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LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

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LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby wojo58 » 05 Dec 2017 19:48

I haven't seen a dedicated post on this, so here it is...

Seeking owner's opinions and shared experiences with this stylus replacement. All champions and detractors are welcome.

And if you would, reassure me I am doing this right --> Setting the VTF on the M97xe using the brush: brush up, set to 1.75g, engage brush(down).
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby wolfie62 » 06 Dec 2017 20:31

I have 2 of these carts. I'm not planning on upgrading the stylus at present; I will anxiously await the opinions!
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby wojo58 » 06 Dec 2017 23:31

Actually I did find this doing a Google search.. I don't know why it didn't show up in the forum search....my bad I'm sure.

https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=95458#p806823

Curious about the damper......And also not clear about the mystery cantilever "spring" :?:
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby katana1100 » 09 Dec 2017 01:44

That posted link has my opinion. I have sas ( boron cantalever ), shure new era elliptical, vl and shure 97xe. I like them in that order .
The vl is nice but I got mine when they were $80. The old ( think made in the 80’s) shure ellip is a little better. I have seen some new shure 97 hyper ellip going for close to what the vl sells for and I’d take one of those before a vl.
The vl is head and shoulders way better than the 97xe and is just plain pleasant to listen to. But the shures have a brush that really helps cut down noise.
The sas can do anything and equals my at 09II in playing back my most symbalent records with minimal symbalence
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby JDJX » 09 Dec 2017 16:54

katana1100 wrote:That posted link has my opinion. I have sas ( boron cantalever ), shure new era elliptical, vl and shure 97xe. I like them in that order .
The vl is nice but I got mine when they were $80. The old ( think made in the 80’s) shure ellip is a little better. I have seen some new shure 97 hyper ellip going for close to what the vl sells for and I’d take one of those before a vl.
The vl is head and shoulders way better than the 97xe and is just plain pleasant to listen to. But the shures have a brush that really helps cut down noise.
The sas can do anything and equals my at 09II in playing back my most symbalent records with minimal symbalence


A sibilant issues is just a lack of a cartridge to either reproduce lower high frequencies properly or has an annoying peak in the lower high frequencies.

Personally, I have no sibilant issues with my M97xE . :)
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby katana1100 » 09 Dec 2017 18:25

“ sibilant issues is just a lack of a cartridge to either reproduce lower high frequencies properly or has an annoying peak in the lower high frequencies.”

It’s a tracking issue. The microline diamond is better than the ellip tip of 97xe.
I have a vl equipped 97 cart mounted on a technics shell ( with a little weight add) that can be swapped in place of the sas equipped 97 on my 1210 in a few secs, with no need to change anything else . You can hear the difference, most noticeable with the 97xe stylus and my most sibilant vinyls ( pretenders learning to crawl and PG “So”). The only to hear them without “sh” is with sas 97 or my at 09 II, which both have microline tips.
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby JDJX » 09 Dec 2017 19:41

So, please explain why I get no sibilant issues, or other tracking issues... like IGD with my M97xE. :)

FWIW, the M97xE is not the easiest to line up correctly due it'e outside physical configuration.

Example....
The only way to set the VTA/SRA correctly it to view the SRA under some magnification.
It must or course be line up correctly to get the best sound out of it, just like any other cartridge.

I suspect that much of the criticism for the M97xE is due to not having it lined up 100% correctly. :)
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby wolfie62 » 09 Dec 2017 20:49

I found the Shure M97xE to be very easy to line up. It has easy parallel sides, parallel stylus frame, easy to see the cantilever,

Sibilance is definitely a tracking issue. Alignment is vital to optimized tracking.

But, the M97xE cheats when it comes to sibilance. It has a badly drooping high end. I have about 220 hours on it, so it's definitely "broken in." ( I keep a small notebook to track number of LPs played.) It lacks severely in upper frequency playback with the OEM stylus, so sibilance is going to be cloaked by that lack of treble response. The 97 has pretty good midrange and staging, but pales when compared to other vintage carts. To me, it's not worth spending $100+ for aftermarket styli to fix that response droop. Too risky. I can spend that same money and upgrade my V15RS, or ADC XLM, or AT 331LP.

In other words, I'm not willing to spend money to fix a weakness in a cart; I'd rather ENHANCE a cart that is already great.
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby beat_truck » 09 Dec 2017 23:08

I'm not really a fan of the M97XE either. To me, they just sound BORING. Very rolled off high end, poor stereo separation etc. I know they can be "fixed" by playing around with loading or spending more than the cartridge originally cost on an upgraded stylus, but I don't think that should be necessary in the first place. Even with cheapo EVG replacement styli on them, my M75ED and M44E sound much better to me.
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby JDJX » 09 Dec 2017 23:35

......But, the M97xE cheats when it comes to sibilance. It has a badly drooping high end.......


