ML120, or - Life is good, when you are surrounded by nudes ...

the thin end of the wedge
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ML120, or - Life is good, when you are surrounded by nudes ...

Post by lapratho » 18 Oct 2019 06:30

... diamonds that is!
Come on, what were you thinking :)

In the past 25 years, I had collected and stashed a couple of dozen Shure systems from second hand turntables, mainly back in the glory days of the mid 90s, when eBay was no factor, and you could still find things at Goodwill and other second hand stores for nearly cents.
Not thinking much about used needles, I started inspecting them, and found that I had many that were simply caked in molten vinyl due to abuse. So, cleaning them up with alcohol, Orange Clean, and a tooth-pick, I ended up seeing nude diamonds on several High Track styli for the old M91 bodies.
Trying them out, they were from an entirely world beyond the bonded ellipticals on my Ortofon OM10 and Shure/Realistic R3X and R5X at the time. I finally had beautiful, detailed sound, that did everything right!

Then came the AT440ML with a nude, the first version, which originally sold for only 99 bucks. I still have both I bought.
Then came the SAS nude styli for my M95 series bodies, the V-bottom carts, R25XT, R47XT, M95, M97, etc, all the same body with different lips. An NDC replacement stylus will fit on them all!
The M91 and 95 always made me happiest of all carts, with exception of the OC9ML, which is saved for special occasions, followed by the AT440ML.

So now, I found a Shure ML120 while rummaging around in the old stash, which I had totally forgotten about and never tried.
Surprise, surprise, also a nude!
Bigger surprise yet! The damned thing, together with the ML140 was apparently a step above the V15 at one time, and very expensive!
So I just tried it.
And for the first time am not happy with a nude Shure. It is just too damned flat and neutral. I guess they were trying to do what Ortofon went for, that neutral CD sound. This thing is not nearly as much fun and nowhere near as engaging as my SAS/Shure combos, AT440ML, or the recovered High Track nudes.
Pitty ...
But the good news is, I have a stash of 9 nudes, including my OC9ML.

Life is good, when you are surrounded by nudes :D

Posts: 29
Joined: 30 Mar 2018 16:22

Re: ML120, or - Life is good, when you are surrounded by nudes ...

Post by Bobber05 » 19 Oct 2019 00:25

Can we agree to disagree? I've been running the ML140 for many years on a HK T60 and recently got an nos ML120 to replace a barely broken in nos OM20 Super on my HK T40.To my ears, the ML120 retains most of that Shure sound I so love and I prefer it over the Ortofon.
My phono stage is an equally aged B&K Pro 10MC Sonata pre driving a B&K amp into Wharfedales, perhaps this influences our differing opinions?
Regardless, congrats on your stash and if you wish to sell off your ML120HE, do let me know.

Posts: 198
Joined: 27 Mar 2016 04:55

Re: ML120, or - Life is good, when you are surrounded by nudes ...

Post by audiodk » 19 Oct 2019 18:05

The difference in sound has more to do with the recommended capacitance load of the cartridges than the type of stylus tip.
The recommended load for the M91/M95 cartridges is almost twice that of the ML140/ML120. The total capacitance of your system (tone arm wires, turntable cables and pre-amp circuitry) is more compatible with the M91/M95 recommended load than the ML cartridges. I'm guessing your system load to too high for the ML cartridges which results in an emphasis in the mid frequencies and a roll-off in the higher frequencies.

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