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Technics Turntable P – Mount Cartridges Advice?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ZB79, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. ZB79

    ZB79 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fountain Valley
    Turntable P – Mount Cartridges Advice?

    Acquired a Technics SL B35 Turntable that need a little TLC. (cleaned, belt replaced, lubed, calibrated)

    I know this is a budget table and I’m not looking to compete with a 1200 but ,

    What recommendations do the turntable veterans have ,to make this one sing better!

    It’s got an AT90, which sounds adequate and the stylus is in great shape, but I’m going to purchase a replacement to have a spare.

    I know P mounts are somewhat limited but any advice?

    Cheers.
     
    eyewanders likes this.
  2. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    Someone at another forum turned me on to the AT AT450 with the nude elliptical stylus (there are two versions). It replaced my original Technics cart with a replacement stylus on my mid-80's SL-QL1. It was a noticeable improvement from what was on there (mostly due to the stylus IMO). However, they are long out of production. There was an ebay seller who had loads of them but it looks like they are now sold out. I ended up buying one and then two more just to have the stylus. If you can find one, they're great for P-Mount tables.
     
  3. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
  4. ZB79

    ZB79 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fountain Valley
    Thanks, I'll keep my eye out on that one.
     
  5. ZB79

    ZB79 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fountain Valley
    I"ve read some of the reviews on these, care to elaborate on some of the models?
     
    avanti1960 likes this.
  6. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Get a P-Mount Ortofon body and a Stylus 30, which would result in a combination that is close to the Ortofon 2M Bronze.
     
    AudioEnz, McLover and anorak2 like this.
  7. The Dragon

    The Dragon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, AL
    Keep a watch on the auction site for these. If you are patient, some very interesting P-mount cartridges show up from time-to-time. I saw a Shure M96LT on there last week. That is a very nice cartridge with a .2 x .7 mil nude elliptical stylus. I also saw a few of the Audio Technica 312EP moving coil cartridges recently. You would need a phono preamp with a gain setting for a moving coil though.

    I would stay away from Grado P-mounts. They require an extra .5 gram of tracking force - and I have never, ever been impressed with any of the Grado P-mount offerings.
     
    ZB79 and Rad Dudeski like this.
  8. The Dragon

    The Dragon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, AL
    Just a quick look on the auction site

    ADC PSX-30
    Shure RXT-5
    Shure DT-25P
    Pickering TL-3
    Pickering XL-33U
    Technics P128
    Stanton 747S
     
    ZB79 likes this.
  9. eyewanders

    eyewanders Forum Resident

    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
    ZB79 likes this.
  10. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    i had the gold p-mount and it sounded very nice.
     
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  11. anorak2

    anorak2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Ortofon OMP/OMT 10, or ideally 20. Problem Ortofon don't make them any more, so used models are priced their weight in gold. If you don't come across one I'd go whatever Audio Technica currently offers, but I don't have experience with those.
     
    ZB79 likes this.
  12. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bergen County, NJ
    Lots of great advice given here to the OP. I will say this once again in regards to the aftermarket styli available via LP Gear etc. Make sure they actually conform to T4P Spec. I have been through a lot of these offerings and sometimes the cantilever lengths are 1-2MM longer than T4P spec, which is 20mm length from the rear of the cartridge to the diamond tip. I wish I could find my notes, but the measurements were all over the place. I recall the Elliptical and Hyper Elliptical offerings for the Technics "P" series carts (e.g. P28 etc) were all too long.

    The Audio Technica VS w/ Shibata Stlyus and the Jico SAS for the Shure M92E measured exactly 20MM. The latter is the absolute best sounding combo on my Technics SL-M3.
     
    ZB79 likes this.
  13. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Not long ago I found a Shure M105ed on the auction site for a reasonable price. The box had never been opened. And more recently I bought a Shure DT15P with what I believe is a N12 stylus new in box on the site. The N12 seems like a very nice stylus, but haven't mounted it yet.
     
    ZB79 likes this.
  14. ZB79

    ZB79 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fountain Valley
    how do you cross reference styluses with different cartridges?
     
  15. ZB79

    ZB79 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fountain Valley
    Great advice, thanks.
     
    johnny q likes this.
  16. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    ZB79 likes this.
  17. ZB79

    ZB79 Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fountain Valley
    timind likes this.
  18. eyewanders

    eyewanders Forum Resident

    Just by visual sight and listed specifications. AT's vast cartridge array is huge and I know of no site that properfly cross-references the many combinations. That stylus type (ATN3472) is common across many of them, e.g. AT90, AT92, AT311 etc.. There are generator differences between them generally, later one's have better freq response, differences in voltage outputs, etc..

    If in doubt, purchase the cart-combo from LP Gear. The AT90 is one of the older types and does have a narrower freq response, but I'd wager that few setups with this table will be able to realize those differences. In most cases, those with gear that is revealing enough to make a difference are not looking at SL-B35.
     
  19. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Big issues. Genuine stylus support. T4p mount gives you NO wiggle room. Many aftermarket styli which require more tracking force than genuine, easily gets you outside T4p mount compliance. The specifications from Panasonic/Technics is 6 grams mass, 1.25 grams tracking force. Many cartridges are adapted from 1/2" mount designs. Grado being one. At present, Jico's Shure styli are the most consistent, reliable aftermarket, so I can recommend a Shure. Audio-Technica's another recommended brand of cartridge for a T4p mount application, Jico does great styli for those.
     
