Golden era MMs in the 21st century

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billshurv
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Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by billshurv » 30 Sep 2019 23:35

OK as a hopefully interesting diversion I thought I'd try and start a discussion on older MM cartridges that are still capable of playing with the best. I don't think I make any secret of the fact that IMO the best cartridges were made between 1979 and 1987 with nothing made today being as good. Now of these there are a number of 'legendary' models where replacements are just not available anymore as materials are banned and production techniques are no longer used. But I have noticed that there were often models one or two steps down from the top where you can still keep them running at or close to at their new performance (or perhaps even better than new). And these are the ones that interest me.

To give an example. The Panasonic EPC100 MK4 is considered by some to be in the handful of best cartridges ever made and certainly top 3 for MM. It had the lowest effective mass ever reported due to a tiny diamond and a thin wall Be cantilever which was matched with trick rubber in the suspension that didn't vary in performance with temperature as much as butyl rubber. Even if you can find one NoS can you find one without saggy suspension? The cost and risk of failure is too high with these for anyone other than the well heeled or the gambler. But the older and somewhat plainer looking EPC205CII can be kept running close to new spec for not too much money.

So what do people think? What are your favourites from 40 year ago and how DO you keep then going? I'll drop in some of my favourites on the way.

nat
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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by nat » 01 Oct 2019 00:16

Personal taste and system matching are hugely important in evaluating cartridges. There are plenty of (or at least some) people who would suggest that even much earlier cartridges have much to recommend themselves. Many people love their Deccas, Londons or the earlier ffss models, and I'm completely of the same mind. I've also been impressed by how similarly dynamic (though less detailed and live) a lot the earliest MM stereo cartridges sound. Some of these have pretty inexpensive styli still available.

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by Collux » 01 Oct 2019 01:07

Nice new topic, I am sure there will be some very interesting responses.

I will say:
Anyone venturing into the area of vintage cartridges, MUST have a plan for styli replacement.
Be it: NOS, aftermarket replacements, substitutions OR be prepared for re-tipping/grafting, etc
AND make allowance for the, at times expenses involved, to keep these great old carts going.

Having a number of ADCs, Shures, Empires, Stantons, Pickerings amongst others, I am well aware of these matters.
My carts do not however, include the esoterics (I wish!) like the mentioned Panasonic EPC100 MK4. :)
But they are at the higher end of their respective lines.

AsOriginallyRecorded
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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 01 Oct 2019 03:05

I have two that I believe fall into this category. The first is an ADC PSX-40 p-mount that is quite astoundingly good. I have a Jico stylus on it now, and cannot believe my good fortune in finding it on a basic JVC belt drive I picked up. The other is a Shure supplied RS R47XT with a NCD-ED stylus on it that continues to bring smiles every time I use it. Both relatively rare, but with readily available styli...a perfect combination. :D

billshurv
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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by billshurv » 01 Oct 2019 11:08

Nat: full agree with you and I have a Denon from the 60s that I think will hold it's own today. Happy if all older carts are discussed. There are legends from all decades.

Collux:asbolutely. I am very picky on older cartridges until I know there is some method to retip/replace.

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by goatbreath » 01 Oct 2019 12:53

The Shure M75 Body..
Never bought one,several just came to me through various purchases..
I tried various things to replace it..
It has it's own magic going on..
Probably not correct as far as the master tape goes..
I just enjoy it and have been lucky enough to find styli that work reasonably well with it..
These are in both the M75 ED and M75 B/6s guise..Non tie wire Jicos..
Hopefully they haven't changed that recipe.They work and track well..
The M75 ED copy is on the quite warm side of neutral..
Are they as good as the originals,probably not,they still give me something other cartridges I own/have owned don't.
That is regardless of price..


I have other bodies,but haven't found them affordable to take a chance on or the repro styli were awful..
I find the Shure M75 replacement copies better than the V15 III and M55/44 ones as far as tracking goes..
I used an SAS for a while,it was good,tracked very well,but the M75 with a 3x7 or conical stylus wants to party..
If that makes sense..lol..The heavier tracking conical is great too..
I sort of mean I connected to the music on a more emotional level with the M75,I get into it,I feel happy.. :)
I also have an ADC XLM II Body,Goldring 910 Body,Ortofon OM's..The XLM ad Goldring could be very good indeed,
Never liked my Goldring 1012 much..I have an Ortofon 510 mk2 same as the OMs really..
The only ADC I heard was a bit rolled of in the treble,they had a reputation for that when I was younger.
Cheap replacement styli seem to be heavy trackers for the ADC..So I haven't experimented.
Technics U25 Body,worst tracking repro styli ever,well joint with the Shure M44G repro styli..
I have heard the U25 can sound superb though..

