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AT95E upgrades

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AT95E upgrades

Postby Jdog1958 » 23 May 2018 08:43

I bought the AT95E to get me back into vinyl after a long hiatus. It is decent, but I did replace it with an AT120E/T and have been loving it.

One thing I have learned recently was how many of the AT cartridges can be upgraded with just the stylus, and often the only difference within a group is often the stylus.

With that said, I am thinking about trying out some styli for the 95 and some of the suggestions that I have seen include:

CFN95SE - carbon fiber cantilever
ATN95LV - Vivid Line contact
ATN95SA - Shibata

There are others, I am sure. I have also been given some suggested upgrades for my AT911E.

This is all limited to my budget, and I fully understand that I'm not going to create a high-end cartridge by adding a new stylus to an entry level unit. I just want to improve what I have within my budget.

I'm curious about that carbon fiber unit and what to expect from that and as to the Shibata and Line Contact units, some sites suggest these are best left to upper-end turntables with adjustable height tone-arms. My SL-Q2 does not offer this.

Just wanted to get some thoughts here
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby scrapjack+ » 23 May 2018 16:21

I have the same table, different cart though. The Shibata styli are for CD-4 discrete quadraphonic records. I believe I read once that the SL-Q2 had the low capacitance cables, to play CD-4. I don't know if either of those carts can handle frequencies of up to 50khz needed for CD-4. Are you interested in Quadraphonics?

As for the adjustable height, you just want to tone arm to be level. Most records seem to be of a similar thickness although there are some really thin and some oddly thick records, unless you have a loot of either it's probably not that big of an issue. You could always use spacers between the cartridge and the head shell to raise the arm to level.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby Boltman92124 » 23 May 2018 17:18

I have the CF95se. It is a marginal upgrade in sound from the 95e (less IGD and more detail). It is also lower output at 2.5mv.

Is does track much better than a 95e though. Thing will plow through anything! Good for older LPs that you shy away from before! And it's pretty cheap!

PS- If you really want to be surprised on the cheap, try the CF3600le (elliptical) from LP Gear! I like it more than the CF95se.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby Jdog1958 » 24 May 2018 09:05

scrapjack+ wrote:I have the same table, different cart though. The Shibata styli are for CD-4 discrete quadraphonic records. I believe I read once that the SL-Q2 had the low capacitance cables, to play CD-4. I don't know if either of those carts can handle frequencies of up to 50khz needed for CD-4. Are you interested in Quadraphonics?


I understand the Shibata was designed for quadraphonic sound, and no, I am not interested in Quadraphonics. I guess all i'm looking at is to "tweek" these cartridges to see what they can do. So I guess I'm wondering if the added expense of a Shibata or Linier contact stylus worth it. I just hear different things about them.

My AT120E/T has become my favorite so far, and I'm not trying improve that, though I can't say an upgrade isn't in it's future....
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby JAV80007 » 24 May 2018 14:49

If you want to what a well tweaked AT95 can sound like, get your hands on a clear audio virtuoso V1. Order an AT95SA stylus from Jico, cut off wings and install in the Virtuoso.

This is as good as you'll get that engine to sound, and it sounds really good.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby Boltman92124 » 24 May 2018 16:27

Jdog1958 wrote:
scrapjack+ wrote:I have the same table, different cart though. The Shibata styli are for CD-4 discrete quadraphonic records. I believe I read once that the SL-Q2 had the low capacitance cables, to play CD-4. I don't know if either of those carts can handle frequencies of up to 50khz needed for CD-4. Are you interested in Quadraphonics?


I understand the Shibata was designed for quadraphonic sound, and no, I am not interested in Quadraphonics. I guess all i'm looking at is to "tweek" these cartridges to see what they can do. So I guess I'm wondering if the added expense of a Shibata or Linier contact stylus worth it. I just hear different things about them.

My AT120E/T has become my favorite so far, and I'm not trying improve that, though I can't say an upgrade isn't in it's future....


You're probably better off upgrading the 120 to at least the 440 or one of the new AT models/stylus. More upside if you like that sound.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby JRob1125 » 24 May 2018 16:50

The diffence in price between the VL and SA doesn't make since to me. Isn't a line contact better than a Shibata? Anyway, I've heard both and they we're nearly indistinguishable to me (SA is slightly warmer)
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby JAV80007 » 24 May 2018 16:59

JRob1125 wrote:The diffence in price between the VL and SA doesn't make since to me. Isn't a line contact better than a Shibata? Anyway, I've heard both and they we're nearly indistinguishable to me (SA is slightly warmer)


The shibata tracks better as well.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby Boltman92124 » 24 May 2018 21:05

JRob1125 wrote:The diffence in price between the VL and SA doesn't make since to me. Isn't a line contact better than a Shibata? Anyway, I've heard both and they we're nearly indistinguishable to me (SA is slightly warmer)


LP Gear used to have the VL for $75 but then cranked the price up to $135. SA is $175..on a body that costs $30...But I guess people like the set-up.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby Wimbo » 24 May 2018 23:37

I've got a VL. I replaced the plastic body with a wooden body and clipped the stylus down so that there is really only the cantilever and the plug that clips into the cartridge. Big improvement.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby james73_2008 » 25 May 2018 01:07

Boltman92124 wrote:LP Gear used to have the VL for $75 but then cranked the price up to $135. SA is $175..on a body that costs $30...But I guess people like the set-up.

I wouldn't say that's so unusual when you look at the Goldring 1000-series or the Ortofon 500-series for example - same body on all models but the price premium is the stylus.



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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby JRob1125 » 25 May 2018 01:17

Boltman92124 wrote:
JRob1125 wrote:The diffence in price between the VL and SA doesn't make since to me. Isn't a line contact better than a Shibata? Anyway, I've heard both and they we're nearly indistinguishable to me (SA is slightly warmer)


LP Gear used to have the VL for $75 but then cranked the price up to $135. SA is $175..on a body that costs $30...But I guess people like the set-up.


In the AT95E's case.....the stock stylus is about 90% of the reason it's a budget cart (a pretty rough looking .4 x .7) Stylus upgrades make a pretty dramatic difference.
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby Boltman92124 » 27 May 2018 17:24

JRob1125 wrote:
Boltman92124 wrote:
JRob1125 wrote:The diffence in price between the VL and SA doesn't make since to me. Isn't a line contact better than a Shibata? Anyway, I've heard both and they we're nearly indistinguishable to me (SA is slightly warmer)


LP Gear used to have the VL for $75 but then cranked the price up to $135. SA is $175..on a body that costs $30...But I guess people like the set-up.


In the AT95E's case.....the stock stylus is about 90% of the reason it's a budget cart (a pretty rough looking .4 x .7) Stylus upgrades make a pretty dramatic difference.


I guess I think the charm of the 95 is being so good at a low price. Spending $200 can get you AT's nicer designs and even a few models up. My favorite is the LP Gear 95ce .5 x .6 conical. Even cheaper!
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Re: AT95E upgrades

Postby JRob1125 » 28 May 2018 21:23

I just love the way it sounds. I know I can do better, but not sure if I'd hear it. The AT95E with the Paratrace sound just like my CD player on my mid-fi setup.
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