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Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 14:17
by johnsmith
Hi there,
I recently bought my first Dual 1219, changed the steuerpimpel, and now I need to change the stylus...the old one is destroyed. The cartridge is SHURE DM103 M-E. Does anyone has any suggestions on which stylus to buy? I’m ready to spend up to 70-80$.
Thank you very much!

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 17:31
by Tinkaroo
It's the same as a Shure M91ED, so either that or an M75ED stylus will also work.

If you search within the cartridges forum there are a lot of recommendations for sources for those stylii.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 04 Mar 2019 19:54
I'd suggest if the old Shure is to be used, have a look at jico styli. Thakker in germany have a huge range of cartridges and styli and apparently, their pattern ones are Jico made. I have an EPO E stylus from them and the diamond profiling and polish is excellent.

I've found a modern version of these Shures in tone is the Sumiko Pearl. I've banged on in many other threads so shan't again, but just to say the 1219 tonearm correctly set up is NOT an impediment to any half decent cartridge under a grand (Euros) or so... We regularly used Shure V15's and ADC XLM II's in the tonearm-identical 1229 and the modern equivalent would be a top Ortofon MM such as the 2M Black (or 2M Bronze at a pinch) or one of the AT 700 series models - if you have a translator, have a look on the German Lowbeats site for reviews and sound-bites.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 08:35
by johnsmith
Thank you guys! I’ll try to find The old Shure first. I’ll let you know my choice:-)

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 17:34
by johnsmith
It seems to me that the old Shure stylus is impossible to buy...:-/...any suggestions on where to find it?
Thank you guys for your patience!

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 18:41
by mrow2
I was going to provide a quick opinion. As I started writing I realized a lot has changed since I looked at this issue last and that it's not a simple discussion. The original Shure for M91E (termed "N91E" and N91ED" [as Tinkeroo said, some other types will also fit] and most or all of the similar models from the same era have not been offered for many, many years. I was pretty rusty on this topic since I have not bought or tried any replacements for some time.

I invested a bit of time researching the topic. I barely scratched the surface. What I found is that stylus replacement models I had bought a few years ago for $15 on average can cost 1x+, 3x to 6x more depending on the vendor now, and it appears to be kind of a minefield (in the sense that there is no clear path to understanding the differences or non-differences between the multitude of offerings. I noticed when checking descriptions that the one spec I wanted to see is not stated, i.e. the diamond tip measurement itself. Originals were .02mil x .07mil if I'm not mistaken. The aftermarket ones are elliptical (that's what the "E" stands for) but not that fine. I would expect that they have wider tips.

If you are just starting out, I'd go basic. For one thing, it's easy to damage one until you are really accustomed to handling a tonearm and turntable. As a side note, this (along with Stanton 500) is one of the more common vintage HiFi carts ever offered).

Chances of finding a NOS N91E or similar are virtually nil. There are quality replacements and basic ones. The cartridges are wonderful, and the aftermarket replacements in the $15 to $130 range can be similar in performance, but not the same. The chief difference between the aftermarket ones and originals is the diamond tip; unless you opt for a high end JICO stylus I'm not sure you'd hear much difference between them. If you are just starting one thought I have is for you to purchase one or more of the inexpensive types (I've had success with needledaddy1 and stereoneedles lady at the auction site), each one from different a vendor, make one of the purchases an EVG brand, and compare them, make notes after hearing different types of music. You could do this for $50 or so. You might be wise to obtain a nice sounding stylus to use and admire records with, then later on explore the different brands offered today (which fit your desired price range). But then, see below re: the JICO offering.

To get the max performance from a cartridge like this (provided it does not already have a perfect factory original with it) you might need something like this. The differences are in the way the diamond is cut and shaped, the cantilever material and design (Boron or aluminum), the general build quality and the elastomer suspension (most of the time, pretty good!).

Example (one of several, most likely) of a high-end replacement (I am not endorsing this but a number of participants mention this one and some other places too. Purpose is to learn about some of the differences between choices):
LP Gear $240

So, is this the same item? Where are the specs? ... ts_id=1580
If it is the same as the LPGear item, this might be the one to get.

Then look at this (of course, many or most might not necessarily be available): ... =907&dpr=1

DSJR mentioned Thakker, definitely worth checking!

Asking for advice for a brand new cartridge is fun, too. You will pretty much get a different answer from each participant here! But along the way, you gain knowledge. The Shure M91 is a great cartridge provided you can obtain a decent stylus for it.


