Stanton 890SA stylus

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by eriathomas, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Turntable Whisperer Subscriber

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    You're more likely to cause wear my tracking a stylus too light. If the stylus bounces around and loses constant contact with the groove, that's when you're more likely to get damage to your vinyl (and it will probably audibly mis-track at that point).

    The reason tracking weights are heavier for a DJ stylus compared to a "hi fi" stylus is the suspension. On a DJ stylus, it's designed specifically to track heavier because it's an environment where there's much more likely to be physical interference (for lack of a better term) with the playback system. They stylus is much less likely to jump out of the groove at 3 grams than at 1.5 if the platform that the turntable is on gets bumped.

    A DJ stylus not really comparable to the old heavy arms with crummy bearings and sapphire needles from the 50s and 60s (and those typically tracked at 5g or more). It's more comparable to something like a Denon DL-103 where the tracking force is in the 2.5 gram range. My guess is that your N30E would probably do fine at that VTF.
     
  2. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

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    The 890 SA was a moving magnet design using a Samarium Cobalt magnet, like the 881 series. When I bought mine, I thought I could also use an 881 stylus as an option, but Stanton advised me that there were internal electrical differences between the two bodies such that the frequency balance would be thrown off by using an 881 stylus in the 890 body. If I recall correctly, I liked the cartridge well enough to keep it on an LP12/Ittok until the stylus was worn out, but I know I didn't like it well enough to buy replacement styli for it.

    The only actual tests and data I've seen are for smaller ellipticals (using a .2 mil side radius) and conicals. For what it's worth, the data shows that after 100 plays, a .7 mil conical tracking at 3 grams and a .2 side radius elliptical tracking at 1.5 grams gave the same level of wear after 100 plays, which was that wear was visible under a microscope but not detectable by ear. Your .4 X .7 mil elliptical will have a larger contact area than a smaller elliptical would, but how safe it is at 3 grams is not something I've ever seen test data on.

    My personal comfort level/preference, not based on hard scientific evidence, is to choose a conical for tracking forces over 1.5 grams, and to keep in the 2.0-2.5 gram range for a conical smaller than .7 mil (e.g., I happily used a Sumiko Black Pearl, .5 mil conical, at 2 grams and a Sumiko Oyster, .6 mil, at 2.3 grams). In all cases this is when using currently-produced, factory-fresh styli where there is greatly reduced chances of age-related hardening of the rubber suspension in the stylus assembly. For the last few years, I've been enjoying the .2 X .7 mil elliptical of a Shure M97xE tracking at 1.35 grams, and with absolutely no concern for the life of my records, replacing styli after about 540 hours of use, which means every 9 months. I may be wasting some stylus life, but I no longer have a local Shure dealer equipped with a microscope for proper examination of tip wear, so I prefer to change it out near the bottom of Shure's recommended hours of service.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  3. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    No it is not. That's not factually correct. I have two 890SA and they are not 680 in disguise. Not the two I have anyway. I'm not sure how that myth got started, perhaps by Stanton's own slapdash materials, just as for some reason there was a rumor going that the XV-15/625E was moving magnet. No way, no how. Nyet, Nada, Niemals, Nein!

    Quatsch!

    Not to mention, the seller of those styli is selling the 890E, which is for the 890FS, which is known to be moving magnet and to which I can confirm. The seller is saying they work in the 680 bodies so that he can sell more of them. I have a feeling he's sitting on a boatload of them just wants to get rid of them. He got me to buy one even though I already had plenty just to check his claim. He said his 890E were of the last batch and so had smaller magnets that didn't cause hum. But to me, what causes the hum is the gauss, so even if the magnets are smaller, the magnetic flux should still be the same.

    Guess what? It hummed. It's a very low hum, but it's there, and it's annoying. It sounds like a ground hum. In sum, the guy doesn't know what he's talking about--but he's got some nice styli for excellent prices. Just don't believe his sales balderdash.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  4. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You'll be fine. It's a very broad .4 x .7 elliptical with a relatively high contact area.
     
  5. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That and abuse, accent on abuse. DJ cartridges, specifically scratch DJ cartridges like the ones we are discussing, as opposed to calibrated broadcast DJ cartridges which can be very fine cartridges like the Stanton 681EEE, are "ruggedized" because they are subjected to all kinds of non "hi fi" stresses, like scratching, back cuing, heavy-handed hamfisted handling, travel, less than optimum storage conditions, and the working environment of the pounding dance floor at the club. They typically have large cantilevers, require heavy tracking forces, and typically feature spherical or conical styli because, well, who cares about alignment concerns at the club?

    This is why an elliptical DJ stylus like the 890E is actually pretty oddball. It was sold, generally, with the 890FS cartridge that came with a pair of styli. The 890, which is the conical to be used for general scratch DJ hamfisted use, and the 890E, which was for "mixing," which I guess would be more studio work in which perhaps a DJ would take the time to set up the cartridge properly including VTA. That's why it's not "really" a DJ stylus even though it looks a lot like one. It's a hybrid kind of, meant to make the same cartridge a dual purpose cartridge. It's kind of like an attempt to make the 890FS cartridge both a "scratch DJ" cartridge and also something close to a "broadcast" DJ cartridge.

