Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

the thin end of the wedge
Post Reply
modalmood
junior member
junior member
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Aug 2018 22:04

Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by modalmood » 10 Jun 2019 00:23

My turntable is a Rega Planar 2 which came with the Rega Carbon installed. It’s replacement time for the stylus and, as I understand because this cartridge is basically a relabeled AT3600, there are various options for new a stylus. LP Gear for instance makes them with different stylus shapes at around $75 and $150. There are also options under 20 bucks. My question is this: Will it be worth it over the long term to upgrade given that I’m quite happy with the Carbon and I’m not one to collect or change carts regularly if at all. I guess I will be going through about 2 per year. What about downgrading? I wouldn’t be surprised if someone suggested that the Carbon’s needle stinks and that I’m better off with a certain aftermarket cheapie. Thanks.

Collux
senior member
senior member
Australia
Posts: 623
Joined: 01 Oct 2017 23:54
Location: Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by Collux » 10 Jun 2019 08:48

LPGear replacements:
Elliptical ~$30
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXSE.html
Vivid Line ~$80
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXVL.html

Alternatively, you by a replacement AT3600L cartridge (inc stylus) from the bay for ~$13

cats squirrel
long player
long player
England
Posts: 2444
Joined: 16 Dec 2008 16:13
Location: Glorious Devon, UK

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by cats squirrel » 10 Jun 2019 10:14

that cartridge (or variants) is highly thought of on this forum (and probably others). It is, perhaps, the bottom rung of the hifi ladder, but hifi nonetheless. In a good arm (like your Rega) it gives excellent service. It is possible to get elliptical and exotic shaped styli for it, and better sound will result. But I suggest you look carefully at any new styli suppliers, as not all are of the same quality. If you can, replace with AT styli, although only the spherical is available from AT, I believe.

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1852
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by raphaelmabo » 10 Jun 2019 15:25

The LP Gear upgrade stylus for Rega Carbon is made by Audio-Technica for LP Gear. I would see this one as a safe buy.
http://www.lpgear.com/product/REGACARBONUPSTY.html

The elliptical shape will bring out more details.

Japi Roelofs
long player
long player
Netherlands
Posts: 4517
Joined: 05 Apr 2008 16:53
Location: Netherlands

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by Japi Roelofs » 10 Jun 2019 15:39

You could also check out the Tonar 'E-Flip' stylus. It used to available from Thakker (under the Thakker EPO-E name) but it appears to be out of stock. The E-Flip stylus can still be found on the web though, there's some Dutch vendors that sell it.

Aluminium cantilever, bonded elliptical stylus, black body and a clear plastic flip-down stylus guard (hence the name). Tracks at 2 grams.

Apparently there's an even better one called H-Flip, 0.2 x 0.7 hyper-elliptical, but @ €100 more expensive than the E-Flip I suppose there are better options.

modalmood
junior member
junior member
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Aug 2018 22:04

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by modalmood » 11 Jun 2019 00:50

Collux wrote:
10 Jun 2019 08:48
LPGear replacements:
Elliptical ~$30
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXSE.html
Vivid Line ~$80
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXVL.html

Thanks for the comments. I'm sensing that people don't think that the stock Carbon conical stylus is anything special. Interesting that I could give an elliptical a spin for $30 through LPGear. Thanks @Collux for that tip. Might be the way to go.

Boltman92124
senior member
senior member
Posts: 973
Joined: 22 Jan 2016 23:18
Location: San Diego

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by Boltman92124 » 11 Jun 2019 15:46

modalmood wrote:
11 Jun 2019 00:50
Collux wrote:
10 Jun 2019 08:48
LPGear replacements:
Elliptical ~$30
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXSE.html
Vivid Line ~$80
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXVL.html

Thanks for the comments. I'm sensing that people don't think that the stock Carbon conical stylus is anything special. Interesting that I could give an elliptical a spin for $30 through LPGear. Thanks @Collux for that tip. Might be the way to go.
The LP Gear CF3600le stylus is stupid good. 8)

cats squirrel
long player
long player
England
Posts: 2444
Joined: 16 Dec 2008 16:13
Location: Glorious Devon, UK

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by cats squirrel » 11 Jun 2019 16:24

the stock Rega Carbon/AT91/AT3600 are all the same, except for the material used in the cantilever. The Carbon, as you know, is made for Rega by AT, so is very good, if more expensive. It is still possible to get a AT91 (or AT3600) with spherical stylus for less than a tenner (UK ebay), and it will sound the same as the Carbon.

