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Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

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Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby Snerk » 17 Feb 2017 01:57

Hi all!

I recently picked up a Sony PS-350 turntable off of CL and have been spinning it as-is how I bought it. After some research, I've found that this TT came with the Sony VL38G cartridge as standard, and my cartridge appears to still be the VL38G by the looks of it.

As I purchased it off of Craigslist, I have no idea when (or even if) the needle has ever been replaced. I don't know if this is telling at all, but the body of the needle is dull and flat, not shiny like I would expect a metal needle to be.

I was considering picking up something like an AT95e or AT100e to replace the cartridge that's on there now, since the TT has a standard headshell. But I don't know how the VL38G compares to those two since, like the TT, information is scarce about it. I did, however, find a place where I could get a replacement needle for around $25.

I suppose the primary question is, how does the VL38G compare to the AT95e or AT100e? I was already planning on changing the cartridge but if the VL38G is a nicer cartridge, I'll just put a new needle on it and see what happens.

Thanks!
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby Alec124c41 » 17 Feb 2017 03:18

From what I hear, the AT-120 is a bit more, but nicer, than the AT100. This should improve your sound considerably.

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Alec
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby almabes » 17 Feb 2017 04:09

AT95e is basically the same cartridge as the Sony VL38G. The AT-120 is a nice performer for the price. It's a nude mounted .3 X .7 elliptical. For a few more dollars go for an AT-440MLb. It has a microline stylus that pulls out all kinds of detail from the grooves.
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby Snerk » 17 Feb 2017 06:39

I appreciate the recommendations but as of right now, I am focusing primarily on budget cartridges.

Currently I'm running the Sony turntable, but there is a possibility that I may be getting a vintage Technics TT from a coworker that is much nicer than my current TT. For now, I'd rather get a budget cartridge on the Sony and invest more heavily in the Technics TT if and when I get it.

I will definitely keep those suggestions in mind though, because if I do get the Technics, I'll want something nicer than an AT95e on there. :)
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby vwestlife » 17 Feb 2017 07:57

The Sony VL38G is the same thing as the Audio-Technica AT3400 -- which itself is the same thing as the AT95E except with a less expensive conical stylus rather than an elliptical stylus.

That means if you keep the existing cartridge but replace the stylus with an elliptical one, you instantly turn it into the equivalent of an AT95E.

You have a choice between the 710-DE stylus made by Pfanstiehl with a recommended tracking force of 2 to 4 grams, or the 710-DET stylus made by EVG with a recommended tracking force of 1.5 to 2.5 grams:

http://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog/ ... erBase=710
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby almabes » 17 Feb 2017 16:29

vwestlife wrote:The Sony VL38G is the same thing as the Audio-Technica AT3400 -- which itself is the same thing as the AT95E except with a less expensive conical stylus rather than an elliptical stylus.

That means if you keep the existing cartridge but replace the stylus with an elliptical one, you instantly turn it into the equivalent of an AT95E.

You have a choice between the 710-DE stylus made by Pfanstiehl with a recommended tracking force of 2 to 4 grams, or the 710-DET stylus made by EVG with a recommended tracking force of 1.5 to 2.5 grams:

http://www.thevoiceofmusic.com/catalog/ ... erBase=710


I'd recommend the DET variant. The heavy tracking DE variant is designed for automatic changers. Regardless, with a .3 X .7 elliptical, it should sound pretty darn good for less than $25.
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby almabes » 17 Feb 2017 17:13

One more post, and I'll be done.
The PS-350 has a similar arm to the PS-X55, one of my favorite early to mid-80s Sonys.

Disclaimer: I'm an Ortofon dealer, so I have experience with and tend to recommend their products.

I put an Ortofon OM10 cartridge on these Sony straight arms. I get them in bulk from Ortofon so they're inexpensive. The stylus can be upgraded to either of two line contact profiles, which dig serious detail out of records, or down to a couple of different conicals, including one appropriate for 78s. The carts also work well on a Technics table when installed on the SH-4 headshell. Ortofon designed them to compliment the low mass arms and enhance their ability to handle warped records.
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby spunkerboybr » 17 Feb 2017 17:19

almabes wrote:I'd recommend the DET variant. The heavy tracking DE variant is designed for automatic changers. Regardless, with a .3 X .7 elliptical, it should sound pretty darn good for less than $25.

I second almabes' recommendation on the DET variant for your Sony PS-350.
It is a rebadged AT3400 that takes the same stylus carrier of the AT95E.
The AT95E is the omnipresent budget cartridge. You just can't go wrong with it for the little money you pay for it.
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby Rocky_Road » 17 Feb 2017 23:26

I have a different take:

If the OP replaces the VL38G with something new, I would use a new headshell for the new cartridge and keep the VL38G on it's original headshell.

Then, I would reshoe the VL38G with the Pfanstiehl 710-DE stylus, and use this to test run yard sale records, etc., in order to safe guard my new cartridge (and it's stylus). The 3 gram tracking of the 710-DE stylus should be a benefit on tracking unknown used records, and help 'clean' the path for the newer cartridge.

Just a thought...!

Happy tracking,
Rocky
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Re: Get a new cartridge or re-needle the old one?

Postby almabes » 17 Feb 2017 23:32

Rocky_Road wrote:I have a different take:

If the OP replaces the VL38G with something new, I would use a new headshell for the new cartridge and keep the VL38G on it's original headshell.

Then, I would reshoe the VL38G with the Pfanstiehl 710-DE stylus, and use this to test run yard sale records, etc., in order to safe guard my new cartridge (and it's stylus). The 3 gram tracking of the 710-DE stylus should be a benefit on tracking unknown used records, and help 'clean' the path for the newer cartridge.

Just a thought...!

Happy tracking,
Rocky


Unfortunately that Sony arm uses a Sony proprietary headshell. They are available, but silly expensive, compared to your run-of-the-mill ADC style or SME style headshell.

Your recommendation works with the Technics the OP may obtain, though.
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