Is it dumb to upgrade to AT440 now that it's discontinued?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by DesertTwang, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. Dneprrider

    Dneprrider Active Member

    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    Atlantic Canada
    Or look for a AT160ML cartridge that likely has the ATN160ML stylus fitted.
    This cartridge is also no longer made but that won't stop me from using it. I have an AT440 on another turntable and really like it too.[​IMG]
     
  2. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,720
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    So, better than the 150MLX stylus? Where'd you find it so cheap?
     
  3. vincei

    vincei aka MasterControlMedia Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,335
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    I was thinking of getting one of these myself, but felt this stylus inferior to the 150MLX. Can you explain how a Shibata is better than a Microline? By all accounts it's a downgrade and from my experience did not perform as well as the ML tip. (AT12S vs 440ML).
     
    tubewade likes this.
  4. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    3,506
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Cheaper then the ATN150MLX and pretty good (yes they are fussy for alignment).

    There really are 2 basic kinds of stylus designs, point and line. The point contact are conical and elliptical and their contact surface area is like a dot. The others like microline, fine line, shibata or SAS are line contact. Their contact area is not a dot, but rather a vertical line and its contact width is less then the dot. What this all means is that the line can retrieve much more information from the record grooves because its width is narrower.

    And now the other shoe drops......then there is the trade-off. Conical and elliptical are not quite so fussy with cartridge alignment perimeters. Sure they all need to be aligned as best you can to your favorite alignment from Stevenson, Baerwald or Lofgren, but their azimuth and SRA are more critical.

    Some have made a point that these more exotic styli can produce more surface noise. Well, ya, but if you have good records and keep them clean, they are going to pick up more detail, and hopefully that detail isn't imperfections to the record surface.

    If you don't think you can set up a shibata or any other line contact styli with any degree of accuracy, maybe elliptical shapes are for you. I've been running the microline for many years and there is no way I could live with an elliptical.

    I am certainly not a styli expert, and I barely understand the complex geometrical shapes of some of these styli, but properly set up, can be pretty revealing. And I am sorry, but if your records are in shitty condition, they are going to sound like shit. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
     
  5. Chrisxo55441

    Chrisxo55441 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,696
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    needlestein-Love those shims

    OP-I have 2 440mla very nice cart you should be pleased
     
  6. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,720
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    They come with the cartridge! It's like they knew I was going to buy it fifty years after they made it and I'd need those spacers.

    I have nothing but love for the 440-MLa/MLb.
     
    bob smog likes this.
  7. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    DT: Well, both beryllium and boron are pretty much the best metals for making cantilevers due to being even lighter than alu, but quite a bit stiffer/more rigid, and sporting a very high specific speed of sound. Duraluminium alloys aren't that bad either for that purpose, though. And anodising is an electrochemical method to increase the thickness of the natural Al2O3 layer alu builds up on its surface anyway (when eposed to our atmosphere) - so, as dialuminiumtrioxide also happens to be corundum (alias sapphire or ruby, depending on which traces of other elements it additionally contains), anodising basically creates an artificial corundum coating, which also improves stiffness/rigidity.

    The visual difference is that the older, anodised cantilever version is significantly less glossy than the newer, non-anodised variant. There are lots of different alu alloys, though, so without knowing the exact details one can't really tell, which variant should be the technically better one...

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
     
    808_state, Zingem and DesertTwang like this.
  8. DesertTwang

    DesertTwang Member

    Messages:
    75
    Wow. Very educational, thank you for taking the time to explain this!
     
  9. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    3,506
    Location:
    Minnesota
    The anodizing process is actually an etching process, so its subtractive.
     
  10. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    Wayner: That wouldn't really seem to be a contradiction to me. But I wouldn't call it a subtractive process on the whole, 'cause actually it would rather foremost be a transformation from Al to Al2O3. I think, on rereading it, I'd rather criticise my short description, 'cause it may falsely imply that he original, natural Al2O3 layer is kept and just made thicker in the anodisation process, which actually isn't the case, as that natural layer will in fact first be removed, before the process creates a new, thicker layer.

    I.e., I'd concur that it's got subtractive aspects to it - first the removal of the original Al2O3 layer, and second the subtraction of pure alu in favour of the addition of Al2O3. But the sense of the whole process nevertheless is to create a thicker than the natural Al2O3 layer - by transforming a bit of the alu...

    Greetings from Munich!


