Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

the thin end of the wedge
Quartz_Lock10729
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Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 15 Jan 2020 22:40

Okay, so as many of you know from the last thread I started about this, I was looking for a stylus upgrade for my stock AT95E...something that perhaps wouldn't perform like a microline or shibata, but would at least REDUCE the amount of annoying IGD and sibilance I experience with the standard elliptical on this cart.

I reached out to several online retailers and received some feedback -- including from Audio-Technica themselves -- and Kyle from Turntable Needles keeps coming back to the $120 ATN3400 "hyperelliptical," as seen here:

https://www.turntableneedles.com/Bonded ... Cartridges

My question is...if I manage to stretch my budget to indulge in one of these, should I expect some enhanced performance with regard to inner groove tracking? That is really my biggest bitch about the standard 95E; would this "hyperelliptical" yield better performance in that regard?

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 15 Jan 2020 22:44

Additionally:

Audio-Technica recommended upgrading to this:

https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/cart ... index.html

This is the "nude elliptical" variant that I believe we talked about in the other thread, but do you guys think this would yield noticeable differences from the standard 95E? And this would be a completely new cartridge, right, not just a stylus swap?

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Collux » 15 Jan 2020 23:09

With IGD your main concern, you will be better off with a 'microline' style profile.
Why buy a 'nude elliptical', as good as they may be, and still be disappointed?

Here is LP Gear's ViVid Line (hyperelliptical) Japanese offering:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN95VL.html
review:
https://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/pdf/AT95VL-Review1.pdf

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Erin1 » 15 Jan 2020 23:43

IGD is caused by worn inner grooves.
It won't (or shouldn't) happen to a noticeable level on a new record.
(What you might hear on a new record is groove pinch - a similar but different thing)

The microline profile will trace below the existing wear, AND it has a very narrow profile that actually can trace the high frequency signals in the inner grooves properly without suffering from "groove pinch".

Anything less won't achieve your desired result.

The diamond contact patch of the hyper elliptical has the same width as an elliptical. The hyper elliptical has a longer side contact area.

So hyper elliptical's advantage is in its longer side contact area touching unworn area of the grooves.

The microline betters this by having an even narrower width contacting the vinyl, ( so it can accurately trace the highest frequencies) but has an even longer side contact patch to contact more unworn groove area.

I've tried a vivid line and I agree they are very good, but they can still reveal inner groove distortion that is not apparent when using a microline.

Just keep saving and get a VM-95ML.
Then be done with the problem forever.
Last edited by Erin1 on 15 Jan 2020 23:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Erin1 » 15 Jan 2020 23:45

How many records do you play regularly enough to want to eliminate IGD.
Is it possible that simply obtaining a better copy of those albums may be cheaper than buying a microline...?

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Collux » 15 Jan 2020 23:51

Erin1 wrote:
15 Jan 2020 23:43
Just keep saving and get a VM-95ML.
Then be done with the problem forever.
+1

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 16 Jan 2020 00:05

Erin1 wrote:
15 Jan 2020 23:45
How many records do you play regularly enough to want to eliminate IGD.
Is it possible that simply obtaining a better copy of those albums may be cheaper than buying a microline...?
It unfortunately happens on every piece of vinyl I play -- including the inner cuts of 12-inch singles.

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 16 Jan 2020 00:07

Erin1 wrote:
15 Jan 2020 23:43
IGD is caused by worn inner grooves.
It won't (or shouldn't) happen to a noticeable level on a new record.
(What you might hear on a new record is groove pinch - a similar but different thing)

The microline profile will trace below the existing wear, AND it has a very narrow profile that actually can trace the high frequency signals in the inner grooves properly without suffering from "groove pinch".

Anything less won't achieve your desired result.

The diamond contact patch of the hyper elliptical has the same width as an elliptical. The hyper elliptical has a longer side contact area.

So hyper elliptical's advantage is in its longer side contact area touching unworn area of the grooves.

The microline betters this by having an even narrower width contacting the vinyl, ( so it can accurately trace the highest frequencies) but has an even longer side contact patch to contact more unworn groove area.

