Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

the thin end of the wedge
wolfie62
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Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 08 Jun 2017 08:49

I bought this cart in 1998, when all the V15 series carts had run their course, and vinyl was on its way (or had been out for nearly 10 years) out for most folks. It was highly touted as a less expensive rendition of the V15V.
http://i1250.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... mps8pv.jpg

But, after playing only 4 LPs, my wife destroyed the stylus with a dust rag. 2 years later, my wife and I separated and divorced. Not much to do with the stylus, I should add. So, that cart was put back in its box and traveled with me and my stuff for the next 17 or so years.

Over the last year, I have been reviving my old turntables and carts, one by one. An ADC QLM 36 III, AT 331LP, Goldring Elektra, and the Shure M97xE. The ADC and Shure were my standard cartridges for everyday listening. I have been very disappointed in the Shure M97xE. Tracks well, but just doesn't have much detail, and the high end is very subdued.

So, I did a great deal of reading about the V15-RS. Lots of uncertainty out there about what that cart is really made from, and what it's exact Shure identity is sans the Realistic plastic mount. And, I really was not ready to shell out $150+ or so for a non-OEM stylus from LP Gear or Jico, when all are compromises; none have the beryllium cantilever.

First thing I discovered is that I had bought a replacement stylus for the V15-RS, back about 2000. It's a stylus for the M97xE, and it was "supposed" to be a good replacement. The stylus for the Shure M97xE is not a viable substitute! Sure, it physically fits. But the V15RS with that stylus sounds worse than the M97xE! Muddy bass, heavily rolled off high end.

After a lot more research, I decided to try the N97ED stylus. Yup....Pfanstiehl.

http://i1250.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... qpbgqg.jpg

http://i1250.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... ebr8mp.jpg

Once I had it in hand, I removed the M97xE stylus, and found the N97ED to fit perfectly....sans the viscous damped brush. I checked and adjusted the alignment, and reset the VTF to 1.25g.

http://i1250.photobucket.com/albums/hh5 ... myikgh.jpg

(Yes, I have cleaned up the dust off this cart!)

As for listening tests.......let's just say I found my new FAVORITE CARTRIDGE!

For a mere $20, and free shipping, this stylus just sings! Smooth, tight bass, extended highs, great tracking, no harshness, and just incredible detail! Very spacious and stable soundstaging. The detailed high end sneaks up on you....I hear what's there but for some reason I am surprised when I hear it.

I played about 8 different LPs, and noticed the sound started to open up even further. So....I put on The Lettermen Greatest Hits Vol. 1. It was like they were singing to my wife in our living room, and each of the 3 singers' voices could be heard individually, yet in harmony. My wife (no, not my first wife) actually started tearing up! The reproduction was just that smooth, airy, detailed, and emotional!

I'm about 50 or so LPs further down the road now, and still I'm not the least bit disappointed. I played a copy of Faron Young on the Mercury label, from 1965, singing a tribute to the recently dead Jim Reeves. Never played it much, because it was raspy...hard to listen to Faron Young's voice with distortion in it..just figured it was a bad pressing, or perhaps damaged by a heavy Gerrard tone arm from 1966 (my father's), because it sounded that way with all my other cartridges. This LP is in pristine condition. But....With this cartridge, it was smooth, and so highly detailed I could hear the bow touch the violin strings as it came in on one song, and backup singers taking breaths. Never a hissing "s" sound!

I know Pfansteihl gets a lot of flack from folks. But....made in Switzerland, right? Didn't they used to make good, precision stuff?

Perhaps I should title this post "The Tight Wad's Success Story." I just can't get myself to spend a lot of money to enjoy my vinyl. Not at this point. But, in the future, I know I will be looking to get one of those Jico replacement stylus for this cart. Other priorities keep my passion for vinyl from becoming an obsession. .....So much I want to do, but I really I need to keep my wife, and priorities in order.

Tinkaroo
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by Tinkaroo » 08 Jun 2017 11:06

There is nothing wrong with being a shrewd consumer and seeking other affordable alternatives now that originals are unobtainable unless you want to take out a mortgage and donate a kidney. =D>

I have a Shure M97HE Era IV which is hard to find the original stylus for, so I have resorted to an aftermarket ED version that woks quite well.

The alternative is to let it sit in a drawer unused and unenjoyed. It gives you some appreciation for what the cartridge is capable of until the time you can find a better deal on an upgraded stylus if you choose to go that route.

vinyl master
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by vinyl master » 08 Jun 2017 11:52

Woah! That's a surprise there, Wolfie...Didn't think all of that joy would happen due to a Pfan stylus... :-k Very interesting observations there...The nice thing is when you find a diamond in the rough, and it actually surprises you, even if it is was bought on a budget...Whether a cartridge, stylus, or piece of equipment, it's always great to hear about finds like this that didn't break the bank...The fun part is that they are out there...If one keeps looking, he or she will find these "diamonds"! :wink: In your case, literally! :lol:

And like Tink says, "The alternative is to let it sit in a drawer unused and unenjoyed..." You might as well get some fun out of it! 8)

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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by patient_ot » 09 Jun 2017 19:20

Definitely surprised re: the Pfansteihl stylus. I would love to try a V15 but don't feel like paying eBay prices for even just the cart body sans stylus. My one experience with Pfansteihl was a headshell for a low-mass Japanese tonearm...total junk and impossible to use due to poor manufacturing. As such, I've avoided anything from Pfansteihl as a general rule.