Posted: 05 Mar 2019 23:29
by mrow2
A correction for the sake of accuracy re: the stylus specs I stated earlier. The original polished contact tip elliptical stylus made by Shure for the M91E and some others had a radius of .0002 X .0007" (also referenced as 0.2mil X 0.7mil) and the aftermarket elliptical N91E styluses are mostly all going to be .0003 X .0007" if you can even determine what this spec is, (also referenced as 0.3mil X 0.7mil) and the whole story with the higher performance SAS tips is much more complex than this particular spec, as you can see with this Jico link with explanations of various Super Analog Stylus designs.

I suspect that with some vendors selling common aftermarket replacements that the profit margins vary widely for essentially what amounts to the same item. There is no way to really know. That at least would be the advantage of buying a Jico stylus.

To DSJR: Thanks; good information to have. Well I always liked the Shures (grew up with them, and Shure seemed to own the market) but really, all good brands mostly sound pretty good. Today I own a few special carts with square shank or Shibata style diamonds and they are nice to have and to hear. I own a Micro Acoustic 3002 with boron cantilever (came with a purchase of odds n' ends aftermarket styluses) and it probably at least equals anything else I own sound-wise. I have some interesting special vintage ATs, but not the new ones. I had the benefit of possessing a Koetsu Black for about 10 days and I enjoyed playing with and hearing it before I gave it back along with the turntable to the lawyer who had bought the whole thing off eBay for $275. Before I told him, he had no idea what he had. Yes it sounded pretty amazing. And yeah, I'm perfectly satisfied with my Shure V15 III, the Denon DL110 (safe as houses!) or the MA 3002 or one of the more refined vintage 1980s ATs. Don't need anything more unless it falls into my lap!!

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 05 Mar 2019 23:37
I think I'm going to give up. I've DONE all this, listened and researched and you lot still want to resurrect tired old fashioned relic cartridges from nearly half a century ago. Just 'cos it's a Shure DOES NOT mean state of the art in vinyl replay unless it's a V15 level and even in this fifty year old M75 era design, there's a world of sonic difference between a V15T2 and the directly descended M75-ED, despite the lower top suckout (severe in the V15T2 and kind of half rescued in the cruder made 75/91-ED), the V15T2 having a better diamond usually and a more 'delicately drawn' sound within the dull balance that needed shedloads of added capacitance to minimise. This is a body and coil issue, not the stylus assembly itself and it doesn't bloody matter what stylus you stick into it, you have the old fashioned solid pole pieces in the body which Shure abandoned for some time, starting with the V15 III.

I suppose I need to ask the question. Do any of you use or even rate modern 'digital?' If you don't, then I'm a lost cause really and I'd then recommend you choose a cartridge that sounds 'nice' to you if that's what you want. If the object of 'high fidelity' is to get as close to the original record 'mastering/cutting' session sound quality as this endearing old deck will allow, then modernise the cartridge to something half decent (an AT VM540, safe as houses Denon DL110 or crisp Ortofon 2M Bronze should make a good quality mid priced starting point worthy of a good working 1219). Literally scratching around with a pattern M75 stylus is severely underselling the deck's potential - in my opinion and experience obviously, but your mileage may well vary.

Don, Shure's styli in all but the V15 models were little more than roughly finished bits of 'coal,' barely transparent and dirty if viewed 'through' the diamond and not very well formed I remember (I had the daily use of a proper Dual stylus microscope which opened many HUGE cans of worms! and a student's cheap microscope now which needs more care in use). the ED styli may have been 'naked diamonds,' but I very much doubt many of them met the spec of a .0002" minor radius in reality. Contrast this at the other end of the market with the Shibata styli on many cartridges with exquisite clear diamonds with beautiful facets. The Dynavector 'Diamond' (now 17D3) had a 'diamond' cantilever and this was finished better than most styli were and this was before the beautiful stylus itself was viewed - I wish I could have taken photo's at the time as proof of what I'm trying to tell you! With computer control, the robot made? AT95E or replacement VM95E at the bottom end of the market has a nicely made and finished bonded elliptical stylus on, the minor radius now claimed to be .0003" and the benefits of 1.8 - 2g tracking are easily heard with low surface noise and consistent stability in the groove. It leaves an M75-EJ for dead in direct comparison in a Dual tonearm. My AT120E (now VM530) easily betters an M75-ED in the right tonearm and the 530 should, with its tautened suspension, be a great match to the Dual arm.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 08:17
by Robbie_uC
The newer Audio Technica VM95SH/VM95ML work VERY well with these old Idler drive TT's. Really, I see no reason whatsoever to use standard elliptical styli when there have been such great advancements recently. Any of the AT microlinears will easily beat out any of the carts mentioned. The two I listed are both under $200. What you get are two very high quality carts that exhibit little to no IGD, which really is of the utmost importance when considering what to mount to a TT tonearm.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 10:39
by Japi Roelofs
On my 1219 I have a Shure M91 'click-in' cartridge. The cart itself is of the MG-D variety, but I found an aftermarket stylus for it that has a Nude Shibata. It's a Tonar 401 ES stylus, it can still be found for around €150. I heard many different cartridges on many different turntables, some average, some good and some great. This combination though sounds truly spectacular.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 18:22
by mrow2
So that others can look at it, where did you find the Tonar 401ES stylus? At that point, factoring DSJR's view on old (often overpriced) cartridges, one can compare the logic of the 401ES vs something bright and new from Audio Technica of one of the other present day makers, for units that might be in the $200 to $400+ range.

