Which Shure should get the SAS?

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johnnywalker
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Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by johnnywalker » 04 May 2013 14:09

If choosing between the two carts below, which would you provide a Jico SAS stylus?

1. M94E, presently using an N97xE stylus.

2. M95ED, presently using a Jico non-SAS N95ED stylus.

The M94/N97 cart sounds decent, but kind of blah. The M95 with the Jico stylus sounds much better than it should - up front, balanced, and exciting. But it doesn't treat vocals as well as I'd like.

If you were going to spend the bucks for a Jico SAS stylus, which one of these would you buy it for?

bauzace50
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by bauzace50 » 04 May 2013 16:23

Hi,
I have one JICO SAS on one M97xe, with very good results.
Although I do not know your Shure models, I would verify the specs of each one, and choose the one with the coils with lowest inductance and resistance.

Regards and best wishes,
bauzace50

johnnywalker
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by johnnywalker » 04 May 2013 17:40

Thanks, b50! I have checked the figures, and it appears that most Shures are very close. For the DC resistance, a figure of 1550 ohms seems to cover most, and the inductance figure seems to be around 650 mH (for instance, your M97 is 650 mH and 1550 ohms, while my M94 is 655 mH and 1550 ohms).

Out of curiosity (I'm looking at this as an educational opportunity), what is the reasoning behind your advice?

And how would you characterize the sound of your SAS stylus? How does it treat high frequencies; could it be characterized as bright?

bauzace50
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by bauzace50 » 04 May 2013 20:35

johnnywalker,

The following comments apply to coils in Moving Magnet/ Moving Iron cartridges. They do not necessarily apply to Moving Coils in the manner explained below.

The reason I would prefer lower coil resistance and inductance (in a Moving Magnet cartridge) is that both coil characteristics result directly from the number of turns in the coil (AND the thickness of the coil wire, but that complicates the explanation).

All other things being equal, the lower number of turns will:

-1- make the cartridge less reactive to differences in tonearm cables to the preamp.
-2- allow electrical response to a higher top frequency.
-3- promote a milder reaction to electrical resonances (ie-electrical resonances will probably have a milder peak, or "lower Q", as they describe resonance peaks).

Relatively "low" coil specifications could run around 400 mH inductance, and 500 Ohm resistance. BUT the more important result is the frequency response "flatness", the other two are more pertinent to making design choices.

There is one peculiarity of all Grado cartridges, which have typically few coil turns, with resulting low resistance and inductance. Their results indicate better ELECTRICAL compatibility with a wider range of tonearms and preamps.

BUT THERE IS ANOTHER PIECE TO THE PUZZLE: the frequency response of the cantilever/tip system. ALL CANTILEVER SYSTEMS (MC or MM or MI or even ceramic, etc.) have two resonant points:

LOW FREQUENCY RESONANCE around 10 Hz, which is a function of the reaction between Cartride/Tonearm-Effective-Mass, with cartridge suspension, AND:

TREBLE RESONANCE which is a function of the "effective moving mass" of the cantilever (plus stylus shape) reacting with the vinyl groove. Typically around 17 KHz, or into 45 KHz in cartridges with very low 'effective tip mass".

Thus, a sophisticated Cantilever System with physical response into 45 KHz will be allowed to pass electrically by a coil with sufficiently low resistance and inductance.

DISCLAIMER: this is a simplification, but generally descriptive of "what's going on in there", and useful for "informed purchasing decisions".

Reply to your second question:

I am very happy with my JICO SAS in the M97xE. It is like a different cartridge altogether, with full audible treble response extending down to a stronger upper midrange. This is in direct comparison with the stock M97xE which shows a slight rolloff starting at the upper midrange. But I keep the SAS and Stock styli because they are both useful to me, depending on the treble balance of different recordings.

Excuse the verbiage, but hope it helps,
bauzace50

LPM
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by LPM » 05 May 2013 04:35

I don’t have an M94 so I can’t really answer your specific question but I do have 3 Shure cartridges with SAS styli, an M91, M95 and M97xE and they all do sound a bit different (in my set up). All have about the same hours on them as I swap them around every month or so. To keep my impressions in context, my system loading is fixed at 47k and capacitance is approximately 260pf so quite ideal for the M97xE but below what Shure recommends (400 to 500pf) for the stock 91 and 95.

Of the 3, the M97xE SAS is IMO the most detailed and accurate and quite an excellent sounding cartridge, exactly how bauzace described it. My favourite by a small margin however is the M91 SAS. Compared to the 97, it is not completely neutral with the base and highs a touch strong relative to the mids. It does give an exciting, fun, clean and detailed sound though. However and for whatever reason, the M95 SAS relatively is a touch laid back in comparison though it still has good detail and frequency response. This comment must be kept in context though as I’m not saying the M95 SAS is dull or lifeless, just not quite as exciting or engaging as the other two.

