Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

the thin end of the wedge
Joel Stuart
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Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 07 Nov 2019 02:16

Hi. I just got my hands on a barely used Technics SL-B202 from my father in law. It has an ADC 10XE cartridge that sounds pretty good to me.

If I were to upgrade to a better sounding cartridge, would you have any recommendations that are low priced?

I am just starting to get back into listening to vinyl. I'm 66 years old and some cartridges I have had years ago are not around anymore,,,,,Stanton 681EEE, Shure, etc. So I have really been out of the loop for a while.

Thank you for your time
Joel

Erin1
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Erin1 » 07 Nov 2019 02:36

Joel, are you unhappy with the ADC, or is the stylus worn?
You can probably get a replacement stylus for it.

Do you like the Shure / Stanton sound, or are you just mentioning them because you remember them?

Audio technica make good cartridges. They tend to be slightly less bass oriented than Shure, but otherwise nothing wrong with them. All cartridge manufacturers products have a different sound, even though the frequency response can be flat (generally what you want)

Audio technica is probably the best value -VM95E (good but entry level) or spend more and get a VM95ML (for more detail and perfect tracking of inner grooves)

If you prefer a more bass oriented sound consider Grado.

Joel Stuart
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 07 Nov 2019 04:26

Thanks for your reply. It's not that I am unhappy with the sound but I have been reading how a better cartridge can possibly make a table sound a lot better.

I am in the process of having an original Marantz 2325 worked on and that produces a lot of bass on it's own. The stylus appears to be good. I just didn't know if I was listening to a bottom of the line cartridge.

Too bad theres no way to really know if an upgrade would make any difference..

Also, I was never aware of any particular "sound" that the cartridges had. I remember reading Stereo Review and High Fidelity magazines and went by those reviews...(showing my age)

Joel

Bandit127
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Bandit127 » 07 Nov 2019 05:00

When I got back in to vinyl a few years ago I bought a few used Shure M75 cartridges from ebay. I also bought a NOS Shure N75 ED2 stylus along with some cheap no-name bonded stylii.

I didn't buy a bad cartridge. They are effectively 2 coils fixed in a housing, nothing moves or wears.

The NOS Shure stylus was lighter on bass but had sweeter treble than the cheap stylii. My overall preference was for the sound of the cheaper ones.

I tried a few other combinations but the M75 ED2 is my favourite and have stayed on my decks.

Joel Stuart
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 07 Nov 2019 05:53

Thanks Bandit. I appreciate the reply
Joel

I see that the AT95E gets very high marks and only $50...

Erin1
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Erin1 » 07 Nov 2019 05:58

Joel, the sl-b202 is a belt drive turntable with a tonearm that does not have VTA adjustment, so that might pose an issue for achieving correct VTA with some cartridges (but possibly not) you can install a thinner mat if need be.

What a better cartridge will do is offer subtle levels of improvement across all frequencies, and increased details.

Advanced stylus profiles like line trace / fine line, shibata or microline etc. fit better into the grooves and trace high frequencies more accurately. So, If you want to hear detail on the record, get a cartridge with an advanced stylus profile. This will also eliminate end of side distortion, which happens because the inner grooves are tighter.

So, if you simply get another cartridge with elliptical or conical stylus you will notice some tonal differences between cartridges but not achieve much upward step in sound. You need the advanced stylus profiles for that. But everyone has different objectives when listening to records, some people are "audiophiles", some are collectors, some are music lovers, some are casual listeners who don't worry much about sound quality, and others care a lot. You need to decide how much you care about sound quality.

Joel Stuart
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 07 Nov 2019 19:56

What a fabulous forum this is! I appreciate the time that you took to reply to me.

I’ll do some thinking and make a decision. I found someone on You Tube who does a side by side comparison of various cartridges at different price levels. I seriously can’t tell the difference between a $50 cartridge or a much more expensive one. ( I think I may have answered my own original question).
If there are sonic differences, they are too subtle for me to detect.
In fact, in one comparison, the AT95E, was the same exact cartridge and stylus as another brand twice the price.
Specs were verified by sophisticated instruments

Collux
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Collux » 07 Nov 2019 23:00

Here is to be found a good recent review of the ADC 10E by wolfie62
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=73683&p=1009518&hilit=ADC#p1009518

Replacement styli for the ADC that are probably suitable, can be found inexpensively at Voice of Music.
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... sp?PID=P44

Should you wish to explore a more advanced stylus profile. The AT-VM95ML would be a good starting point:
https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/cart ... index.html
That cartridge belongs to the audio-technica VM95 series
FYI Styli types within the series are interchangeable.
https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/news ... index.html

I am sure you can enjoy both the old AND the new!!

Joel Stuart
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 08 Nov 2019 02:23

Thank you so much for those informative links!

Collux
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Collux » 08 Nov 2019 03:34

With the audio-technica VM95 series you can start with the conical VM95C cartridge for ~$35
https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/cart ... index.html

And then at a later time, upgrade the stylus to any of the following: elliptical/nude elliptical/microline or shibata

Joel Stuart
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 08 Nov 2019 05:06

Man, there seems to be so much more to this than I can remember there being back in 1974 when I started getting serious about " hi-fi ". Unless it was the same and I just wasn't THAT into it.

So, a big advantage to the VM95C is the fact that I can upgradew the stylus?

You know what....this sounds like it would fit the bill,.great reviews and upgradable in the future!

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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Erin1 » 08 Nov 2019 09:29

Joel Stuart wrote:
07 Nov 2019 19:56
What a fabulous forum this is! I appreciate the time that you took to reply to me.

I’ll do some thinking and make a decision. I found someone on You Tube who does a side by side comparison of various cartridges at different price levels. I seriously can’t tell the difference between a $50 cartridge or a much more expensive one. ( I think I may have answered my own original question).
If there are sonic differences, they are too subtle for me to detect.
In fact, in one comparison, the AT95E, was the same exact cartridge and stylus as another brand twice the price.
Specs were verified by sophisticated instruments
Did you connect your computer or phone to your stereo when listening to YouTube?

If you listen on your phone you won't hear much difference, but on your stereo you should.

But, if you still can't, then just go with the cheapest cartridge you can buy.

The AT3600 -
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3194357895

And here's a thread about them

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=106513

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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by jdjohn » 08 Nov 2019 15:51

Joel Stuart wrote:
07 Nov 2019 02:16
It has an ADC 10XE cartridge that sounds pretty good to me.
If it sounds good to you, keep it...or just replace the stylus. Chasing cartridges can be a very deep rabbit hole, and remember: you'll have to mount and align any new cartridge you get. It can be a very fun and fulfilling hobby, but if you're not looking to delve too deep, consider just keeping the one you have.

Joel Stuart
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by Joel Stuart » 09 Nov 2019 02:20

Good advice and suggestions all of you..and I thank you
I think the suggestion by Collux was best suited to me.

lenjack
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Re: Would you please give me some upgrade suggestions?

Post by lenjack » 09 Nov 2019 15:39

It's a fact, that you won't hear differences between $50 carts through your phone or computer. You do need to listen to the comparisons through your own hifi, or stereo system.

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