Marantz TT-15S1 -- need a new stylus?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by WonderKnut, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    Hello!
    About four years ago I got the Marantz Reference Turntable. I have really loved it and have played it A LOT. Some days, just playing records for 8 hrs straight.
    Well the last month I hear high end distortion on most records, and I'm thinking it's the stylus. Here's the thing, I actually have never worn out a stylish before I think. On my previous tables (lower ended) I kept replacing the cartridge, just because I could, or the tables. (Went from Technics 80s to Pro-ject to Regards to this Marantz).
    I want to replace the stylus, the needle itself. I can do this without replacing the whole cartridge, right? What needle should I get? Is this a good instinct for this newfound distortion issue?
    Thank you for any help.
     
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    If one album suffers, then it's not the stylus but if all of them do, that's a reasonable assumption.

    Having said that, there are places which will replace the stylus only such as SoundSmith. I've never done it but lots of people have and will be in better position to recommend something.

    However, from what I've read, the bundled cart is debated to possibly be a tweaked Audio Technica cart. Some say it's possible to replace the stylus only but at the prices I've seen, I don't see the point in doing so. Replacing the cart would make more sense.

    Look in this thread for instances of TT15S1 owners who've gone the SoundSmith route and for examples of what they paid as well as their satisfaction level.

    Bent the cantilever on my new Marantz TT15S1
     
  3. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Wrong, wrong, wrong. The stylus is easily replaceable by the user on the Virtuoso cart. It requires nothing more than an AT-95e stylus, or variant. OP, do a search for Virtuoso stylus replacement and you'll find many threads about doing it yourself easily. The best way to do the replacement is by trimming away extra plastic from the stylus plug. If you own nail clippers you have all the tools you'll need for the 5-second job. I've done this swap into my Virtuoso several times and it's dead easy. Using 95e stylus options, you can go all the way up the line to HE, VL and Shibata tips on LPGear and turntableneedles. I'd never send off the Virtuoso for retipping when it's so easy to replace the stylus on one's own.
     
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  4. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    WOW, thank you for that information!! I had read elsewhere on this forum that cartridges rarely need to be replaced. Also around the time I bought this I searched here and everyone was racing about the cartridge, so I was confused how such an awesome expensive cartridge would need to be replaced every few years. My wife was getting tired of me buying new tables every few years and I promised this'd be the last.
     
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  5. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    I have watched a couple YouTube videos and am excited to try this! Now for the truly stupid question, how do I take the cartridge off the tonearm?
    I called the shop I got the table from, they said ClearAudio swaps the cartridge and now gives you a Virtuoso v.2. $540!
     
  6. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    If the cart needs to be removed to replace the stylus anyway *and* there's a chance of damaging it in the process *and* the carts are cheap, why not just buy a cart instead? Unless the old cart itself is so superior that keeping it would result in superior sound compared to a new one?
     
  7. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    First thing with all cartridges is to remove the 4 wires from the back of cartridge. This is best done with a small pair of needle nose pliers or something equivalent. You want to grip the shrink wrap around the connectors in the area where the diameter decreases, somewhere around the middle, which will be on the solder tabs. Don't grip near the front in the contact area, or near the end of the shrink, or on the wires. The connectors should slide off without much force. If they seem tight, try rotating a small amount to break contact, but don't pull too hard or your hand motion may go too far and break the wire. Sometimes it helps to use both hands, one to steady and control the one doing the work.

    With the Clearaudio arms (and a few others that use that type of headshell mount), the cartridge can be removed and attached to tonearm with the one allen head screw in the middle, which slides in the slot to set the overhang, and allows it to rotate for offset. The mounting plate with the 2 screws can stay attached to the cartridge unless you are going to replace it.

    When you reinstall the connectors on the cartridge pins, just reverse the process. If they seem a little loose, you can lightly crimp the front section, which usually has 4 leaf sections to make contact.

    If you want some help with alignment after you reinstall it, we can go over that part too... Using a mirrored protractor for cartridge alignment
     
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  8. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    This is pretty spooky but I'm totally going to give it a go, I'll get the mirrored protractor at the same time as the AT stylus. I guess owning a Serious Turntable is Serious Business! Thank you so much everyone for all your help and support!
     
  9. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    You can print out arc protractors for free, which allows you to set the overhang and offset separately, usually makes it much easier than a universal type, see the link I posted for a sample picture for the Satisfy tonearm on my Clearaudio table. Some people like to have mirrors, but they aren't really necessary if your cantilever is straight and the cartridge body has a straight edge on front or side to align to grid, or if you have enough clearance to see cantilever for accurate alignment, but everybody has their favorite methods. I'm not sure what type of alignment tool the Marantz came with, or which default alignment geometry it uses, but the Satisfy tonearm has plenty of adjustment range so you can use any of the alignment geometries. I think Clearaudio specs the Satisfy arm with Lofgren A measurements.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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  10. svenhoek19

    svenhoek19 Active Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I also have the Marantz TT15 and the virtuoso cart and easily replaced the stylus myself. It sounded as good or better than new when I was done. I no longer use the virtuoso cart as I upgraded but it was totally pain free to replace the stylus as others have mentioned here nail clippers or an exacto knife is all you need.
     
