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Why AT charges more for different advanced stylus profiles - An Answer

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by patient_ot, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Koizumi says there are striking price differences between the stylus models, which are due to the suppliers and are simply passed through to the end-user, a view confirmed by Audio-Technica’s competitors.

    Quote from an interview/article with YOSUKE KOIZUMI, AUDIO-TECHNICA

    Link here:

    Stereo Magazine

    The article has some subjective reviews of each stylus at the end as well as a rough FR chart for the ML, Shibata, and the SLC.

    TLDR there is more aggressive frequency peaking at the top end on the SH and SLC. Any of them can probably be flattened out a bit with careful loading.
     
  2. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    Good article, thank you for sharing.

    I also liked the the article on 180 gram LP's.
     
  3. shadowlord

    shadowlord Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austria
    interesting read, thank you for sharing.
    owning both a AT microline and shibata stylus, i slightly prefer the shibata one.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  4. Nick Brook

    Nick Brook Forum Resident

    Location:
    Yorkshire, UK.
    That was an excellent article on stylus shapes .
    Thanks for the link.
     
  5. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Hometheaterhifi came to the same conclusion. The ML is objectively as good, or better, than the SLC. This article adds the shibata to that. I love my vm740ml and have zero desire to try the others.
     
    Heckto35 and patient_ot like this.
  6. That link is bad: I believe this is the same article.
     
    Soundslave and patient_ot like this.
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Thanks, didn't check it - must have died.
     
    snorker likes this.
  8. Of course the reviewer’s description still suggests the most expensive tip — the VLC —is the best. Oh well. :rolleyes:
     
    Heckto35 and patient_ot like this.
  9. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Yeah, of course, how could they not!!!! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

    Anyway, I don't pay the reviewer much attention, main point was for the quote from the AT rep. People can just look at the patent docs and see the evolution in advanced styli there.
     
    Heckto35 and snorker like this.
  10. awizard

    awizard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massacusetts
    This thread is pretty useless without a link that works!
     
    Leonthepro likes this.
  11. WntrMute2

    WntrMute2 Forum Resident

    What I want to know is how the hell do they grind those facets at all?
     
    Heckto35 likes this.
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Laser cutting, IIRC.
     
    McLover likes this.
  13. WntrMute2

    WntrMute2 Forum Resident

    But didn't we have styli with complex shapes before laser was employed for things like that?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  14. VinylSoul

    VinylSoul Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lake Erie
    Diamond grinders and jigs, just like gemstones. Laser is used to narrow the diamond and form the microline.
     
    MusicNBeer and patient_ot like this.
  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Makes sense. Some gemstones are pretty tiny...
     
    MusicNBeer likes this.
  16. I posted the new link above. @Leonthepro, see here:

    Stereo Magazine
     
    patient_ot and Leonthepro like this.
  17. awizard

    awizard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Massacusetts
    Thank you!
     
  18. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I know these are pretty closely guarded trade secrets but I sure would love to see that process.
     
    patient_ot and Heckto35 like this.
  19. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    There was also another test a couple years ago at TNT with a panel of 4 seasoned listeners that I think somewhat favored the Shibata and SLC presentation versus the ML and other line contact shapes, though I guess the SLC also brings with it a laser modified cantilever that probably amounts to lower tip mass.

    [Listening test] Audibility of stylus profiles


    BTW, if you've never visited the Namiki site, which I think is who makes all the AT stylus/cantilever assemblies, there's a lot of good info there, and below is their microridge rendering showing the "shark fin" contact area in good detail... I think they still consider it their top cut, but hard to say for sure, it has the advantage of not changing profile much as it wears, so sounds much the same from beginning to end of life ...



    [​IMG]
     
    Heckto35 likes this.
  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I do think that AT gets most of their stuff from Namiki. It's pretty obvious once you start digging into all that. However, I think the SLC may be something else, namely an Ogura shape. Of course I can't prove that, but the dimensions are close. AT won't say what the SLC really is. SLC is just a marketing term of course.

    SLC = 0.28 x 1.5 mil

    Vital Polyhedron/Ogura = 0.3 x 1.6 mil

    Could just be rounding differences...of course Ogura has a few shapes on offer also and typically lists dimensions in um not mils.
     
    Heckto35 likes this.
  21. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    At the TNT link, they conjecture it is Namki based on the similarities to the Shure Micro Ridge, though it sounds like you may have done more research than their cursory comparisons, I don't really know, but seems to make sense that they would use Namiki, I'm sure they will grind whatever you want, albeit for a price ...

    The SLC Special Line Contact (borrowing a classic Mercedes model designation) looks similar to the Shure Micro Ridge in shape (from the brochure illustrations of each), in which case both may be supplied by Namiki (who supplied Shure). One might therefore infer a profile suited to working in a magnetic cartridge environment. It does. The SLC also features a better, laser-cut, version of the tapered aluminium cantilever, introducing another variable. Overall this profile is tonally darker than the Shibata, while enjoying all the Shibata benefits of resolution. The SLC achieves a quieter background and much better portrayal of acoustic information than the Shibata.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
    Heckto35 likes this.
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    The ML is a Namiki Microridge. There have been a few iterations of the MR. The SLC is a fatter stylus, so either they went back to an earlier MR shape (doubtful but possible) or it's something else entirely. The dimension of the current MR listed on Namiki's website don't seem to match up with the SLC.
     
  23. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Here's an old diagram I found that should settle things a little:

    [​IMG]

    You can see the "line contact" has no peak/fin like the MR/ML. Without that peak, it cannot be an MR/ML.

    Now, if you convert the mil dimensions that AT provides to um you get dimension that correspond closely with the "line contact" profile in the middle of the diagram. Where AT buys it from (e.g. Ogura, Namiki, someone else?) I can't say with certainty. I can only guess. But it's definitely not an ML/MR. It's a fatter, older style of "line contact".
     
    Heckto35 likes this.
  24. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    No, not the current Namiki MicroRidge, the one used in the old Shure V15 cartridge, it was closer to 4 μ so thicker than the modern one Namiki makes. Anyway, as I said above, you are probably closer to right. It looks like the standard Line Contact in the major radius, but with a narrower contact area, so starts to take the shape of the MicroRidge.
     
    Heckto35 and patient_ot like this.
  25. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Gotcha yeah, amazing how they were able to make the thing thinner and thinner over the years. I still haven't found anything that traces the inner grooves quite as well so I prefer it personally over other profiles, provided the stylus is mounted to a decent suspension and not an overly stiff one that impedes tracking and tracing. I realize not everyone has the same priorities as I do with this stuff...
     

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