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At92e With Shibata Stylus

the thin end of the wedge

At92e With Shibata Stylus

Postby zwhita » 02 Jun 2011 05:05

Up until 3 days ago, I had a AT311EP P-Mount cart that was really starting to sound good after months of use, save for IGD, mostly on used vinyl. I was wiping dust off the turntable with a cloth, and a cloth thread caught the cantilever and bent it. $40 instantly rendered useless. The cartridge body doesn't appear damaged, at least.

So I was looking into the turntableneedles.com P-Mount offering with Jico Shibata stylus.

It seems this is not the SAS variety of Jico styli, but should still be a significant step up from the stock elliptical on the 311EP, and may even diminish my IGD issues. Anything else I should know about this cart, since it's a modification? Does this stylus have a break-in period like the AT?

Since the cartridge body of the AT311EP is still ok, shouldn't I be able to just buy a new stylus, pull off the broken stylus and plug in the new one?
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Postby Whitneyville » 02 Jun 2011 06:06

I have installed a Shibata (and a Micro-Line ATN-316 stylus) on the AT311EP with outstanding results. There is a break-in period for all A-T stylii (and I think for any brand) but it isn't as long with a Shibata or Micro-Line as with an elliptical. There should be no harm to the cartridge at all, as the cantilever is the weakest "link". The Micro-Line stylii are "boot-leg" items as Audio-Technica doesn't market them to the Americas or Europe. Two years ago I paid about $160 +S&H from Hong Kong for several for P-4 turntable repair and refurbish customers to install on 311 carts I got from Full Compass.com for $35 each. Made an extremely nice sounding combo. LPGear.com has the "generic" ATN3472SA Shibata tip "made by the finest craftsmen in Japan" (the box has an 80% chance of saying "JICO" on it from my experience) for $130, Garage-'A-Records.com has a "generic" Shibata(?)/Hyperellipitcal # ATN3472 for $50. Since it's not followed by "SA" and by the price and the burgundy stylus color, this should be the hyperelliptical, which is a great value (probably made by JICO too). I've done several hundreds of dollars worth of business with both LPG and GAR and had excellent service from both. BTW: I just checked turntableneedles site and they have some incorrect information on what stylii fit your cartridge posted. You can call the very nice people at LPG or GAR and you'll have a 100% guarantee that it's the correct stylus. TTN may do this also, but before calling in your CC number, check it out, just to be sure. With A-T P-mount carts, many stylii will just barely "hang-on" your cartridge, but not mount securely. For your's the stylus needs those tall side pieces to hold on properly. I've been to this dance before. Hope I was of some help.
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Postby zwhita » 02 Jun 2011 06:19

Very informative, thank you. I'm guessing since the Jico Shibata modded cart I linked above fits the AT92E, shouldn't it fit the 311 since the 92 and 311 have the exact same dimension?
Will look into LPGear for a stylus replacement for the 311, and in the meantime, I went ahead and ordered the entire TTN P-Mount cart linked above. I do hope they found a stylus that fastens to the cart securely.
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Postby flavio81 » 02 Jun 2011 20:08

zwhita wrote:Very informative, thank you. I'm guessing since the Jico Shibata modded cart I linked above fits the AT92E, shouldn't it fit the 311 since the 92 and 311 have the exact same dimension?.


Yes, it will mount perfectly on the AT92E, AT311, AT331, AT3472, AT3482, etc etc.
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Postby zwhita » 03 Jun 2011 03:15

Ok, so this afternoon upon opening the packaging I immediately pulled the Jico stylus off of the AT92E and attached it to my AT311EP. First play tells me the IGD issues have indeed been reduced. After a a few hours of playing LP's, the dynamics start to tighten up and it's sounding pretty good.

Visually looking at the arm from the right side of the turntable, it is slightly elevated vertically on the cart end. It was perfectly horizontal with the 311EP stylus. Clearly, the Jico shibata stylus has a slightly more elevated angle. Don't know if this will be an issue or not.

Only complaint I have is that it seems to be about 3db quieter than the 311EP stylus. Perhaps a more rigid and higher quality stylus just has a smaller peak-to-peak generating range? Not much of an issue unless I decide to record some LP's, due to a smaller signal-to-noise ratio, but I don't really plan on doing that anyway.

Also, I have an old Audio Technica Series III cart which will probably fit this stylus. It has a MUCH hotter signal output than either the 92 or 311. Still debating whether or not to try it.
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Postby dlaloum » 03 Jun 2011 03:54

The top of the line cartridges from these series (this shape body, sharing the stylus mount) had lower inductance and lower output voltage.

If you have one of the "quieter" ones - then in theory it is one of the "better" ones....
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Postby zwhita » 03 Jun 2011 22:08

Question on VTF:
I just now measured this new cart installation with a Shure SFG-2 force gauge and it's 1.6g. The specs on the sale page say 1 - 1.25g. So if it's .35g too high, what are the consequences when using a shibata stylus? This turntable has no adjustment for VTF.
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Postby dlaloum » 04 Jun 2011 03:15

Being a Line contact, the VTF load is spread over a wider area than if it was an eliptical or spherical

So as long as you are not damaging the cantilever suspension it should be fine.

