What I want to know is if there are ways to make things better about cartridges that sound really awful in "stock" form why doesn't a manufacturer with as much money as Pioneer just offer the Model 3MC or the 4MC (with red and white body/stylus assembly) in a Model 3xMC and/or 4xMC with the proper way of doing things to allow for better sound quality and for a higher price? That way people who want the "look" but don't have the ear to hear the difference (or play only 45s) can have the cheaper model that looks "nice" and the people who can hear the difference and are willing to pay for it, can get the more expensive model that performs properly and Pioneer ends up making one sale or the other.
When I worked as the Loudspeaker Marketing Director for Marantz/Superscope they were sprucing up the company to sell off chunks of it because some of the original/founding Tushinsky brothers had died. At one time Marantz/Superscope was the largest consumer hi-fi company in the world, doing over US$200,000,000 in sales at the retailer's or distributor's cost (probably US$500,000,000 at the retail end). I was hired to maximize the value of the speaker division of Marantz. The obvious solution was to have this singular attitude: "Marantz is a company capable of designing/engineering, making and distributing any audio product we choose, at any levels in the marketplace, even if we have to copy a product made by any other company making similar products. Our goal was to make sure that every consumer in the world could find a Marantz product (if we made it, Marantz did not make phono cartridges for example) or a Superscope product at whatever price or quality level they were looking for.
Superscope electronics were low end, flashy and made to last perhaps 5 years. Marantz electronic stuff was made to last a long time and perform very well. In the speaker division I had the advantage of working with a designer named Dick May. There was no reason why we couldn't make 7 distinct lines of speakers, some of which were exact copies of proven products in other companies' lines, and some of which were new Marantz designs.
The audiophile end of the loudspeaker market was only 3% of the total market sales so it was the last to get designed and as it's "models" we used the IMF Studio Reference Monitors and the large Polk Audio speakers. Since this was done at the last minute the distribution of that one product line (The Marantz Signature Loudspeaker Line) didn't make big sales (Marantz audiophile speaker sales went from Zero dollars to $175,000 for the year, a mere pittance), but the other 6 lines of broader appeal loudspeaker lines sold more than $30,000,000 of speaker products (at the distributor's and retailer's cost) during the next year which was up $17,000,000 from the previous year in an otherwise flat audio market for loudspeakers (1980).
Philips bought Marantz within 2 years and their philosophy did not match the "We can make anything as well as Anyone" philosophy, but Philips did covet the Marantz S.A speaker facility in Spain and paid a good price for it. Marantz Japan went it's own way then too. But experiencing what a major electronics company can do made me realize that if there was money in it, the big boys Could do almost anything. Pioneer needed to sell their linear arm turntables, so making cartridges for themselves would Help Them Sell These Turntables. What could be simpler. Instead the 3/4/5 MC Pioneer cartridges sounded bad. Go figure!
Blue Angel if you do re-tipping with Gyger styli then I would have preferred to send some of the 3/4MC cartridges to you for the damper and Gyger styli and then treated the bodies to make them pretty much non-resonant when they came back to me. As 78 rpm MC cartridges they are pretty top notch with 3 mil diamond styli and I use 3 mil diamond styli that come mounted on a firm ABS shafts that can be drilled through it's core to slide fit with Super Glue right over the aluminum cantilever on the original Pioneer stylus assembly. I have 5 78 rpm styli now so likely I have enough. But I get brand new Pioneer 3 MC and 4 MC cartridges all the time that only need better styli and dampers.