Cartridges with integral stylus guard

the thin end of the wedge
alexandra47
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Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by alexandra47 » 10 Jun 2019 11:15

Browsing the cartridges listed by a well-known hi-fi shop in Warrington, it occurred to me that an integral stylus guard is a rarity these days, no matter how much you pay for the cartridge. You know the type of thing I mean. A hinged plastic device permanently attached to the front of the cartridge, which you swing down to protect the stylus, or swing back up to play a record. When you're setting up the tonearm for tracking weight, etc., you can do it with that type of stylus guard in place, because it doesn't add any weight to the playing end. With the more usual stylus guard which you slide off, any adjustments have to be made with the stylus tip exposed and vulnerable. Am I missing something obvious here? Surely, if the integral guard were such a good thing, every manufacturer would fit one. Is there some drawback to these things which has escaped me, or is such a thing simply not "cool" in hi-fi terms? Would its presence somehow brand the cartridge as consumer-level rather than audiophile-level? A bit like those Dust Bug devices which seemed such a good idea (I had one on my Goldring GL75), but which were sneered at by real hi-fi enthusiasts.

tlscapital
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by tlscapital » 10 Jun 2019 11:54

Personally I prefer simplicity. My Denon DL-102 comes with a full guard that one slides onto the cartridge to mount and dismount the cartridge from the headshell. With holes to allow to slip in the screwdriver for the mounting bolts.

I see your point on "audiophiles" snobbery. Yes, true that it can be a manufacturer's preferences. Yet I believe that it can also be a manufacturer's trend to have the smaller and very annoying plastic caps one must not drop or lose in everness.

But for your contentment some after market stylus manufacturer's like Jico offer this stylus guard option on some models that originally had such a feature. Mind you it comes to a cost. So maybe this was a production cost factor as well.

chiz
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by chiz » 10 Jun 2019 12:02

I have Denon DL-110, AT150MLX and others with this type of stylus guard.
Some say as they are not rigid they add vibrations which colour the sound.
On the examples I have they are easily removed if that is preferred.
Personally I use them as intended and find them a convenient safety feature.
dl-110.JPG
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Solist
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by Solist » 10 Jun 2019 14:47

There is a probability that you will end up destroying the cantilever if you constantly mess with that guard. Similar to chisel caps. You have a bigger chance cutting yourself when putting the protection caps compared to storing them properly.

From an audiophile perspective, the guard can be a weak point. You want to avoid anything that will add unnecessary vibrations.

alexandra47
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by alexandra47 » 10 Jun 2019 15:29

I confess I hadn't considered the vibration angle, although I'm sure this could be eliminated by careful design. It's interesting to look again at the site I mentioned, to see which cartridges have the integral guard fitted. Only one, actually, the Audio Technica VM540ML, listed at 235 pounds (my keyboard has no pound sign). So hardly a bargain basement cartridge. The AT-VM95E uses a slip-on guard, as does the cheaper conical stylus-equipped AT-VM95C. The Audio Technica ART1000 doesn't have an integral guard either, and that retails at an eye-watering 4,450 pounds. So there's clearly no correlation between price and guard type. I wonder, in passing, what the weight of a removable stylus guard would be? I'll dig one out and try it on my postal scale. For people like me who are nervous about the stylus when setting up turntables, maybe that type of guard could be fitted and its weight ignored. The error thus created shouldn't be great. Or is this heresy?

Boltman92124
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by Boltman92124 » 10 Jun 2019 20:49

Almost all of the AT higher end MM carts have them. VM500 and 700 series. The older 440ml, 120e/100e also have them.

lini
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by lini » 11 Jun 2019 15:38

Bm92124: It's rather like AT's mid-range MM families most usually do/did sport a visor guard, while the high-end families don't/didn't (which goes for both the AT22 to AT25 (& Signet TK9/10/100) and the AT-ML1x0(/OCC) family) - just like most of the low-end families, although of the latter there not rarely are/were variations with visor guard, like for example the AT77x in contrast to the AT7x models.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

Boltman92124
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by Boltman92124 » 11 Jun 2019 16:05

lini wrote:
11 Jun 2019 15:38
Bm92124: It's rather like AT's mid-range MM families most usually do/did sport a visor guard, while the high-end families don't/didn't (which goes for both the AT22 to AT25 (& Signet TK9/10/100) and the AT-ML1x0(/OCC) family) - just like most of the low-end families, although of the latter there not rarely are/were variations with visor guard, like for example the AT77x in contrast to the AT7x models.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
I don't see the downside! Vibrations from the guard??? Seems silly. So nice to balance the arm and have the guard down. It does make it hard to see the stylus when aligning on a protractor though.

lini
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by lini » 11 Jun 2019 16:21

Bm92124: I also tend to like those visor guards in general - but nevertheless I've experienced some rather sloppy implementations, too. Just like I've experienced better and worse stylus non-visor-style guards and cart models with better and worse body/needle interface. So I can understand that some phono fans tend to remove those visor guards or even additionally fix removable needles with glue...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by markcass » 11 Jun 2019 16:52

Hi all

I have an Ortofon 530 Mk II which has a hinged stylus guard. Ingeniously, it's arranged so it swivels right up and clips into the body when not in use. The 'classic' straight-ahead position (as in the image of the DL-110 above) just unlocks the stylus so it can be removed from the body.

Maybe consumers found this tricky to use (Ortofon certainly didn't explain the technique very clearly in the instructions!), as the newer 2M range of course has a clip-on guard. I must admit, I struggled to pull the stylus off at first!

Mark

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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by Solist » 11 Jun 2019 17:03

Boltman92124 wrote:
11 Jun 2019 16:05

I don't see the downside! Vibrations from the guard??? Seems silly.
If you take into consideration that the whole tonearm vibrates/resonates because of the stylus riding the grooves, then what you think happens to that small piece of plastic, positioned right next to the source of vibrations and with a much lower mass compared to the more rigid tonearm?

The whole turntable is fighting against vibrations that are absurdly small in any other type of field, but the turntable is basically a microscope. The better the turntable, the more you see. The more you see, more will this small things have an effect on the performance of the turntable.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by JoeE SP9 » 11 Jun 2019 20:34

IME MC cartridges don't have them. Some come with a stylus guard that has to be completely removed to use them. All the MM cartridges I have are equipped with a flip down stylus guard.

markcass
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by markcass » 12 Jun 2019 11:08

JoeE SP9 wrote:
11 Jun 2019 20:34
IME MC cartridges don't have them. Some come with a stylus guard that has to be completely removed to use them. All the MM cartridges I have are equipped with a flip down stylus guard.
There are some exceptions to the above. For example, the DL-110 shown in this thread. I also have two Ortofon MCs (Rondo Red and Samba) that use the traditional Ortofon clear plastic hinged guard, first seen in the 1970s on their induced-magnet cartridges. Its adoption for the Rondo series was a bit of a surprise, as the previous MC range had a push-on guard (more accurately slide-on).

JoeE SP9
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by JoeE SP9 » 12 Jun 2019 22:12

My current cartridge is an open frame Sumiko Blackbird. All the other MC's I have (Dynavector DV10x5, Ortofon MC-20 Super, Hana SL, Audio Technica AT-OC9) have no provision for a flip down stylus guard.

OTOH: All my MM cartridges have a hinged stylus guard.

lini
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Re: Cartridges with integral stylus guard

Post by lini » 13 Jun 2019 06:50

Most of AT's MCs with user-replaceable needle had visor guards - i.e. the AT31E/30E/30HE/50MC family, AT3100/3200/35E family and AT-UL3/5 family.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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