Cartridge/needle upgrade suggestions

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by abigavocado, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. abigavocado

    abigavocado New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Hey folks! So I recently bought a used Kenwood KD-3070 turntable, and it came with a Pickering P/AT-1 cartridge. I know you're supposed to replace the needle on a used table, but should I go ahead and replace the cartridge too, or is this a good one that I should hold onto? Thanks!
     
  2. bang4buck

    bang4buck Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Hi, welcome to our hobby. Assuming the needle (stylus) isn't visibly damaged it might still be good, but it takes a good microscope and some experience to check (I have neither). It's safer to start with a new one just to see if everything works. Do make sure you get sound from both channels when you carefully (!) touch the stylus with a soft brush. It's rare for a cartridge body to develop a fault but it can happen. I would hold on to the old one, in case you have an opportunity to get it checked later.

    The cartridge you have is better known as the Pickering V-15, which is identical to a Stanton 500; Stanton and Pickering were the same company. It's NOT the same as a Shure V-15, though. This cartridge was produced for decades and you'll find lots of recommendations in this forum and elsewhere. I have a couple of them and I like them, but good styli are becoming rare and relatively expensive. The DE stylus I have in mine would cost me $40 to replace today, or about as much as a brand new cartridge of similar performance from current production, such as AT 95E, Shure M92E or Ortofon Omega.

    Here's one thread on the subject. Most of it is three years old now but Gary at The Voice of Music (see links in first post) is still a trusted and reliable source. http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....-15-stanton-500-family-who-loves-them.641049/
     
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  3. abigavocado

    abigavocado New Member

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    14
    Thanks for the info! I didn't realize it went by another name, that would explain why I couldn't find much online about it.

    It does appear to be in good shape, so if I can find one that's reasonably priced I think I'll see if I can just swap out the stylus rather than the entire cartridge.
     
  4. bang4buck

    bang4buck Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I believe the most economical stylus at the moment is a generic or aftermarket one, actually made by TEI in Colombia (as in the South American country between Ecuador and Venezuela) and regularly sold on eBay for $10 plus a little shipping. I haven't tried it myself but our intrepid stylus expert @needlestein has and raves about it. He runs a Technics 1200 which is somewhat comparable to your Kenwood.

    I'll let him chime in as I'm not 100 percent sure which is the correct listing.
     
  5. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  6. malden

    malden Super Member

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    Another option...

    https://www.jico-stylus.com/index.php?cPath=91
     
  7. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

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  8. malden

    malden Super Member

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    The cartridge is definitely a keeper. The Kenwood is also a nice turntable and deserves a good stylus. I experimented with the cheapo's for a few years until I found JICO, they cost a bit more but are worth it in my opinion. Spending 20 or 30 dollars more for a stylus will go a long way in terms of sound quality and tracking ability.
     
  9. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

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  10. malden

    malden Super Member

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    I gave up on NOS (New Old Stock) styli after receiving several with either corroded cantilevers, collapsed suspensions, dried suspensions and in one case, the glue that held the stylus tip to the cantilever failed while the record was playing.
     
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  11. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    2,673
    I have a Pickering V-15 that originally had the AT-2 needle on it. It still sounds great, just with a newer needle.
     
  12. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For $12, what do you really have to lose? If you want a nice light tracking stylus, try the Pickering DE or DLE for the P Mount cartridges. These are still easily found. They run closer to $40 but often appear on eBay for $20 or less. Caveat: a few V15 models had a longer top bracket that will interfere with the P Mount styli. Just snip the plastic a little if you have one of these.

    B74D18A2-50D0-48D7-BA5A-913FF2838241.jpeg
    This works great!

    DCFC8C63-8D2C-4184-97D1-A2F457951AEF.jpeg
    If your bracket is like this, you will have to snip the P Mount stylus slightly.
     
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  13. malden

    malden Super Member

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    4,151
    You could apply that $12.00 towards getting a high quality stylus.

    We spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on vinyl, audio gear, and accessories. What's the point of saving a few dollars on probably the most important component in the vinyl chain?
     
  14. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

    Messages:
    2,673
    The cheap conical will be easier to set up (cartridge alignment wise) and will be less finicky about tracking. Also one is risking less playing records that are in poor shape, if part of one's record collection is from thrift shops and yard sales.

    Some people are especially fond of conical needles, and for them the it might be worth getting an original Pickering conical, and not settle for a generic. If you doubt people do actual love conicals, see this thread: http://audiokarma.org/forums/index....on-a-cartridge-most-dont.679064/#post-9063542

    On the other hand, some of the cheaper .4x.7 or .3x.7 generic ellipticals will sound better on better recordings than would the average conical and may be fairly inexpensive, if one doesn't want to go for a more expensive one.
     
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  15. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

    Messages:
    2,673
    Back to the OP's question, the cheapest stylus could actually be an upgrade if it was the kind of stylus that played the kinds of records the OP has better than more expensive records. Besides, showing the spectrum of styli available for the OP's cart actually offers the most options to chose from.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    bang4buck and beat_truck like this.
  16. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

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    That's all I was trying to do.
     
  17. bang4buck

    bang4buck Well-Known Member

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    "Thanks" guys for ruining this thread for everybody else. Reported to moderators.
     
  18. Celt

    Celt Super Maude Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

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    I've cleaned this mess up so...........Listen you two knuckleheads.....Malden and Beat Truck....stop following each other and fighting in the forums!
    Both of you are real close to being on the outside looking in...so shape up or ship out!
     
  19. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    2,673
    The interpersonal tiff seems to have been deleted from the thread, even the part of my post that jokingly engaged with it.
     
  20. vwestlife

    vwestlife Well-Known Member

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    532
    TVOM has some lighter-tracking OEM Pickering V15 styli in stock, such as the 604-D7M and 605-DEM. They're not as cheap as the aftermarket styli, but as others have said, if you want quality sound, it's worth spending a few extra bucks.
     

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