P-Mount Cartridges

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by iDigital, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    But, really, a Stanton or Pickering 500/V15 P Mount with a decent OEM stylus is heaven. Still on the lookout for an original Stereohedron stylus for one of those. I've never seen one, but the literature suggests that one was actually produced.
     
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  2. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    For owners of old Technics P-Mounts, are the stylus completely interchangeable between the EPC-23 and EPC-30?
     
  3. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    I'm pretty sure they are because I've got a couple that are like the EPC-30, but I've got EPC-23 type styli in them. Whether they are "completely" interchangeable, I don't know. I would think they are. They just went from kind of a boring plastic in the EPC-30 type to the fancy jewel tone type that both Soundsmith and Wikipedia in the "phonograph" article feature with the same photo since they're so cool looking.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    For a Technics cartridge, I've seen the following after-market stylus options in incremental pricing (718-xx and 798-xx):

    - conical
    - eliptical
    - hyper-eliptical
    - Shabata
    - SAS
    - ???

    At the same time, it seems some of these implementations do not fully conform to T4P specs and may have compromises (!)

    So, all things considered for a Technics cartridge owner, what is the best upgrade option for optimal sound, and source (turntableneedles, lpgear, other) ?
     
  5. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Get genuine styli. T4p mount in T4p systems demands 6 grams mass, 1.25 gram tracking force optimal. Some T4p owners have had issues with aftermarket options even Jico.
     
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  6. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Sure, but difficult to source?
     
  7. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Yes, but in T4p applications will work as they must work. Not much wiggle room in T4p. Which was it's biggest weakness. I'd have limited this mount to Technics and similar linears only, or added a little mass, and allowed up to 2.5-3 grams tracking force in the spec to allow real world needs on record playback. This system needed more latitude built in to be viable as a general standard. Especially with the plug and play aspect aimed at beginners and less experienced consumer users. If this had been done, we'd have had a lot more cartridges which would function ideally adapted to T4p mount, as most manufacturers adapted rather than designed from the ground up for the new mount. This would have made the Grado line, the Ortofon X1-MCP and other outliers totally compliant, and made cartridge choices and designing them easier. And also made generic styli more usable.
     
  8. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    So, if the aftermarket styli do not conform to T4p spec (in particular the 20MM cantilver length) then the only way to go in my mind - is original OEM, preferably NOS. With that said, some that have the SAS on say a P23, 24, 28 etc have commented that it sounds wonderful, while others have said it sounds good, but not great and chalk that up to the 21MM cantilver length. So who knows? The problem is, to find out for yourself requires a fairly substantial investment.
     
  9. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    Don't forget that a different cantilever length, if not too far off, isn't going to cause some massive problem with tracking. All it does is move the null points around. I can see it being a real problem with linear decks if the stylus tip no longer cuts at exactly the radius line of the disc, but with an arcing arm, you're only exactly perfect twice anyway. If it's a couple grooves up or a couple grooves down, it doesn't matter. If it did matter there wouldn't be over a dozen alignment strategies. But that is what they are: strategies i.e. calcuated attempts to achieve at least one of a potential variety of acceptable results. In other words, if you aren't exactly dialed in to your target alignment, you're probably in some other documented alignment--you just didn't know beforehand.

    So, before we get off into a tizzy about how critical a 1/2 mm or even a full mm is one way or the other, maybe give it a listen first. I can see why Jico would want to make sure that a customer knew that their cantilevers were wrong for P Mount from the get go. It's basically a "buyer assumes all risk" strategy: in other words, no refunds for nitpicking.

    I was dismayed to find that my Expert Stylus Co. D81S retip was about 2mm too long over stock. No problem for my 1/2" deck, I can just realign the cartridge. Stylus swapping now, however, would be a pain. But for use on my P Mount deck, which is what I primarily wanted, well, I figured it would be no good at all.

    Well, it works great, sounds great, and doesn't mistrack anywhere. I haven't figured out exactly where the null points have ended up, but I'm pretty sure that it's still only correct in two places and it's further and further off as it travels away from the null points--just like with any other alignment. However, it does not mistrack. There is no IGD, nothing.

    I would assume an SAS stylus would behave the same way even if it were a millimeter off the 20mm tip to cartridge base spec.

    My P Mount deck is T4P meaning I can't adjust the CW easily--but a screwdriver works. I also can't adjust AS, which is a pain since I usually prefer to use Stanton and Pickering cartridges including the brush. However, it works great and I've had no problems with it. Grado cartridges are a challenge to get the best sound out of on a P Mount deck, though others report excellent results. The fact is, they're weird cartridges even in the 1/2" mount versions. No antiskate at all (can't adjust AS on T4P P Mount), negative SRA (can't adjust this on P Mount arms, but you might be able to stack mats), 1.6g VTF (you can do this much at least with P-Mount--even T4P as mine is), and adding a long horn mod would probably make the cartridge too heavy for an automatic return P Mount deck and definitely would not work with a linear tracker.

    But, again, just because you can handle all of these Grado tweaks on your 1/2" deck with manual lift doesn't mean you should . . .
     
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  10. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    So I just received an aftermarket 798-DE Stylus for my original Technics P-Mount cartridge (EPC-511 on an SL-Q200).

