Stylus Profile Comparisons

the thin end of the wedge
samzvinyl
member
member
Posts: 82
Joined: 16 Sep 2010 21:06
Location: south wales

Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by samzvinyl » 07 Sep 2019 08:47

I’m using a Denon DL110 at present and will soon be due a change.

Is the elliptical stylus on a Hana EL as fine as the DL110.
Also how does the stylus profile on a Nagaoka MP200 compare with the DK110 and Hana EL.

Thanks

chiz
senior member
senior member
Great Britain
Posts: 878
Joined: 16 Oct 2009 23:05
Location: London

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by chiz » 07 Sep 2019 13:18

The Denon "special elliptical" is a bit of a mystery.
When they introduced it they described it as "line-contacting" but have never to my knowledge published the minor / major radius dimensions.

Hana specs do not appear to state these dimensions either:
http://www.excelsound.co.jp/contents/hana-hp_v2.pdf

The MP200 is a 0.4 x 0.7 mil elliptical.
http://www.nagaoka.eu/index.php?item=na ... 44&lang=en

BMRR
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5691
Joined: 23 Aug 2013 03:48
Location: Maine, USA

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by BMRR » 07 Sep 2019 23:16

The Hana EL is a bonded elliptical, most likely a .3x.7mil. The diamond on the DL-110 is a nude square shank and is much higher quality.

Mr Pig
senior member
senior member
Scotland
Posts: 281
Joined: 13 Feb 2018 23:17

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by Mr Pig » 07 Sep 2019 23:56

Try not to get hooked up on stylus profiles. There is a lot to the sound of a cartridge besides the shape of the stylus. The cart with the better tip may not be the one that sounds the best to you.

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1115
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by smee4 » 08 Sep 2019 01:06

Mr Pig wrote:
07 Sep 2019 23:56
Try not to get hooked up on stylus profiles. There is a lot to the sound of a cartridge besides the shape of the stylus. The cart with the better tip may not be the one that sounds the best to you.
Better styluses will extra more information, and more detailed information, from the groove, with less distortion. The overall sound will be influenced by the cartridge. You need both :)

samzvinyl
member
member
Posts: 82
Joined: 16 Sep 2010 21:06
Location: south wales

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by samzvinyl » 08 Sep 2019 09:14

My DL110 will be replaced soon. I do have a Nagaoka MP11 Boron with new Boron stylus but it’s not as good as the DL110 in my opinion. The DL110 tracks extremely well and is more detailed.

I’ve narrowed down my choice between either a new DL110 or a Nagaoka MP200. Alternatively I am considering a Denon DL301 Mk2 as I’d expect this to build on the qualities produced by the DL110. My phono pre amp is a Heed Quasar which is MM and MC compatible with adjustable gain etc.

Mr Pig
senior member
senior member
Scotland
Posts: 281
Joined: 13 Feb 2018 23:17

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by Mr Pig » 08 Sep 2019 09:38

smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 01:06
Better styluses will extra more information, and more detailed information, from the groove, with less distortion.
Not necessarily. A better tylus might, but a better cartridge with a lower quality stylus can sound better in every way.

My experience is that really good stylus profils can cause as many problems as they solve. While shure, they can give you extra detail they also put higher demands on everything else, including the vinyl, and often sound unnatural or harsh on too many of your records.

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1115
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by smee4 » 08 Sep 2019 09:48

Mr Pig wrote:
08 Sep 2019 09:38
smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 01:06
Better styluses will extra more information, and more detailed information, from the groove, with less distortion.
Not necessarily. A better tylus might, but a better cartridge with a lower quality stylus can sound better in every way.

My experience is that really good stylus profils can cause as many problems as they solve. While shure, they can give you extra detail they also put higher demands on everything else, including the vinyl, and often sound unnatural or harsh on too many of your records.
You shouldn't dumb down the stylus technology to cope with inferior records. If it sounds bad with a correctly aligned microline stylus, then the vinyl is damaged or bad in some other way.

I agree with different stylus profiles to play old records, that might be damaged or worn in some way, or made to a different spec (old 1 mil microgroove mono records for example). Not for good modern records though.

Mr Pig
senior member
senior member
Scotland
Posts: 281
Joined: 13 Feb 2018 23:17

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by Mr Pig » 08 Sep 2019 09:59

smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 09:48
You shouldn't dumb down the stylus technology to cope with inferior records.
You should if you care about listening to actual music rather than building Hi-fi ham shank!

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1115
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by smee4 » 08 Sep 2019 10:03

Mr Pig wrote:
08 Sep 2019 09:59
smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 09:48
You shouldn't dumb down the stylus technology to cope with inferior records.
You should if you care about listening to actual music rather than building Hi-fi ham shank!
I will hear more music than you with a microline.

Mr Pig
senior member
senior member
Scotland
Posts: 281
Joined: 13 Feb 2018 23:17

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by Mr Pig » 08 Sep 2019 10:22

smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 10:03
I will hear more music than you with a microline.
You might, but you might hear more surface noise, more hi-frequency distortion and a thinner, harsher sound.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy a clever stylus shape. What I am saying is that you want to be damn sure you've got everything else right before you do. That is if your goal is to enjoy the records that you own and not just pat yourself on the back about how great your stereo can sound on the one or two if those records that are perfect.

smee4
long player
long player
Posts: 1115
Joined: 04 Jul 2004 08:07

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by smee4 » 08 Sep 2019 11:49

Mr Pig wrote:
08 Sep 2019 10:22
smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 10:03
I will hear more music than you with a microline.
You might, but you might hear more surface noise, more hi-frequency distortion and a thinner, harsher sound.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy a clever stylus shape. What I am saying is that you want to be damn sure you've got everything else right before you do. That is if your goal is to enjoy the records that you own and not just pat yourself on the back about how great your stereo can sound on the one or two if those records that are perfect.
Strange, how many of my records sound good played with a microline then. I must have a lot of perfect records... because I hear LESS high-frequency distortion, about the same amount of surface noise, and a sound with a wider bandwidth, since I switched.

