Finally heard a Stanton 500

the thin end of the wedge
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Snead
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Finally heard a Stanton 500

Post by Snead » 07 Oct 2009 23:08

After reading so much about 500s here and elsewhere, I decided that it was time to hear one for myself, so I landed a NIB 80's era sub-$20 specimen off of some auction site.

Actually the one I have is a Pickering TL P-mount, but it's a 500 internally - you get the idea.

Anyway, it's been playing for about 1/2 hour now, and so far I'm disappointed.

It's not that it's doing anything overtly wrong. It's not shouting, or shrieking, or booming, or unbalanced. In fact it's quite well-behaved.

What's wrong seems to be a sin of omission. The sound is flat and two dimensional, there's no depth, no verve, no spring in its' step. Backing sounds are recessed.

I thought it would be more enthusiastic than this.

I was hoping it would replace an OMP10 and Shure M96LT which don't entirely please me either but it looks like I was overly optimistic on that score.

Oh well, at least there's a near-endless supply of 'other' carts to try! :)

EdAInWestOC
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Re: Finally heard a Stanton 500

Post by EdAInWestOC » 08 Oct 2009 00:08

Snead wrote:After reading so much about 500s here and elsewhere, I decided that it was time to hear one for myself, so I landed a NIB 80's era sub-$20 specimen off of some auction site.

Actually the one I have is a Pickering TL P-mount, but it's a 500 internally - you get the idea.

Anyway, it's been playing for about 1/2 hour now, and so far I'm disappointed.

It's not that it's doing anything overtly wrong. It's not shouting, or shrieking, or booming, or unbalanced. In fact it's quite well-behaved.

What's wrong seems to be a sin of omission. The sound is flat and two dimensional, there's no depth, no verve, no spring in its' step. Backing sounds are recessed.

I thought it would be more enthusiastic than this.

I was hoping it would replace an OMP10 and Shure M96LT which don't entirely please me either but it looks like I was overly optimistic on that score.

Oh well, at least there's a near-endless supply of 'other' carts to try! :)
It's been quite a few years but you just described my reaction to the Stantons that I've tried. Nothing terrible, just nothing to write home about.

Of all the MM cartridges that I tried (a lot) my favorites were the ADC XLMs. An old friend keeps on trying to give me a box full of the things I left at his house. According to him there are several Shures (I had a V15 II, V15II Imp, a V15III, a V15IV and some others), several ATs (not certain), a Signet (I think a 7e) and a couple of the ADCs. God only know what else is there.

If you can get a good ADC XLM, with a good stylus, jump on it. Its difficult to find but a nice cartridge.

Ed

Snead
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Post by Snead » 08 Oct 2009 08:54

Ed, we must have read each others' minds. :)

Just this afternoon, I took delivery of an ADC 26. It came highly recommended by Rene Jaeger in the April '75 issue of the BAS "Speaker", so I figured it would be a good representative example of what an ADC could do.

So far I'm still setting it up (rec. tracking force 0.75g - whew!). When it's stabilized I'll have some comments about it, probably in the next day or two.

About your old pile of carts, it sounds like there are some real classics in there!

Lotsa fun awaits if you ever decide to rejuvenate any of them. At the very least it would be an interesting sentimental journey. 8)

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Post by Damien Taylor » 08 Oct 2009 10:54

What's wrong seems to be a sin of omission. The sound is flat and two dimensional, there's no depth, no verve, no spring in its' step. Backing sounds are recessed.
So basically, it sounds exactly like the cheap broadcast workhorse it was sold as?

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Post by pivot » 08 Oct 2009 14:15

[quote="Damien TaylorSo basically, it sounds exactly like the cheap broadcast workhorse it was sold as?[/quote]

I am quite amazed by the 500 fan base that seems to be out there. Back when I was playing around with on campus college radio (3 different campus' in upstate NY- 1970s) the 500 was pretty much the only cartridge I recall in the station's arms.

I never remember the cartridge as anything to get excited about for sound quality. Tough as nails in daily use in rough handling, back queing etc but fairly bland sound.

The go to cartridges for sound quality in the Stanton/Pickering line were the 681 eee, 881s and Pickering XSV 3000. When the local classical station started in the Albany NY area they used whatever the current Shure V-15 was mounted in then current SME arms (SME-III if I recall correctly).

Snead
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Post by Snead » 08 Oct 2009 15:31

What gets me is the incongruity of quality demanded by societies for their broadcast standards.

For example,

In Oz, they were big on Ortofon MCs.

In Japan, the Denon 103.



But in the U.S., it was the Stanton 500?

How Mickey Mouse was that? :?

