New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

the thin end of the wedge
sparktone
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New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by sparktone » 12 Mar 2019 02:20

The subject line pretty much says it all. I still have the Technics SL-3300 I bought as a teen 40 years ago, with a Signet TK1Ea cartridge upgrade I did in the mid '80s. The TT works fine, and I'm getting back into vinyl again. All along I've been thinking I'd replace the cartridge with a AT120Eb, still (barely) available for sale. But now I'm wondering if I should just replace the stylus on the Signet. This may be the last turntable/cart decision I ever make in my lifetime, so I want to get it right, LOL.

BTW, I also still have the Kinergetics KMP-1 Magnetic Cartridge Processor I bought with the Signet, and through which I ran the phono signal for many years. I don't know if that should factor into the cartridge decision. The guy who sold me the Signet talked me into it (I was young), saying it would reduce distortion and make my cart perform more like a moving coil.

Sunwire
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by Sunwire » 12 Mar 2019 04:18

I would replace the stylus on the TK1Ea.
Signet was the higher end line of Audio Technica cartridges.
The bodies for the Signet TK*Ea series and the Audio Technica AT120 series were essentially the same and the needles are interchangeable between them.
So, you could put an AT120E needle on your TK1Ea body if you want to.
There are LOTS of choices of needles for your cartridge.
Here is a thread that lists many of the compatible needles:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=103725

This thread also discusses those needles, but it's very long and includes many posts about other Audio Technica cartridges:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=103144

And this one:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=95654#p810115

In my experience, what makes the biggest difference in the sound quality of these cartridges is:
1) a nude mounted stylus
3) a .2 x .7 elliptical diamond OR one of the more advanced shapes (Shibata or Microline)

I think these cartridges with all the possible needle choices, are the best value in phono cartridges you can find.
I have three or four of the compatible cartridge bodies and a dozen or so needles at all different price points. The better ones are good enough that I have no real desire to seek anything better.

If you have more questions after trying to wade through all those posts, please write back.

donovan
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by donovan » 12 Mar 2019 11:42

I have one of these on my Signet TK5Ea cartridge, which also should work fine on your TK1Ea.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/254157335125

patient_ot
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by patient_ot » 12 Mar 2019 14:38

If it were me I would just put a new AT stylus on the Signet. If it is the EA body type you can use most or all styli from the current 500 series on that cart.

As KMP-1, no idea. I'm guessing this is some sort of EQ that corrects the rising response of the cartridge? Maybe try to get a friend to help you do a blind A/B to see if you need to keep it or remove it from the system.

sparktone
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by sparktone » 12 Mar 2019 16:54

Thanks, all. You've convinced me to keep the Signet, and I'm finally getting up to up to speed on the wide world of AT replacement styli. Looking at what's still available to purchase and what's in my price range, it seems that the ATN120E may be the right choice for me. The options are confusing, though. Turntableneedles sells a bonded elliptical replacement made by Bliss for $29. The eBay product mentioned above is a Pfanstiehl bonded elliptical for $84. And LP Gear advertises a genuine replacement ATN120E with a nude elliptical tip for $85. That last one would be my preference. However, the ATM120E had a bonded tip. If I'm not mistaken, it was the ATM120E/T that had the nude elliptical. I've emailed LP Gear to confirm that what they're selling really has a nude elliptical tip despite the product labeling.

chiz
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by chiz » 12 Mar 2019 19:10

sparktone wrote:
12 Mar 2019 16:54
However, the ATM120E had a bonded tip. If I'm not mistaken, it was the ATM120E/T that had the nude elliptical.
The original 1979 spec AT120E was 0.4 x 0.7 bonded. This was later changed to 0.3 x 0.7 nude with the same model number.

The AT120E/T shares the same specs as the later AT120E from what I have seen.

katana1100
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by katana1100 » 13 Mar 2019 03:27

I have a 5kea with stock stylus and it sounds fantanstic. I also have a vml 540 stylus and it too sounds fantastic. Those Signet bodies are special.

Sunwire
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by Sunwire » 13 Mar 2019 06:05


donovan
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by donovan » 13 Mar 2019 12:34

katana1100 wrote:
13 Mar 2019 03:27
I have a 5kea with stock stylus and it sounds fantanstic. I also have a vml 540 stylus and it too sounds fantastic. Those Signet bodies are special.
I have owned and heard several of the Signet MM cartridges and do agree...they sound excellent. To me, they don't have that "clinical/sterile" character of some AT carts.

solvin_dk
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by solvin_dk » 13 Mar 2019 13:16

Hi

I would go for the AT-120EB. Why? I have nearly the same age as you. Remember that our hearing is as it was when we were 20 or 30 years old.

If you are lucky, you can still hear about 10-15 kilohertz. I have a AT-130E for now, whit 200 hours playtime, and it sound super. My replacement is the AT-120EB that I have bought last year.

Best regards,

Torben Pedersen
Denmark

Sunwire
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by Sunwire » 13 Mar 2019 21:44

Sparktone - do you have a manual for the Kinergetics KMP-1?
It sounds like an interesting device.
I'd like to read about it and I imagine others would, too.
If you could scan an upload it, perhaps it could be added to the VinylEngine library.

patient_ot
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by patient_ot » 14 Mar 2019 20:26

These styli will also fit the Signet body:

https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/styl ... index.html

https://www.lpgear.com/product/ATN7V.html

https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/styl ... index.html

https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/styl ... index.html


If it were me I'd go for the 7V stylus if you don't want to jump to the ML. You get a slightly finer elliptical profile with that one (.2 x .7) and it's a nude diamond.

Sunwire
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by Sunwire » 15 Mar 2019 00:33

I agree that if you can afford a 0.2 x 0.7 elliptical, it's going to sound better.
I would NOT get the VMN20EB because I think it's a bonded diamond.
And the nude ATN-120Eb is cheaper and has the same 0.3 x 0.7 profile.
$69
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ATN120Eb.html

solvin_dk
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by solvin_dk » 16 Mar 2019 13:26

Hi again

Go for the AT-120EB. It will last longer as many stylus variant, as Micro-ridge, Jico SAS and other stylus, that have a special form.

I have always been a fan of elliptic shaped diamonds. Why? Because, they last longer. When I was younger, I have many different pickups, whit the special shape. They wear out in about 500-700 hours of use. The inner distortion of a record becomes audible.

A eliptic stylus can last around 1000 hours, because they have not the sharp edge as a Micro-ridge. To day I can’t hear any difference between my AT 130E with 0.2 mil 0.7 mil elliptic vs. the cheaper AT 120 EB whit 0.3 mil 0.7 mil

They are both nude mounded on the cantilever.

Best regards,

Torben Pedersen
Denmark

Boltman92124
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Re: New stylus for Signet TK1Ea or replace with AT120Eb?

Post by Boltman92124 » 08 Apr 2019 17:54

LP Gear still has the 120eb stylus for $69. Heck of a deal for their nude elliptical. I picked one up a couple of weeks ago and it is my new everyday cart. Great detail and extended treble response. Should probably get another while they last. The new VM version is over $150.

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