XL15A cartridge - new stylus or AT95E?

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XL15A cartridge - new stylus or AT95E?

Post by moogi » 02 Sep 2019 13:07


I've just acquired a PS-T33 in great condition, fitted with the original XL15A cartridge. The stylus is original too, and although the sound is still good, I want to replace it as it must surely be a decade or two old.

Can anyone speak to whether its worth keeping the XL15 cartridge and just replacing the stylus with a good quality aftermarket one, or whether I should just go straight to a new Audio Technica AT95E. I'm just getting started (again) in vinyl so my budget doesn't extend to anything fancier than an AT95.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

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Re: XL15A cartridge - new stylus or AT95E?

Post by noisefreq » 02 Sep 2019 13:51

being old and needing to be replaced are two different things.
I think many here can attest to that.

The XL15a has a conical tip and the AT95e has an elliptical tip.
But you may be able to find an elliptical XL25a stylus near you that will work in your XL15.
Here is an example:
https://www.hifi-phono-house.de/en/orig ... t-needlehe

The compliance of the Sony is about 15cu and the AT95 is around 10cu.
So, it's about 6 one way and half a dozen the other.

Personally, I would concentrate on alignment of the cartridge.
If it already sounds good maybe it is good and all it needs is to be cleaned and properly aligned.

But if buying a new cartridge makes you feel more comfortable then do it.
But don't throw out the XL15.
Use it to practice setting up the alignment and then when you get the AT95 it will be easier for you to fit.

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Re: XL15A cartridge - new stylus or AT95E?

Post by mkoerner » 19 Sep 2019 14:10

A bit late, but maybe of help to some. The XL-15 is a quite good cartridge with a very neutral, but still dynamic sound. It's designed by the guy who made the famous Grace Cartridges (and co Inventor of the Madrigal Carnegie 1) and bears some similarities. I would prefer it anytime over the overly bright ATs (they corrected that to some extent on the new VM Series).

As already explained, there is a ND-25E replacement needle which is an elliptical alternative to the conical ND-15G. The Jico one is affordable and well sounding. I would anytime go this route vs. getting an AT95e or VM95. Occasionally you can still get NOS sealed replacement needles (ONLY buy sealed!) the are very slightly better (transient wise) and still quite cheap compared to e.g. original Ortofon replacements.


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