Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

the thin end of the wedge
wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 16 Oct 2019 04:50

This past weekend I resurrected my 1981 NAD 9200/9300 cartridge, and mounted a NOS NAD 93 nude elliptical stylus.

Everything was ok until tonight. The sound was more dull than I expected. Then, I heard the clear plastic stylus cover touching the record surface. 38 year old stylus. The cantilever had settled, or hogged down, letting the stylus protector touch the record, and changing the VTA/RA of the stylus in the groove.

So what do you do? Throw away the stylus, because it’s no good? Put a few drops of “presto magic pivot block revitalizer” on the damping block?

That’s not what I do. And yes, the stylus is playing properly now. It sounds really good!

I have quite a few ADC carts and styli. Together with experience from where I work, I found a way to resurrect used, NOS, original ADC styli, out of necessity.

First, I work for one of largest tire companies in the world. We use literally thousands of rubber compounds, natural, synthetic, and mixtures.

ADC used a butyl rubber compound for its damping, or pivot blocks that hold the cantilever in position and damp resonance. Sitting motionless for 38 years, the butyl rubber can get stiff, or loose. Either can happen. But thankfully, butyl rubber is one of the most stable of synthetic rubber compounds, NOT affected much at all by oxygen, ozone, or temperature changes. (Fact is, the inner liner of tires use butyl rubber; it seals off the air inside the tire from leaking or migrating into the rubber, and is stable in subzero and high temperatures, and stable during constant flexing.)

But the enemy of rubber is letting it sit, not flexing it. Flexing butyl rubber, and most rubber compounds, keeps the elastomers moving through the compound, adding to its stability.

So, this is what I do to each and every ADC stylus (original!) that I have: I use a small tool to exercise that rubber pivot block. I go to the butt (armature) end, NOT the diamond end of the cantilever, and carefully move that cantilever to its extremes, left, right, up, down. I do this for 5 minutes. Then, I repeatedly and carefully push UP the cantilever for about 30-45 seconds; at rest, UP, at rest, UP. Then I make sure the cantilever is centered, and I’m done.

That serves to move the elastomer compounds and spread them throughout the pivot block.

After doing that, I played 6 Records. The stylus stayed where it should, at the correct angle, using the correct 1.25 g VTF, and the stylus protector stayed 2 mm above the record surface at all times. Just like new!
9517ADF8-9E3A-4890-83D1-9FE9A8DD3B79.jpeg
(146.98 KiB) Downloaded 168 times
B7445F4B-3DD4-41B1-BA87-8A2ED4307090.jpeg
(163.18 KiB) Downloaded 163 times
4D81E299-7E2F-441E-B55A-CCF36F0592EE.jpeg
(145.77 KiB) Downloaded 165 times
79D47898-07F9-4725-971F-E0A66675B935.jpeg
(124.01 KiB) Downloaded 162 times
1EA386FF-B3E8-4216-8BA8-467866AB9BD8.jpeg
(80.08 KiB) Downloaded 168 times

spensar
senior member
senior member
Canada
Posts: 746
Joined: 04 May 2014 02:40

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by spensar » 16 Oct 2019 05:26

Really interesting. I also don't see any downside if proper care is taken.

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 16 Oct 2019 13:55

Notice I didn’t say to move the cantilever from the diamond end. Most often, when you see a broken ADC cantilever, it is broken right at the joint of the aluminum cantilever and thin, soft iron armature. It is fragile there, the joint between two dissimilar metals.

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 16 Oct 2019 13:59

Also, one of the reasons the ADC carts sound so good owes to the very small size of the cantilever. Effective mass and actual tip mass is very small; lighter than nearly all MC carts. Most aftermarket styli make the cantilever too long and too heavy.

tep392
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 228
Joined: 19 Jun 2018 14:57

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by tep392 » 16 Oct 2019 18:19

I have a couple NOS ADC styli and one of them seems stiffer than it should be. It doesn't deflect very much when I set it on the record. I think I will try this technique on it to see if it softens up at all.

Would this also apply to idler wheel rubber? I resurrected a Dual 1219 last year and it seems like it is has gotten quieter as I have used it. It still has the original idler wheel as far as I can tell and it seems pretty pliable for being 50 years old.

