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Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

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Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby MBentefor » 22 Jan 2018 00:11

Hi there.

I have got some (6) questions here to those, who had a chance and used the AT95P stylus.
Unfortunately the official support didn't want to waste time answering me, but as I suppose this may be the best option for HQ ripping of the various records (both from 50s and from 90s), I'd still like to get the answers.

Here we go.
1. Is the SRA correct in those styli? Two of my last AT95E styli had default SRA set to 88 degrees and with getting my tonearm base to the topmost position, I was only able to get to 90 degrees. Which is still 2 degree away from the lowest distortion point. Plus moving the tonearm's base means I am also changing the correct 20-degrees VTA. So I'd better get the normal VTA+SRA stylus straight from the seller and not do any modifications.
2. What is the distance between the lowest contact point and actual tip of the 95P? Is it possible that it will touch the nonmodulated (or otherwise not prepared for being reproduced) bottom part of the old 50s/60s mono records? I am listening lots of those and I will digitize them too.
3. Everything (except the paratrace tip of course) is original stuff manufactured by AT? Not Jico, not GSM, not thakker or whatever, but true selective AT cart/stylus? (P.S. Maybe some of you tried other manufacturers and think that their AT95 cart versions are better?)
4. How does 95P perform on the HFN bias tests? Will it pass the extreme too? (all three of my AT95E passed 3 out of 4)
5. Am I right thinking that Paratrace which is close to VDH, is better than HE, Shibata or VL?
6. Why don't they use 95EX instead of 95E - hasn't it got better suspension (and only 4 usd more expensive)? Why don't they use some AT95 stylus with a carbon cantilever for example? Isn't it better?

Thanks in advance to anyone who may spend 1 minute of his precious time to do some input to this thread.

Lowest bow.

Best regards,
MB
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby smee4 » 22 Jan 2018 08:36

The VL stylus sounds very good. Not sure how you decided on a paratrace, or whether you might try something different?

about point 1. Is 2 degrees very much to worry about?

about point 6. The suspension is in the removeable stylus part which you replace with the new stylus, so does it matter, or do the paratrace people actually retip an existing AT stylus? The VL stylus is blue and seems to be completely new - I don't think it is a retip.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby MBentefor » 22 Jan 2018 12:09

smee4 wrote:The VL stylus sounds very good. Not sure how you decided on a paratrace, or whether you might try something different?

about point 1. Is 2 degrees very much to worry about?

about point 6. The suspension is in the removeable stylus part which you replace with the new stylus, so does it matter, or do the paratrace people actually retip an existing AT stylus? The VL stylus is blue and seems to be completely new - I don't think it is a retip.


Well, the simplified grade of styli looks like this:
conical - normal reproduction, normal groove pressure
elliptical - good reproduction, higher groove pressure
hyperelliptical - very good reproduction, very high groove pressure
shibata - very good reproduction, normal groove pressure
microline - very good reproduction (or better), normal groove pressure (or lower)

The VL stylus falls under the "Hyperelliptical" section. Paratrace is believed to fall under the "Microline" section. For the best digitizing of old records (e.g. from 60s), either microline (best) or shibata (not best but still) is needed. So unless my 6 questions will get unsatisfying responses, I'd like to go with Paratrace.


Regarding #1: Yes and no. I don't think you will hear a difference. However as this is for the digitizing process, for me it is important to get the best parameters. (Digits do show the difference - at 88 degrees the THD is ~0.4% on test track, while at 90 degrees it is ~0.2% - who knows how low would I get if putting to 92 degrees?)


Regarding #6: Yes, they RETIP.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby chiz » 22 Jan 2018 12:51

Hi MB.

I don't have a Paratrace myself but I can offer some thoughts on your questions:

3.
Yes, according to the info here only the stylus is replaced. Cantilever, suspension etc. are retained from the AT assembly.
http://theaudiofiles.co.uk/?page_id=206

6.
Current production AT95E and AT95EX have almost identical specs and I’m not sure if there are any real differences between them. The older AT95E had a 0.4 x 0.7 stylus but current spec is 0.3 x 0.7 the same as the AT95EX.
AT’s carbon cantilever is actually carbon fibre reinforced ABS plastic. They use this on their very cheapest cartridges and introduced the AT91R as a variant on the AT91 with “improved aluminium cantilever”.
Whether the carbon or aluminium cantilevered version is better will be a matter of taste but AT don’t currently produce a carbon AT95E variant anyway.
https://eu.audio-technica.com/resources ... ges_17.pdf
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby chiz » 22 Jan 2018 13:13

MBentefor wrote:The VL stylus falls under the "Hyperelliptical" section. Paratrace is believed to fall under the "Microline" section. For the best digitizing of old records (e.g. from 60s), either microline (best) or shibata (not best but still) is needed.

