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Thoughts on the Stanton 681EEE mkIII do in my setup? (and other carts)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by adhoc, Jan 22, 2007.

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  1. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo Thread Starter

    G'day all! :)

    I did a search in the forum archives for high-compliance carts to match my low-mass Infinity Black Widow, which is currently in the process of being mounted on my LP12.

    Anyone have any thoughts on how this cart would match up in my current setup? Unfortunately there are no Stanton dealers in my area so I will not be able to audition prior to a purchase. :(

    Or does anyone have any other suggestions for other carts? I would prefer to go with a MM or a high-output MC. I would also prefer a new stock rather than one which is out of production due to longevity and support issues. Budget? About... say, $450?

    Unlike most members of this forum, I actually listen to vinyl over headphones mostly (as I live in an apartment with pretty strict noise regulations), so a cart that minimises surface noise is a bonus, but not a necessity - I keep my records exceedingly well cleaned.

    I like a strong driving bass - coupled with a 'big' presentation that forum members might describe as being 'warm' and 'having midrange magic'. In other words, I like my music to sound like... well, music. :angel:

    Thanks all in advance for the help! :goodie: :goodie: :goodie:
     
  2. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo Thread Starter

    Perhaps I should mention that a death blow for any cartridge for me would be to display the following traits:

    - sibilance
    - brightness


    ...and to a lesser extent, be a poor tracker.
     
  3. Rolf Erickson

    Rolf Erickson New Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm a big fan of the historic 681 series, I do'nt know what a new one sounds like.

    I just posted a gushing personal review of the 681 type, but only vintange units I heard. I have no experience with the newer units. I love the sound of vintage Stantons. I hope the newest iteration is as good. Anyone else have experience?
     
  4. drh

    drh Talking Machine

    Be sure to have a look, if you haven't already, at the ongoing parallel discussion called "some thoughts on cartridges." At least one user waxed enthusiastic about the Stanton 68X series and suggests looking for a stereohedron stylus. For myself, based on admittedly limited experience, I'm not terribly fond of the Stanton sound, finding it rather "hard" compared to Shure. Alas, the best Shure option (V15-VxMR) is now out of production, so that's not really a lot of help, and cartridges are such a matter of taste that my opinion wouldn't be of much more help even if my experience with Stanton were wider. It really is a shame that cartridges have always been so hard to audition before buying--I can't remember a time when a cartridge change didn't end up being a bit of a gamble for me.
     
  5. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Hi,

    This cartridge will work superbly on your Infinity Black Widow. Get yourself a NY made example with a true Stereohedron Line Contact stylus. Try KAB USA for this. The Florida made styli are only ellipticals. The bass is excellent, the mids and highs are nice. Tracking ability is superb. Not too expensive either. Your only other option in MM cartridges is to get an Audio-Technica AT 440 MLa or the other more expensive one. This too will work fine on your Infinity but won't have that bass quality.
     
  6. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC, USA
    That was me. Mine specifically is a 680 cartridge (functionally the same as the 681 -- I believe the 681 was sold as the hi-fi model while the 680 was the DJ model, even though they were the same cart body with different styli). I found two of the D6800EEE MkII-S styli as NOS on eBay. These are the stereohedron styli, manufactured in the NY facility -- they have since moved to Florida and there have been some complaints that their quality control is not what it used to be.

    My recommendation per the 681 is to e-mail or call Kevin Barrett at KABUSA. He knows these carts well. http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/stantonhifi.htm He's currently selling a custom model with a Stereohedron stylus (looks like the Pickering stylus from the pic -- the Stantons and Pickerings are cross-compatible on several models): http://www.kabusa.com/681D11S.htm

    Ask Kevin -- he is truly one of the good, straight up guys in the analog hi-fi world. He may be able to tell you more about what to expect from this cart on your rig.

    Truer words have not been spoken. It can really be a crapshoot out there getting the right match with your table/arm/phono stage.
     
  7. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC, USA
    Hi Kent! Didn't see your post before I finished mine. Great minds think alike. Or is it like minds think they're great? ;)
     
  8. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo Thread Starter

    Keep the posts coming guys!

    FWIW though - how does the 681 EEE-S stack up to the (now out of production) 881S?

    And could someone give me a quick explanation why the 'stereohedron' stylus is 'better'? Is this a particular profile that is similar to the 'microridge/microline' type styluses?
     
  9. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Hi,

    The 881S is also an excellent cartridge. It has a different sound. More neutral. The True Stereohedron stylus is a line contact design and the new Florida made 681 stylus is merely an elliptical. Quality control on the new ones is less good. I like the 681 sound better, especially the bass and midrange which are magic. The Stereohedron was one of the early line contact designs and predated Shure's use of Hyperelliptical styli and the MicroRidge stylus.
     
  10. creativepart

    creativepart Forum Resident

    I would look on Ebay for the guy that pretty routinely sells NEW ADC XLM II cartridges. They are high compliance and great sounding carts. The guy that sells them routinely sells them for $75 or so and I believe he ships world wide.

    I bought one and it's a wonderful sounding, great tracking MM cartridge. These were highly sought after in the late 1980s. And super expensive back then too.

    Also, if you want to hear about another SUPER sounding high compliance cart from the 1980's is the Audio Technica DR500LC. There is a guy on Ebay selling these NOS as well. I bought one of them too for $70 and it's definately a great cartridge. It is easily equal to an $800 cartridge today. In fact the price in the 1980's was nearly $400.

