Conical vs Elliptical Stylus....

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Tetrack, Jan 20, 2005.

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  1. Tetrack

    Tetrack Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    About Conical/Spherical & standard Elliptical only.

    What do you think is best in general for regular playback of LPs/45s, good condition & worn?.

    I am using a Goldring Elan cartridge, which is conical. I also have a spare Elliptical Elektra stylus from another cartridge.
    The Elan/Elektra share the same body/output, but i find the Conical Elan sounds best, better/higher output for some reason. The Elektra has probably had about the same amount of use, so it is not a worn tip.

    I know elliptical tips are meant to produce better high frequency, but at the expense of greater record wear. The Conical tip giving less wear & being better for worn records/45s.

    What is your take?. :)
     
  2. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I use an elliptical styus but the turntable I have does have weight adjustment and I don't notice much wear on my LPs when I use it. If I were to buy another cartridge, I'd go conical as I do have a removable headshell and would use that in most situations.
     
  3. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    If I had to choose between only a spherical or an elliptical stylus, well, I don't think I could. ;)

    I'd go with a spherical tip for playing beat-up records. And I'd use an elliptical tip, like the .2 x .7 mil stylus on the Shure M97xE, and track it lightly for records already in great shape. :thumbsup:

    This is moving beyond the parameters of this thread but the .15 x 3.0 mil stylus on the Shure V15 V-MR is the best I've heard for records with groove damage. I have a handful of LPs and 45s that were worn-out years ago on cheap turntables using spherical or elliptical styli and the MicroRidge stylus really gets down below all that damage and distortion. Those same records are unlistenable with a basic elliptical stylus, merely okay with a MicroLine stylus (like on the Audio-Technica 440ML), but surprisingly good with the MR stylus. Of course, some are beyond help but that's to be expected.
     
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  4. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    Ocdman:

    I use THREE carts and styli among two TTs. For my prize LPs i use a Shure M97XE with elliptical stylus and it sounds wonderful.

    For my "other" TT, I use a Shure M44 with a conical stylus for worn Lps and all my 45s. Tracked at a slightly heavier weight, this really puts a firm plant in the groove and gives the best fidelity on worn records. The difference can be amazing.

    Note: I collect 45's on the "HIT" Ripoff Label from the 1960s. I have around 900 titles , most of them in crappy shape. The Shure M44 and conical stylus work WONDERS on these disks. I strongly recommend this combo to anyone who wants to transfer 45s to digital.....DONT use a elliptical, you wont get good results.

    Oh yes, my third cart is the Shure with special stylus for 78s only. Sounds great even on trashed 78s. Between that and Adobe Audition, its how I bring lost sounds back to life.
     
  5. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I don't play worn out discs, I throw them in the trash. An elliptical is perfect for me.
     
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  6. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I don't like those primitive shapes. I prefer Line Contact or Weintz Parabolic, or one of the more modern shapes. I'm with BradOlson - if the disc is no good, throw it out.
     
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  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    If you have a giant 45 RPM record collection then you need a conical to play the styrene pressings. Nothing else will work without cutting a new groove in your old record.
     
  8. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    So true!!!!
     
  9. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I have more LPs than I do 45s but my work may supply me with a Stanton STR8-80 that I will keep by my computer and that even comes with a DJ Craze cartridge and conical stylus.
     
  10. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks for the positive info on this cartridge. I've been meaning to pick one of these up but haven't got around to it. Is this the M44-7 model? The one that can track up to 3 grams with an output of something like 9mv? I know Shure also has a variation that tracks lighter and has a lesser output voltage but I feel the heavier tracker is best.

    Out of curiosity, what's the Stanton equivalent of the M44? Hey Bradley, where are you? :)
     
  11. Tetrack

    Tetrack Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    Thanks for your responses. I was considering the M44-7 too. Good for general listening use?.
     
  12. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    guys, the "new" M44-7 is a Dj cart that can track as high as 3 grams.

    What i use is an older model that was for many years considered Shures most "musical" cart. For digital transfer of 45s and worn Lps, i have found the combination of that and conical stylus to be just right.

    Hope this helps!

    Mikey
     
  13. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    So can anybody who really knows explain why a conical stylus will track some records great, and some horribly? I'm not talking about condition, I'm talking about...okay, here's a real world example. I have two LPs on black Atlantic. Play both with my Shure V15 V-MR and they sound okay, but somewhat noisy. Then play one with a 1 mil conical Pickering and it sounds GREAT. Play the other with the conical and it sounds like it's mistracking all over the place, and the sound has a muddiness to it. I notice this a lot; some discs the conical kicks butt over the elliptical, but surprisingly it's not always that way.

