Classic Cartridges

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Cressy Snr
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#1 Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Here we have a 1960s Shure M55E, cleaned up and installed on my SME 3009 arm, awaiting its moment in the limelight.
24CA7704-D5BD-4EF4-BA6B-CDD5D1257C47.jpeg
It came off a knackered old Ebay Lenco of our Ant’s and the stylus is shot.
I gave it a try with an old record I wasn’t bothered about wrecking, and tracking at 2.2g, it sounds big-boned, big-toned and dynamic; definitely a valve cartridge. :) :D
An aftermarket replacement needle for this classic gramophone pickup, is on it’s way from Musonic for £39, so it’s right in my cheapskate ballpark and not too much of a hit, if it sounds crap.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
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#2 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Mike H »

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IslandPink
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#3 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by IslandPink »

I'm surprised you don't get fat, with all that popcorn, Mike !
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Cressy Snr
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#4 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

New Musonic stylus arrived this morning:
C160EFE5-0D5C-47D2-97CE-46ED59B6AC71.jpeg
It looks to be of good quality.

I had it up and running within 5 minutes:
39B862BA-0533-45B0-98C6-2623B4C8B1C1.jpeg
It’s nice. :D
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
JamesD
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#5 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by JamesD »

You have found a gem :-)

Here is a contemporary account of the M55E:

'The M55E was introduced about the same time as the original V-15 (1964).
It was touted as having the same design (though different in appearance, it
had the same circuit design, compliance rating, elliptical stylus, etc.),
but built under "standard" quality control conditions rather than the
individual testing of the V-15.

High Fidelity reported on it in January 1966. They found that the curves
for frequency response and separation were nearly carbon copies of the
V-15, but with a slightly higher response peak above 10 Khz and slightly
less separation at extremely high frequencies. They concluded:

"Indeed, the sound of the M55E on playback is extremely clean,
well-balanced, well-articulated, and fuly agreeable. It stays with the
most thunderous crescendos and appears capable of presenting the full
signal engraved on a record--including much of the elusive air and space
that are characteristic of good stereo. If the "numbers" indicate a pickup
not quite in the same class as the V-15, judgements based on careful
listening put it very, very close behind."


Good to see it on an SME arm and on a Lenco too :D Amazing what good sound was available in the mid 60s...

Nice one Steve!
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#6 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Yes, I do seem to have found something of a gem. As far as the sound quality is concerned, it is a great cartridge. It was all a bit congested and flat with the new stylus, straight out of the box; in fact it was as if I’d put a blanket over each speaker, but after a couple of hours continuous playing, the sound began to open out, treble began to appear, and the size of the soundscape increased substantially, so that in terms of ‘bigness’ and space, we were now well into DL103 territory.

Like my SME 3009 S2 Improved arm, the M55E is very much of its time, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but my modern, Audio Technica VM540ML beats the Shure in terms of absolute top end detailing, the top end of the Shure sounding somewhat wispy and slightly vague in comparison. What’s more, the AT’s more advanced, modern stylus profile gives better end-of-side performance, but in terms of the sheer size of the presentation, the tone, texture and timbre and the sheer musicality, the ancient Shure has the modern AT soundly beaten. Voices are natural, and sibilance is noticeable by its absence, which is always a good thing in my book as I can’t stand it. And it tracks like a train, so the third party stylus is obviously a good one and doesn’t sully the Shure reputation for trackability.

I’m pretty confident there’s more to be had as the new stylus breaks in. And the 50 odd year-old M55E has found itself a perfect home in the shape of the 48-year-old SME tonearm, which of course is exactly the arm it should be on. What’s not to like?
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
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#7 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Another day with the Shure and it keeps improving as the stylus suspension continues to loosen up.
Been experimenting with turntable mats; rubber, cork and felt. It turns out that it is my mate Clive’s old Rega felt mat that allows the M55E to give of its best; the very same Rega felt mat that had been bloody awful with my Audio Technica carts. Oh well, horses for courses.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
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#8 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Oh, and I’m using KT66s in the amp, as these sound great with the Shure cart. The slight treble roll off of the EL34s combined with the soft treble from the Shure made things just a bit a bit too cuddly, whereas with the bright AT cart, they had been sonic bliss. In Menno Van Der Veen’s so called ‘super-triode’ cathode feedback mode, the KT66s certainly sound better than I’ve ever heard them. Synergy is a funny old thing.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
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#9 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

Just played side one of the one time Flat Response favourite album “Give Me The Night” by George Benson. Jeezus!
The AT540ML wasn’t too bad with this album, chiefly because its profile tracks areas of groove wall that are undamaged.

