Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

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Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by MCM_Fan » 14 Aug 2019 23:49

I recently picked up a vintage AT88E cartridge and am in search of a replacement stylus. I see NOS ATS11E (0.4 x 0.7 mil bonded elliptical, 2 - 3 g VTF, green grip) and ATS12 (0.4 x 0.7 bonded elliptical, 1.25 - 2 VTF, blue grip) that fit this cartridge, but if possible, I'd like to move up a little to a nude elliptical. I see the ATN12XE (0.3 x 0.7 mil nude elliptical, 1 - 1.75 VTF, caramel grip), but it looks totally different than the other two.

So, first question, is an ATN12XE stylus compatible with an AT88E cartridge?

Second question, is buying NOS Audio Technica styli a good idea? Any age related potential problems (stiff suspension, etc.)? I've had excellent results buying NOS styli for my vintage Shure cartridges, but I'm just starting to dip my toe in the vintage AT pool.

If not NOS genuine AT, would a new JICO, EVG or LP Gear replacement stylus be a better choice? The LP Gear ViVid Line is about the same price as a NOS ATN12XE.

A guess a more direct question is, what's the best stylus option for an AT88E in the sub-$100 range (assuming that cartridge is worthy of such a stylus)?

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by Collux » 15 Aug 2019 02:49

The ATS11E if found here:
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=
The ATN12XE is found here:
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=

Whether there is interchangeabilty with the AT88E ?
-it's a possibility, there seems to be commonality with the ATS12S, ATN12S
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... p?PID=P822

BTW It looks like a heavier tracker stylus, the ATS96 was available for the equivalent AT96E
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/aud ... at88.shtml

All in all, if you can spend the money, the LP Gear ViVid line looks a good option any which way.
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATS12VL.html

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by MCM_Fan » 15 Aug 2019 03:15

Collux wrote:
15 Aug 2019 02:49
The ATS11E if found here:
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=
The ATN12XE is found here:
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... ategories=

Whether there is interchangeabilty with the AT88E ?
-it's a possibility, there seems to be commonality with the ATS12S, ATN12S
https://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog ... p?PID=P822

BTW It looks like a heavier tracker stylus, the ATS96 was available for the equivalent AT96E
https://www.vinylengine.com/library/aud ... at88.shtml

All in all, if you can spend the money, the LP Gear ViVid line looks a good option any which way.
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATS12VL.html
Thanks for the reply. Gary at The Voice of Music is my standard source for NOS styli. So, I've already seen those and it doesn't answer the question about compatibility with the ANT12XE. I've read conflicting reports. The arm I'll be running it on can easily handle any of the three styli. I'd prefer lighter tracking, and a finer nude tip would be better still. So, in the NOS options, it comes down to either the AT12S or, if compatible, the ATN12XE.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by Collux » 15 Aug 2019 03:37

The ATN12XE looks like it may/should be compatible?
- at least it looks very similar.
But I've seen before very similar stylus notation, where the styli are different (for different carts) and not interchangeable.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by MCM_Fan » 15 Aug 2019 03:57

Collux wrote:
15 Aug 2019 03:37
The ATN12XE looks like it may/should be compatible?
- at least it looks very similar.
But I've seen before very similar stylus notation, where the styli are different (for different carts) and not interchangeable.
The table in the owner's/instruction manual in the database here: https://www.vinylengine.com/library/aud ... at12.shtml

seems to imply they are compatible (same electrical characteristics and same physical dimensions), but I'd like conformation before ordering.

I'd also like some input from anyone who's used AT replacement styli of similar age to make sure there are no problems inherent with aging (like a stiff suspension).

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by Collux » 15 Aug 2019 04:24

Reading further, it seems this cart family has also been tried with Shibata and AT-440ab (microline) styli with success.

As far as old styli go (inc NOS) I think it's somewhat problematic:

Deteriorated suspensions (stiff, collapsed etc) is part & parcel with the territory.

Taking into account storage conditions for the carts, you may be fortunate or not.

Whilst I have purchased NOS styli -when spending a bit of money, I think newer is much safer in this regard.

That is why I think the ViVid Line from LP Gear whilst not inexpensive, may be a good option.

Then again the $ risk seems fairly low here:
https://www.jico-stylus.com/product_inf ... ucts_id=99

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by Collux » 15 Aug 2019 05:45

Looking at the Jico site: https://www.jico-stylus.com/index.php?c ... =2a&page=1
- the following styli all look to have the same profiles.
ATS10, ATS10L, ATS11, ATS11E, AT12C, ATS12E, AT12S,
ATN12S, ATN12XE, AT3M.

