Revisiting the Garrard Zero 100... The right cart makes the difference.

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Acespaceman, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    A while back I posted a thread about modifiying the tangential arm/bushings for reduced slop in the mechanism. It was a successful project that showed a small, but noticeable improvement in the sound, and a very noticeable improvement in physical slop in the arm.

    Being the turntable junkie I am, I quickly turned my attention to setting up a handful of other tables, and getting the most out of them while putting the Zero on the shelf... sort of forgotten about.

    One of the problems with the Zeros that everyone mentions is the high mass of the tonearm. While reading some reviews on budget carts, I read some glowing reviews of the Shure M35X, and SC35C. Although these are primarily DJ type carts, they get great reviews by the HiFi folks who use them. As I understood it, they have low compliance styli, and that might just be the ticket for my Zero. The SC35C really grabbed my attention because of it 4-5 gram recommended tracking force... That's gotta be a stiff cantilever. What the heck, for $59, I picked both of those carts up, and loaded the SC into the Zero.

    Wow! All I can say is that this is a great match. I had been running an M91ED before, and thinking about it now, that was probably a really poor choice for the Zero because of it's high compliance. It never sounded bad, but it never sounded as good as the same cart loaded into my Dual 1229. It always sounded a little more "blurry".

    The SC35C's low compliance stylus on the other hand was just the ticket... Long story short, If you own a Garrard Zero.. I highly recommend the Shure SC35C. Probably any low compliance cart/stylus will be a great match for this table.

    What's TOTALLY AWESOME is that the table sounds great, and it lives up to it's promise of eliminating, or dramaticaly reducing alignment distortion. I notice a significant reduction of inner groove distortion compared to my 1229, or any of my other traditional arm TTs for that matter. The Zero arm works, and damned if it doesn't work well!

    The SC really tightended up the the sound of this table, VERY nice sounding. I'm not good at describing how things sound, but it just sounds 100% BETTER than it did with the M91ED.... which IMO is a great sounding cart... just not when it's bolted to the Zero arm.

    I'm going to try the M35X with its slightly lower recommended vtf, and see how that goes... but not until I enjoy this SC a little bit more.

    I'll try to do some critical listening, and do an A-B comparison between the two.

    Just thought I'd share... I know there's some Zero owners out there who might find this useful.
     
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  2. malden

    malden Super Member

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    Some great observations! The M91ED is an awesome cartridge but you are correct, it is too compliant for the Zero 100 tone-arm. I too love the SC35C and M35X and use them regularly on some of my older idler drive turntables.

    There is one other problem I've noticed with the Zero 100 tone-arm. It requires a low profile cartridge to allow the tone-arm to operate in the normal operating position of being parallel to the record surface. I've mounted several Shure cartridges in my Z100 and they all elevate the head-shell end of the tone-arm so that the tone-arm is no longer parallel to the platter.

    The only cartridge in my arsenal that, because of its low profile, keeps the tone-arm level is the Pickering V-15.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
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  3. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    Interesting about the height of the cartridge. I had been so focused on getting the alignment straight that I completely overlooked the angle of the arm in relation to the platter. I'll have to check it out. I have a V15 in my stash, but no good syli. Any you recommend?
     
  4. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    The Shure M 91 ED was too compliant for a Garrard changer save for maybe the Lab 80. Remember that every Garrard changer and automatic save for the 401 post Lab 80 was based on the AutoSlim changer platform and later on the Unimech. 2 grams was the lightest these arms performed well at. Medium mass, medium tracking forces work well here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  5. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    So NOW you tell me! LOL :D
     
  6. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    My local audiophile and music lover emporium sold Garrard and Dual changers for years, if you listened to his advice with better changers, he sold you a Shure M3D pre 1965, post 1965, he sold you a Shure M 44-7, past 1967, the Shure M 75 EJ was his preferred workaday cartridge for changers. He wanted you happy, he wanted your business, he also didn't like to sell you something which didn't suit your budget or application, and sold you the best for your budget. He prospered for many years. He had many repeat customers. And word of mouth business. In Oak Ridge, TN you had engineers, physicists, and many talented scientists. Sometimes, they were the most difficult customers especially when the wife and family insisted on changer. They wanted highest end cartridge, even when cautioned it wasn't suited for the changer. He'd sell you better cartridges, but he also cautioned you that it wasn't suited for your automatic arm too. He also dropped Garrard past the Zero 100. He kept Dual up to 1975, and then sold Dual a few years from 1980 until the shop went defunct. He sold good quality gear, and hand picked his lines.
     
