First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

the thin end of the wedge
noisefreq
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First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by noisefreq » 17 Oct 2018 03:51

I bought a Pickering XV-15 from fellow VE'er BMRR back in July.
After reading about positive results with the JICO D1200 stylus I decided to give it a go.
Shipped directly from JICO took eight days.
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I switched out my Shure V15 III SAS I've been running, with the Pickering XV-15, on my AR-TA.
It's time for a change of pace and my V15 III needs a break.

I read on another forum that when using the brush, I should set the tracking force to 2.5g because when in use, it's closer to 1.5g actual tracking force.

Does this sound right?
I've never used a cartridge with a brush before.

It was interesting setting up the alignment as the brush makes the stylus behave much differently when tracking the HiFi News test record.
I found the brush accentuated the slight warp on the test record.
I could also hear the brush being dragged when listening to the HiFi News.
Too much brush contact actually made the diamond rise enough out of the groove to cause slight distortion at the top of the warp.

I played around with brush to surface contact and finally found the sweet spot, it took a while.

The Pickering with the JICO D1200 stylus is a lovely sounding cartridge.
Not quite as detailed as the V15 III SAS but a nice full bodied response nonetheless.
The biggest difference I think, is in the upper mids.
The XV-15 is not lacking, just perhaps a bit flatter than the V15 III.

The XV-15 seems like it may be a little more quiet in the groove compared to the V15 III.
I'm still deciding if the brush attributes to this or not.

What tracking force do you use with and without the brush?
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Spinner45
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by Spinner45 » 17 Oct 2018 05:03

As with all the pickerings, you need to add 1 gram over the stylus pressure to compensate for the brush.
Without the brush, the setting is as usual.

Tinkaroo
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by Tinkaroo » 17 Oct 2018 12:30

The original brushes that came from Pickering or Stanton were made of horse hair and much softer, so if you have an original stylus with a pooched diamond save the brush and transfer it over to your new stylus.

Some people use it with or without the brush. The brush isn't quite as good as the original Shure stabilizer brush as used on the V15 Type IV, etc. which acted as a damper too. If you do choose to use he brush I would recommend the original horse hair version if you can find one.

jdjohn
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by jdjohn » 17 Oct 2018 15:32

I personally never liked the idea of a few hundred bristles vibrating on the end of my stylus. I tried using the brushes with various Pickerings/Stantons, but decided I like the sound better without them on. It's worth experimenting, though, to figure out what works best on each person's system.

noisefreq
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by noisefreq » 17 Oct 2018 15:55

I'm sure the novelty of it will quickly fade and I'll re-set the tracking force.

From you JICO users--is 1.5g good or does anyone track lighter?

BMRR
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by BMRR » 18 Oct 2018 01:20

Most of the aftermarket brushes are pretty bad, unfortunately. The bristles are too thick and too stiff. Assuming you don't have a genuine Pickering brush lying around, my recommendation is to simply remove the brush. And I agree that 1.5g is a good starting point (with the brush removed). You might be able to back it down to 1.25g after 20-30 hours of play time, but the aftermarket styli do tend to need a little bit more VTF than the originals.

I think you'll find that it sounds noticeably better with the brush removed. Every aftermarket brush I've used has been terrible and caused all kinds of problems.

Tinkaroo
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by Tinkaroo » 18 Oct 2018 08:48

One thing worth noting is that it is basically the same cartridge as the Stanton 680/81 and you can swap out styli from either even though the shape of the mounting plastic of the stylus is different.

I swapped over an original EEE stylus from my Stanton 680 to the Pickering XV-15 and played it without the brush at 1.25 gms and it sounds pretty amazing. I'm using this stylus sparingly since originals are hard to find, but it shows how capable this cartridge is with a good stylus whether that be a Pickering or a Stanton equivalent.

You can see the different stylus mounting and brush implementation on the Stanton below, but it mounts the same on the Pickering XV-15.
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noisefreq
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by noisefreq » 18 Oct 2018 15:39

I've noticed slight mis-tracking on brand new records I know are not skippers.
The brush is picking up the diamond at the top of even the slightest of warps.

The brush weighs 1.1g so, with the brush off, the tracking force was pretty much right on already.
I adjusted it to 1.5g and the mis-tracking has stopped.

I was betting on the JICO aftermarket stylus compliance being a bit lower than oem.
The headshell I have for the Pickering is a gram or two heavier than I'd like.
Resonance is between 8cu and 9cu as per the HiFi News.

But the mid range sounds a little recessed. Drum sounds are buried, guitars sound smeared.
I adjusted the tonearm height at the pivot, raising it so the cartridge is tail up and volia, the upper mids are stating to come in to focus more.

The cartridge needed no spacer but I may try a thinner mat and see if it sounds any better or if that pushes it too far.
I'm betting as the diamond gets polished and the stylus breaks in, I will hear more of what was initially lacking and my small adjustments will provide excellent reproduction.

BMRR
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by BMRR » 18 Oct 2018 15:42

Nice!

BMRR
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by BMRR » 18 Oct 2018 15:48

How's your capacitive loading? 275pF is optimal but anywhere from 225 to 325 is fine. I run my Pickerings and Stantons at 225pF (100 at the preamp and 125 in the tonearm wires and TT output cables), and they sound well balanced at that load.

noisefreq
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by noisefreq » 18 Oct 2018 16:14

I honestly don't know.
I assume I'm the same ballpark.
Bellari VP 130, 4' of total cabling from the cartridge to the AUX input...

jeff449
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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by jeff449 » 18 Oct 2018 17:55

Yes, Tracking force should be set to 2.5g if you want to track at 1.5g w/ brush.

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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by mamakasou » 18 Oct 2018 23:05

My own experience with original styli for both Pickering and Stanton, is that the brushes work wonders.
They Help with warps and also keep you tip clean from junk.
I'm always surprised by the amount of particles gathered on those brushes after a couple of plays, in otherwise clean records.

I've also done some ABX tests with and without the brush, to identify if there is any added noise.
I was pleased to find out that there's nothing audible.
The aftermarket brushes might behave differently though.

Give them a try but do not forget the added gram.
Balance your arm as usual and dial in the suggested VTF + 1 gram.
For example I use my original Pickering D625 with the brush, @2.4grams total.

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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by wolverine » 22 Oct 2018 10:35

Even though I have been a member here for years I never paid attention to the forums. I'm starting to get serious about vinyl (i.e.beyond just putting the record on and dropping the needle) and this has been a very informative thread especially since I currently have a Pickering XV-15 in use with my recently acquired Technics D-3.

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Re: First Time Pickering XV-15 User with Questions

Post by Legrace » 22 Oct 2018 23:48

Many stylus options for XV-15:
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I recently order aftermarket D1800S and D350.

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