Missing your Stanton 680/681, Empire 2000Z, ADC or other sweet MI cartridge?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by needlestein, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Are those push-in-from-the-bottom Grado styli really as fragile as people say. I normally don't worry about breaking a stylus if I'm swapping needles on a Shure, Stanton, or Pickering. But it appears that some people need to watch training videos just to install a Grado needle. Some needle sellers say a special tool is needed to remove and replace Grado needles. There seem to be a lot of be-careful-don't-break-it-when-installing-it-careful-careful-careful sorts of cautions when you start reading about replacing Grado styli. Except you don't find those warnings if you go to Grado's 4ourears.net outlet store, nor do you even find any specifications for needles on their item detail pages, like this one:
    http://www.4ourears.net/Grado_blue_replacement_stylus_p/4e-blue1rsty.htm
    Reading the current AK thread on the new Grado Black2 < http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/new-grado-black2.794914/ > doesn't exactly give one much confidence in Grado's communication abilities or their quality control, as if the company is composed of a core of brilliant scientists surrounded by far less competent manufacturing and marketing, including a few dunces. Good thing they seem to be good at handling returns.
     
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  2. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I find using two thumbs to gently rock the stylus out of the body to be a lot less frightening and fiddly than using that tool.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  3. Multiplex

    Multiplex Appease my earhole.

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    I've always wondered about the wood cartridges. I'm sure they're excellent, just a little rich for my blood. The open top end and wide soundstage described here are also pretty accurate descriptions of many older plastic bodies. The gold clad F, G and FG can bodies have a brilliant, open sound when using modern top shelf styli like the 8MZ and MCZ. They can be a bit more finicky, because they often need parallel loading, but that's a sub $20 fix, even assuming you're using reasonably high-quality y-adapters and gold plated RCAs... Then there are the Signature bodies, which may not need anything at all.

    Guess I've always wondered if the wood bodies are better enough to justify the big bucks, and to lose the user-replaceable stylus. Really the biggest differences I would expect, besides the cool appearance, would be the way that they couple to the headshell, and that they don't introduce any resonances, right? Or is there some other magic at work here?

    As good as older plastic bodies sounded, I always kind of assumed the the Prestige series had been somewhat "detuned" to help justify the higher priced woodies.
     
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  4. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Obviously the wooden bodies have to be more expensive to make than plastic, which can be molded, or metal, which can be stamped out. Even if part of the carving can be done automatically by machines, one would assume that part of the final shaping and fitting would have to be done by hand by persons who know something about working with wood grain. Even if the wood did nothing to improve the sound, the cost of the wood look would justify a much higher price, but perhaps of tiny consideration if one wants one's cartridge to match one's furniture. It could be an obstacle, however, for the turntable enthusiast who can't afford furniture that even matches itself. ;)



     
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  5. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You could be absolutely right, here. The strategy might be to actually "sabotage" the performance of the lower-priced units in order to give the apprehension of a "better sounding" and therefore more valuable and pricey higher end cartridge. This wooden body Grado sounds so different from any Prestige I've heard, even the new Prestige2 line, that it's hard for me to even consider that they are from the same manufacturer. The difference is much greater than what you find with, say, an AT95E vs. Clearaudio Performer V2 and much greater than what I had prepared myself for.

    What I think of as the Grado "house sound" has to now be separated in my mind. There is the "plastic/metal" house sound and the wood body "house sound."

    With some few exceptions and never having tried a wooden Grado, I hated Grado before the Prestige2 line. They had no high end in my turntable. However, I just only found out that I could live happily with a Reference Sonata for the rest of my life on my SL-1200 with fluid damper. Whatever hocus pocus Grado does to make it happen, whether putting wrenches somewhere in the metal/plastic bodies or what, the Reference Sonata that I've got, again, even with a compromised cantilever, is as good as any LOMC I've heard and, perhaps, subjectively more pleasing to me because I happen to love the moving iron sound.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
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  6. totem

    totem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Regarding Bodies I recently ran across a twist of sorts where someone manufactured a slip over metal
    body that precluded the denuding of the plastic original. Seemed an interesting take for those
    who were reticent about removing the original housing.
     
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  7. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Joseph, since Grado doesn't want users to replace styli on the wood body, do people have to send them back to Grado when the needle wears out? Is it cheaper just to have them retipped at that point?
    [ asking for a friend ;) ]


     
  8. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

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    All this talk of wood bodies made me pull out my Grado blue to see if there might be a simple way to build a wood body for it. I see no reasonable way to do so. I would love to try one of the Grado woodies but I hate the idea of non-serviceable styli and I'm cheap. If there is a higher-line cartridge I would break down for, it might be one of high output Grados though.
     
  9. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well, I don't know of any $600 retip jobs, so it would be cheaper to retip and you could also upgrade. Even a $300 tip job from Sound Smith for the $300 Reference Platinum would constitute an upgrade, so if I were considering spending another $300, I'd go the retip route.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  10. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

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    Have you retipped one of these wood bodies, or taken a close look to see how serviceable they might be by someone like yourself? I see broken Grado wood bodies from time to time on ebay and have wondered about tipping them.

     
  11. totem

    totem AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The slip on metal body was I believe for the prolific Denon DL -103 and its variants.
     
  12. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    depends on where the break is. generally the break happens at the junction of the post attached to the generating ring. that would require removing the remaining piece of tube and finding a cantilever that would then slip over that post. I have used cactus needle to repair a cantilever broken further downstream towards the diamond.
     
  13. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Are you talking about those new metal bodies that I saw over at LencoHeaven that are made by a guy in Vancouver? They're on ebay, too. Arrow Audio.

    Since you're in Vancouver, too, maybe you ran across it there somewhere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  14. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    Don't tell Grado about cactus needles. They might incorporate them into a new design and charge an extra $200 for it!

    :)
     
  15. marcmorin

    marcmorin AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    soundsmith does. :thumbsup:
     
  16. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

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    Ok, but by that definition virtually all plastic bodied cartridges with a RF cage would be considered metal-bodied, even the CN5625AL. How then, would one describe the AT150?

    Maybe the Grados deserve a classification of their own, but by my definition, a metal body must be metal where it contacts the shell. Similarly, a wood body would need to be wood where it contacts the shell.
     
  17. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

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    I believe it's the other way around: It's the wood that introduces colouration. But, wood is also less elastic than plastic, and so has the ability to firm up the bass response.
     
  18. ripblade

    ripblade Super Member

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    It's also not grounded. Without grounding it won't be a very effective RF shield. I suppose Grado figures the low inductance is protection enough.
     
  19. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That's a good point. I do consider the CN5625Al to be metal bodied. The plastic part is just put on with a screw and comes off easily, just like the AT95E.

    I realize it's sort of a percentage call. I consider my car's body to be made out of metal too, even though the visible body is mostly plastic. The AT150, like the body for the 150-MLX? I thought it was settled that that was metal, whereas the body for the 440 is plastic.

    What about the Adcom I recently retipped? Seems like it's plastic, but it's got a metalized finish that caused a ground loop hum through direct metal contact with a metal headshell and metal hardware.

    Man, another classification rabbit hole in audio. Who knew this could happen?
     
  20. illinoisteve

    illinoisteve Super Member

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    I once saw a wooden bodied car. Of course the frame and engine were metal I don't know how the car sounded. It didn't run.
     
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