New Cartridge for XMAS

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JamesD
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#1 New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

The reason that I finally got my turntable setup and playing again is that I have persuaded my family to get me a new cartridge for XMAS. I decided what to ask for and I thought I might explain myself here :oops:

Those that know me know that I like the Denon DL-103 for its wonderful sense of musical performance and thunderous bass rather than its sophisticated detail and elegant extended treble... and that when asked what other cartridges I like that the Ortofon SPU and EMT TSD-15 are top of my list - unfortunately SPUs and EMT were out of the budget and I didn't really like the few modern recommended cartridges that I have heard... As discussed with Ant - I lately have realised that the Shure V15 type 111 that I had didn't get a fair trial against the MC cartridges I auditioned it with when I switch to MCs so I will try it again under modern conditions but that will have to wait as I went a different route this time...

I love early SPUs more than the modern Royal that I have heard - I liked the Royal but it was a little too modern in its sound compared with my memory of 60s/70s SPU Gs. I liked the SL-15 that I had in my memory too and that was derived from the SPU G... these had a very low impedance coil with very low output 2-3 ohms and 70 to 100uV and I always suspected that was part of the magic - the problem with the SL-15 is that the rack angle is wrong as this was standardised as 20 degrees rather than the 15 degrees of early SPUs and the SL-15 - so putting that together the SL-20E looks like the perfect model for me to try as they fit the budget and a few are around still - they were replaced by the MC-20E but that also has a revised suspension - different compliance and different coils with more impedance and higher output.

OK so look for a restored SL-20E and I found one with restored suspension and a replaced stylus that even fit the budget. I now have it in my grubby paws!!! I have inspected it and it looks great but I can't use it until XMAS - damn!

In the meantime I have to knock up a head amp for it that works with 3ohm coils and 70uV output... I have a design that I will post - its based on the same gain block as I'm using in my new ss phono that I'm building and posted the spice file for in CR and LR versions - I'm close to finalising these designs so I'll start a thread for them...
JamesD
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#2 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

Here is a picture of the replacement Stylus
Stylus 1 Refurbished 27Oct20.jpg
thats the best shot so far with my ultra cheap USB microscope... just have to work out how to use more magnification...
JamesD
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#3 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

I gave the SL-20E a quick trial to day to check it works OK - it did :D

Initial observations are that its different from the 103 - so much so that I will need time to evaluate the difference so roll on Christmas...

It has more resolving power in the bass with really nice bass tone an more open mid-range and top than the 103... this caused me to add a little tracking force to the 103 - now at 2.5gms up from 2.25gms and that has improved the 103 a bit - mainly in the bass where it is resolving the kicks on the bass drum better - need more time comparing the two before I can get either optimised...
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mr.natural
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#4 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Hi James,
I’m interested to know how you also get on with the Shure V15 mk.III - stylus wise what is on there at the moment?

I have been using the same V15 for about a year and got two original Shure VN35e with it in vgood used condition. Alas, one recently broke when moving tonearm around. Then I took a gamble last week and went for a apparently NOS Shure VN35MR
and this was a waste of time, it was not new and had to be sent back. Then I spotted a new cheap manufactured stylus made by Kyowa and gets good reports from other various vinyl forums so ordered one for this week.

The best replacements are the Jico SAS types which I haven’t tried yet but are the most expensive along with trying to get good original used Shure’s or indeed NOS. I did also try the Thakker Jico VN35e but doesn’t track well at all, quite a few folk also found the same problem.
I’m hopeful the Kyowa version will work well and is budget price.

Cheers,Ed

PS. Mother in law Bought me a few reissues to try out -/ Can - Tago Mago. Faust - Faust (clear). Amon Duul - Dance of the Lemmings. Cressida - Asylum. & Roy Harper - Come out fighting Ghengis Smith
JamesD
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#5 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

Hi Ed,

You have hit the button on the head - what replacement stylus to use ... The expensive JICO seem to be the best but if you look at their site https://www.jico-stylus.com/ they sell direct to the consumer and have several options for the various V15 cartridges including conical, elliptical and SAS profiles at price points from about $80 upwards. I haven't had to replace my stylus yet so can't give advice on their performance but I JICO direct has good reviews that seem more consistent than third party supplies...

AN alternative I would consider would be to speak to Franz Josef Schulte at https://www.tonabnehmerservice.de/en/home/?cur=1 as he is very knowledgeable and would sort the V15 or any other cartridge out for you. I bought the Ortofon from him and I am very pleased with it and with his service.

Either way it won't be cheap... so please let us know how you get on with the Kyowa.

Love the new records - I was playing the Faust tapes and my copy of the clear Faust this last weekend too :-)
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mr.natural
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#6 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Cheers James,

So what stylus type is on your V15 - VN35E / HE or MR ?

I like the E’s a lot, gawd knows what the hyper elliptical and micro ridge’s do.

Yes I know about the many variations that Jico do, but like I mentioned the budget Thakker one is supposed to be done by Jico
and is hopeless. Looking into things a bit more it seems the support wire makes a big deal and the Thakker Jico does not have it.

The Kyowa does and people have said it tracks well.