I've tried a vivid line and I agree they are very good, but they can still reveal inner groove distortion that is not apparent when using a microline.

Just keep saving and get a VM-95ML.
Then be done with the problem forever.
The problem with saving for the 95ML, Erin, is that it WON'T be forever -- once that wears out, I'd have to buy another one at that price (if I want the same performance) and on and on...

It's just out of the budget, long-term.

I know the other shapes won't ELIMINATE the issue, but would they at least IMPROVE upon the 95E?

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 16 Jan 2020 00:09

Collux wrote:
15 Jan 2020 23:09
With IGD your main concern, you will be better off with a 'microline' style profile.
Why buy a 'nude elliptical', as good as they may be, and still be disappointed?

Here is LP Gear's ViVid Line (hyperelliptical) Japanese offering:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN95VL.html
review:
https://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/pdf/AT95VL-Review1.pdf
Because these are out of budget...

As I keep saying, I can't really afford something beyond $100 -- so I'd like to at least try to IMPROVE upon IGD performance as compared to the 95E, if I can't eliminate it altogether. SOMETHING that may be at least BETTER than the 95E in this regard...

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Erin1 » 16 Jan 2020 00:21

Quartz_Lock10729 wrote:
16 Jan 2020 00:07

The problem with saving for the 95ML, Erin, is that it WON'T be forever -- once that wears out, I'd have to buy another one at that price (if I want the same performance) and on and on...

It's just out of the budget, long-term.

I know the other shapes won't ELIMINATE the issue, but would they at least IMPROVE upon the 95E?
Hang on a moment. Where are you located. If it's USA, LP gear has the VM 95ML for $169.
The replacement stylus costs $149 on Amazon.com

So you're prepared to spend $120 but not $169?

For a few extra dollars you fix the problem as good as it can possibly be fixed.

As for replacement stylus costs... The VM95ML made replacing the best quality stylus as affordable as it can possibly get.

If IGD is this much bother on ALL your albums an almost fix with a hyper elliptical for $120 seems like money badly spent to me.

Just fix the problem properly and be as happy as you can be.
Half / almost fixes won't actually result in long term satisfaction. You'll kick yourself if the problem isn't fixed to your satisfaction.

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 16 Jan 2020 00:32

Erin1 wrote:
16 Jan 2020 00:21
Hang on a moment. Where are you located. If it's USA, LP gear has the VM 95ML for $169.
The replacement stylus costs $149 on Amazon.com

So you're prepared to spend $120 but not $169?
That difference makes a HUGE difference to us right now in our current monetary situation; I don't know how else to better explain it. Additionally, I'd ideally like to spend around $100...and I know this won't eliminate the problem, but I'd be somewhat happy if I could cut down on the inner groove performance problems.
For a few extra dollars you fix the problem as good as it can possibly be fixed.

If IGD is this much bother on ALL your albums an almost fix with a hyper elliptical for $120 seems like money badly spent to me.

Just fix the problem properly and be as happy as you can be.
Half / almost fixes won't actually result in long term satisfaction. You'll kick yourself if the problem isn't fixed to your satisfaction.
Again, however -- I'd have to spend $149 each time the HE wears out. I just can't swallow it.

Thanks for your concerns, though.

With regard to this:

As for replacement stylus costs... The VM95ML made replacing the best quality stylus as affordable as it can possibly get.

Perhaps that's it in a nutshell; if I can't afford the ML, maybe I can't afford anything beyond a standard 95E (or its current replacement that comes with the new AT turntables).

I had just assumed there was SOMETHING -- ANYTHING -- between what the 95E stylus costs and those more exotic shapes beyond the elliptical...something that would at least cut down on some of the challenges faced by the basic elliptical tip on this thing (the standard 95E)...

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Erin1 » 16 Jan 2020 00:39

Ok. I get it.
Every time I hear this I wish I could help someone in this situation - financially.

It seems like such a small amount of money, especially considering it really will fix the problem.

What else can I say... Try the hyper elliptical. It is better than a regular elliptical. It should improve the IGD a bit.
Probably won't fix every album but a good percentage should be improved.

