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Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 02 Dec 2019 19:19
by mark79
Hi Again: I was just on another Forum-and one of them was supposedly a retired Stanton engineer from back in the day when Stanton was still in Plainview, NY. He said that the 500 series, which came out in 1967, was basically a piece of junk. I don't know if I believe that or not. I have several 500s, 600s, and a 680 along with a 681 and some Shure carts. All of those carts. have their pros and cons along with their own properties. All came from a broadcast background with AM&FM radio stations. The 680 & 681 being used by most FM stations. The main problem with the Stanton when audiophiles started using them, was most of the time, they weren't using proper VTF and when that was the case, they had a distinct "splashy" sound with some very harsh sibilance. I used to know a girl back in the day that was an FM disc jockey that didn't track the 681s they were using at the correct VTF-I told her add another gram-when a commercial came on she did that and everything sounded much better. The only thing I agreed with him on, that years later when Stanton got into the DJ market ( scratch, hip-hop and beat juggling(not meant to bash the music), some of the later styli' didn't have the quality of the earlier ones, in fact, they were horrible. As a whole, I don't think Stanton's are a piece of junk. Just checking in; Regards; Mark79

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 03 Dec 2019 01:55
by Erin1
I wouldn't worry about what other people say...even the engineer.

Perhaps he's referring to frequency response, or trackability....or comparing it to later cartridges.

Perhaps in 1967 it was really good?

If you like it you like it.

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 03 Dec 2019 11:48
by AudioFeline
Every manufacturer had a range of products, from entry to upper level. The engineer was probably more familiar with (eg. owned for his own use) the upper-quality cart's, so the lower-end carts (eg. the 500) didn't sound as good in comparison.
But it doesn't mean the 500 were bad, in fact it's my understanding that in general, they are regarded as being very good at their level in the total range of cartridges available. And some actually prefer them.

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 03 Dec 2019 12:33
by donovan
Never owned the 881 or higher, but my 500,680 Stanton's are VERY pleasing to my ears. Also, I never experience any sibilance... even using aftermarket stylus. Great vintage carts!

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 04 Dec 2019 16:59
by wolfie62
I don't get it. Why would anyone want to use a high quality cart for AM or FM broadcast use? The resultant fidelity with either bands is low-fi, at best. Detail doesn't come through at all. So why bother? FM is worse than MP-3.

Lipstick on a pig is the description that comes to my mind....

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 04 Dec 2019 18:15
by fscl
Check out a previous VE Stanton topic:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=91874

Happy listening

Fred

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 05 Dec 2019 10:26
by AudioFeline
wolfie62 wrote:
04 Dec 2019 16:59
I don't get it. Why would anyone want to use a high quality cart for AM or FM broadcast use? The resultant fidelity with either bands is low-fi, at best. Detail doesn't come through at all. So why bother? FM is worse than MP-3. ...
AM radio certainly needed a cart that was rugged above all else, particularly given the rough handling style a lot of AM DJ's had. I think that it was clearly understood that quality didn't really matter.

When it first emerged, FM was regarded as HiFi quality, and I believe that some stations sounded better than the compromised quality that exists today. And some FM stations would have cared about the quality (eg. some classical stations). So I could understand that they would use a quality cartridge, that could also take the grueling 24/7 use.

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 05 Dec 2019 21:52
by mamakasou
Basically all stations were using so-called 'broadcast' type cartridges.
These were also marketed as 'DJ' cartridges later on.

Above all they had to be rugged and track like a train.
But companies also offered several 'broadcast' models with a varying degree of sound quality.

So the station could choose either to use a bog-standard Stanton 500AL or something higher cost, like the Stanton 680SL. The latter was a broadcast (DJ stylus) version of the series with a Stereohedron tip. A heavy tracker of course.
Another one was the Stanton 681SE. This was a 'calibrated' version of the 680EL. Stanton 500E which I have is also a more refined broadcast edition, with an elliptical diamond tip and really impressive sound quality.

So you get the idea.

The market for broadcast cartridges was pretty large at the time and there were all kinds of options, covering all needs.

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 06 Dec 2019 10:47
by chiz
1970 Stanton 500AL advert:
Stanton_500AL_1970.JPG
(166.31 KiB) Downloaded 88 times
(found in the archive at https://www.americanradiohistory.com)

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 06 Dec 2019 18:52
by 33audio
I recall talking to someone in the broadcast industry years ago. He said the diamonds on the 500
was so poorly ground that he had to use a very dirty record to quickly seat in a new stylus.

The 500 series did not use natural diamonds. They were General Electric Blue Chip industrial sapphire.
I am sure about this because I spent about 20 minutes long distance wearing out a Stanton engineer
until he had no choice but to admit that the 500 diamonds were synthetic.

The industrial sapphire cannot be polished like a natural diamond because the grain is inferior. They only
last half as long as a natural diamond.

The 500 was called the "workhorse" of the industry.

The criticism may have been based on the diamond quality in the broadcast industry. The 680 used a natural diamond. Regards, Mark

Re: Stanton Cartridges

Posted: 09 Dec 2019 01:50
by KentT
The 680 was also more expensive, and so was their styli. So consider that. Also, consider the cost of replacement styli (which had to be replaced very often on a music intensive AM or FM station, which in the case of a 24 hour station was some 18 hours a day of records being played, could get very expensive. Bear these factors in mind before you wonder why didn't the station buy higher end cartridges and styli. That Stanton advertisement is in the case of the average Top 40, Rock, and Country DJ, very honest and very truthful. I know this having engineered and been an on air DJ over many years.