Mr Pig
senior member
senior member
Scotland
Posts: 281
Joined: 13 Feb 2018 23:17

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by Mr Pig » 08 Sep 2019 13:34

smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 11:49
Strange, how many of my records sound good played with a microline then. I must have a lot of perfect records...
It's not strange. I'm not saying high-end styluses are a bad thing. All I am saying is that they are not a magic bullet. They are not the quick route to audio perfection as, should the rest of your set up or record collection not be ideal, a top stylus profile can sound less enjoyable than a simpler one.

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1801
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by raphaelmabo » 08 Sep 2019 20:17

smee4 wrote:
08 Sep 2019 01:06
Mr Pig wrote:
07 Sep 2019 23:56
Try not to get hooked up on stylus profiles. There is a lot to the sound of a cartridge besides the shape of the stylus. The cart with the better tip may not be the one that sounds the best to you.
Better styluses will extra more information, and more detailed information, from the groove, with less distortion. The overall sound will be influenced by the cartridge. You need both :)
In theory yes, but real life listening may not follow so easy rules. :)

I’ve had the Denon DL-110, I played it to death. I did enjoyed it for it’s bass and treble, but found the midband a bit shy, sort of a loudness-effect. And stereo-imaging was nothing special, especially not in comparision with the OM20 I had before it. The OM20 had cinemascope sound. But the DL-110 was rather sweet sounding, a bit sugary, and clearly enjoyable.

Now, after I used the Sumiko Pearl for many years, a standard 0.3 x 0.7 elliptical. It gave me back the embracing cinemascope sound of the OM20, and with a more extrovert midband. But treble is a bit shy.

Surface noise was lower with the Pearl and it tracked worn out records better than the DL-110 did. Despite ”only” a standard elliptical.

I’m using a Benz MC Silver now, same specifications to the stylus as the Pearl but it has a more extended sound in the treble and more details. Stereoimaging between the Pearl/OM 20 and the DL-110. Tracks not as good as the Pearl, more sensitive to worn out records. But with good records it gives a nice sense of presence, it feels ”live”.

A German magazine tested out the new Sumiko MM and HOMC’s. The Amethyst has a line contact, but the others has a standard 0.3 x 0.7 elliptical. But sound, details, frequency range, differs between them all. Interesting is that the main difference between the Rainier - Olympia - Moonstone, is the size and weight of the moving magnet. Olympia has lower output than the Rainier because of smaller magnet, and Moonstone has an even smaller magnet. A smaller magnet means a lighter magnet, and a lighter magnet means lower moving mass. And lower moving mass is good, it has great sonical benefits.

Surprisingly, the Moonstone has a more even frequency response with less dip in upper midband than the Rainier. They have the same generator and dimensions of the stylus. The only difference is the smaller magnet (lower moving mass) in the Moonstone, and a coated cantilever.

Also interesting is the extended frequency range the HOMC gives, with the same stylus dimensions. 0.3 x 0.7 elliptical. And the Songbird is more detailed than the Blue Point Special EVO, which in turn is an upgrade to the Blue Point No.2. And they all have same stylus.

There’s difference in the generator, and the Songbird and Blue Point has an open design where the cantilever is fully exposed. This reduces resonances, giving better sound.

But the most interesting is the enhanced details, frequency response, musicality etc.
Without changing the stylus specs.

Why are Sumiko so in love with ellipticals? Because they are easy to set up, they are not as sensitive as a Shibata or other advanced styluses for VTA and rake angle.

Here’s the review with interesting charts.
https://www.lowbeats.de/alle-6-neuen-su ... nehmer-im-

It’s in german, but a web translation tool gives a workable translation in english.

Now, the Hana E uses the same elliptical as Sumiko does, it’s the same maker. Both Sumiko and Hana are made by Excel Sound Corp. in Tokyo, Japan. But Sumiko’s are tuned and developed by Sumiko in the US and Hana is Excels own brand. The don’t sound the same, even if they are close. I would say that the Hana MC’s are smoother sounding, with a touch of warmth. The Sumiko MC’s has faster response, more attack, but without sounding harsh (if properly installed).

I consider my Benz MC Silver being an upgrade over DL-110, and candidates for future upgrades includes the Hana E, Sumiko Blue Point Special Evo or Songbird, or the Benz Ace (MicroRidge stylus). I would also look at the Ortofon MC-3 Turbo (Line contact). Or the Soundsmith Otello (Moving Micro Cross, Elliptical).

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1801
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Stylus Profile Comparisons

Post by raphaelmabo » 08 Sep 2019 22:54

So there’s more to a cartridge than stylus type. Also note that MC designs are quite expensive so you get a more Advanced stylus for the money if you go for MM cartridges, the new AT VM95 series offers advanced stylus shapes for not so much money.

But, the generator in a MC cartridge is worth the extra money. Sure there are fina sounding MM’s but MC’s has - general speaking (I haven’t heard all MM’s, far from it) a faster transient response and more musicality. They do more with the stylus they have.

Also note that the DL-110 is an oldie but goldie, it has been around for many years and Denon has got their R&D money back. This means it can be sold for lower price than newer MC cartridges, such as Hana.

Post Reply