And may be candidates, at least physically.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by plyscds » 15 Aug 2019 06:56

TurntableNeedles has probably the best lists of compatibility. The ATN12 is a 201 series while the AT88 is a 200 series. In looking at the interchangability I didn't see the 200s mixed in with the 200s. But to be sure you could send e-mails to the vendors and check on interchangeability. TurntableNeedles and Voice Of Music care about you getting the right parts for your equipment. Ask the pros before opening your purse.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by plyscds » 15 Aug 2019 06:57

plyscds wrote:
15 Aug 2019 06:56
TurntableNeedles has probably the best lists of compatibility. The ATN12 is a 201 series while the AT88 is a 200 series. In looking at the interchangability I didn't see the 200s mixed in with the 201s. But to be sure you could send e-mails to the vendors and check on interchangeability. TurntableNeedles and Voice Of Music care about you getting the right parts for your equipment. Ask the pros before opening your purse.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by MCM_Fan » 15 Aug 2019 07:24

plyscds wrote:
15 Aug 2019 06:56
TurntableNeedles has probably the best lists of compatibility. The ATN12 is a 201 series while the AT88 is a 200 series. In looking at the interchangability I didn't see the 200s mixed in with the 200s. But to be sure you could send e-mails to the vendors and check on interchangeability. TurntableNeedles and Voice Of Music care about you getting the right parts for your equipment. Ask the pros before opening your purse.
Is there a way to tag a forum member in a post? I'd like to hear from Manfred / lini before I fire off an email to Gary at The Voice of Music. Manfred seems to be exceptionally well versed in these matters.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by Collux » 15 Aug 2019 11:14

You could PM him.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by Collux » 15 Aug 2019 11:22

Thanks plysycds for the TTN reminder.

With reference to the following, I think the AT12XE stylus is compatible with your AT-88E.
https://www.turntableneedles.com/ATN12X ... p_918.html
Note: If this item is ever out of stock you can alternately choose one of the "200" type needles in the "more related items" section below. The 200-DET and the 200-DEC will offer the same performance minus the flip down protection guard.

https://www.turntableneedles.com/ATS12- ... p_914.html
https://www.turntableneedles.com/Modern ... p_913.html

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by jdjohn » 15 Aug 2019 17:37

A true OEM ATN12XE (caramel color) should have a nude .3x.7 nude elliptical on a straight thin-tube cantilever. The one being sold at TTN is not.

I've had a lot of success with NOS ATN12XE...no issues with suspension, but of course as mentioned above, it does depend on how it has been stored.

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by MCM_Fan » 15 Aug 2019 18:03

jdjohn wrote:
15 Aug 2019 17:37
A true OEM ATN12XE (caramel color) should have a nude .3x.7 nude elliptical on a straight thin-tube cantilever. The one being sold at TTN is not.

I've had a lot of success with NOS ATN12XE...no issues with suspension, but of course as mentioned above, it does depend on how it has been stored.
Yes, their web site has a ton of information, but it's presented in a confusing, difficult to navigate way. They do sell brand name new styli that are in current production, but most of their replacement styli are their house brand Bliss.

If I buy a NOS ATN12XE, I will buy from a source I trust (The Voice of Music).

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Re: Is an ATN12XE Stylus Compatible with an AT88E Cartridge?

Post by MCM_Fan » 15 Aug 2019 23:26

jdjohn wrote:
15 Aug 2019 17:37
A true OEM ATN12XE (caramel color) should have a nude .3x.7 nude elliptical on a straight thin-tube cantilever. The one being sold at TTN is not.

I've had a lot of success with NOS ATN12XE...no issues with suspension, but of course as mentioned above, it does depend on how it has been stored.
Since you have experience with the ATN12XE, what is your overall assessment of the sound character and quality.

My only other experience with a vintage cart/stylus is with an ATN132EP on an AT132EP P-Mount cartridge. That's a 0.2 x 0.7 mil nude elliptical on a tapered aluminum cantilever. It came as a throw in on a little Technics SL-5 linear tracker. I wasn't expecting much, but was blown away by how good it sounded on a turntable that looks like a child's toy.

I'm hoping an ATN12XE on the AT88E cart will come close to recreating a similar level of sound quality.

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