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A few vintage, high-compliance cartridges

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Posted on January 8, 2017 at 00:02:46
mr.bear
Audiophile

Posts: 3719
Joined: November 13, 2001



I recently revived a couple vintage carts that had been "in a coma" for a few decades. I wanted to see if you could get great sound for around 150 bucks.

The units exhumed were ones I'd admired a long time ago, but never got a chance to own. My current table has a low mass arm and I've been listening to ADC XLM variants for a couple years now -- a baseline --very good performers that satisfy my current system performance goals.

#1 Cart started with a Pickering XSV-3000 body from a turntable wreck. It is now sporting an aftermarket "Stereohedron" XUV-4500Q stylus sourced from The Voice of Music; I think the list price is about 90 bucks. Decent looking Pickering bodies show up at auction for around 60 bucks often. Tracking at 1.2gm

#2 Cart started as a Signet TK3Ea body purchase via auction for under 50 bucks. It's been fitted with a genuine Audio Technica ATN120E elliptical stylus, sourced from LP Tunes, for about 85 bucks. This stylus seems a very close replacement for the original Signet elliptical. Tracking at 1.6gm

The sound of the Pickering is superb- detailed, good octave-to-octave balance, solid image, and subtly lively. Notes emerge from a black background; the level of detail is comparable to a pretty good MC (just one Bear's opinion-- I had been listening to my Dynavector XX and Denon DL-301 most recently). On the whole, it's slugging way above its weight; I like it better than my best ADC XLMii Improved cart after all.

The Signet is good, solid performer but won't amaze anyone. There are endearing aspects of its sound-- it mellows things a bit, forgoing detail for a measure of smoothness. It seems immune to surface noise. It doesn't throw a big soundstage however and PRAT doesn't grab you. You can listen to it all day though, it doesn't do one thing wrong. It's a good backup unit.

 

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Do you have a Pickering XV-15 that could use the 4500Q stylus?, posted on January 8, 2017 at 11:20:57
alaskahiatt
Audiophile

Posts: 3688
Joined: December 9, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
November 1, 2005
I was thinking of ordering the 4500Q from Jico for my XV-15 after reading about all the different alternatives.

 

RE: A few vintage, high-compliance cartridges , posted on January 8, 2017 at 14:40:11
rindolini
Audiophile

Posts: 479
Location: Munich, Bavaria
Joined: August 9, 2007
Mr.B: Did you check, whether Stereoneedles still offers the ATN132EP for 70 bucks, before you went for the ATN120E? Because the former offers a nicer and sharper, true elliptical tip on tapered cantilever and would be more highly compliant as well.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

 

RE: A few vintage, high-compliance cartridges , posted on January 9, 2017 at 01:36:42
mr.bear
Audiophile

Posts: 3719
Joined: November 13, 2001
Thank you for your assistance in the on-going cartridge trials at the Bearcave, Manfred. I was unable to find an original A-T ATN132 for less than about $150US. There were inexpensive Japanese aftermarket versions around $30-40, but I thought "no bueno!"

 

RE: Do you have a Pickering XV-15 that could use the 4500Q stylus?, posted on January 9, 2017 at 02:38:37
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1327
Joined: January 11, 2011
The D4500Q is not compatible with the XV15 as the XV15 body is a MI design with a fixed magnet internal to the body whereas the D4500Q is for an MM body.
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

RE: A few vintage, high-compliance cartridges , posted on January 9, 2017 at 02:50:28
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1327
Joined: January 11, 2011
For $4 more I think he should have gone for the ATN440MLb from B&H!

Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

Thank you very much. I can see that I need to do a little more reading. nt, posted on January 9, 2017 at 07:39:46
alaskahiatt
Audiophile

Posts: 3688
Joined: December 9, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
November 1, 2005
nt

 

Anthony, if my reading is correct, my XV-15 can accept the MI D2000Q stylus., posted on January 9, 2017 at 17:08:51
alaskahiatt
Audiophile

Posts: 3688
Joined: December 9, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
November 1, 2005
Thanks again for your moving iron alert. Bill.

 

RE: Anthony, if my reading is correct, my XV-15 can accept the MI D2000Q stylus., posted on January 9, 2017 at 18:00:59
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1327
Joined: January 11, 2011
Hi Bill
Yes, the D2000Q, D2400Q and the Stanton 780DQ will all "work" in the XV-15 body.
However, the inductance of the XV-15 is much higher than the UV15. The UV15 is 350mH whereas the XV-15 is 930mH and this will impact on the flatness of the frequency response. You really need to correctly match the mechanical characteristics to the electrical characteristics for best performance.
If you are interested in the quad styli because of the better tip profile, may I suggest considering a retip with a Paratrace by Expert Stylus on a matched stylus to your XV-15 body that you are currently happy with? The cost of a NOS Pickering quad stylus is likely to be ridiculous for the performance (pickeringuk list the D2000Q at USD225).

The Paratrace is a low mass nude Van den Hul-like cut that is reputed to be one of the longest lasting tips on the market. The cost (last time I checked) was 85 pounds to change the stylus. What you don't want to do is to chop off the cantilever and replace with another material unless you are sure that the mass change is negligible and the resonances are unchanged.
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

Thanks again Anthony. To make sure I understand your answer, , posted on January 11, 2017 at 15:46:04
alaskahiatt
Audiophile

Posts: 3688
Joined: December 9, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
November 1, 2005
it sounds like the D2000 and D2400 are not the correct stylus for the high inductance Pickering XV-15. With a D2000Q in the XV-15, it sounds like the high frequencies will be reduced.

Actually, your suggestion of the paratrace stylus from Expert Stylus sounds like the best and most reasonable stylus anyway. I will definitely look into Expert Stylus.

 

RE: Thanks again Anthony. To make sure I understand your answer, , posted on January 11, 2017 at 18:07:21
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1327
Joined: January 11, 2011
Hi

Yes, that is correct. I would expect a lump at around 11kHz or so and rapid loss of HF. Similar effect to what you get if you try and put a VN5XMR in an Shure M97xE body.

Expert used to deal with Stanton and supplied them with the original 78rpm alternative styli until Stanton started trying to do go it alone (apparently)! They are very familiar with the designs and will test out the suspension and technical performance before proceeding. They don't undertake anything they deem to be unnecessary or uneconomical so your cartridge is in safe hands.
Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

RE: A few vintage, high-compliance cartridges , posted on January 11, 2017 at 19:00:24
Wojciech
Audiophile

Posts: 1090
Joined: June 23, 2009
A couple of years ago I was visiting a friend and for chuckles I brought with me an old ADC XLM (don't remember the version but it was REALLY compliant ) to mount on his Hadcock 424. We first listened to Koetsu Onyx on FR 64s(phono was ARC PH7 ) and than we switched to ADC...no , it was no better than Koetsu;), far from it, but Geez!!! it offered about the same uncanny musicality , sheer pleasure of listening and enjoying the recorded material and we were simply stunned. I kind of get now why those carts are so sought after.

 

RE: A few vintage, high-compliance cartridges , posted on January 13, 2017 at 12:44:02
flood2
Audiophile

Posts: 1327
Joined: January 11, 2011
Which begs the question what the defnition of High Fidelity is supposed to be in that context!


Regards Anthony

"Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty.." Keats

 

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