My wife told me off a while ago for always buying the cheapest option.
So I took her advice and bought better stuff even though it was a little painful financially. The long term rewards for us have been far greater than the extra money spent. Money comes and goes.
But enjoying every day with good equipment that works in a satisfying way is a nice feeling.

But I do get it. If you can't, you can't.
Do the best you can.

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Erin1 » 16 Jan 2020 00:46

This may seem... Strange, but if the end goal is to enjoy listening to music you can get a Spotify HiFi (high quality music) subscription for less than $10 a month and have almost all the music in the world to listen to. I use it every night. I love it.

Indeed, at this point in time in your life perhaps this is a better way to enjoy music? Things will change. Things alway do. You never know, your financial situation may improve and later on you can get back into vinyl.....

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Collux » 16 Jan 2020 01:57

The only new solution in your price range that may meet your needs is:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN3600DLXVL.html
fitted to
an AT3600L cartridge, purchased on ebay for ~ $15

You were advised of this option many months ago but for whatever reason, it appeared all too hard for you.
Why?

Sorry, and I really do mean to be polite but further procrastination and yet more new posts on your part, are not going to lead to some magical solution for you.

Finally:
If ongoing stylus replacements are yet another issue for you, then an advanced hyperelliptical for ~$80 is about as good as you are going to find.

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Re: Considering Stretching the Budget to Get the ATN3400 Replacement Stylus...

Post by Quartz_Lock10729 » 16 Jan 2020 03:34

Erin1 wrote:
16 Jan 2020 00:39
Ok. I get it.
Every time I hear this I wish I could help someone in this situation - financially.
Thank you for understanding; unfortunately, me and my wife just don't make enough at our jobs to enjoy anything more than we really have...as a freelance writer, I make a PITTANCE and that's being generous, believe me.
It seems like such a small amount of money, especially considering it really will fix the problem.
Indeed -- the operative word there, however, is seems; to you, it may not seem like a lot...to others, well...….
What else can I say... Try the hyper elliptical. It is better than a regular elliptical. It should improve the IGD a bit.
Probably won't fix every album but a good percentage should be improved.
Thanks for your honest input here. That's essentially what I wanted to know -- if there was something that would at least improve upon the 95E's performance, specifically with regard to its inner groove performance. I found it hard to believe that there's nothing between the 95E's status and the $100+ exotic shapes...I don't understand how there is nothing but elliptical and somewhat fancier elliptical until you move into something in the $160 range....I mean, what are enthusiasts who aren't necessarily made of money supposed to do?

Look, don't get me wrong -- I'm not expecting a $30 cartridge to perform like a $2,000 one, and the AT95E is absolutely fine (and stellar, for that matter) for what it is. Taking into consideration that it's the go-to cartridge/stylus combo that's packed with many turntables on the market, if not most, it absolutely performs very well for a "let's-get-up-and-running" setup.

I'm just disappointed that someone like me can't, for instance, drop about $50 to $80, and get a nice sound upgrade from the 95. It's head-scratching IMO. But if that's what it is, that's what it is; and what also bothers me is, as I said, the fact that once that $160 upgraded stylus wears out, I'm gonna have to drop yet another $160 (or more, if they go up in price) for a new one...it's not like I'm dropping $160, or whatever it may be, and that's it, for the life of the turntable.

THEN I'd say it's worth it, no contest.
My wife told me off a while ago for always buying the cheapest option.
So I took her advice and bought better stuff even though it was a little painful financially. The long term rewards for us have been far greater than the extra money spent. Money comes and goes.
But enjoying every day with good equipment that works in a satisfying way is a nice feeling.
I have tried to make my wife understand that, but she always comes back with "We just DON'T have it....what would you like to do, pull it out of the sky?" (and I wish I could)…

Again, this goes back to our vocations... :evil: :evil: :evil:
But I do get it. If you can't, you can't.
Do the best you can.
Thanks; this is why I wanted to know IF the nude elliptical, say, will at least improve (just a little bit) upon the regular elliptical's inner groove performance and with hot/sibilant pieces of vinyl....

I mean, if I temper my expectations -- which I fully plan on doing -- is it possible I can enjoy something a bit under a hyperelliptical or microline in terms of performance?

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