I have a Carbon, and many other variants, and like them, but for a tenner (or £25 for the Carbon) they are never going to satisfy everyone. I received the CF3600LE cartridge today, and it looks good, but haven't tried it yet. Be aware that the Carbon et al can sound a touch rough compared to other (more expensive) cartridges, as it has 8% vertical distortion, but many find that appealing (apparently!!) They must be playing thrash metal... :D

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1852
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by raphaelmabo » 11 Jun 2019 16:48

cats squirrel wrote:
11 Jun 2019 16:24
the stock Rega Carbon/AT91/AT3600 are all the same, except for the material used in the cantilever.
Not entirely so, because they have different outputs. The Carbon has 2.5 mV, a standard 3600 has 4.2 mV and the 3600L has 3.5 mV and the AT91 has 3.5 mV too. Difference in output suggests different magnets, and I believe that the Carbon should have lower mass (lower output = smaller magnet, smaller magnet = lower mass). My Thorens TAS 257 (AT3600L) has 3.5 mV.

cats squirrel
long player
long player
England
Posts: 2444
Joined: 16 Dec 2008 16:13
Location: Glorious Devon, UK

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by cats squirrel » 11 Jun 2019 18:01

the magnets all look about the same to me, even other AT carts further up the tree look the same! I question the outputs, but I have not measured them, so they may be ball park. There may be some variation in damping (from the elastomer) and tracking weights.

modalmood
junior member
junior member
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Aug 2018 22:04

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by modalmood » 11 Jun 2019 18:57

There have been several mentions of the stylus used in CF3600le. At around $30 (for either entire cartridge or stylus alone) it certainly is a bargain. It has, like the Carbon, a carbon fiber cantilever. But where the Carbon's stylus is conical, the CF3600le's is:

● Spectra Elliptical diamond for very fine tracing accuracy
● Diamond tip r/R radii: 8 × 18 µm (.0003 × .0007 inch)

What kinds of changes can be expected going from a conical to the above? I think I read that an elliptical tracks inner grooves better resulting in less IGD which would be a BIG plus for me (not that the Rega is bad in this regard.) But, since I buy a lot of old records that aren't always in the best shape, something that is less forgiving of groove wear or surface noise might be problematic.

modalmood
junior member
junior member
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Aug 2018 22:04

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by modalmood » 11 Jun 2019 22:53

Realized in the post just above this one I asked a question (conical vs elliptical) that has been examined at length in many threads such as these:

https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... hp?t=21228

https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... hp?t=91699

I'm relatively new here. Apologies for wasting valuable forum space!

Boltman92124
senior member
senior member
Posts: 973
Joined: 22 Jan 2016 23:18
Location: San Diego

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by Boltman92124 » 12 Jun 2019 20:21

modalmood wrote:
11 Jun 2019 18:57
There have been several mentions of the stylus used in CF3600le. At around $30 (for either entire cartridge or stylus alone) it certainly is a bargain. It has, like the Carbon, a carbon fiber cantilever. But where the Carbon's stylus is conical, the CF3600le's is:

● Spectra Elliptical diamond for very fine tracing accuracy
● Diamond tip r/R radii: 8 × 18 µm (.0003 × .0007 inch)

What kinds of changes can be expected going from a conical to the above? I think I read that an elliptical tracks inner grooves better resulting in less IGD which would be a BIG plus for me (not that the Rega is bad in this regard.) But, since I buy a lot of old records that aren't always in the best shape, something that is less forgiving of groove wear or surface noise might be problematic.

Just get one. No brainer. I love it. For $5 bucks more they'll send you a 3600 body with it too and you can pop off the stylus and put it on the Carbon. Read the instructions if you haven't swapped stylus' before. Pretty easy on that one.

]eep
senior member
senior member
Netherlands
Posts: 251
Joined: 13 Jan 2018 22:18
Location: NL

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by ]eep » 16 Jun 2019 06:02

I've just ordered an lp-gear DLXHE and a carbon LE elliptical from Jico Canada (saves me the ridiculous US postage cost). I've bought a few of those cheap 3600L SFC (sent from China) and they absolutely rock. They are versatile, cheap and sound awesome in any TT or arm I put them in.
Now I am listening to a tangential Philips I just fixed and the AT is almost a drop in replacement only it sounds much better than the original Philips cart. I had to open it up to get a little more tension on the spring that takes care of VTF since it's 2g heavier. That's why I ordered the LE, since it's absolutely worth the extra $30.
I'm also using it in a Lenco idler wheel (several, I've got a few headshell now so it's easy to swap) and it's absolutely wonderful with older records. I'm thinking of getting a wood body too. I've done that with an AT95 +HE stylus and that really changed my mind about MM carts. I've been using expensive MC carts for 3 decades now, but these cheap AT's are just so much fun! And I'm not worried playing all those old worn (but cleaned) 2ndH records.

I have over 5000 LP's so upgrading a cartridge is so much smarter than just buying an extra 4 LP's. Or 2 in the case of the LE stylus. Wearing down the diamond on my €5000 Koetsu on just any old vinyl is something I really shouldn't think about. And playing it with the 3600 on a €10 TT is really enjoyable. FYI, playing a Thorens 115 with OM20, which is supposed to be great, vintage, just irritated me to no end. Sounded like a wet cracker with a mind of its own. The Philips that is mechanically stripped to the bone really sings with the AT3600 and works fully automatic without errors.

Boltman92124
senior member
senior member
Posts: 973
Joined: 22 Jan 2016 23:18
Location: San Diego

Re: Replacement stylus for Rega Carbon (AT3600)

Post by Boltman92124 » 16 Jun 2019 15:55

]eep wrote:
16 Jun 2019 06:02
Sounded like a wet cracker with a mind of its own.
Best cart description of the day right there!! :lol:

Post Reply