Regards,Ed
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#7 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

mine has a VN35E - I find it hard to imagine what an HE or MR would sound like in a V15 III that is more than detailed enough with the elliptical stylus even compared to MC cartridges - aren't the type 4 and type 5 V15 quite different than the type 3 and are balanced for the HE and MR?
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rowuk
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#8 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by rowuk »

I switched way back from the V15 type 3 to an Ortofon MC20 and shortly thereafter to an MC-30. Except for the ability to track the Telarc 1812 canons, the Ortofons were better to my ears in every way. My reference at the time was LPs vs Reel to Reel master tapes (my own recordings of symphonic music). I figured that the closer the LP sounded to the tape, the better.

I used a Yamaha C2A preamplifier for the testing back then. The capacitance was adjusted for the greatest similarity to the original analog tape masters.The Ortofons used the Ortofon T30 SUTs.

The "tone" was very similar between the MC20 and V15. Trumpets had similar bite, violins similar air, voices similar presence. Bass extension and slam was good on all.

Where the major differences were were in the "size" and geometry of the presentation. With the Ortofons, large instruments and big ensembles sounded larger. Chamber music and solo instruments were much smaller. The V15 made small groups bigger and large groups smaller. Another difference was the depth. Up until that comparison, I thought that depth was mostly due to low frequency response. As both cartridges had considerable grunt, I learned that there must be additional factors...

On rock and popular music, both were just fine with no serious advantages either way - perhaps a slight edge due to the V15s better tracking.

All in all, the Ortofons pulled more out of the groove. They were work in terms of eliminating hum.
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pre65
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#9 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by pre65 »

I rarely use vinyl these days, but I have got a Shure VST-V body, and I was looking at a Jico VN5MR SAS stylus. Last time I looked they were $167.00.
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mr.natural
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#10 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

I Did have a Ortofon VMS 20 (not your MC20) that worked very well at the same time span whilst experimenting with the V15 for the first time. Just thought the rhythm of the Shure came across a bit more dynamic, the VMS 20 I thought was a smooth beast certainly not boring but elegant for sure on classical.

James, I think so with the type IV &V even though the HE stylus is pretty common on our type III the micro ridge is just another stratosphere to try out and see what it does, (if you can get one). The Jico SAS stylus is equiv I think to the HE.

Regards,Ed
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#11 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by Ant »

Add the vat and import tax and youre looking at £200 ish.
I was looking at a jico for an me95 not long ago, i eventually decided not to bother
Still want to try a v15, but it will cost a few quid to try. Id want one with a new stylus on it though, tracking has to be spot on for me. cant see it bettering the 760 or the 33sa, but it still intrigues me

The sl15 is one of my favourites, the spu, sl15 and the original red mc10 are the only ortofon mcs ive ever got on with. Mc25 fl bored me, mc10 super (blue) bored me and didnt track, mc30 annoyed me because it was either superb or horrible depending on the cycle of the moon, rondo blue didnt track.
I gave up.
Japanese carts on the other hand (dynavector, hana and audio technica) seem to do something i like
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#12 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by IslandPink »

Ed - that's a pretty cool mother-in-law you've got there !
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mr.natural
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#13 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Hi Mark, well I bought em with her birthday money.

She also previously funded a 2nd turntable the Thorens TD160 super with a SME 3009.

She’s lucky she’s got me.

Ciao, Mr.Natural
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#14 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by mr.natural »

Hi James and all,

The Set Up

The Kyowa stylus arrived today but it’s going back. It doesn’t have the tie wire like shown on the sellers ebay auction, a new suspension has replaced the previous design. The tracking force on this new version is a wide range from 3/4g - 2.5g, I needed
2.4g to get it through the usual tracking force / bias test on the hifi news LP. So, with a SME 3009imp tonearm you can only go up to 1.5 max on the bias, I wouldn’t normally bother too much about having to use high bias but when looking at the cantilever on the record it was way off centre and couldn’t be bias pulled enough to re centre the cantilever in the groove.

Music

Not bad, a bit more AM & less FM in tonal balance. Soundstage was ok with a little 3D depth. The overall picture was less realistic to what a original Shure can do and detail was smoothed out. Percussion works well with the Shure but is less dynamic
through the Kyowa. After three hours I wasn’t getting any more out of this stylus so gave up, it needs many more hours probably but I’m not happy about the set up situation.

Price. £25

Regards, Ed
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#15 Re: New Cartridge for XMAS

Post by JamesD »

Hi Ed,

Many thanks for the report - it seemed the Kyowa was too good to be true at that price and so it proved... A real shame they changed how its made...

As you say 2.4gm is too high a tracking force for the V15 III design so its rake angle would be out and the suspension too compressed on top to work optimally... It really needs to be happy at 1.75 to 2 gms tracking... 2.5gms is Denon 103 territory!

Was the cantilever centred ok before the stylus hit the record? Off-centred cantilever is a very common problem with cartridges at all price points .

You have probably seen this Swiss option that often gets good reviews https://www.amazon.co.uk/TURNTABLE-NEED ... B01JJ73466 - I really don't know what I will do when I have to replace mine...
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