Actually, it has no real significant/noticeable drop off until about 10k .. well above the frequencies for sibilant issues... which is about 2k -4k hz.
So, if you got a sibilant issue you might have a frequency peak in that area casing it....possibly from your cartridge.

Some like this peak as it give the appearance of having more musical detail at times . However, you can pay the price for it in sibilant and harshness problems at times.
I actually like this peak for classical and jazz but not for anything wirh vocals. :)

Also, there is not the much musical content (if any) above about 12k, contrary to popular thought.

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn ... isplay.htm

IMO, to much is made about a drop off with the M97xE, that is devoid of real facts to justify it. :)
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby wolfie62 » 10 Dec 2017 00:57

The Shure M97xE has been measured and tested over and over, with the same results. It has a horrible falling treble response. It starts dropping at 2 kHz, falls like a rock above 10 kHz.

Quote from one review, and hence my comment about " cheating" on sibilance:

"The treble, while subdued, is quite pure, undistorted, and unstressed. Sibilance is handled well, troublesome 'S'es being reduced to a soft (dutch) 'ch'. This surely is a friendly-sounding cartridge!"

Here is a link to reputable measurements that are completely typical for the M97xE. It is what I hear no matter which turntable, or alignment. You will see in the graphs that loading adjustments level out the response some, but still yields a response that drops like a rock. I have proven this over and over to my own ears when comparing the M97xE to all my other cartridges.

http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/shure_m97xe_e.html
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby JDJX » 10 Dec 2017 03:03

The Shure M97xE has been measured and tested over and over, with the same results. It has a horrible falling treble response. It starts dropping at 2 kHz, falls like a rock above 10 kHz....


Yeah, on a graph, it may look like it drops a lot starting from about 2k to 10k but in realty, the drop only equals about 2db-3db...... hardly noticeable..... or hyperboliclly "horrible". :)

One must pay attention to what each line on the graphs represents to interpret it properly.

Yes, it drops a bit faster at about 10k but, it has been proven "over and over" that there is not much musical content over that (if there is even any) in most LPs. anyway

Also, it's a fact that slibants are in the 2k - 4k range.
So, no "drop offs' have anything to do with it. :)
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby wolfie62 » 10 Dec 2017 03:18

You don't know how to read a graph.

The treble response drops 5 dB from 100 HZ to 7 kHz. A 6 dB drop is 1/4 the the output power (1/2 of 1/2) A 5 dB drop represents 1/3 of the output power. Yes, that's VERY NOTICEABLE! That frequency spread covers 85% of your music energy!

Very noticeable indeed!!

The standard response for cartridges is ruler flat response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Most all competent carts are flat within 1.5 dB for the ENTIRE RANGE of 20 Hz-20 kHz. I know my ADC XLM is.

You need to take off your biased glasses, look at the graph again, and do your math!

Back in the 70s and 80s, you wouldn't have been competitive touting that response as a "high fidelity" cartridge!!

I have a response graph of my ADC QLM 36 that came with the cartridge when I bought it in 1981. It only drops 1 dB from 1kHz to 20 kHz.

You have a heavily biased set of blinders on. Don't get me wrong, I love many Shure carts. Objectively, just not the M97xE!
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby JDJX » 10 Dec 2017 04:13

Yeah, the M97xE is one of the most popular phono cartridges world wide simply because they do not know how to read a graph. Lets leave it at that.

Personally, I go by what my ears tell me how my audio hardware works in synergy with each other, not by a graph that may or may not be relevant.

BTW, everyone has their favorite cartridge, car etc... but that does not mean that all the others are no good. :)
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Re: LP Gear VividLine for Shure M97xe

Postby katana1100 » 10 Dec 2017 05:37


Yeah, the M97xE is one of the most popular phono cartridges world wide simply because they do not know how to read a graph. Lets leave it at that.

Personally, I go by what my ears tell me how my audio hardware works in synergy with each other, not by a graph that may or may not be relevant.

BTW, everyone has their favorite cartridge, car etc... but that does not mean that all the others are no good. “



The 97xe is popular for the same reason McDonald’s is the most popular hamburger chain- because it’s cheap.
It doesn’t Help that it uses a piece of junk cantalever that is made in Mexico with no qc. I don’t want to hear anecdotes about how wonderful it is as I , like others , had to return one that was defective. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to a new era 97 ellip with the telescopic shank .
If you think it’s the best thing for whatever table you got, then don’t listen to anything else. I have two new era 97 carts with sas boron, vivid line , 97 new era ellip and shure 97xe to use on them so I think I have a better idea of what the 97 body can do and how the different styli perform than you do with just a stock 97xe.
Not only that , but I have five other tt’s with five different carts to compare to.
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