Whilst these differences are real (to me) in my system, I can’t explain them. The M91 is different to both the M95 as its inductance is 720mh and DC Resistance 630 cf 650 and 1550 for the 95/97 so I don’t understand why with apparently the same electrical specs as the 95, Shure now recommends a capacitance of 250mh for its M97xE rather than the 400+ for the 95. I personally choose not to play around with loading and capacitance but I do wonder if they could all be made to sound more similar if I did. :D

bauzace50
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by bauzace50 » 05 May 2013 05:28

LPM,

Thanks for the descriptions above. Although changes in loading capacitance are known to affect the audible treble response, it is not strictly predictable, and needs actual experimentation and listening. Preferably measuring, but that is beyond the capability of most of us. That is why I have preferred to keep away from changing capacitance.

I have known about a hobbyist who designed a "box" with variable "dial-in" capacitance, where he can dial the changes and compare the audible results. That is easy and convenient, but beyond my capability.

I know my tonearm and cable capacitance is specified around 200 pF, and just leave it at that.

Thanks for your descriptions,
bauzace50

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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by dlaloum » 05 May 2013 12:41

And now for a different opinion....

I think a mid to high inductance body is possibly better for the SAS than a low inductance body...

In the search for achieving a flat frequency response (as originally aimed for by the V15III/IV/IV and M95/M97, but not the V15VxMR and M97xE)...

The SAS does not achieve a tip mass as low as the original Shure MR beryllium tube cantilevers - as a result its "treble resonance" is substantially lower, and has a direct impact (rise) on the high end frequencies (above 12kHz).

The V15V bodies have low inductance, providing greater transparency through to the native behaviour of the cantilever - the original cantilever had the treble peak at 35kHz - which meant that only a minor drop in the high end was required to balance it out and achieve a flat FR.
But the SAS does no achieve this goal, with its resonance being between 20kHz and 30Khz.... still above the audio range (laudable) - but not high enough to minimise impact on the high end.
A higher inductance body, therefore balances this out, and allows for an ultimately better combination.

The V15V bodies are however excellent and reduce other magnetic issues through the use of a laminated core, absent on the VxMR and M9x/M7x series cartridges.
The V15III and V15IV on the other hand, have the laminated cores combined with a higher inductance .... their original OEM styli where closer in effective tip mass to the SAS.

Note: either way, getting close to perfection requires custom cartridge loading, but I believe it would be a lot easier to achieve the flat FR goal without draconian loads (ie with loads close to the manufacturer default) with a V15III or V15IV body.

Just a bit of theorising on my part - if you forego the laminated core, any of the M series bodies are an excellent match - the M92 combined with a SAS is a killer combination at a relatively low price! (the M97xE turned into a M97xSAS is marginally more expensive, but provides the same performance)

bye for now

David

johnnywalker
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by johnnywalker » 05 May 2013 12:57

Thanks so much for your responses. According to a previous thread, the M94 cart *is* the M97 with a different stylus setup:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=49303

So it sounds like the M94 should get the SAS, right?

LPM
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by LPM » 06 May 2013 05:20

David, you've got me wondering now. :) I'm sure the Jico SAS stylus for the M97xE has a boron cantilever and whilst I've searched, I haven't found if my 91/95 SAS stylii do - I suspect not due their difference in price. If so, that would have to influence the sound somewhat. Perhaps that has to be allowed for in some of the difference I've heard between them in my system. As the OP is not considering the M97xE SAS stylus though, probably will not affect his choice. :D

johnnywalker
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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by johnnywalker » 06 May 2013 13:03

LPM, the N97xE SAS stylus is definitely one of the options, since the M94 stylus is no longer available and the choice for that cart would be the N97xE SAS. I am running a regular Shure N97xE stylus in it now. Therefore any info you can provide about this stylus is pertinent to me.

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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by abs1 » 06 May 2013 16:24

I don't know anything about the M94 having never owned one, but I can tell you from experience that the N97xE SAS stylus is excellent. I have a Shure M97xE cartridge that I ran for about a month before replacing the factory Shure stylus with a JICO SAS. It really made a world of difference, turning what I'd call a good cartridge into something that I'd consider heads and shoulders above the factory version. I can't praise it enough!

Cheers,
Al

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Re: Which Shure should get the SAS?

Post by rodney7 » 06 May 2013 17:58

Interesting, David. I have an M104E with SAS and the highs are indeed pronounced, but not disagreeable. I just scored a V15V-P with it's original HE stylus, but was considering an SAS for it. Sounds like the III is a better match for the SAS than the V.

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