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Shure ME-97 Reviews

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Shure ME-97

Shure ME-97

8/10 by VinylTune

Today is 12/14/2019 and I am reviewing this Shure ME97HE cartridge with the factory N97HE (.2x.15)mil hyper elliptical stylus. I will be comparing this to a variety of other cartridges/stylus setups to give you my full review.

The contenders include:
1. Audio Technica AT-11E with ATN-11E (.4x.7)mil elliptical stylus
2. Shure M91ED with Hi-Track (.2x.7)mil elliptical stylus
3. Audio Technica AT-100E with factory ATN-100E (.3x.7) bonded elliptical

Initial impression:
The Shure ME97HE encore is definitely no slouch when it comes to performance. This cartridge is able to pull out almost every detail of sound in a record and reproduce it without any issues. The record I am using to test is Earth, Wind & Fire - Let's Groove. I really enjoyed the mid-focused sound signature that this cartridge gives. It almost reminds me of the sound signature of the Audio Technica AT-11E, which is somewhat also mid-focused.

The Shure ME97HE is what I would consider a neautral sounding cartridge. In contrast to the me91ed and especially the at100e cartridges which are definitely a lot more crispier and bright in the highs, the ME97HE paints a more natural picture without bleeding the ears of constant hi-pitched sparkles. Don't get me wrong, the 97HE is able to reproduce detailed high frequencies like hi-hats and crash cymbals, just not AS detailed and not AS focused as the AT100E, or even the Shure M91ED for that matter.

The ME97HE has a wide soundstage which is on par with the AT11E and the AT100E, and all which outshines the more centered M91ED. It's able to reproduce bass quite well and quite detailed like the AT100E. The drum kicks are detailed and full. The snares of the drum are nice and detailed as well. The ME97HE reproduces the vocals quite well also without any notable sibilance or crackle to the voice. One thing to note is that the perception of stereo separation seems to be a tad bit behind both Audio Technicas, but not as quite as centered-sounding as the Shure M91ED. I believe the AT100E has 27dB of channel separation, the AT11E had 26dB, and this ME97HE has 25dB and listening really carefully through my Beyerdynamic dt770 pro headphones, I can hear the difference ever so slightly.

As a side note, I also tested this ME97HE against a regular M97 cartridge using the N97HE stylus pulled from the encore's cartridge just to see if there are any sound differences between the two cartridges. The ME97HE has a bit louder output than the standard M97 cartridge, and the soundstage has a bit more depth in my opinion.

Overall I think the ME97HE encore is a great sub-$100 cartridge/stylus combo for someone who is looking for a clear, natural, un-colored sound with ample output levels. To be fair, I did not notice any extraordinary difference with the hyper elliptical stylus in comparison with the 3 other cartridges which all have just plain elliptical stylus. Although, I did acquire the ME97HE second hand with an unknown amount of hours played on it and so there may be a potential that the stylus may be

9/10 by lenjack

xe (eliptical stylus) version tracks anything at 1 to 1.25 grams and sound fantastic for under $100.

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