The Shure, with its 0.2 x 0.7 mil elliptical however has reminded me of the true extent of the damage caused by a 1988 Linn K18 in a sticky bearing Mk1 Akito arm. What a fecking fuzzfest! Best not play Tracy Chapman, Graceland or The Nightfly then; not on vinyl at any rate.

Flat Earth bollocks ruined most of my record collection. Sometimes being so forcefully reminded of that fact pisses me of mightily.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
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#10 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by karatestu »

Yes flat earth bollox has a lot to answer for. Luckily (debateable) my tonearm is a Naim Aro so no crappy bearings to worry about.
:bigsmurf:
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#11 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Cressy Snr »

karatestu wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:34 am Yes flat earth bollox has a lot to answer for. Luckily (debateable) my tonearm is a Naim Aro so no crappy bearings to worry about.
The really galling thing is that my almost 50 year-old early 70s teenage proggy stuff that was played to death on a BSR auto-changer with ceramic cartridge, tracking at 4g, is in better nick; never having been near an Akito/K18.
Molly Winley, she smooks loike a chimley but she’s my little nicotine gal.
JohnG
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#12 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by JohnG »

I a Linn Axis with Akito and went through the K9, Goldring 1042 and A&R P77.
I still have this Stored from when it was last used in the Late 90's with the P77, cos I'm a Hoarder and struggle to let things go.

As for a Classic Cartridge, I was introduced to a Philips GP390 about Four Years Ago at Scalford ?
I very much enjoyed its presentation, and spent a bit of time with the owner.
I recollect it as a similar enjoyment to what I experience when I hear Steve's Speakers, Just very right to my ear, and what has prompted me to post this.

I was fortunate to purchase a GP390 for £12 from Scandinavia a few weeks after Scalford and then a few months later acquire a Brand New Stylus for the GP390.

I lost the GP390 and knew the whereabouts of the New Stylus, one learns as they go.

Last week the GP390 Surfaced and it was a pleasant surprise to see how well I protected it for Storage,
it was in a Wooden Tonearm Presentation Case.

I am quite looking forward to experiencing this Cartridge in the system, as I have been a user of a rebuilt Ortofon K'b for approx 2 years.

I have a owned and used Hana SL used during the time the rebuilt K'b has been in use, so it a curiosity to see how the GR390 offers a impression within my system.

As the rebuilt K'b has made such a positive impression on me, just before the GP390 surfaced I bought a more modern Ortofon to be assessed/inspected for suitability to be rebuilt.

Will the £12 Ceramic knock the Big Guns out of the Ball Park ???
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Ali Tait
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#13 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Ali Tait »

Have one of those tucked away, must get round to trying it sometime.
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#14 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by JohnG »

I was so impressed with the GP390, I allowed it to play a side of My Original Released Amused to Death Album,
In recent years, I don't let many Needles get to touch that Vinyl, they will need to be impressive to my ear.
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#15 Re: Classic Cartridges

Post by Ant »

When i get a cartridge, regardless of what it is, i always put on the records that piss me off. If i can get through those records, then i let them loose on my 'good' stuff. ( though most people would probably have a different defenition of good....)
The thing with that m55 was that it had a certain something that came through past the knackered stylus and the records that get on my wick.
Couldnt put my finger on what it was, but it was worth further investigation
I can understand why people spend on a jico sas stylus for them
My personal favourite 'piss me off' record is fairground attractions first one. If a cart isnt tracking properly, eddie readers esses are horrendous (thhhuffferin thhuuckertash) If it is tracking, the record is fabulous.
And the last track on side one of level 42. If it tracks that, its all good.
My god i am a terrible bore...
Hey, wait, I got a new complaint
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