  11. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    Svenhoek I've done some hacks before with other things and seeing it done on YouTube I am confident I have a chance at not messing it up. I'm starting to get a little concerned about putting it back together though! How did you align the cartridge? Also, what sort of stylus should I get that would be comparable to what I have now?? Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  12. Old Audiophool

    Old Audiophool Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Melbourne, Fl.
    Svenhoek19, which stylus did you use to do the replacement on the Virtuoso? and what cartridge did you upgrade to?

    Thanks, Bill
     
  13. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Really? Really? After the nub is cut out of the original AT95E stylus carrier, the stylus cantilever and bushing looks exactly identical. And after trimming, the AT95E stylus has the same snap into place. Really, Clearaudio? At least I'm sure the AT95E is an ellipitical.
     
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  14. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    What you say makes no sense. The TT-15, as you should already know, comes with a $1000 Clearaudio MM cartridge. It's well known on the Interwebs that the Clearaudio MM carts use the AT95e engine, so can easily accept any stylus that can be fitted to an AT95e body. As another poster noted, and as you should know, the "headshell" arrangement on the Clearaudio Satisfy tonearm is a one-bolt pre-aligned affair, which is no-brainer easy to get off and reinstall. Based on OP's wishes, the easiest, best, cheapest course is to stay with the Virtuoso cart and replace the stylus plug himself. You own one these turntables yourself. How do you not know these things?


     
  15. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    To be fair, I own one of these things and don't know too much!:confused:
     
  16. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Now you do. :) If you possess even the slightest ability to follow what you see on a youtube video, and/or in threads about this same topic, you'll realize what a killer bargain the Virtuoso cartridge will be over your adult lifetime. A $1000 cart that is, in reality, easily user serviceable, and on the cheap. You can use that cart for decades to come and there are FEW that compare to it.


     
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  17. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    That makes me feel so good about my purchase, because when that table came out this is the first place I went to read about it and the cartridge was the main reason people were saying it was such a steal.
    I was concerned about the aligning of the cartridge but just found out a store here will put on the modded cartridge and re-set it up for me for 20$. So instead of buying protractors or whatever and tearing my hair out, I'll just pay 20$.
    Still curious about the stylus to get. A flat out AT 95E is like 40$ on Amazon, not much at all. I certainly don't want to downgrade quality but am not too concerned with upgrading because it already sounds just fantastic.
     
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  18. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I don't. My father-in-law does and I don't have a hobby of inspecting and committing to memory every detail of every turntable I encounter but I'm glad you do.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  19. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    OP, I recommend checking LPGear and turntableneedles. Both sites offer AT95e stylus replacements, ranging from the normal AT95e (.4X.7 elliptical), to a .3X.7 elliptical, to a Vivid Line, to a similar HE tip, to a shibata. Those in the know also know that the AT92ecd stylus, when trimmed down in the same manner, also fits the same plug, and offers a lower compliance cantilever and a .3X.7 elliptical. When it's time to replace my stylus in the Virtuoso, I'll probably go for the vivd line or HE stylus. Cost is $120-130 and should create equivalent, if not better, sound than your original.
     
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  20. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Well let's hope that you're diligently passing along what you learn here, which could save your family member hundreds, potentially thousands, of dollars in coming years. He can and should keep that exquisite CA Virtuoso humming for a relative pittance into his ripe old age.
     
  21. Mr.Sneis

    Mr.Sneis Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Where I am confused is how a $500++ish msrp cart gets its stylus replaced with a $25 needle and sounds just as good or better.

    I am not saying it's not true, just that something seems off...
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  22. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I will be considering the amount of listening he does on a daily basis, he likely won't need another new cart for another 4 years or so.
     
  23. WonderKnut

    WonderKnut New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Iowa
    Thank you! Exactly what I was hoping for in terms of price. You all have been a great help!
     
  24. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The Marantz TT15S1 comes stock with the old Clearaudio Virtuoso Ebony Wood cartridge. It's not in the lineup anymore, and has been replaced with the V2 versions. It had a MSRP of around $900 or so, not sure how much they actually traded hands for, probably significantly less, but it is quite a good cartridge for a turntable that retails for $1500, and often sells new in the $1200 range...

    [​IMG]

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that a $25 replacement stylus will equal the original, only that it is compatible with that style replacement. There is quite a range of replacement options, as @H8SLKC mentioned above, with a wide range in prices.
     
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  25. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I did not know that.

    The Clearaudio site does not even tell what type of stylus shape is on any of "their models".

    AT does make the standard elliptical AT95E stylus in a black carrier for private labeling, if you don't want the tell-tale green color or other colors of any upgrade stylus -

    Audio-Technica ATN95EB stylus

    The AT95E is an excellent $50 (or $40) cart, so there's that.
     
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