    Manfred / lini
     
  11. RonniB

    RonniB Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    This week, I've seen NIB 440mlb's offered as low as $165.00 on Ebay. I sure am happy with mine; compare it with an AT15sa on the other table. However, the really crucial item is replacement stylii. They are getting pricier and more scarce, I got mine just before B&H Photo ran out of stock. BTW, the ATN140lc and ATN440mlb stylii are a direct swap with either cartridge. You might run in to 140lc stylii a bit better than the fading 440mlb stock, right now.
     
    DesertTwang likes this.
  12. kaplang

    kaplang Works for me ! Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,670
    Location:
    34.0500° N, 118.2500° W
    Buy a couple of styluses now if you plan on keeping the cartridge.
     
  13. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    3,506
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I've been in manufacturing all of my adult life. I've seen aluminum parts left in anodizing tanks too long, and there were holes eaten through the metal. Anodizing removes a layer of material (then if its a color anodizing) that enters the pores, then the process is stopped and then neutralized. It also depends on what alloy it is, as some aluminum alloys contain metals that are not happy during the process.

    Electro-polishing works in a similar way.

    BTW, the ATN150Sa cantilever is a tapered aluminum tube, which makes it pretty strong (and rigid).
     
  14. needlestein

    needlestein Super Member

    Messages:
    4,720
    Location:
    West Hartford, CT
    The 150Sa stylus seems a lot more like the 440MLb stylus than the 150MLX stylus. This point has been discussed before, but I have a very old ATX1201S cartridge with probably the same parts as the 150Sa but for the grip and it's fantastic. It's a little bit more balanced than the 440MLb--has more bottom end, not quite as fast in the transients as the 150MLX with boron rod, but faster than the 440MLb, so right in between. But I will say that the 440MLb stylus sounds more balanced with more bottom end as well as faster after being transplanted into the Ebony-bodied Clearaudio AT95E (in my case, formerly a Performer V2). Those hardened tapered aluminum cantilevers that AT makes are tough as nails. The ATX1201S had a curve in it and taking it out required a surprising amount of force and a lot of gradual attempts. It was white-knuckle work because I kept expecting it to snap, but it didn't at all. It was as though it was made of iron. Very impressive and probably why even though it's "only" aluminum or alloy it's nearly as fast as boron rod. Shape does make a big difference when discussing rigidity and I can believe that the 150Sa is an upgrade over straight boron rod even if the material is less "sacred."
     
  15. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,223
    Location:
    Virginia
    I have the exact same carts, and can say it's not a fair comparison and not wise to base an opinion on a stylus shape based on the two. The AT12S was an entry-level Shibata stylus cartridge with a bonded tip, quite listenable but not in the same league as the 440ML. The 440ML is much more sophisticated in design and build with a nude mounted ML tip. If they were Shure carts, the 12S would be a M75 and the 440 a V-15V.

    The 440 is the better all-round cartridge but I personally like the AT12S on thrift-store discs that have substantial wear from misuse. The Shibata really does get in where other styli haven't tread. I always heard how a Shibata could do that, but never really believed it going by the various ML (including the 440) and hyper-ellipticals etc.I've had which did reduce noise from wear, but nowhere near what a real Shibata does. (even the bonded one on the 12S) I find the Shibata on the 12S a godsend for styrene 45's, and I have never had any accelerated wear from using a Shibata on that kind of disc.
     
    vincei likes this.
  16. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    elvr: Actually there were both bonded and nude exemplars of the ATS12S, while the ATN12S always was bonded only.

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
     
  17. WaynerN

    WaynerN Super Member

    Messages:
    3,506
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Another shipment of ATN150Sa styli arrived today.......
     
  18. DesertTwang

    DesertTwang Member

    Messages:
    75
    Yikes. That stylus costs more than the entire AT440MLa cartridge! I hope I'm not offending anyone around here when I say that I can't see myself ever spending more than ~$250 (if that) on a phono cartridge. Yes, I absolutely do enjoy spinning vinyl. But there comes a point at which I must conclude that if I find myself spending larger and larger amounts of money to do so, I might as well pop in a CD... :music:
     
    911s55 likes this.
  19. lini

    lini just me...

    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Munich, Bavaria
    DT: At least you're definitely not offending me, and I'd bet I'm not the only other AKer to kind of share you're view on that.

    Greetings from Munich!

    Manfred / lini
     
    tubewade likes this.
  20. gusten

    gusten Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,083
    Location:
    Stockholm by night
    Not offending maybe, but You are criticizing those who do. Based on what You are doing.
     

Share This Page