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Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 16:11
by wojo58
I find myself in need of another Technics headshell for my SL-D2, and I really don't feel like paying over $60 bucks for a "genuine" Technics headshell. (I have no idea what happened to these prices since I last picked one up, but no mattter....) Has anyone gotten one of those "Fits Technics" generic headshells that can be had for around $10 on that popular auction site? What kind of things should I look out for? I know the AT headshell fits as well....whats the diff between the two? I thought maybe weight, but my scale doesn't go up that high.....

I think I'm probably better off with the AT one, which can be had new for $20

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 16:35
by 62vauxhall
If it does not have to have "Technics" emblazoned on it, generics work just as well. But I have noticed some of those are more appealing to the eye than others.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 17:02
by johnnywalker
Generally, the generics are not made to the exacting standards of the genuine Technics headshell. I got one that looks exactly like a Technics headshell except without the name on it, and it works fine in my SL-1200, but works only on one channel in my SL-1800 Mk II - obviously, the connections are not as exact. As well, the knockoffs are usually a couple of grams heavier than the Technics.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 17:54
by Boltman92124
My favorite headshell is the Audio Technica HS10 (around $40). Much better design IMO. I like mounting carts "nuts up" and the HS10 makes that alot easier. Also heavier at 10g.

Otherwise, the AT HS1 is OK for $20. If you want a really big headshell with room to breath, the LP Gear Ultimate is nice too around $50 and comes with some nicer headshell leads.
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGHDHEAD.html

They will all accommodate the 52mm overhang for the Technics.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 18:24
by BMRR
I was lucky to be able to buy a few genuine Technics headshells when they were still only $20 each. It's very unfortunate that the price has gone up so much.

I also have, or had, a lot of different generic headshells. Quality ranges from great to awful.

As a general rule, I now avoid the classic "cheese grater" headshells, which look like this:
s-l225.jpg
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They seem tempting because they're very inexpensive and they're very lightweight, which is a feature we often need, but there are two reasons why I dislike them:

1) They are VERY resonant, which is bad, and outweighs any benefit you'd get from their reduced mass

2) Quality control is generally poor. Most of these headshells are now made in China, and it's very common for the azimuth to be slightly off, which results in your cartridge's diamond pointing slightly to one side instead of pointing straight down

I've also had the azimuth problem with several of these generic Technics-lookalike headshells, which are also made in China:
s-l300.jpg
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So I now avoid those too.

I have had good or great experiences with the following name-brand headshells, which all have worked well on my Technics turntables:

• Ortofon SH-4, available in several colors, $29

• Numark HS1, available in black or silver, discontinued but they show up on eBay and other sites occasionally, usually $20 or less

• Stanton H4S, available in silver or gunmetal gray, discontinued but they show up on eBay and other sites occasionally, usually $30 or less

• Audio-Technica HS10, available in silver or black, usually $40 or less

• Also worth considering is the new Pioneer PC-HS01 headshell, which I haven't tried yet, but it looks like it's probably at least as good as the Stanton. Usually $30 or less.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 22:02
by lenjack
I believe most of them are OK.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 22:57
by luckybaer
I only have experience with the Ortofon SH-4. I do like the size and shape of the finger-lift. They are sturdy-feeling headshells (9.4 grams, FYI) and I've had an easy time getting my cartridges installed and aligned on them - and I'm just about the n00biest n00b there is.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 19 Jun 2018 23:59
by cafe latte
I bought a couple of Kab ones and they are 13 bucks both seem well made.
Chris

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 20 Jun 2018 04:38
by beat_truck
I have at least 3 or 4 of the sub $10 Ebay headshells in the second style that BMRR shows. They are a couple grams heavier than the OEM Technics 'shells, but otherwise they fit and work fine.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 20 Jun 2018 05:01
by audiopile
My gripe with the Sub $10 buck on da bay shells is that they seem way too often to be obviously cast from a Technics headshell -as witness the mold marks on the bottom of the headshell. Since these are of random heights -azimuth is nearly always off. I've sat here with a sanding block trying to get them really flat - but now just reuse the wires and throw 'em out. Ortofon SH-4's are nice ( a little heavier)and the flat top makes it easier for my ohld iez to judge when arm/cart actually is parrall to the records surface.I've used various Denon headshells and been satisfied with them as well. The problem is that there's a tendency to notice how well finished the top surface of a headshell is -but actually the bottom of the shell is what's critical since it mates with the top of the cartridge.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 20 Jun 2018 14:02
by donovan
I bought a few of these last year. They were made in Taiwan and are very nice for the price. I do like Sumiko and Genuine SME better... but they cost a LOT more.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/253663250903

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 24 Jun 2018 20:33
by Jdog1958
I bought a head shell from LP Gear and found that the plastic base at the back of the unit where the connectors are was mounted offset and couldn't fit into the tone arm. I had to trim it with a hobby blade to make it fit. It also makes a cracking noise if you insert it while the amp is on. None of the Technics or Audio Technica head shells do this.

I have 4 of the AT's and like them a lot, plus the one Technics that came with my turntable.

I have another AT coming to replace the LP Gear....

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 24 Jun 2018 21:10
by audiopile
Re: cracking sound ?
Having made my not quit living repairing audio gear for a couple of decades - I'd respectfully suggest that anytime you remove or re-install a headshell -either switch to a different input while doing that or turn the volume ALL the way down.Plugging and unpluging inputs with the volume up is usually really a bad practice - too many SS amps have no problem generating lots of power into very low (well below audibility) frequencies -any sound you hear in that situation is likely drivers getting their voice coil former's hammered.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 24 Jun 2018 21:24
by lenjack
Agreed. Never connect or disconnect a live input, unless you've got time or $ to waste.

Re: Generic Headshell Caveats

Posted: 25 Jun 2018 00:49
by cafe latte
Agreed also, NEVER remove headshell with amp on the Phono channel you risk blowing a tweeter or worse.
Chris