I don't like the M97XE either. I know people swear buy it but since neither of my current phono pres have tons of capacitance loading options I steer clear. The sound with generic preamp settings is not good IMHO. Recessed vocals, dull sound. I actually think my M35X sounds a lot better.

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 09 Jun 2017 22:35

The Shure (Realistic) V15-RS is still available for a song. One on eBay for $75 USD right now. That's about $100 total for cart and stylus. That, to me anyway, is a bargain compared to anything else out there at that price. And I also agree (with those who have done extensive research, tests, and measurements) that the V15-RS is the same body as the V15VxMR, and the VST-III. The body for the V15VxMR and MR can still be had for a good low price, as well. To me, they epitomize the best of the MM cartridges. I just don't have the resources to invest in MC right now. Plus, those (MC) seem like a ball and chain deal....every time the diamond wears out, the cart has to be "rebuilt." And, at quite a big investment again.

The frequency response plots that have been published for the M97xE agree perfectly with what I hear from that cartridge. Warmth, and a well-rolled off high end. Loading can be changed, but it raises (flattens) only part of the treble response, and then the higher response drops like a rock at about 8 kHz. I tried the N97ED stylus on it (M97xE), same rolled off and boomy sound from the M97xE. Why Shure decided to end their production on such a whimper, instead of a resounding "bang," is beyond me. The M97xE has all the bad compromises that Shure would never have agreed to in their hey day; lack of neutrality, lack of detail, lack of smoothness in the treble region, and lack of any real "stand out from the crowd" performance. The shame for me is, I have 2 of these cartridges. I have one still sealed, unopened, I have one mounted to a spare Denon headshell, and I have a stylus with only about 15 minutes of play time on it.

On the other hand, the M97HE got great reviews in its day. A worthy contender!

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 09 Jun 2017 22:47

I have poured over the cartridge loading sticky thread. Very educational and informative.

My Sherwood S9600-CP (1981) receiver only has 165 pF capacitance on the phono pre. A wise move I think, considering that most TT leads add about 100 pF to the total capacitive loading. With most MM cartridges, I'm in a pretty good spot.

One thing that the V15-RS has revealed......I need to retune my subwoofer vent. Just a little bit too much boom...and unfocused. I have it tuned to 30 Hz. I'm going to raise it to about 38 Hz. The bass impact is definitely there, but the subwoofer is adding some artificial warmth. Before, I never could quite tell if I was reproducing accurately, or adding to what was there.

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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by patient_ot » 10 Jun 2017 02:49

wolfie62 wrote:The Shure (Realistic) V15-RS is still available for a song. One on eBay for $75 USD right now. That's about $100 total for cart and stylus.
I saw one with a bid @ $75. Bidding typically happens at auctions near end, so it will probably go for more than that. Also it had a used stylus, not NOS. I don't mess with used styli because I don't have a microscope to inspect them. A new, quality aftermarket stylus would be a lot more too if I tried than Pfan and didn't like it. Not to say I wouldn't try it down the line, but the prices I have seen lately for both cart bodies and the aftermarket (Jico) styli are what has pushed me to other choices. If you can be all in for $100, I'd agree that is a bargain.

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 11 Jun 2017 00:39

V15-RS body, looks like same Pfan stylus I have now. Yes, NOS original stylus is cost prohibitive in my book also.

On second look, this was listed as "Buy Now" for $75. I guess bidding has started.


http://rover.ebay.com/rover/2/0/8?bu=44 ... sub%3Dosub

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 11 Jun 2017 00:45

5 minutes left on the bidding....and still 0 bids.

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 11 Jun 2017 00:48

Also, this has a NEW stylus, not used. It says the cart has been tested and is good, but a new, unused stylus.

I guess bidding will start over again in 2 minutes. 0 bids right now.

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 11 Jun 2017 00:49

3 or so weeks ago, there 7 of these up for grabs. Some were NOS with original styli, others were just the cart body.

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 11 Jun 2017 00:51

Bidding ended. 0 bids @ $74.99.

audiodk
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by audiodk » 22 Jun 2017 02:13

From the Shure Customer help website:
"The V15-RS was equivalent to the Shure M111-HE.
The N97xE stylus will fit the V15-RS body. However, the stylus magnet does not precisely align with the V15-RS internal coils. An audio signal will be produced, but the performance specifications will not meet the original specifications of the V15-RS."

So you are correct that the N97xE is not a good replacement for the original V15-RS stylus. However, if you can find a replacement that is equivalent to the N111HE, you'll have a good match.

wolfie62
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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by wolfie62 » 22 Jun 2017 08:40

Yes. But.....Shure customer service gives MUCH erroneous information. Just ask folks in here. In fact, to this day, Shure lists the N97xE as the replacement stylus for the V15-RS. So, there ya go!

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Re: Shure V15 RS (Radio Shack)

Post by BMRR » 22 Jun 2017 17:56

Glad to hear that the Pfanstiehl stylus is working well for you!

Interestingly, the exact same stylus is also sold as the 4778-DE. I know it's the same because I bought one and I've compared them and they are 100% identical, including the "N97E" lettering on the flip-down guard. The 4778-DE is sometimes a dollar or two cheaper than the 4771-DE, and it's also a good thing to keep in mind in case anyone is shopping for a 4771 and finds it out-of-stock at their favorite merchant.

This stylus works very well in the M95ED cartridge body also, and I plan on trying it with some of my Shure P-mount cartridges soon.

Please consider posting your review in this topic:

Pfanstiehl Stylus — The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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