So I use new Audio Technica AT VM 95 ML/AT 95 E/91 and Vintage Shure M75 variants..Both quite different I guess.. :)
Oh and the Denon DL110 in 12 gram headshell gets a lot of use too,that's an MC though..

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by Delta667 » 01 Oct 2019 15:37

The most amazing thing is that there are no isoterics in MM cartridges 60-80x.
The phenomenon of good sound is built on healthy competition between numerous companies involved in the reproduction of vinyl.
The competition itself MM was built on competent engineering solutions, quality materials and the conscientious work of enthusiasts from different companies.
Over time, complex and labor-intensive pickups were eliminated and only the most advantageous construction options remained on the market.

Observing the general trend of production and quick change of goods, one can easily assume that in a couple of years it will be impossible to find a replacement stylus for the cartridge that was produced today.

As before, my favorite among MM is the rude, brutal, heavy and ugly SM-1 from Fairchild.
The AKG P8ES Nova v.d.H is very good, but it is almost impossible to find a working stylus for it. I restored one for myself ))
Technics-100C for me has remained a legend. This cartridge requires a phono stage with a signal capture of 1.0 mV. Unfortunately, I don’t have one and I had to be content with a very boring sound. Technics himself did very little to comfortably listen to this cartridge - Technics SU-A4MK2 / A6 , perhaps that's all))

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by BMRR » 01 Oct 2019 15:47

Rather than a single cartridge, I would like to nominate a series of cartridges: the AT100 Series, introduced in either 1978 or 1979 if I recall correctly, and still going strong today under the new monikers of the VM500 / VM600 / VM700 Series.

This series has hung on for 40+ years for very good reason, and the stylus options are nearly limitless.

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by billshurv » 01 Oct 2019 15:55

Whereas I have a phono stage that can do it and no 100C :). But I do have a P8ES super Nova ready for repair when I have some money spare.

My favourite cartridge for construction method remains my AT-22 aka signet TK9. Others I have may have a more technically advanced design but don't have the looks. It couldn't survive as production costs were too high so was swept away.

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by Delta667 » 01 Oct 2019 16:04

BMRR wrote:
01 Oct 2019 15:47


This series has hung on for 40+ years for very good reason, and the stylus options are nearly limitless.
A generator with two movable magnets was created in 1966.
In November, he will be 53 years old. He is still young. )))

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by Delta667 » 01 Oct 2019 16:17

billshurv wrote:
01 Oct 2019 15:55
Whereas I have a phono stage that can do it and no 100C :). But I do have a P8ES super Nova ready for repair when I have some money spare.

Accept my regards !
I do not think that this should be an obstacle if there is where to insert a new cantilever with a stylus in P8ES. :D

billshurv
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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by billshurv » 01 Oct 2019 16:25

The only obstacle is deciding which stylus I want :)

billshurv
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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by billshurv » 01 Oct 2019 16:26

Oh and I should note that I consider the AT100 series along with the ortofon OM and some Shure models as 'evergreens' that should be supported with good stylii as long as people play vinyl. These are what I might call 'safe bet' cartridges to own.

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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by wolfie62 » 01 Oct 2019 16:44

Now THIS is going to be an interesting thread!

I have a good collection of Shures. In fact, other than the M24, I have every cart from about 1964 to the end of the Shure Era.

ADC, I have more than 20 now, covering the earliest from 1961 to the Astrion. Not even Jico makes a truly decent stylus for the TOTL, IMO. The bass tends to roll off when using aftermarket styli, and I have a bunch of them. NOS make them truly sing!

I have the ADC PSX 30 and 40 with NOS styli.

I have the AT10, AT11, AT12, and an AT331LP with a NOS line contact stylus.

Empire, from the 880P (Now there is a remarkable cart!) to the EDR.9.

But I also have several Acutex and Nagatrons that I need to get syli for. One, I have yet to find one for. That's the 360CE cart, with a very early version of the carbon fiber cantilever.
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The Sansui SC-50 I hear is a very good cartridge. Made by Micro-Sieki I've read. I need to find a good stylus for it.
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Last edited by wolfie62 on 01 Oct 2019 17:19, edited 1 time in total.

Delta667
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Re: Golden era MMs in the 21st century

Post by Delta667 » 01 Oct 2019 17:04

billshurv wrote:
01 Oct 2019 16:25
The only obstacle is deciding which stylus I want :)
I am sure that you need the smallest stylus on the lightest cantilever that I can create. Then the name Super Nova will fully correspond to the product. :lol:
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