Old cartridges?

the thin end of the wedge
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rosea
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Old cartridges?

Post by rosea » 15 Apr 2019 08:39

I've just found 2 cartridges in the loft (attic), an Ortofon VMS20E MKII and an A&R P77. They are both 30 odd years old but were in perfect working order when last used, they were only changed as upgrades.

Are they likely to be still OK? Looking on eBay they go for a reasonable amount, which could be put towards my Pink Triangle 're-commission'.

I've also got a Hadcock GH228 Super tone arm of similar vintage, complete in original box (I did find this a bit fiddly to use and it was swapped for a SME III arm).

Pikey
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by Pikey » 15 Apr 2019 11:24

Don't throw them away whatever you do! ... I don't know much about the Ortofon, but I am a huge fan of the A&R P77 ... using it right now in fact!
42620
If you ever need a new stylus the Expert Stylus Co in Surrey are the people to talk to , the paratrace tip in the photo above was £105 last year ...

rosea
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by rosea » 15 Apr 2019 11:43

They won't be thrown away, sold maybe. I've got an Ortofon MC20 MC cartridge installed now.

In it's day the VMS20E MkII was a well respected entry level cartridge for turntables like the Pioneer PL12D, I used it in a Rotel RP1500 and probably a STD 305 with the Hadcock arm until I upgraded to the P77 then the MC20.

Collux
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by Collux » 15 Apr 2019 12:10

Upgrading the A&R P77

refer
https://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index ... pic=7995.0

Unfortunately the SAS Stylus 1 is not currently available from JICO.

However, as the SHURE N91ED is known to fit the A&R 77, the N91ED SAS may be an alternative.

simonineaston
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by simonineaston » 15 Apr 2019 12:23

I have this fond, romantic notion that most decent old cartridges will sound better than they did, back in the day, on modern, quality turntables & arms! This works for me, with my V15 / SME-based setup, and I think I read somewhere that V15s are known for being i) long-lived and ii) robust - they don't have anything much in them that deteriorates * - if you discount the suspension medium in stylii, that is! - but whether the same is true of the Ortofon VMS bodies, I don't know, and as for the A&R, I've never heard of 'em :-o Must look them up...
* apart from glue that is, but that doesn't count, 'cos its relatively easy to deal with - one of my V15 bodies slid gently out of its can the other day, enabling me to have a good decco at the internals - lord knows how people make these things - they must have better eye-sight than me!

lbls1
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by lbls1 » 16 Apr 2019 00:14

This was a shocker for me as well, as I was advised that cartridges have very long lives. I used to be under the impression that a cartridge would last about 3 years (dead wrong about that). In reality your stylus may wear out, but the cartridge (if there are no manufacturing defects) lasts a very long time and/or indefinitely. My two best cartridges are at least a bit over 20 years in age and both are playing outstanding notes from vinyl.

Bob Dillon
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by Bob Dillon » 16 Apr 2019 01:31

20 years ? =D>

G.E. Variable Reluctance cartridges are still popular and in use and some of them are 60 years old.

lbls1
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by lbls1 » 16 Apr 2019 02:00

^Dang!! I suspect my M44c is kind of old but I couldn't really say. The turntable its mounted on is at around 41 years old; I don't think it came with it though.

Coffee Phil
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by Coffee Phil » 16 Apr 2019 02:09

+1 Bob,

I love my GE RPX triple play for mono Lps and 78s.

Phil

Bob Dillon wrote:
16 Apr 2019 01:31
20 years ? =D>

G.E. Variable Reluctance cartridges are still popular and in use and some of them are 60 years old.

KentT
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by KentT » 16 Apr 2019 04:49

The Ortofon happens to be for me, the best MM platform the company ever made. Jico still supports styli for it (I think Ortofon still does also). And why not keep on using and enjoying it and the music? Have fun, enjoy the experience. We're here for you.

Collux
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by Collux » 16 Apr 2019 05:27

KentT wrote:
16 Apr 2019 04:49
........Jico still supports styli for it........
https://www.jico-stylus.com/product_inf ... ts_id=1592

simonineaston
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by simonineaston » 16 Apr 2019 07:30

I followed the link to the Jico site just now and discovered a small set of videos about the company history, here:
https://jico-stylus.wixsite.com/rekishi-series/episodes
Love the bit in the interview with Morita-san - when asked how many poeple can make the SAS stylus, he thinks a bit before replying, "only me"! (He does go on to add that they are training others, though, although I don't know how old the video is.) Very interesting. Tomita's Debussey take, Snowflakes Are Dancing in the background... I can't see the cover of that album without thinking of Spock, of Star Trek fame...

DeepEnd
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by DeepEnd » 16 Apr 2019 08:45

Both the VMS20E and the P77 are good cartridges worthy of getting good styli for.

The Ortofon originally had a nude elliptical styli (I suppose their 2M Blue is the modern replacement) with a very refined sound but much smoother than the later models. There are still a few original styli around.

The P77 is again a very good cartridge with an extended line contact tip (sort of between a 2M Bronze and Black). This has a bit more “bite” than the VMS20E but has the one of the best lower registers of any MM and is stunning on vocals.

The vast majority of the styli for the A&R cartridges (C77, E77 and P77 were made by “The Expert Stylus and Cartridge Company (ESCo) so these can still be supported.

I, like an earlier post, have the Magnesium bodied P77Mg with E77 (elliptical), P77 (“Parabolic”), a rare Boron cantilevered P78 ( with a FG2 tip replacing the original Weinz Paroc) and a sapphire cantilevered ULM Paratrace which is one of my main runners.

Both are well worth trying to keep going.

rosea
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Re: Old cartridges?

Post by rosea » 16 Apr 2019 09:10

I won't be keeping them as I have an Ortofon MC20 installed and these are just gathering dust (not literally, they are in their original cases). Will be looking to sell them to raise funds for the turntable service and/or power supply upgrade.

Good to know they are still well regarded, they certainly were in their day.

I may also have some old Shure cartridges as well, M75S and M95ED.

p.s. DeepEnd, nice amp I've got a Musical Fidelity XL-P

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