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Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

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Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Sunwire » 11 Apr 2018 21:16

Some older cartridges like the Audio Technica AT-VM3 featured a 0.5 mil conical stylus.
Does anyone make one anymore?

If not and I wanted to find an older one, which would be easiest to find?
My searches, so far, haven't found anything available.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby DeepEnd » 11 Apr 2018 21:46

Sumiko Black Pearl is supposed to be a 0.5mil conical.

https://www.vinylengine.com/ve_download ... series.pdf
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby BMRR » 12 Apr 2018 18:28

One of our VE members suggested that the DL-103 is .5mil. Not sure if that's true or not. Denon's tip shapes and sizes seem to be unusually mysterious.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby chiz » 12 Apr 2018 18:56

BMRR wrote:One of our VE members suggested that the DL-103 is .5mil. Not sure if that's true or not. Denon's tip shapes and sizes seem to be unusually mysterious.

Specs I've seen for the DL-103 say 16.5 μm / 0.65 mil
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Sunwire » 12 Apr 2018 19:15

Yes, the Denon DL-103/103S brochure in the VE library says the DL-103 tip is 6.5 mil..
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby katana1100 » 12 Apr 2018 19:23

Is there some sort of advantage to that shape?
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Sunwire » 12 Apr 2018 19:56

If you mean the 0.5 mil conical, I just want to try one for playing worn records.
Since almost everyone has played their records with a larger stylus, the 0.5 mil conical may reach down below where the wear is in the groove to play undamaged vinyl.

It may not make much, or any, difference. But I'm curious to try it if I can do it fairly inexpensively.

Also, I recently read some old technical papers that described the specifications for record grooves. The 0.5 mil stylus was the recommended size in those papers.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby billshurv » 12 Apr 2018 22:53

I believe Delta667 has a stock of that size conical that he fits. Sure ESCO will fit one for you as well if you can't find something off the shelf.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Vanni » 12 Apr 2018 23:12

Not current production but I think you can still easily find the Osawa OS101, also known as the Sansui SN-37/SN-37A. A quite decent cartridge that does well in upper medium/heavy arms.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby katana1100 » 13 Apr 2018 02:16

Interesting...
I have a pioneer pc35 which has a .5 mil conical. I don’t know if “retrieves” more detail ( I have elip, ml and regular sized conicals), but it is a nice sounding cartridge.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Sunwire » 13 Apr 2018 02:36

I'm not really looking for detail. Just want to see if a smaller conical could read a less damaged part of the groove.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Sunwire » 13 Apr 2018 06:20

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!
They were definitely helpful.
It got me looking at various models and lines.
After katana's suggestion of the PC35, I noticed that Pioneer used the 0.5 mil conical in a bunch of different models, so I went looking for more spec sheets and on ebay.
I found a NOS Pioneer PC200 on ebay for $29. It had pretty good specs. 10hz-32khz frequency response, which I don't think you'll find from many cartridges under $30.
We'll see how it sounds after I get it.

Thanks again!
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby katana1100 » 13 Apr 2018 19:34

I did some listening last night with pioneer pl50 tt, which has a pio pc35 cart with a oem needle. I say oem because the aftermarkets for it claim to be .7, not .5.
I only compared it to my 1210 tt which has a shure 97 with an SAS boron needle. The big difference is that the .5 is quieter with old vinyls. I'm talking stuff that I got for a buck at the thrifts. I spin clean all my records, I think in summary I can say that .5 gives the same detail as an elliptical, but a little bit noise and a lot less noise than a ML or shibata type.
I know people like to talk about getting deep into the groove to get that extra detail but if there is any crud or manufactoring problem with the bottom of the groove, you get a lot more noise.
I have records that I have used to repeated spin cleaning, applications of glue and they still are almost unlistenable on my tables with the ML type diamonds. But on my tt with the .5 conical (and my my pl41 which has a .7 conical), they are great. Two of these are old MSFL "super vinyl" copies of DSOTM and Clapton's "Slow Hand".
The record shop sold DSOTM for only $15 because even though it looked pristine, they said it was very noisy, and they were right! And, this is a record where it needs to be quiet. It is ok now, after lots of glue and only when played on my tt's with the conical tips.
It makes sense that different size conicals will have different advantages, Denon probably went with .5 because of less noise. FWIW, .5 conicals are not very common. The pio pc35 cart dates back to the early 70's so perhaps there is merit to different size of conicals. And I stress, the smallest and most expensive profiles are not always the best! Back in the '70's and 80's, the literature would list fair, good, best with conical being fair, or some articles would say they are poor. Have a few tables set up with different types and you'll see that all have a place and purpose.
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby Sunwire » 13 Apr 2018 20:02

I'm glad to hear the .5 mil needle is quieter with old vinyl.
That's exactly what I am hoping for.
I figure the damage that is done to old records is mostly at the top of the groove, where the record may get rubbed by fingers and dusty record sleeve and needle scratches.
The playing damage happens wherever the stylus contacts the groove. The larger the stylus, the higher up on the sides of the groove it will cause damage. I think the most common size for the past few decades has been the 0.7 mil or ellipticals that are 0.3 x 0.7 or 0.4 x 0.7. Audiophiles may have been more likely to use 0.2 x 0.7 ellipticals. But most of the records I'm finding in thrift stores probably weren't owned by audiophiles.
Since 0.5 mil styli have been rare for decades (I think), most of the playing damage is higher up on the walls of the groove, so maybe the 0.5 stylus can play the groove wall that hasn't been touched.
Some folks have said that all the dirt gathers at the bottom of the groove and the smaller stylus will hit that dirt and cause more noise. That may be, but I have an ultrasonic record cleaning machine, so if that dirt is there, I hope I can clean it out before play.
We'll see. :)
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Re: Anyone make 0.5 mil / 12 um stylus today?

Postby JRob1125 » 16 Apr 2018 21:19

katana1100 wrote:I think in summary I can say that .5 gives the same detail as an elliptical, but a little bit noise and a lot less noise than a ML or shibata type.


Very intersting. Any idea why the shape is so rare? It sounds like the perfect option for a "bang for buck" cartridge. Wouldn't that be easier than making a .4 x .7 or .3 x 7?
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