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  7. malden

    malden Super Member

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    Which V15 ? As far as I know, there were no medium compliance styli for any of the V15 series cartridges, athough the stabilizing brushes on the type lV, V, Vx and RS would allow the V15 to be used in a medium mass tone-arm.

    My Zero 100 came with a V15 type lll, that was when I noticed that the tone-arm was not parallel to the platter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  8. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    The only V 15 which had a medium compliance stylus option was the 1964 V 15 original model. Which could accept M 44-7 styli.
     
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  9. fiddlefye

    fiddlefye AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I've long wondered how a Denon DL103 would fare on a Zero 100. I've got a table to play with once it gets renovated and a cart so maybe I will find out. The Denon is a pretty tough and durable customer and I'd think the compliance should be a good match if the Shures mentioned work well. Anyone ever try one?
     
  10. toxcrusadr

    toxcrusadr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have my dad's Zero 100 but not using it. I do remember that it had what I later learned was a high compliance stylus on it, and if the record was warped at all it wobbled around like a piece of spaghetti on the end of a baseball bat. It made a lot of sense when I read here at AK about the mass of the Zero tonearm.

    What I've never learned how to do is find a cart/stylus with the right 'compliance'. So thanks for this thread - when I eventually get to setting up the Zero I'll check back in. :thumbsup:
     
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  11. revox-b77

    revox-b77 Super Member

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    I think he means the Pickering V15.
     
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  12. audiojones

    audiojones Jonesin' for audio Subscriber

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    I think the OP is referring to a Pickering V-15 here as Malden mentioned its low profile was suitable for correct VTA.
     
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  13. malden

    malden Super Member

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    duh, I got Shure-itis on the brain.

    Pickering V15, of course
     
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  14. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    After looking a little closer at my cart stash, it turns out its actually an XV-15. Still I have no stylus for it at the moment. Not even sure where this cart came from, but my meter says the coils are good.
     
  15. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    Yes, Pickering.
     
  16. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    Be sure to share you findings. I'm very interested to hear the sonic results from someone else going from a high to low compliance cart.

    I really think this Zero has potential to be my all round favorite record player. I've always thought it was the coolest "looking" TT... Now it sounds great too! Doesn't hurt that the mechanism is built like a tank, and it's a changer as well.
     
  17. audiojones

    audiojones Jonesin' for audio Subscriber

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    The XV-15 is actually a pretty tall cartridge, so if you're thinking about the VTA then you probably don't want to put that one on your Zero. It's a great cartridge though, maybe you can put it in something else. Check out threads by Needlestein for the best replacements, he has put a lot of time, money and effort into researching this.
     
  18. Acespaceman

    Acespaceman Active Member

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    Roger That. Thanks for the tip!
     
  19. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    The XV-15 and the Stanton 680 family are basically twins. Lots of range of nails for that. I run one on my own Zero-100 with some elliptical that wants 2-5 grams. Couldn't tell you which without looking though. You don't want one of those delicate teeny cantilever models though. I have a couple of 680e.v3 DJ carts that were stupid cheap when they quit being made. They perform quite well too, probably a very similar stylus to the old production one I usually run.

    If you want to try a more compliant cartridge you can modify the arm a bit. Removing the adjusting weight that sits behind the headshell and just doing your tracking force adjustments with the counterweight at the back will let it run a more compliant cartridge than would function well otherwise. I did that to mine a while ago. I've considered un-doing it but I lost the spring that sits on top of the slider weight so I'd need to come up with a piece of spring steel before returning it to stock.
     
  20. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    The Zero 100 arm bearings aren't up to the DL 103. Not a good match.
     

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