    Links to these guys:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ADC-XLM-ll-PHON...ryZ64620QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Audio-Technica-...ryZ64620QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    (This is the seller of the DR500LC he has some every week or so usually. This is for a DR400e which is like the 500 but with a plastic body instead of a metal body and an eliptical stylis instead of a line contact stylis)
     
  11. Tim S

    Tim S Senior Member

    Location:
    East Tennessee
    I could not agree more, except to add that I was really surprised how much I disliked the 881. It indeed has a "more neutral" sound, and to my ears that translated into lifeless. I didn't hate it, but it just didn't have the 681 sound - colored though it is. It just happens to be a color I find REALLY appealing. The stereohedron stylus does nothing to change that character that I love, it just puts a "finesse" on the top end that makes the overall package that much better.
     
  12. gymrome@msn.com

    gymrome@msn.com New Member

    Stanton 681EEE

    I had a 681EEE back in the 1970's. It was considered a high compilance cartridge back then, I'm not familiar with the MKIII version. I was a bit unhappy with the 681 EEE's tracking ability and the overall sound, which I thought lacked detail. I switched to the Shure V15 Type 3 Microridge. The Shure tracked like a champ at 1 gram, but still had a warmish, if not soft presentation. I decided that perhaps a moving magnet design was not what I wanted. Soon afterwards, when digital audio hit the market, I dropped out of LP's to concentrate on rebuilding my system with a digital front end. Last year I was cleaning up my listening room and took notice of all the LP's I have that were just collecting dust. I decided to revisit them. I still had the Shure mounted in my turntable system... after years of hearing digital reproduction, my LP's sounded dated, at best. A friend thought that the Shure may have seen it's better days... perhaps helped along by 20 years of non use. I purchased a Dynavector 10X5, a high output moving coil design. There was a great improvement in what I heard and remember hearing! Sure, those poorly recorded LP's still sound poor, but the good ones sound great. I have several CD/LP duplicates and it's about a 50/50 split which format sounds best. I wouldn't suggest anything less than the 10X5 or another cartridge of equal quality. I am using a 1973 vintage AR turntable with a 1973 vintage Linn LV X tone arm. I track at 1.9 grams flawlessly, from beginning to end.. yes even those nasty inner grooves. I hope this is helpful.
     
  13. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC, USA
    On a nice rig, this cart tends to push surface noise to the background. A nice effect.

    If I were going the Stanton route, I'd also try to find a conical stylus (the D6807A) in addition to the Stereohedron. You may find for some records that the conical is quieter, albeit less detaily. When I do needle-drops on worn records, the conical tends to be quieter in the surface-noise department, although I wouldn't call the sterehedron stylus noisy. Always nice to have options. :righton:
     
  14. Rolf Erickson

    Rolf Erickson New Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Check the "thoughts on Carts" thread, I gave a unsolicited rave about the 681E series

    I love the "Lush" type of sound the 681 gives. Highly enjoyable. If it's colored, and I am Shure it is, color me up... Makes my old LP's sound the way I want them to. Full and yet clear, not distorted in any way I don't like. And not costing a fortune from your wallet. I am speaking about the 1970's vintage types I have heard and used, I hope the new ones sound as good. But I don't know.

    Also in respect of ADC carts: In another thread some discussion of "Demagnetizing" carts was occuring, and I want people to know the ADC uses an "Induced Magnet" design in which the magnet cannot be removed from the cart shell. So if you use a demag-er on it, it will likely damage the performance to a great degree.. Don't demag the ADC. (And I don't recommend demag on Any cart anyway, I see little to zero point to it, and quite a danger of wrecking MM carts, DON'T DO IT)
     
  15. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo Thread Starter

    Hmmm - while I did mention that I was adverse to an over-excited top end, I do enjoy some detail. Does the 681 EEE slice off the top end completely? How is it for detail retrieval compared to, say, the v15VxMR? Or perhaps a M97xE? Or an AT440MLA?

    Finally, anyone have any tips to offer for impedance/capacitance matching with the 681EEE? Any special requirements?
     
  16. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC, USA
    No, no, no, no, no! It delivers fine detail -- silky detail -- especially if you get one of the stereohedron styli.

    It's not that the high end is de-emphasized, it's that the low end and the lower mids are emphasized. Full and rich, detail without being sparkly bright.

    Like Rolf said, if it's a "color," it's a really nice one.
     
  17. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo Thread Starter

    Thanks again bangsezmax.

    I think you guys might just have sold me on this cartridge! :righton: My only worry right now is that there might be a little bit of an... well, overkill of 'warmth' with my LP12, but we'll see I guess. ;)


    OT:
    Kent, I read a post in the archives where you mentioned that you own(ed?) an Infinity Black Widow. Would you happen to know the effective mass of this arm? I hear figures ranging from 4 to 7 grammes. The manual is no help. Help! :help:
     
  18. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Hi,

    The effective mass on the Infinity Black Widow tone arm is 6 grams. This is according to the setup manual. The 681 EEE-S Mk II and Mk III track superbly on this arm. Mine is mounted on a Technics SP 15 Mk II turntable.
     
  19. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo Thread Starter

    Would you mind pointing me to the exact page where this is mentioned? I have chaps over at the Asylum claiming a 3.5g effective mass for the BW.

    Also, FWIW, is your BW equipped with SME type mounting or the Rega/Linn one? Mine's the latter, and it's pretty... rare, no?

    You've been a great guy Kent, thanks for all the help thus far! :D
     
  20. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Hi,

    My Infinity Black Widow is in SME mounting. I think the spec for effective mass is in the back page of the manual. My manual is newer than my arm and the mass listed here is probably the Rega version's. A fellow who worked for Infinity told me that the original version was 2.5 grams effective mass and the mass was made heavier later on to accommodate MC cartridges.
     
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