    I'd grown a little unhappy with my Grado P-Mount and decided to try my old Technics P-Mount again, and it was a quite an improvement.

    Now with the new elliptical replacement stylus it sounds even better.

    Not sure if I will venture beyond the base elliptical at this time as I am very happy with what I am hearing at a modest price ( $26 from www.turntableneedles.com).

    Could be I just needed a new stylus on the Grado, but I don't think it ever sounded this good.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  11. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Which Grado was that again?
     
  12. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Grado MF1+ from some time ago.

    Current Grado replacement stylus seems to be a 'silver' so it should be a decent cartridge. I don't listen to vinyl that much as I'd pretty much ditched the format in the 80's, but it was somehow 'off' for the odd vinyl purchase.

    $130 for a new Grrado silver stylus vs $26 for the aftermarket Technics.

    I didn't want to chance it on a new Grado stylus in case the cartridge was at fault.

    The old Technics cart + new aftermarket stylus sounds very nice.

    I just purchase the occasional vinyl release so don't need to reach nirvana in the format.

    I was debating picking up a new Rega or Pro-Ject turntable, but don't see a driver at this point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  13. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Experimenting...

    Recently purchased a NOS Audio Technica AT450 cartridge from ebay for a very reasonable price (from a large lot).

    This has a "nude" stylus, 0.3mm x 0.7mm eliptical. This seems to be equivalent to the later AT6006 amd AT316EP cartridges (and various other designations!), not top of the line, but upper tier.

    From subjective listening and objective measurements, it appears more "accurate" than my Technics EPC511 and EPC24 Cartridges (with original and aftermarket stylus)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  14. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    VERY interested in hearing more about this - as the ebay seller has many of these and the price appears very reasonable but I suspect they won't last long.
     
  15. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    They must be selling well since it looks like the price has gone up by about $10 since I bought mine a couple of weeks ago. :)
     
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  16. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I'm running two carts in this family. One is an AT90 with the ATN3472SE stylus that is the bonded elliptical replacement for my old 311EP. I think the AT90 with this stylus is functionally the same as the 311EP. It sounds good but has some issues with sibilance distortion at times. I also have an old Sony VL-45G that has a Pfansheihl bonded hyper-elliptical which has nominally better sibilance performance than the AT90/ATN3472SE. I suspect being a nude mount elliptical would be a substantial upgrade over a bonded. Please let me know how it sounds to you. Have you tried a "sibilance torture test" record on it? I'm very close to pulling the trigger on a pair of these. The seller has some other interesting items that appear to have come from the same lot - other P-mount carts; etc, but none as compelling as this.

    It appears that the little symbol on the bottom of the needle means - Dot: Conical - Oval with internal oval shaped dot: bonded elliptical - Oval with nothing inside: Nude mount.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  17. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    Yes, the AT450 stylus has the empty oval.

    I haven't noticed any sibilance issues, but I am not sure I have any LPs that fall into torture test category. A lot of what I have is jazz.

    So far I am happy with it. It sounds more "neutral" than my Technics cartridges, and more tonally accurate.
     
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  18. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Thumbs up here. I ordered two 450s, one for each of my two 80s linear tracking Japanese DD Quartz Lock turntables. We'll see how they do. First thing I'll do when I get it is put the stylus under a microscope to see how the nude mount stylus compares to the same size bonded from A-T. I'm sure nude mount replacement styli are unobtanium; I'm temted to purchase a third; this is a real bargain at this price I think. I wonder where these came from.
     
  19. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    The 450 has a beautifully mounted nude diamond. Yellow as heck, but beautifully and cleanly mounted. Pictures from my monoprice microscope.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As a contrast here is the bonded elliptical ATN3472SE.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Listening tomorrow.
     
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  20. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Update - After some very early listening test...

    Holy crap this cart is the real deal.

    The nude elliptical, as I suspected it would, bests my Pfansteihl bonded hypereliptical. My ultimate sibilance torture test record sounds fair - but not horrible - on this cart. I've never heard this record sound clean on anything but a very expensive Linn turntable at a high end shop that I visited once. My 440MLa (with a worn stylus that needs replacement) betters it, but not by a huge amount, and the 450 may settle in some over the first 50 or so hours of play.

    Overall tonality is much closer to the 440MLa than the 331EP/AT90/etc. that I've been using. Extremely smooth and refined sound here. Meets my expectations which were high.

    Unfortunately the serious listening is going to have to wait. I have a pop fill-in gig that I have to prepare for, which means putting modern pop songs that I'm not that familiar with on repeat play for a couple weeks.
     
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  21. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    The same ebay seller has a lot of ATU4040EP cartridges, which looks like it might be the same as or similar to the AT450, but is currently going for a slightly cheaper price. From the photos it also has a nude stylus.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
    PhilBiker likes this.
  22. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I noticed. I may pick one up!
     
  23. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I ended up ordering a SS445E/U. We'll see. I need some headshells and adapters to easily swap these on my Realistic.
     
  24. jeffmo789

    jeffmo789 Give The Gift of Music!

    Location:
    New England
    Thanks for starting this thread. I thought I was the only member on here that used a simple cart!
     
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  25. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    These look like a slightly older design? Any advantages?
     

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