AT95VL is 6 x 75 µm according to LP Gear
AT95SA is 6 x 75 µm according to LP Gear
Paratrace is 4 x 70 µm according to Soundsmith

If you think MicroLine is best then why not consider the AT440MLb or VM540ML?

Some of my 1960s records sound better with a spherical than they do with a MicroLine.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby MBentefor » 22 Jan 2018 15:39

chiz wrote:Hi MB.

I don't have a Paratrace myself but I can offer some thoughts on your questions:

3.
Yes, according to the info here only the stylus is replaced. Cantilever, suspension etc. are retained from the AT assembly.
http://theaudiofiles.co.uk/?page_id=206

6.
Current production AT95E and AT95EX have almost identical specs and I’m not sure if there are any real differences between them. The older AT95E had a 0.4 x 0.7 stylus but current spec is 0.3 x 0.7 the same as the AT95EX.
AT’s carbon cantilever is actually carbon fibre reinforced ABS plastic. They use this on their very cheapest cartridges and introduced the AT91R as a variant on the AT91 with “improved aluminium cantilever”.
Whether the carbon or aluminium cantilevered version is better will be a matter of taste but AT don’t currently produce a carbon AT95E variant anyway.
https://eu.audio-technica.com/resources ... ges_17.pdf


Thanks for the input, chiz.

#3 - That's right, my bad. However the PS section remains actual: maybe somebody made a decision that the AT95-like cartridge by one manufacturer is better then that of the others? For example in terms of hum amount (my current two AT95 cartridges are different in hum - one perceives 5dB more electromagnetic hum from the environment).
Or maybe a regular 0.4/0.7 (or 0.3/0.7) stylus by some manufacturer is better then others?

#6 - Well, EX version has aluminium pipe instead of metal alloy one. Also per theaudiofiles, it has slightly different damper in the suspension. And because of those changes, it has an increased frequency reponse - 20-22 (instead of regular 20-20).
Regarding the carbon one - yeah, you are right. There is no AT atm. There is one by LP Gear which is 10 USD more expensive than the regular one.
Maybe aluminium cantilever is an improvement to the carbon one, but carbon one is ~same as the metal alloy one? Maybe the carbon one has the same characteristics as the metal alloy one while simply being more durable?
Would be wonderful if somebody with enough knowledge write in here.

AT95VL is 6 x 75 µm according to LP Gear
AT95SA is 6 x 75 µm according to LP Gear
Paratrace is 4 x 70 µm according to Soundsmith

If you think MicroLine is best then why not consider the AT440MLb or VM540ML?

Some of my 1960s records sound better with a spherical than they do with a MicroLine.


The values that you provide are the radii values. While what matters is the contact surface size.
For AT95SA with 6x75 contact surface is 74.
For VDH (which I suppose is believed to be very similar to the Paratrace one) with 4x70 contact surface is 92.

Regarding VividLine I've read somewhere it is more or less same as Shure's HE (and L.A.C., alliftig, Fine Line, Stereohedron). If you are saying it is 6x75 then I don't know the contact surface. If it is same as HE than contact surface is ~37.

Regarding choosing other stylus: I can only say that the AT95 is very neutral, has many stylus options and, what's important, on one test digitizing run it showed results which were (to my ears and to my headphones) indistinguishable from the Japanese CD release of same track. However if I won't go with Paratrace, I will probably have to search for some other neutral cartridge.

I agree that in some cases "worse" tips may show better result. It depends on the grooves state, whether intentional distortion was burned in, whether the matrix was "cleaned" with the special preparation stylus run, which part of groove is least destroyed etc.
Last edited by MBentefor on 22 Jan 2018 15:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby andrad » 22 Jan 2018 15:40

chiz wrote:Hi MB.

I don't have a Paratrace myself but I can offer some thoughts on your questions:

3.
Yes, according to the info here only the stylus is replaced. Cantilever, suspension etc. are retained from the AT assembly.
http://theaudiofiles.co.uk/?page_id=206

6.
Current production AT95E and AT95EX have almost identical specs and I’m not sure if there are any real differences between them. The older AT95E had a 0.4 x 0.7 stylus but current spec is 0.3 x 0.7 the same as the AT95EX.
AT’s carbon cantilever is actually carbon fibre reinforced ABS plastic. They use this on their very cheapest cartridges and introduced the AT91R as a variant on the AT91 with “improved aluminium cantilever”.
Whether the carbon or aluminium cantilevered version is better will be a matter of taste but AT don’t currently produce a carbon AT95E variant anyway.
https://eu.audio-technica.com/resources ... ges_17.pdf

Hi Chiz,
Having just installed the AT95E cartridge and finding the spec on the tip was now the same as the EX I asked the same question. It appears the difference is an improved suspension on the EX that enables the frequency range to go up to 22k rather than 20k on the E. The cantilever is alluminium on both.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby MBentefor » 22 Jan 2018 15:46

Hi andrad, it is strange. Per LP Gear, E version has metal alloy cantilever. Maybe they just don't know. Or maybe AT support didn't want to waste time... :D
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby chiz » 22 Jan 2018 16:38

andrad wrote:Having just installed the AT95E cartridge and finding the spec on the tip was now the same as the EX I asked the same question. It appears the difference is an improved suspension on the EX that enables the frequency range to go up to 22k rather than 20k on the E.

