Difference between ADC XLM MkIII & MkIII Improved?

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addicted2tt
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Difference between ADC XLM MkIII & MkIII Improved?

Post by addicted2tt » 04 Mar 2010 10:20

Hi,
I'm trying to figure out what the difference is between the ADC XLM MkIII and the MkIII Improved?
What was "Improved" - the cartridge body or the stylus or both?

On the stylus of my cartridge it says "ADC XLM Mk III"
The cartridge body itself, doesn't seem to carry any model number - but on the original packing that I still have, it says the same; "XLM Mk III", which ought to mean that my cartridge is not an "Improved" version.

Wondering if it would be OK to fit a Mk III Improved stylus to it (if there is such a thing..?), and if I'd get the same sound quality from that, as I'm getting from the non-improved version that I currently have? Any ideas?

I also have two more ADC bodies that look the same as my XLM Mk III body - gold coloured.
On the back of one of those it says "Made in USA PAT 3294405", and on the other it says "Omni-pivot (TM) Improved". Is there any way of finding out what models these bodies are?
http://www.vintafon.com/ADC_Carts.JPG

Thanks!!
Pete

lini
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Post by lini » 04 Mar 2010 14:34

Afaik, there already was a change on the bodies from the MkII to the MkII Improved, the latter of which have higher resistance/impedance - so, if you have a multimeter, you could check for that yourself. Whereas the "Omni-Pivot Improved" to my knowledge refers to a change in the needles - or to be exact, in the back part of the cantilever that sits in the rubber suspension: Where the non-improved needle versions had simpler, more roundish indentations, the improved ones have precisely cut grooves for a more exact fit and better defined pivot point...

I'm not quite sure how much of that still applies to the MkIIIs, though - especially as one might expect that any MkIII should already sport the improvements/changes that were made from the MkII to the MkII Improved. So on the MkIIIs the differences between the non-improved and improved versions might just as well boil down to something simple, like the improved MkIIIs sporting a flip-down guard/visor...

Anyway, yes, you can just as well use an improved needle on a non-improved body.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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Post by ChairSpud » 04 Mar 2010 16:57

Manfred is correct and did a great job of explaining the Omni-Pivot, the only thing I'd add is the older mounting used an aluminum bushing on the end of the cantilever crimped (not very pretty) into a square shape rather than the "Improved" bushing being precisely machined, the better fit ADC claimed yielded better sound and as I recall the first "Improved" version replacement stylus I bought for my MkIII (non-Improved) was in the early 80's, so they may have been introduced by ADC around 1982.

One of the reasons ADC introduced the "Improved" version was in some rare cases the cantilever on the non-Improved versions actually pulled partially out of the suspension through the constant tug of playing LPs. So if you have the older style it's a good idea to make sure the squared bushing is still locked into the square hole of the rubber suspension, if you don't see the square you're okay.

As Manfred said you can use either stylus "Improved" or not on your bodies. The "Improved" is simply an improvement or correction to the design by ADC.

I don't worry about the bodies as long as they're gold colored you can use any of the MkII or MkIII stylus on them. ADC did make minor changes to resistance/impedance as Manfred pointed out but to my ears the audible differences are small changes in volume and only noticed on direct AB comparison.

Hope that helps.

addicted2tt
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Post by addicted2tt » 05 Mar 2010 10:11

Thanks for all this great info!!
But I never saw a stylus which actually has the word "IMPROVED" or "IMP" on it, just "XLM Mk III".
Would you say that your improved Mk III stylus has "IMPROVED" or "IMP" on it or not.
Thanks!
Pete

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Post by pauze » 05 Mar 2010 18:04

There are styli that say "improved" at least for the MkII versions:

http://www.turntableneedles.com/Needle- ... p_846.html

My MkIII stylus does not say improved, but based on what I'm reading here is that the the improvement is already included...?

I have two ADC bodies, and they look just like yours - one of each of what appears to be a standard MkII and an MkII Improved/MkIII. When I swap my MkIII stylus between the two, I hear no obvious difference in sound from either body. Just full, lush music!

Enjoy, because those XLMs are wonderful sounding carts. It really makes me lust after the Astrion stylus upgrade.

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XLM MKIII or XLM MKII improved stylus?

Post by ace420 » 05 Mar 2010 18:48

I just aquired an ADC XLM cart in need of a stylus. what would be the better stylus for this cart MKIII or MKII improved? I haven't seen a MKIII improved. Thanks

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Post by ChairSpud » 06 Mar 2010 15:10

As pauze just pointed out there are examples of XLM with Improved written on the emblem, another example is the first pic in the ADC Gallery here on VE. And no my MkIII doesn't have Improved written on the emblem though it is.

I'm going out on a limb here but since there is interest wanted to share another easy method of identifying Improved stylus, there may be exceptions so if you know of one please share it. When ADC introduced the Improved a new suspension material was used and colored green, not the sole indicator of and Improved as there were USA and later Japan black suspensions as well. the tan color suspensions were used on the non-Improved.

If ADC were still around today I'm sure they'd say the MkIII stylus is better than the MkII because it has a tapered cantilever and square cut shank diamond. To my ears the MkII has a slightly warmer sound and the MkIII is slightly better resolving, each great sounding and I listen to both.