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Post by Brian C. » 08 Oct 2009 15:37

The BBC used Tannoy Variluctance into the early '60s.

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Post by 1200y3 » 08 Oct 2009 16:46

Most radio stations that used the Stantons would have been AM. As long as the cartridge was wasn't harsh or mistracking and could handle hard use, there wouldn't be a problem.

It is great for DJ public performance because it tracks well and sounds full.

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Post by KentT » 08 Oct 2009 20:43

Gentlemen,

That difference of standards also takes into account operating styles. In Europe, Japan, and Australia/NZ, records were cued by engineers. DJ types didn't handle records. In the USA, the DJ handles records so more rugged cartridges and styli are needed and cueing of records is tighter.

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Post by bauzace50 » 12 Oct 2009 09:41

The Stanton 500 model has had so many versions over 50 years. It is necessary to state which version one judges.

The last version worthy of audiophile status was the discontinued 500 EE MK II.

But the stylus they currently advertise for "audiophile" use has a larger cantilever, larger magnet, and larger diamond tip. Three conditions that work against "audiophile" results. This is the D71 stylus, which is a lower-quality replacement for the one that came with the EE Mk II. Simply NOT as good as the original. Their current 681 "audiophile" model is similarly lower in quality as compared with their perfectionist models years ago.

They just serve the market that buys from them, and that is good enough reason. They have the capability to build competitive "audiophile" models, but have no marketing reason to go in that direction.

Good luck,

bauzace50

Terry Robinson
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Finally heard a Stanton 500

Post by Terry Robinson » 12 Oct 2009 11:22

Evening all. Yes, I remember the Stanton 500A well. I had one here (still around somewhere). Mainly used mine to play 78's. Fairly good sound, but amplified the shellac surface too much.

Back in the mid 1970's I was "working" for a one-lung A-M Public Acess Radio Station down in Melbourne and they were using Shure M75's for replaying gramophone recordings. Good sound, but hopeless for day-to-day use. I don't know how many needles we went thru. I tried to interest them in getting Stanton 500A's since they were much more "rugged" and designed for DJ use, but they wouldn't listen to me. After all, I'm only a Broadcast Engineer, and who takes any notice of them!

Cheers,

Terry.

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Post by haroon » 12 Oct 2009 11:29

500ALs were my first real carts. Strange to find that anyone is a fan since I was just a teenager and couldn't afford anything else ($30 new). It was a high output cart and reminds me most of the Shure M44-7 in its abrasive sound.

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Post by daveobieone » 14 Oct 2009 00:17

Well, I'm one of those "fans of the 500" out there.

Perhaps I like them for the very reason that (it seems) that you don't... they are so neutral....not overly bright, bassy, mid-rangy, don't shout, boom, or do much of anything wrong.

When you are stuck in a studio, playing records (ie, doing an air shift) for 4, 5, or 6 hours everyday (as I did for many years), you really begin to value that neutrality.

From a broadcast engineering side of things, it's also easier to live with a neutral sounding cartridge when you have so many pairs of ears (all of which hearing things differently) you are trying to please with the sound of the station. Audio processing was also less of a strain when the primary music source isn't shouting some notes, while muting others.

It's really hard to comment on your remarks about your 500, since you didn't tell us which of the many 500 models you have.

Are there better carts...certainly there are. Personally, my favorite is my 881s MkII...which I listen to the most...but they really didn't have the reliability we needed in the broadcast world.

For the price, I still believe the 500ee MkII was one really amazing cartridge, and the current (new production) combination of a 400/500 body, and the D71ee makes quite pleasant sound for under $35 (at KAB).

Just my 2 cents worth,
David

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Post by dean man jim » 15 Oct 2009 05:43

bauzace50 wrote:The Stanton 500 model has had so many versions over 50 years. It is necessary to state which version one judges.

The last version worthy of audiophile status was the discontinued 500 EE MK II.
Yes indeed, I have a few 500 bodies and a few non-standard styli. My favorite body is a (vintage) gold toned 500, favorite styli with it are the (1) d5100EE (red box in front, gold cantilever enclosure), tracks at 2.5 g and sounds very good with orchestral music--spacious, dynamic, natural tone, and (2) the rarer d5100EEE (metallic gold box on front), tracks at 2 g, sounds very good with rock and jazz--fast and tight bass and drums, terrific vocal range, nice cymbals and good imaging). Among the handful of arms I've used them with, they seem to sound best in my high mass jelco broadcast arm with a lightweight magnesium ADC headshell, on my idler table. They certainly aren't as "hifi" as my higher-end carts but both are very "musical" and non fatiguing, better by a good margin as compared to the "stock" blue colored stylus, fwiw and imho. Generic replacement styli are to be avoided!

Jim

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