  20. The Dragon

    The Dragon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, AL
    Some P-mount turntables do allow for some tracking force adjustment. However, the T4P standard specified 1.25 grams exactly. The Technics linear tracking models offered adjustment of +/- 0.5 grams. While some of the pivoting arms offered a slightly wider range. Some, like the lower end model (SL-BD20 and similar), did not offer user adjustment of tracking force. However, these can be adjusted with a little creativity by moving the spring capture screw back and forth and checking with a scale. Some even offer adjustable anti-skate. The point is to not take for granted that a particular cartridge will meet the T4P standard. Always check to make sure the VTF is correct.

    There were some outstanding cartridges made for the T4P standard. The Shure V15LT is one of my favorites. The M96LT and M97LT are very nice too. On the Audio Technica side of the house, the AT155LC/U is outstanding. The Technics EPC-310MC is an excellent low output moving coil that made its debut on the SL-10 linear tracking turntable. The Technics moving magnet cartridges are excellent as well. JICO make a super analog stylus for these that elevate their performance to the max. One of my favorites is the ADC-PSX40 moving iron cartridge. Also the Pickering XL-33U or Stanton 747S. Both have a Stereohedron stylus. But Grado. This is one brand that I truly wanted to like. I just cannot find any reason to. If they don't hum because of proximity to drive motors, they can't track very well because of the low quality styli. Then there is the frequency response. Every Grado P-mount I have ever tried has sounded so rolled off in the high frequencies that it sounded like someone threw a blanket over my speakers. I suppose this is an aquired taste.

    Enough of my p-mount rambling for now...
     
  21. AudioEnz

    AudioEnz Forum Resident

    One reason I usually recommend the Ortofon OM p-mount cartridges is stylus availability. And not just for today. There are so many OM cartridges out in the world that I am certain that styli for them will still be available in 5, 10 or 20 years time. For your turntable an OM cartridge with the 10 or 20 stylus should be great.
     
  22. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    How many of those cartridges are available today, none are. How many have genuine or really close aftermarket options available. Shure is about it. I love Stanton and Pickering more than all but a very tiny minority of people do. But the aftermarket styli are still not up to what Jico does for Shure owners. If T4p was really as awesome as many think it is, then maybe it would still be supported and in production today. Grado and Audio-Technica are the only 2 companies who currently manufacture any new cartridges for the mount. And T4p mount is also the exact opposite of what cartridges are today, which is mostly medium mass, and 1.8-2 grams tracking force. T4p mount is on borrowed time, as it is replacement aka renewal market only.
     
  23. eyewanders

    eyewanders Forum Resident

    You'll find plenty of semi-doomsday naysayers about in regard to T4p...

    P-mount/T4p tables, it is and always was true, do not have as many available options, up-down-forward-or-sideways in a number of ways, as do standard 1/2-inch mounts. If you want to tinker and half plenty to do and plenty try, stick with standard. But P-Mount was always about ease and convenience first, not configurability options and top-tier fidelity. If you just want a capable table (often at very bargain prices) there's not a thing wrong with many of the T4P tables still around, and there are enough very capable cartridges new, and heaps of used (cartridges last, stylii do not) which can be fitted with replacement stylii; many of those replacements are far better than what a given table/cartridge came with new, as-standard, and could be more than good enough for a large number of record lovers.

    There are a vast number of audiophiles and music lovers that spend considerable amounts of time and money and legitimate effort on this hobby, but please don't allow some of the comments about the deprecated nature of P-mount/T4P convince you that it isn't at all worthwhile. It absolutely can be, and if owning one leads someone to even more capable tables down the road, so be it - that's fantastic - but it doesn't presuppose that some incredibly good sound can't come from a P-mount, or that it's a hassle-filled dead-end. Some might be happy enough with P-mount indefinitely as a main table, or as 2nd/backup player.

    This entire format, in all its iterations, has been on borrowed time for two decades or more. Considering the movement of the last decade, there's still plenty of time left.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
    Cronverc likes this.
  24. The Dragon

    The Dragon Forum Resident

    Location:
    Madison, AL
    Borrowed time? I think not. There are plenty of used p-mount cartridges available. I also see new or NOS p-mount cartridges very frequently on the auction site. As well as new, NOS, or third party replacement styli. Maybe not as much variety as regular old 1/2 inch models, but certainly plenty of options.

    T4P turntables are not manufactured anymore. Yep, I think we got that. T4p did not catch on permanently because the T4P standard was introduced around the same time Compact Discs were introduced. It was doomed from the start. However, there is nothing wrong with the design in general. The turntable market simply could not support two different cartridge standards in the long term.

    The OP has a nice quality p-mount belt drive turntable. He is exploring his cartridge options. There certainly is nothing wrong with p-mount tables. In fact, I would prefer a nice Technics p-mount turntable to one of new "entry level" tables offered today. They have real gimbaled tonearms of high quality and excellent drive quality/performance. Quite a few high end models were also produced and are still in use today. In addition to my standard 1/2 inch cartridge turntables, I have several very nice p-mount tables along with some pretty nice cartridges.
     
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  25. eyewanders

    eyewanders Forum Resident

    Yes to all of this. My SL-7 (with 3 different stylus options I picked up over the past 9 years for AT311, and 3 different one for a Orto TM, one of them replaced twice with the same stylus 4 years apart) kicks the pants off a modern AT and a Fluance I had in the house for about 6 months. I've had some pretty subpar 80s tables as well, but all of even those were still running strong and sounded just as good as most of the new budget models from Hanpin and such.
     

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