I mention AT because they've just come out with some new designs and they appear to be fairly impressive. DSJR mentioned this too, a while back, and since then I've noticed the AT VM760SLC Special Line Contact Stylus Cartridge, the AT150Sa , the Audio-Technica AT-OC9/III MicroCoil Special Line Contact cart, AT440MLB Micro-Linear VM type dual magnet high performance par toroidal power generation, and AT33PTG/2 Microlinear stylus Dual Moving Coil (advanced tapered boron cantilever and reduced coil weight improve the audio quality, particularly in the higher frequencies). One could spend weeks researching these. And maybe it's time to bring reason to some of the possibly overpriced Shure V15 series cartridges even if that's a discussion all by itself, or at least the overpriced generators-sans-stylus which are offered without a SAS to go with them.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 19:37
Back in the late 70's, a favourite and great 'sounding' combination was the 701 with AT20SLa (Shibata tip stylus mounted into a metal clad body that the current AT700 series looks to be developed from). A properly working 1219/1229 tonearm isn't going to be so different here I feel, the counterweight being the only major difference (yes I know the tonearm wiring had changed, but this doesn't really matter here if it's in good order ime).

Fine line and Shibata style styli can be more fussy as regards setup and especially VTA. In a cartridge like a typical top AT, adjusting the tracking force 1/10g either way from nominal will do the same thing as the cantilever is loaded slightly differently on its suspension. Standard ellipticals can also sometimes be fine tuned this way, but it's not quite as critical.

I should add (again) that a typical bog standard AT95E stylus is very much better ground and polished than a typical 'bit of lightly polished coal' as Shure used to fit on most of their cartridges except the V15 level* - the '75/91-ED' types were marginal then, but still not spectacular by today's standards. Even the basic conical AT91 family is pretty darned good too.

The V15 III was transformed in 'HE' trim and I regret never buying a VN35HE stylus when it was available. I was told a few years ago that the Ed Saunders VN35E was the closest to the original sonically, as the fancy Jico ones altered the balance - maybe for the better.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 20:02
by Japi Roelofs
mrow2 wrote:
24 Jun 2019 18:22
So that others can look at it, where did you find the Tonar 401ES stylus?
Well I just had a conversation with one of the two Dutch vendors that still sell this stylus, and it seems like I need to eat my words. He told me that the Shibata stylus he has on sale (using the same Tonar number, and provided by Jico) is no longer a nude diamond, but a bonded one instead. So I guess the one I found in a batch of NOS Tonar styli is from old production, and not for sale anymore.

For those still interested, the stylus can be found here (not sure if I will get flagged for this, as the other Dutch vendor, whose name is very similar, is on the blacklist for unauthorized use of the entire Vinyl Engine library). But I don't know if it's as good as the nudie, and at this price point there's certainly other/better options.

Re: Dual 1219 stylus recommendations

Posted: 24 Jun 2019 20:59
by Robbie_uC
I only speak from knowledge concerning AT-VM95xx Shibata and Micro Line styli, which appear to keep the SRA where it should be, as the tonearm remains parallel with the record. In the case of other carts, like Ortofon, I'm not entirely certain how that would work. I have a 2m Red, and it seems to be a bit too tall. DSJR, I'm sure, has experience with mounting a Bronze/Black on a Dual. I do not.

I agree that an AT95E would be a good choice, if an elliptical were to be used.

My main point is I am currently running an AT-VM95ML on my 1219, and it sounds absolutely perfect - no discernible distortion. Crystal clear highs, balanced midrange and bass. No tracking problems, no sibilance, no compliance issues, there is even less rumble and background noise. It appears to be a very good match, and at that low price point, you really cannot go wrong. Simply lined it up with the Dual alignment gauge, and it was off and running.

I love a Jico SAS as much as the next guy, but I truly believe these sound just as good