The wear on the needle and vinyl will be marginally higher.

The standard specs for a T4P setup are 1.25g +/- 0.25g

And being at the high end of tracking specs is usually better than being at the low end (mistracking causes much worse issues and can really damage record and stylus).


Conclusion: I would not sweat it!
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Postby zwhita » 04 Jun 2011 03:37

Thanks dlaloum. I wasn't aware the spec for VTF was referenced from the T4P standard. Since this turntable has no VTF adjustment, shouldn't I theoretically be able to add a bit of weight to the arm's counterweight to lower the tracking force? I'd guess if this is true the weight would have to be perfectly centered on top of the counterweight.
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Postby dlaloum » 04 Jun 2011 03:57

In theory a T4p table doesn't need adjust-ability as it is all standardised.

In practice most of them do have an adjustment hidden somewhere...

I had a look through the postings but I could not see a mention of what table you are using?
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Postby zwhita » 04 Jun 2011 05:15

Technics SL-DD33 It's never given me any trouble, despite not being quartz locked. I just do not see any place for adjustments.
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Postby Whitneyville » 04 Jun 2011 05:16

.35 gram ( .1 over .25 grams) isn't really going to make that much difference in "the real world". The slight difference in the VTA from the AT-92E to the AT311E (the 311 with adapter is a couple of mm's taller) also can be ignored. For reasons I can't explain here, elliptical stylii have lower outputs on the same cartridge than conicals, smaller ellipticals have less output than larger ellipticals, hyperellipticals have lower outputs, Shibata and line contact stylii even less output. On the 311 cart, the conical has 5.0mV output, the .4x.7 mil elliptical, 4.7mV, the .3X.7mil, 4.5mV, the .2X.7 mil, 4.0mV, and the Shibata 3.5mV, the non US market Line-Contact, 3.0mv, from Audio-Techinica's "World" web-page. This amounts to about a 1/16th of turn of most volume controls from the highest to lowest outputs typically. It may be a bit tricky on your turntable/tonearm, but if you print (TO SCALE) one of the alignment protractors from the top of the page, and align your cartridge (lot's of us will help you!), you should get better sound than you'd think possible. Let us know the brand and model of your turntable, so we can be of the most help. I ain't been to Dall-Ass in ah whil'...an' I'm jus' up in Tussa... :)
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Postby dlaloum » 04 Jun 2011 05:35

I wouldn't worry too much about it... but if it really bothers you, try the Technics forum - someone on there is bound to be able to help you with adjusting the balancing weight.

There is bound to be a loosening screw for the balance weight, which allows it to be shifted, then retightened again...

With it being out by such a small amount - the trick is going to be making a tiny tiny adjustment and tightening it without overshooting the mark....

I wouldn't worry about it - in my personal opinion you are on the "good" side of the error (ie slightly up rather than slightly down!)

I would try it all out and have a serious listen - meantime you can search for Technics experienced advice, and decide whether it is worth tweaking further!

Just watch out for the SL-1200 bigots - that table you have is a nice little table - and the arm is much lighter than an SL series S-Arm, which suits the T4P cartridges much much better - low mass goes with high compliance, and high compliance usually goes with better tracking...

(nothing against the SL1200, but the table you have is good too...)

- I am a big fan of T4P/P-Mount - a huge missed opportunity for the turntable world...
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Postby Whitneyville » 07 Jun 2011 09:21

David, the "P-mounts" were darn near perfect for the "new-fangled" linear trackers either the "side-winders" or the lathe types. The system took alignment and VTA and VTF out of the equation (theoretically anyway) and thanks to the P-mounts coming along about the time of CD's, you can still find some steals on the top-end P-mount carts and use an adapter to 1/2" mount, and get a line-contact cartridge new for $60, even if the cardboard is yellow with age.
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Postby dlaloum » 07 Jun 2011 09:33

Yes !

I outfitted my Revox B795 with a p-mount adapter....

And now have a collection of Signet and AT cartridge with styli ranging from conical through ATN440MLa to ATN152LP (yet to be tried that last one!)

In the Shure collection an M105, a couple of Me75's and a 1000e (also a couple of the other LT shures but they take a slightly different stylus mount and I currently have nor styli for them!) who share my N97xE-SAS stylus.... or couple of other styli I have... N99e, N92

Then there is the Ortofon family - OMP20 and Digitrac 300SE

My one and only p-mount MC - Sony XL-MC104

And shortly there will be a couple of Stanton/Pickering family members joining the library...

Can you tell that I am a P-Mount fan?

I seem to have even tracked down some of the legendary SH90S bayonet arm p-mount headshells from Technics.... with a bit of luck that will improve the p-mount situation on my Pivot arm table.

I think they are one of the great remaining opportunities in Vinyl as it becomes trendy..... cos the p-mounts are too "modern" and not "retro-cool" enough.

Once people get smart to that, the prices will rise, but in the meantime there are bargains to be had.

bye for now

David

P.S. I also have a small collection of other p-mounts that I have yet to experiment with - Azden, Empire, AT "213" family.....
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