ADC QLM 36 Mk III

the thin end of the wedge
keoki82
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ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 20 Dec 2019 18:52

Hi all,

About a year ago I inherited a Dual 1225 in decent condition that came fitted with an ADC QLM 36 Mk III. This cartridge has a sweet sound and I'd like to continue using it, although I'm growing wary of playing my records using a tip that has an unknown number of hours already logged. I've considered putting together a small bookshelf system for my basement den, built around this Dual for mainly record playback, ideally using the ADC cartridge because I enjoy the sound of it. Before I drop money on speakers and an amplifier, though, I want to make sure that I can get replacement styli for this cartridge.

Thus, I have a few questions for ADC experts. Are there new old stock of replacement styli for this cartridge, or just OEM products today? I'm in Canada; where can I find NOS for a reasonable price, if possible, otherwise where can I find a decent OEM replacement and/or upgrade? It appears that LP Gear manufactures a replacement but I wonder if it would be as good.

I'm also wondering if this cartridge will accept an even higher quality stylus replacement, and if so, which one? Would there be any output issues, etc., that would arise from using a different stylus with this cartridge? Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

wolfie62
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by wolfie62 » 20 Dec 2019 20:49

The made-in-Japan original ADC QLM 36 MKIII styli are nude elliptical, if you can find them, a great stylus. If made in USA, it will be a Diasa bonded. (Diasa = Diamond bonded to Sapphire) The older MKII styli are Diasa bonded elliptical styli. Still good, but not as good as nude, although the Diasa are some of the best bonded styli I've ever heard-- very near to nude in performance.

The body you have for your QLM 36, if it was originally a MKIII, is the same body used in the higher XLM and ZLM, and ASTRION cartridges. The only difference is the stylus.

So, you can upgrade your cartridge IF you can find an original ADC NOS stylus for it, QLM 36 or XLM MKII Improved, or MKIII or MKIII Improved, or ZLM. An original VLM MKII is virtually identical to a QLM 36 stylus, and is a Diasa bonded elliptical.

For aftermarket styli, I have tried just about all of them. AVOID the Pfanstiehl and the EVG units. They are fakes, sporting a gold sticker instead of a magnet, and have a small button magnet at the end of the cantilever making it a MM cart and making not a true ADC Magnetic Induction cartridge. Also, they just sound bad.

I've tried EVG Japan, Turntable Needles, Pfanstiehl, Astatic, EVG Swiss, Tonar, eBay, Normahr, NeedleDaddy, Carole's Needles, and a few others. The only one I haven't tried is Jico.

The best performing aftermarket I've tried is the LP Gear unit for the XLM MKIII Improved. It's a dead ringer for the Diasa bonded ADC styli. No sibilance, tracks well at 1.2 grams, has quite good detail, bass is good, and has an extended high end response better than all the others I've tried. I have not tried the VL stylus from LPG, but based on their XLM MKIII stylus, I'd say its worth a shot.
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keoki82
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 20 Dec 2019 21:00

Thanks for your detailed reply, I appreciate the info! Glad to know the LP Gear aftermarkets are decent. The model letters and mark numbers are a little confusing to me, so if I understand correctly, the XLM Mk III would not work with the QLM 36 Mk III, although the VLM Mk II aftermarket replacement would offer an improvement over the QLM 36 Mk III replacement?


totem
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by totem » 21 Dec 2019 20:36

As wolfie noted above the replacements today are iffy at best but the QLM 36 III's body has the same inductance as the better models such as the XLM etc. If it was me try and go for his example although more $$ you may
just be unimpressed with any of your posted models and waste your money.

Collux
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by Collux » 21 Dec 2019 22:06

To further 'muddy' the waters.
There are the LPG ViVidLine options, available at some cost.
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADC211.html
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADCSZLM.html

AND for even further cost with Shibatas, should one wish to go that route.
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADC211SA.html

keoki82
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 23 Dec 2019 08:27

Thanks guys, appreciate the responses. I didn't realize any of the styli would work with this cartridge. The Vividline models have caught my interest; not sure I'm willing to go full Shibata expense for the Dual. Judging from my Hana SL, shibatas are sensitive to rake angle and there is no VTA adjustment on my Dual.

What is the difference between the two Vividline models Collux has posted? The product pages look identical except for the part number (this is part of what makes shopping for a replacement so confusing).

Collux
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by Collux » 23 Dec 2019 18:32

I suspect wolfie62 will chime in and suggest they are one and the same.
-that's marketing for you.....

keoki82
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 03 Feb 2020 21:08

Thanks all for the recommendations on stylus replacement for my ADC cartridge. I ended up buying the RSZ Vivid Line contact stylus (https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADC211.html), and I could hear an improvement. There is wider stereo separation, with a more emotional and detailed performance. There is a problem though - 45 singles sound worse with this diamond cut, and I'm getting distortion in the right channel during shrill passages of albums with lots of lower treble energy (trumpet crescendos, strong vocal passages, etc.). I thought maybe the new stylus was defective; thankfully I bought two for comparison, and the distortion is also present on the other copy.

I wonder if VTF is the issue? LP Gear suggests a tracking force range of 1.0-1.5 grams, but is there a recommended tracking force? I had it dialed in to 1.2 grams but now I'm running it at 1.3. Or perhaps the updated stylus tip is revealing shortcomings in the cartridge itself, since it is a QLM body? Or are these styli simply revealing mastering and/or pressing deficiencies?

I played the records with observed problem spots again on my main rig for comparison (Rega P3 with Hana SL), and the distortion is not there, so the ADC replacements don't appear to be damaging the records during play, at least not immediately, but I am still concerned for the long term. I can't imagine these styli could be more revealing of mastering or pressing problems than my Hana SL at its much greater price point, which is leading me to believe there is some sort of problem. Any guidance is appreciated.

keoki82
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 03 Feb 2020 22:06

Since it's quick and easy to swap styli with this cartridge, I'm thinking maybe I should get a conical tip for 45 singles?
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ADC180.html

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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by tep392 » 03 Feb 2020 23:01

I use a QLM33 on my DUAL 1219 for playing older mono records or stacking 45's. The QLM33 is a 1-2g conical and would be a good match to your Dual. The QLM30 you linked too is a heavier tracking 3-5g cart intended for the lower end changers that needed stiffer cantilevers. I don't like the photo of that LPgear QLM30. If the photo is accurate, it looks just like one of the cheap knockoff's that Wolfie warned against. Make sure whatever you pick has a magnet that looks identical to your QLM36 and the rubber pivot block should be in a metal shell.

keoki82
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 03 Feb 2020 23:12

Ok thanks for the tip RE the QLM33. As for the distortion I'm getting with the RSZ replacement, is it possible it's not fully compatible with my cartridge?

GTH
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by GTH » 03 Feb 2020 23:22

Try max VTF or even slightly more.

wolfie62
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by wolfie62 » 03 Feb 2020 23:39

Both the VL styli I have track well at 1.5 grams. Not to worry, it has more surface area in the groove. You have to cater the VTF to that stylus, not styli OEM to the ADC cart body.

keoki82
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Re: ADC QLM 36 Mk III

Post by keoki82 » 04 Feb 2020 00:00

Thanks guys, I'll try with 1.5 grams or even slightly higher, and report back.

Unrelated question - anyone know where I can find the Dual 45 rpm stacking spindle?

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