    Different groove widths? Different wear? Different music (One is jazz, the other R&B)?
     
  14. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    Dude, thats gotta be record wear. Sometimes, the wear is just impossible to plow thru for decent sound.
     
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  15. Tetrack

    Tetrack Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    I know it's listed as a DJ cart, but the Shure blurb says it's revived exactly as the original. The user guide even lists different set ups - Hi-Fi/DJ/Extreme DJ.... :confused:


    http://www.needlz.com/cartridges/m44-7.asp
     
  16. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    That was going to be my next question. So is it "revived exactly the same as the original" as Shure says or not? And how about that M35X cartridge? Hmm, I think it's time to email Shure. :laugh:
     
  17. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    Ocdman:

    I truly believe the older, original Shure M44 carts have a warmer sound. It may be the materials used in the 80s that are no longer used, but if you had a choice, I'd go for an original. Works wonders for me.
     
  18. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    I've had experiences just like the one you're describing. I've found it to be a hit or miss thing with a conical tip, although it's been a while since I've had a cartridge with that type of tip. I don't know if it's a problem that your stylus is 1 mil and not 0.7 mil but I'll explain it the way it's been explained to me in the past...so guys don't hang me if this is not quite right. :) There can probably be other factors involved but here goes.

    The Shure's MR stylus is riding so deep in the groove that it's getting under any old damage, so it sounds okay on both LPs, but it's also getting into some ground-in noise down in the groove. Now with the Pickering on the great-sounding LP, the stylus is riding above any groove damage (if there's any in the first place), so it also sounds okay...or great in this case. But the other LP may have been worn-out or damaged in such a way that, while the Shure can get below it, the Pickering just rides right through the damage and therefore sounds pretty bad just like Mikey said. There's also the possibility that the Pickering may actually be mistracking because the record contains levels it just can't handle. This has to be a major reason why the pros who transfer a lot of LPs and 45s to digital always have a variety of styli on hand.

    FWIW, your Shure really isn't an elliptical stylus in the traditional sense. An elliptical stylus is usually .4 x .7 to .2 x .7 mils, while the MR stylus is .15 x 3.0 mils. Shure used to make a hyper-elliptical stylus which was .2 x 1.5 mils.
     
  19. OcdMan

    OcdMan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks. I'll do some checking with Shure to see what they recommend as something comparable. But I'll probably just end up scouring eBay. :)
     
  20. RetroSmith

    RetroSmith Forum Hall Of Fame<br>(Formerly Mikey5967)

    Location:
    East Coast
    Ocdman:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that explanation. Remember that if the LP was played with a badly damaged needle, those gouges will be hard to get around.

    I've got a Gary Lewis Lp that was damaged this way and tho it doesnt LOOK all that bad, its a lost cause. total distortion of the music.
     
  21. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    That makes sense, and I'm glad to hear somebody else having the same epxerience. I still can't help but wonder, though, if groove width and/or pitch has anything to do with it as well. Either way, having more than one kind of stylus really helps if you love your records like we obviously do. :)
     
  22. electrode10101

    electrode10101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    I too use the M44-7 for playback of some 45's and LP's (I'm a real cartridge nut, and have about 15 carts regularly available at my "dubbing" turntable), and I find that some well worn discs sound better with the N44C stylus. This unit is often used in juke boxes, tracks a bit heavier, 3 - 5 grams, and seems to pull more signal out of the noise than the N447 stylus. I track it at 3.5 grams on my Technics 1200, and it really helps some of those worn out discs.

    I agree about the older cart bodies. I'm using some M44 bodies, circa late 1970's, and they are a different beast from the current issue.

    The Stanton equivalent is the 500 series. There are many styli available including one for 78's. I use these occasionally; it all depends on the record.

    Another cart I like for older, less worn records, is the Shure M95G, which uses a 0.6mil conical and tracks well at 1.5grams. Nice warm sound. Tracks great. You can find them on ebay now and then for about $25.
     
  23. How do you differentiate the "old" Shure M44 from the "new" ones? I see a bunch of these on ebay but they're all advertized as DJ cartridges. Must be the new ones.
     
  24. Damián

    Damián Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Spain now
    Here's an idea: search for an M55E, not an M44. Unlike the M44, the M55E (same body, different stylus) hasn't been revived, so you should come up with only old ones. The cartridge body is a faded brown color.

    I have one, got a new stylus for it (the N55E elliptical stylus, still in production after 40 years), and it sounds very good. Lovely midrange. You can fit any of the N44 series styli to it, of course.

    Here's one: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=64620&item=5745305502&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW#ebayphotohosting
     
  25. Thanks Damian! I'll keep an eye on that auction. :righton:
     
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