    By the way, though I haven't played mine in a while, I do believe that 2g will suffice for the 890E.
     
  6. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Well, it probably wouldn't be ruler flat. Stanton was adhering to "purist" principles when delivering advice like this. I can stick a D81 in mine and see what happens. I wish I had FR software, but oh well. All I have is my ears.

    I have tried the 890E in an 881 body and it sounds awesome--not really sure if it's better than in the proper body or not. There are some threads here on AK by others who have tried this, and with very positive reactions. The DJ bodies are usually amped up to create higher output which results in higher impedance and, as I understand it, a loss of high frequency response which would not make a true 881S owner happy. The "amping up" also includes larger magnets in the stylus, which slows down reaction time, so an 890E stylus in an 880/881 body will still, of course, not deliver the same kind of experience (particularly at the same tracking force) as a light tracking, short cantilevered, D81 Stereohedron stylus. They're just not in the same league or intended for the same purpose.

    However, note that the 890AL DJ cartridge is exactly the same internally as the 880/881.
     
  7. bangsezmax

    bangsezmax Turntable Whisperer Subscriber

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    The 890 and the 890E are functionally equivalent to the 890 SA and the 890 RM in my set. In a two deck setup, the elliptical could be used for playing music and the conical for scratching (there's a red warning label on my set that says to NOT use the RM for scratching).

    Once programs like Serato came out, the need for music playback on a deck was nil for most DJs.
     
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  8. eriathomas

    eriathomas Active Member

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    Thanks again for the great information needlestein, and everyone else. Grabbed one and am patiently waiting for it. Can't wait to try out a new cartridge, as I've only had AT's and a Grado.
     
  9. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    Then it's MM, and I think KAB is more trustworthy than this era of Stanton was. I stand corrected.
     
  10. eriathomas

    eriathomas Active Member

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    One last question. If I buy one of the generic headshell from the auction site, should I also buy a headshell weight to mount it? When it was on the original headshell, at 2.5g it was almost as far forward as it could go.

    NOS stylus should be here Monday.
     
  11. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    No. That's good. The closer the CW is to the pivot, the faster the arm reacts. I don't know the physics to support this claim, but among audiophiles it is a "thing" including reversing the CW to get it even closer, though I don't go that far.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  12. eriathomas

    eriathomas Active Member

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    That's what I thought. Hopefully I don't need to track it higher than 2.5-2.75 grams, that's all the play room I have left.
     
  13. shagone

    shagone New Member

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    its not that I don't believe that you have hum in your system its the fact that I have tried the N890E on a 680 or 681 body so many times with excellent results and near zero hum that I post those statements in my ads. And besides that I have verified feedback from many satisfied customers also confirming that the combo works. And yes, I do know what I'm talking about. There may be cases where there is interference nearby or a ground loop causing hum but in my reference system and my bedroom system there isn't with the above mentioned combo.
     
  14. shagone

    shagone New Member

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    There will not be hum with my NOS N890E stylus especially in an 890 SA that is a moving magnet cartridge just as the 890 FS that the N890E comes from.
     
  15. shagone

    shagone New Member

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    Some of you are confused. The inductance and resistance of the coils is closer to the 680/681 series yes, but that has nothing to do with the operating principal being moving magnet vs. moving iron. If you want to verify carefully place a small metal screwdriver tip into the opening of a 680 or 681 and it will be attracted to the magnet inside. If you do the same with any of the 890's or 881 nothing will happen because the magnet is in the stylus at the rear of the cantilever.

    On a side note: Yes a Pickering XV15 625E is a moving iron cartridge. The reports of it being MM threw me off as well until I checked it myself. But my N890E stylus does work in it and other XV15 carts as well because the magnet in the stylus is composed of a ferrous material that reacts with the magnet in the body.
     
  16. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    And it hums.
     
  17. eriathomas

    eriathomas Active Member

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    I'm finally (after all these months) listening to the 890SA with the N890E stylus and it sounds fantastic! Thanks for the suggestion needlestein. A bit bass heavy, but fun. I need to work on the alignment a bit I think (damn hands), but it sounds good so far at 2.5g.
     
  18. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You’re welcome! It’s a nice stylus in the right cartridge. Good luck with the bass. Maybe try some positive SRA. You may want to try 3g. It might sound counterintuitive, but your highs could fill in and tame that bass a bit, but don’t expect miracles. Stanton cartridges are never bass shy.
     
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  19. eriathomas

    eriathomas Active Member

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    I'll give 3g a try tonight. Is it just me, or are Stanton's kind hard to square due to the plastic pieces moving when tightening them down. Thought I had it square, but checked before I left for work and it's angled slightly to the side.
     
  20. needlestein

    needlestein AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Make sure you don’t have one upside down. Happens all the time.
     

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