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Post by ace420 » 06 Mar 2010 17:16

Any opinions on the Super XLM MKII. It has a Shibata cut diamond for a few $ more. Will this stylus only work on a XLM MKIIQ (quad) cart or would it work an any XLM?? Thanks

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Post by pauze » 08 Mar 2010 18:14

ChairSpud - based on what scant info I could find, the XLM Mk II Imp. stylus is a .3 x .7 tip, while the Mk III tip is a .2 x .7, so your observations about better resolution seem to match up with the info. You seem to know your ADC history, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm trying to sort through the stylus options, because to me it appears the Mk III stylus is the technical upgrade to the Mk II Imp., but for some reason the Mk II Imp. commands a higher price from the stylus dealers. Funny how that is. Though I can't fault folks for preferring the sound of one over the other.

ace420 - Based on my searching, that shibata stylus should fit onto the standard XLM body. Should be a nice upgrade (on a technical level) over the ellipticals!

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Post by ace420 » 08 Mar 2010 18:36

pauze wrote:ChairSpud - based on what scant info I could find, the XLM Mk II Imp. stylus is a .3 x .7 tip, while the Mk III tip is a .2 x .7, so your observations about better resolution seem to match up with the info. You seem to know your ADC history, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm trying to sort through the stylus options, because to me it appears the Mk III stylus is the technical upgrade to the Mk II Imp., but for some reason the Mk II Imp. commands a higher price from the stylus dealers. Funny how that is. Though I can't fault folks for preferring the sound of one over the other.

ace420 - Based on my searching, that shibata stylus should fit onto the standard XLM body. Should be a nice upgrade (on a technical level) over the ellipticals!
Thanks.
According to the link you posted earlier this is the pricing I observed:
XLM MKII improved #108-det - $73.95
XLM MKIII #108-DEX - $85.95
XLM Super MKII #108-DQ - 77.95
Makes me think the Super MKII might be the best buy for the money?

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Post by ChairSpud » 08 Mar 2010 20:45

Pauze dealers seem to charge whatever they want so yes you're right about the MkIII being technically superior but sometimes selling for less than a MkII stylus. The MkIII also sported a square shank diamond and tapered cantilever that help it resolve better although later after ADC moved stylus production to Japan they manufactured MkII stylus also with a square shank diamonds but still a straight (not tapered) cantilever. These stylus sound like a hybrid of the MKII and MkII, had black colored suspensions and bore "Made in Japan" on the stylus. Sorry I don't know who may have these for sale anymore.

Ace I've never heard the Super but have heard it is a very nice sounding stylus even better than the MkII and MkII. Maybe Lini or Brisbane56 will comment on it.

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Post by fricart » 02 May 2010 07:55

ace420 wrote:Any opinions on the Super XLM MKII. It has a Shibata cut diamond for a few $ more. Will this stylus only work on a XLM MKIIQ (quad) cart or would it work an any XLM?? Thanks
The Super XLM was a shibata equipped version specifically designed to pick up the multiplexed signal for the RCA 4 channel system that was briefly sold in the 70s. The "line contact" version of the XLM Mk III for normal stereo was known as the ZLM. It was a very good cartridge.



Fernando

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Post by 100peter » 21 Sep 2010 17:57

Hello,

it is also a question for me how to decide visually if a cartridge is a MKIII or an MKIII Improved because just seeing the cartridge database here on the VE page the parameters of the two are remarkable different. There is no full photo of the MKIII here but that of the MKIII Improved only but it is visible here as well that the styli have the same text on even though different codes are mentioned for them in case of the two cartridge variants.
My only idea for the difference is that on the top of the cartridge body it is "Omni-Pivot Improved" for the MKIII (just as on addicted2tt's photo) while "XLM MKIII Improved" on the MKIII Improved version.

Could someone help with some notes or ideas here?

Thanks

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Post by ChairSpud » 21 Sep 2010 20:40

I'd be happy to Peter. The Improved is known as having an Omnipivot mounted cantilever and the surest way to check for that (as labels can fall off and stylus replaced) is to actually examine the Omnipivot for its unique construction. Look at the metal bushing surrounding the cantilever as it enters into the rubber suspension. Where you can't see without removing the cantilever, an Omnipivot has a machined square surface rather than the older crimped square that sets into the square hole in the rubber suspension. Not easy to detect without taking things apart (and please don't) but fortunately ADC switched to a different suspension material with the Omnipivot design that happened to also be a different color green or greenish blue than used previously tan or very light brown. There are also black colored suspensions that came after green too.

Probably more than you want to know but to be technically correct about Improved, ADC earlier (before the Omnipivot) also used the term Improved to identify hand engraved serialized MkIII cartridges that after testing were supposed to be examples that measured better. So if yours is a serialized body it's actually possible to have an Improved Improved! :wink:

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Post by kcc123 » 21 Sep 2010 21:03

ace420 wrote:Any opinions on the Super XLM MKII. It has a Shibata cut diamond for a few $ more. Will this stylus only work on a XLM MKIIQ (quad) cart or would it work an any XLM?? Thanks
Both of the mk2 Super and mk3 Improved styli are interchangeable and the mk2 Super stylus is indeed a Shibata profile.

ADC XLM mk3 Improved
https://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u11 ... 90copy.jpg

ADC XLM mk2 Super
https://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u11 ... 91copy.jpg

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