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Welcome Licorice Pizza (LP) lovers! Setup guides and Vinyl FAQ.

RE: New Cartridge

Good choice!

I went 'round and 'round with with the confusing array of aftermarket ADC styli available for the ADC XLM. The information on the internet is contradictory but it seems to me that ADC, late in their life as a company, had stylus-makers in Japan building needles for the ADC carts. So some sellers claim they have "genuine" ADC replacements. Who can tell? At the end of the day, you just want the best replacement you can find, eh?

The bloggers seem to point generally to the "XLM Improved Mk II" - [that's the "RXL" Model 108-DET, if I understand it correctly] an elliptical tip. Supposedly this is the best-sounding the of the replacements available today. (I would not recommend buying any "new old stock" 20+ year-old styli in any circumstances.) The 108-DET tracks at 1.5 gm which is good, don't want to go much above that says the common wisdom regarding record wear.

I recently chose a 108-DET from the Voice of Music. I'm just a happy customer, not a "shill" and TVoM have shown good judgement in the styli they stock. Gary there says these are good units. $49. It sounds great!- indistinguishable from my original XLM-II and tracks and beautifully. This replacement brought the sparkle back but kept the same sound.

Until you spend a LOT more money, the ADC XLM cart is very hard to beat in terms of performance- it is very quiet, has a fine octave-to-octave balance, and tracks everything beautifully. It has a warm, full sound through the mids and no overemphasis on the treble. It's better sound than some low-price MC's IMHO and represents an outstanding price/ performance unit!

You must use the XLM in a low-mass arm- it has a very high compliance and a heavy arm will not allow it to develop its potential! Likewise, keep the tracking force low- that highly compliant suspension can collapse if overloaded.

There is something to the idea of finding a great vintage cart body and matching a new high-quality aftermarket stylus for it. It's a vintage-gear thing... You have to do the research. Another of my new-old carts is described in the post below. Brought than baby home for under $100 and it sounds absolutely terrific, different from the ADC, better in some small ways.

This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors:
  Michael Percy Audio  

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