New Cartridge for XMAS

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mr.natural
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#16 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Hello James,

Too good to be true -

That’s what I thought, but the comments on other vinyl playback asylums with the previous ‘tie wire’ version hinted that this
Will be a bargain. Now, that was only a few months ago, and they started to sell out swiftly on ebay etc. Between then and now
they change the design (confirmed by the seller).

Here’s what they said

Dear Ed,

Thanks for your inquiry about Kyowa Replacement Stylus VN-35E.
I spoke the maker about the issue of Tie Wire.
They said that their stylus previously had a Tie Wire as you mentioned.
However, the current product of stylus no longer have a Tie Wire because they improved
the stylus without Tie Wire. They put Swiss made damper inside of the brass holder which do function
of Tie Wire.
It means that Kyowa improved the Stylus without Tie Wire

———————————————————————————————-

With regard to the cantilever- yes it bent back into a central position when lifted off record. It was quite obvious and I haven’t
Had that happen on any of my previous cartridge setups.

I think I have heard that the Swiss VN35e version has problems with tracking also. They original Shure stylus has no problems
With tracking when used on the SME 3009 at around the usual 1.25g tracking force.

Best wishes, Ed
JamesD
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#17 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

Well I have all sorts of ups and downs getting the Sl-20E to work properly - a lot my fault for chasing my tail after setting the arm up the way the SL-20E specs sheets say it should be set... and finding out that I had a poor headshell...

Initial tests with the Sl-20 were very promising but that was with the arm set for the 103 and just tweaked the tracking force a bit... then I checked the SL-20E specs so I could get things right for the cartridge... and all the promising areas of the sound went away and I was left with a boring flat sound with noticeable 3rd harmonic distortion - violins positively nasty if not dangerous... so out came the test records and much tweaking later my tracking force was at 2.8gms instead of the 2gms specified... but the sound was better although still quite flat but at least the violins seemed better but I didn't like the tracking force being so high and it sounded too slow as well...

One of the things I had adjusted was arm pillar height to get the arm horizontal... so I played with that and it was better with the arm rear down and that reduced the rake angle by about 5 degrees... back to where the SL-15 is... so it looks like Ortofon got that right with the original SPU and the SL-15 despite the standard being 20 degrees... and it was this that put the life back into the sound...

I did a lot more tweaking and tuning and I think the new suspension loosened up as well - its now singing at around 2.35gms tracking weight with the arm low at the rear - its azimuth set properly and the headshell properly dampened (this reduced the third harmonic distortion so the violins are sweet on the right recording...). Its now better than the 103 at the frequency extremes and more open and detailed whilst missing the last degree of 'performance' but I can live with that compared to the gains I have...

Three months to get this right... don't you just love vinyl... :-)
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mr.natural
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#18 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Hi James,

Been waiting for the round up of this post. Good to hear you are now getting some music from the SL-20.

I have been working on one of my VN35e over the same period, it’s a strange bugger but does have the usual Shure voice - you
can get some good resolution & fast dynamics if you play with it. This example is set up wrong to get 1. Even Channel balance energy, 2. Good holographic image. If you set everything by the book you get lower left channel energy (possible azimuth). The arm/cartridge set level still has a stylus rake angle way off 90 degrees and prob.more than the 92 degrees used by some for ref.

If anything there’s something like 75% positives coming from this original stylus, on some recordings it’s more. The stylus looks good but not perpendicular when viewed from the front. It needs a fair bit of azimuth adjustment.

Regards, Ed
JamesD
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#19 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

Hi Ed,

The SL-20 has really brought home to me how much one has to be prepared to experiment/work to get the cartridge alignment optimised for the sound one wants to hear and how much variability there is in hand replaced stylus alignment and cartridge refurbishment - not really a surprise but it has certainly brought it to the forefront of my mind :-)

Interesting tale with the VM35e - I hope to start my own trip to the new stylus on a V15 as soon as I sell on of my expensive astro eyepieces... although I'm still not Shure ( :lol: ) what stylus to get...

ciao

James
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mr.natural
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#20 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Would be interesting to run a original good condition SL-20 against your refurbished version, did you ever hear a original?

The Shure’s are now hitting 40 year vintages with the V15, all of the original stylus types I’ve picked up have shown their own idiosyncratic behaviour. There is this unpredictable territory of the unknown dealing with vintage gear in today’s audio listening pleasure, I don’t think it’s a waste of time. The VN35e (in v good at least) condition do have something to give,the emotion they extract from music is can be gut wrenching. A test I do is playing music I am not so keen on / i.e. household 80s pop, somehow it bypasses my bias and drags me into the mix and surrender to the rhythm.

I’ve also got a soft spot for Ortofon’s VMS 20 mk.II - I like the picture this paints also.

Regards, Ed
JamesD
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#21 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

I never heard an SL-20 new but I have used the SPU A and SL-15 so I wanted to try one as it has the correct 20 degree rake angle - supposedly anyway... but that bit didn't work out in my case and, of course, its been hand refurbished so there is probably some tolerance compared to how it was originally made...

and as you point out with the Shure, an original condition one today would have 20 to 50 years of aging on it... but I do really like it now as I really liked the SL-15 before when that was new... it sounds like the start of the modern ortofons before they started chasing the hyper detailed 'high-end' and sacrificing some of the 'performance' elements....

Agree that in many ways the 'acid test' of a cartridge is if it can make you enjoy music that you don't normally like - for me 'disco' is the 'acid test'...

I have a VMS20 mkII as well :-) must give it a spin...

But the V15 is next...

ciao

James
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