Interesting, thanks.
I've not seen the suspension difference mentioned in any AT documentation.
Compliance specs are the same for both models.
Last edited by chiz on 22 Jan 2018 17:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby chiz » 22 Jan 2018 17:06

MBentefor wrote:The values that you provide are the radii values. While what matters is the contact surface size.
For AT95SA with 6x75 contact surface is 74.
For VDH (which I suppose is believed to be very similar to the Paratrace one) with 4x70 contact surface is 92.

Regarding VividLine I've read somewhere it is more or less same as Shure's HE (and L.A.C., alliftig, Fine Line, Stereohedron). If you are saying it is 6x75 then I don't know the contact surface. If it is same as HE than contact surface is ~37.

If the VividLine has the same minor / major radii as the Shibata (as per LP Gear specs) would it not be logical that the contact area would also be the same at the same VTF?
Shure Hyperelliptical is something like 5 x 38 µm from memory.

MBentefor wrote:I agree that in some cases "worse" tips may show better result. It depends on the grooves state, whether intentional distortion was burned in, whether the matrix was "cleaned" with the special preparation stylus run, which part of groove is least destroyed etc.

Exactly. Too many variables here to say that one stylus profile will be best for all used records.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby MBentefor » 22 Jan 2018 17:15

chiz wrote:
MBentefor wrote:The values that you provide are the radii values. While what matters is the contact surface size.
For AT95SA with 6x75 contact surface is 74.
For VDH (which I suppose is believed to be very similar to the Paratrace one) with 4x70 contact surface is 92.

Regarding VividLine I've read somewhere it is more or less same as Shure's HE (and L.A.C., alliftig, Fine Line, Stereohedron). If you are saying it is 6x75 then I don't know the contact surface. If it is same as HE than contact surface is ~37.

If the VividLine has the same minor / major radii as the Shibata (as per LP Gear specs) would it not be logical that the contact area would also be the same at the same VTF?
Shure Hyperelliptical is something like 5 x 38 µm from memory.

MBentefor wrote:I agree that in some cases "worse" tips may show better result. It depends on the grooves state, whether intentional distortion was burned in, whether the matrix was "cleaned" with the special preparation stylus run, which part of groove is least destroyed etc.

Exactly. Too many variables here to say that one stylus profile will be best for all used records.


Regarding your first comment - no. Contact area also depends on how "flat" is tip at the contact point. (Also most comments on VL aren't really "happy" ones)

Regarding second one - Agreed. Still "true line" tip is a must.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby andrad » 22 Jan 2018 21:00

chiz wrote:
andrad wrote:Having just installed the AT95E cartridge and finding the spec on the tip was now the same as the EX I asked the same question. It appears the difference is an improved suspension on the EX that enables the frequency range to go up to 22k rather than 20k on the E.

Interesting, thanks.
I've not seen the suspension difference mentioned in any AT documentation.
Compliance specs are the same for both models.


Hi Chiz,
I read `slightly different suspension compliance compared to the E ` on an Ebay sellers site and `improved transient response` on a website selling the stylus so I can only hope that the descriptions were accurate ? However the official AT site does confirm that both the E and EX have an aluminium pipe cantilever and also confirms the E goes up to 20k and the EX 22k.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby andrad » 22 Jan 2018 21:09

MBentefor wrote:Hi andrad, it is strange. Per LP Gear, E version has metal alloy cantilever. Maybe they just don't know. Or maybe AT support didn't want to waste time... :D

Hi MBentefor,
Yes someone did reply to me stating that the E was aluminium and the EX metal alloy which I did not really think too much about until I posted it in reply to another poster. I had people coming back asking what is the difference ?? I then went on the official AT site and they confirm that both cantilevers are aluminium pipe, so I will just take that as being the case.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby smee4 » 22 Jan 2018 22:56

MBentefor wrote:Regarding your first comment - no. Contact area also depends on how "flat" is tip at the contact point. (Also most comments on VL aren't really "happy" ones)



Interesting. I can only compare it to my AT440mla and I would say the AT95VL sounds better.
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Re: Paratrace AT95 - users, please respond

Postby james73_2008 » 24 Jan 2018 19:00

The Voice of Music are selling the Hyper Elliptical stylus for $53.

https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=



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