.

Agreed.

 

However - and this is a BIG however - this one is on the brink to fall asleep. When Shure re-introduced V15 after discontinuation of V15V-MR as V15VxMR, it was presented as an "improved" model with "warm audiophile sound".

In reality, what they did was to omit laminated pole pins used in V15 series from V15IV (IIRC). They did it primarily for the cost reduction, presented as an "improvement".  It was quite common to find an objective report (measurements) of v15vxMR - with around - 5 dB @20 kHz. THAT is its true  frequency response with manufacturer's recommended electrical load. 

 

Things were slipping at Shure in another important department as well - channel separation. Although Shure specs NEVER claimed anything more than around 25 dB @1kHz, once upon a time, unfortunately long time ago, correctly assembled Shure stylus could reach seaparation just below 40 dB - a VERY respectable figure.

 

Thus making the V15V-MR with a good stylus one of the best sounding cartridges - ever.  But it IS extremely hard to set up right - think about four times more effort required to get it there compared to your present day MC

in the four figures price bracket. Two hundieth of a gram VTF in conjunction with judicious azimuth and VTA adjustments will usually be the make or break - and it is the exact stylus you own dependant.

 

Fast forward to the present day. N97xE stylus' separation degraded to the point that Shure was forced to reduce the spec to anything but respectable figure - of around 16-17 dB IIRC.  It also is but a pale reminder of once Shure's prime selling point - tracking ability. To describe it as a mediocre tracker is being rather kind.

 

But it does sound mellow ...

post #2616 of 2619

If anyone think I might have been too harsh, it is because I did invest lot of time and work and money in determining what it takes to get as accurate reproduction off vinyl as possible. Think DECADES.

 

Mellowing things a la Shure M97xE is sweeping the dirt under the rug - there is no other honest way of saying this. The reason stems back from the day one of MM cartidge , which was introduced by ELAC from Germany in 1957 IIRC - and then licenced , among others, to Shure. It was great for the time, it did allow much more people to have decent quality sound ( MCs in those days were even far less reliable and  affordable than today ) - but it is inherently flawed.  Over the years, manufacturers did come up with improvements - and few actually did reach correctly performing solution - or at least one approaching it. But they can be counted with fingers of a single hand and are unfortunately an exception confirming the rule - with possible few still in production, most are now next to unobtainable vintage carts.

 

It all has roots how the cartridge behaves not only within the accepted audibility of frequency response ( 20 Hz - 20 kHz ) - but FAR above that. Most MMs, all Ortofon and practically all Shure models are quite poor in this regard. Although some of these measure extremely well 20-20 kHz ( Ortofon OM 20 Super )

with manufacturer recommendeed electrical load, it is NOT an optimal solution.

 

Basically, in order to arrive at measured flat frequency response at the OUTPUT, the vast majority of MM designs relies on compensation from limited electrical frequency response governed by the LRC characteristics of cartridge/cable/phono input by boosting the high end with deliberately designed in mechanical RESONANCE in stylus somewhere just above 20 kHz - followed by a STEEP rollof above that resonant frequency. Meaning the stylus has to work approx 3-7 dB HARDER in the treble as it should have around this resonance frequency. Since action results in reaction, so do the vinyl groove walls have to work harder - leading to excessive distortion and MUCH greater record use.

 

MMs designed properly are possible - just. That "just" means the lowest moving mass possible - which IS hard to do at any price, so forget affordable correctly designed MMs. It will be at the or slightly lower/higher level of anything that went on before as SOTA TOTL - and that unfortunately means $$$. No way around it - like it or not.

 

And it may well be impossible to produce the styli with the performance required in present day - due to health haphzard and enviromental issues. Even when cost is not an issue. Nothing would please me more than being proven wrong on this last count !

 

There is more to this "cartridge sounds too bright" ( usually Audio Technbica gets mentioned ) story. In a properly designed arm/turntable/preamp, it does NOT sound too bright - at all. But it comes at a price - and being a mechanical precision product, it can never be inexpensive - it can not be improved by an improved code for the chipset to make to perform at much higher level than officially specified by the chipset's manufacturer as in digital. I think it is fair to say this loud up front .

post #2617 of 2619

For the AT 20 stylus, you will have to Google it.

 

The FIRST hit : http://www.lpgear.com/product/ATN20.html

 

Ocassionally, it sporadically pops up on ebay - either as NOS complete cartridge or much more rare, stylus alone.  If you are uncapable to inspect the stylus by yourself and or/if the seller does not offer return, ebay route can be a VERY expensive way to get a turkey or worn stylus on its last legs at a premium price - if I were contemplating the purchase of "20", I would click the mouse in the above link while STILL possible - once gone, they will be gone (save an odd rare example on ebay, with the price to match ) - for good.

 

Good luck !

post #2618 of 2619

Please read post #2617 - good luck !

 

I have added another for the Europe : http://www.dienadel.de/Audio+Technica+ATN-20+-+ATN-20-SLA+Ersatznadel+original.htm

 

Another source ( conspicuously low prices in comparison to usual "rates" on this site - meaning that supply might not be on its very VERY VERY last legs ) http://www.pickupnaalden.com/grammofoonnaalden.asp?M=Audio-Technica_AT-20-SLA_Zwart_1430


Edited by analogsurviver - Yesterday at 1:33 am
post #2619 of 2619

non-hardening modeling clay was $2.99 a pound at it's cheapest at Michael's, and needing 8lb..... at least they had record frames for BOGO

 

 

EDIT: will a large bag of contractor sand work?


Edited by BLACKENEDPLAGUE - Today at 12:37 pm
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