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 16 Oct 2019 19:02

It does depend on the compound. But in most cases, yes, flexing the rubber releases the elastomers to make the rubber more flexible again.

I just got in a NOS ADC VLM Stylus yesterday. I’ll be doing this again for this stylus.

I have several used XLM styli that I bought when the seller said the carts needed a new needle. All but one I returned to use, with many hours still left in them. The odd one has a worn out hole in the rubber pivot block and won’t keep the cantilever in place. Not a problem. I can just swap the good cantilever into a good pivot block later.

2002afan
senior member
senior member
United States of America
Posts: 400
Joined: 29 Jan 2018 01:45
Location: Gainesville, Virginia

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by 2002afan » 16 Oct 2019 19:50

Wolfie, Too bad ADC went of business. :(
You would be an executive or at the very least, the manager of R&D. :P
Keep up the good work. =D>
Cheers,
WillO

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 16 Oct 2019 20:59

One of these days: The ultimate ADC hack.

How to convert some of these aftermarket styli into a good sounding “nearly” ADC stylus.

Also: how to rebuild a good pivot block from butyl rubber scraps from work.

It’s worth the effort to me. These ADC carts really give the Shures, Empires, Stanton/Pickerings a run for the money. But not with most aftermarket styli.

tep392
member
member
United States of America
Posts: 228
Joined: 19 Jun 2018 14:57

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by tep392 » 22 Oct 2019 19:47

I have a NOS QLM36 MkIII Improved cart on the way. I'll try this process out and see how it tracks at nominal VTF.

PioneerFan
senior member
senior member
Posts: 297
Joined: 26 Jul 2016 15:00

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by PioneerFan » 22 Oct 2019 20:37

I have an ADC cart, and I like it. It's not my "go to" cart, it's the kind that had the modular plug in/out stylus. I have aftermarket conical and elliptical's for it. It's fun, but I have moved on to other carts. Maybe a bit of a novelty, at best.

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 22 Oct 2019 21:37

I haven’t tried a Jico stylus yet. But so far, I haven’t found an aftermarket stylus that does justice to the ADC carts. I have tried LP Gear, TTN, EVG, Pfanstiehl. Of those, the LP Gear comes closest. The others sound flat and blah. The LPG stylus for the XLM MKIII sounds a lot like the ADC VLM MKII Stylus. Close, but no cigar.

Collux
senior member
senior member
Australia
Posts: 614
Joined: 01 Oct 2017 23:54
Location: Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by Collux » 22 Oct 2019 22:43

I see your favourable earlier comments on the LP Gear ADC styli here Wolfie:
viewtopic.php?t=99288

Which of the 2 LPG ViVid Line styli have you tried?
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADCSZLM.html
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADC250.html
Last edited by Collux on 22 Oct 2019 23:08, edited 2 times in total.

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 22 Oct 2019 23:05

You want to know the truth? If you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them both! They are the same stylus!

The ZLM was ADC’s upgrade from the XLM, just added a nude line contact stylus. Bodies are the exact same. So LPG’s VL Stylus for the XLM is identical to the ZLM. LPG is good for doing that—taking the exact same stylus, giving it a different part number, and charging different prices. Check out the VL offering for the Empire S917 Stylus. 8 different part numbers for the same stylus, 3 different prices!

While the VL is very good, it’s not nude. So, you will lose just a little bit compared to nude.

So the VL adds detail, but compared to a nude elliptical, it loses that extra air and holographic effect.

Collux
senior member
senior member
Australia
Posts: 614
Joined: 01 Oct 2017 23:54
Location: Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by Collux » 22 Oct 2019 23:06

And in comparison, LP Gear's Shibata?
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADC211SA.html

wolfie62
long player
long player
United States of America
Posts: 1145
Joined: 04 Jan 2017 15:47
Location: Birmingham

Re: Genuine ADC styli: Taking my own advice.

Post by wolfie62 » 22 Oct 2019 23:48

It’s not nude. So I’m not sure it would add much the VL doesn’t give you. But I haven’t tried the Shibata. But even if nude, I don’t know that the Shibata is that much different from a line contact stylus, when you look at the geometry.

Post Reply