What am I hearing in conicals?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by DavidTT, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    The elliptical /bi radial tip was introduced first, to deal with "pinch effect" and other tracking/ tracing problems, then came the discreet quadraphonic disc recording process and everything changed for the better for more accurate groove tracing.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatible_Discrete_4
     
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  2. tnsilver

    tnsilver Super Member

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    The recording/mastering technology dictates the playback, not vise versa. I'm no expert on cutting heads, but that seems like the tail is chasing the dog. The grooves are spec'd up and to achieve the specs a "V" shaped cutting head is required. It may have evolved to better meet the specs, but it's pretty much limited to a chisel contour. Also, the vast majority of cutting heads on a mastering lathe move laterally along the radius of the master disk. This inherently branches the evolution of tangential mastering cutting heads and arc playback styli.
     
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  3. vwestlife

    vwestlife Well-Known Member

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    Playing a new record with a heavier-tracking conical stylus a few times can actually improve its sound, by polishing/deburring the groove walls. Decca specifically recommended this, and Telarc also recommends to increase your tracking force to the manufacturer's maximum for the first few times you play their records, for the same reason.

    From http://www.just-hifi.com/TURNTABLE-...hread-ASK-YOUR-QUESTION-HERE_10352257-20.html

     
  4. jrtrent

    jrtrent AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Shure's manuals sometimes include graphs about distortion caused by different tip shapes. For example, a spherical stylus had 6.4% 2nd harmonic distortion while a hyperelliptical had 2.5%. One article I read said that 2nd harmonic distortion could sound pleasant, and in a way that echoes your post:

    "A 2nd-order harmonic is double the original frequency, so for a 440 Hz tone it's 880 Hz. That doesn't necessarily sound all that bad, because it's exactly one octave up and it thickens the sound in a way that can be pleasing." https://gizmodo.com/5826651/what-is-distortion

    Now that the M97xE has been discontinued, I'll be mounting something else up soon. Most likely it will be a cartridge with a conical stylus, and I'm leaning toward the Sumiko Oyster since it's available at my local shop (and $39 for a replacement stylus sounds like a good deal, too). I've had Oysters in the past and liked them, but haven't listened to one long-term recently (my last Oyster was basically a loaner I used for a week or so while waiting for a Rega Bias 2 to come in, and while I soon moved on to the M97xE, I remember liking the Oyster better than the Bias).
     
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  5. jrtrent

    jrtrent AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Interesting how old posts never die. I had originally posted that experience 14 years ago in a thread at the Vinyl Asylum, and for the purpose of seeing if anyone had some old Decca cartridge literature hanging around to check my memory of what it said. My original post ended, "Anyway, I was just wondering if any of you have some old Decca literature hanging around and could tell me if the record-burnishing idea was one of their marketing strategies, or if my memory is just deceiving me." No one responding there had any, though some added their own experience of records sounding better with repeated plays. Maybe someone in this forum has some Decca literature to share.
     
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  6. jmchrislip

    jmchrislip Super Member

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    My main cartridge is my DL-103. However, I was recently blown away by the Shure M35x. Tracking at 2.3 grams, it sounds amazing. Loves me some conicals.
     

     

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  7. SoundsAlike

    SoundsAlike AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That Sumiko Oyster cart is one of the only carts that I recommend no one ever buys

    Get an AT5625 or 3006 before the sumiko, trust me
     
  8. beat_truck

    beat_truck Super Member

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    3006?
    Did you mean AT3600?
     
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  9. jrtrent

    jrtrent AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I did a search of this site to see if you had at some point given an explanation for your dislike of the Oyster, but I couldn't find one.

    I do like the AT CN5625AL, but I've also liked the Oyster in the past. It was more successful when mounted to an LP12/Ittok combination than when I tried it in the inexpensive Denon DP-300f, but my short time with it in my current Rega RP3 had me thinking the Rega arm controlled it very well. If it turns out to not be pleasing long-term, it's easy enough to remove it and try something else.
     
  10. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    Except for CD-4 Quad, and a select few audiophile discs, I am all conical, or all .3 x .7 elliptical all the time. I like broadcast flat and accurate.
     
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  11. jrtrent

    jrtrent AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm going with conical for my next cartridge. It will be interesting to hear what you think of the Oyster once you try it.
     
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  12. Cosmo-D

    Cosmo-D AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    There are some arm alignments that apparently compensate for IGD somewhat (Stevenson?). I have one record which appeared to have IGD on the last track when played with the roughly 10" arm on my Dual 1225. What I am pretty sure was distortion was absent when the same record was played back on my linear-tracking PS-X800. Though the cartridges were not the same they were both .3 elliptical profile styli. So I do think arm alignment is factor to some degree when it comes to IGD.
     
  13. Cosmo-D

    Cosmo-D AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    In order to get some answers we'd need to do some ABX testing, or a DBT with the same type of cartridge on the same type of turntable with same arm, but with two (or more) different stylus profiles. There are way too many variables otherwise. Anyone got some styli and the ability to capture audio? MM cartridges have replaceable tips, so this shouldn't be impossible. By just swapping the tips stuff like hardware and alignment will remain constant.
     
  14. malden

    malden Addicted Member

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    Not all conicals are created equally. I use two basic types. For stereo records, I use a .6 mil that tracks at 1.25 grams and a .7 mil that tracks at 4.5 grams for older mono records and 45's.
     
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  15. jamie123

    jamie123 Active Member

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    im using a denon 103sa and love it,its the first cartridge ive owned that i honestly enjoy using,in the past ive had a cadenza black,2m black,decca c4e and all had me tweeking the sra angle and vtf every 5 minutes,i dont miss any of them,also a good cartridge is not defined by the stylus tip profile.
     
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  16. psemeraro

    psemeraro New Member

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Here is a link to a folder of recordings using Stanton 680, Stanton 981, Pickering EP HiFi and Shure V15VxMR with various styli. No conicals in this folder but Stereohedron 1, Stereohedron 2, Jico SAS, and various ellipticals.

    https://1drv.ms/f/s!AifPgmX0tWO8iFFbq9oFnr2L4gEJ


    This folder has conical, elliptical and line contact styli, same song.
    https://1drv.ms/f/s!AifPgmX0tWO8iG8ZT4GmCtrvd1FC

    Please note these were tracked into a Dell M4700 laptop via the 1/8" onboard audio input, so the recordings are hardly amazing... (3d image is mostly collapsed, space and air is gone, etc.) but the variables are constant so it is possible to make some comparisons. Its hard to miss the timbre differences between 680 and 981 and its also interesting to me that one of Stanton's cheapest styli (n890e) is one of the most vibrant and layered sounding if you're willing to give it the 3.5 grams of tracking force it requires.

    Cheers, Pat
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  17. psemeraro

    psemeraro New Member

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    Done... see post above.
    Pat
     
  18. desertrat748

    desertrat748 Active Member

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    As stated by various others, could be the table, the arm, or complete set up. In my humble experience, conics are easier to set up or at least not as touchy as some of the ellipticals.

    Also as stated above I definitely can hear a difference between albums where one elliptical will perform great on one but not the other. Same for conical but sometimes there’s hardly a difference between albums.

    Some albums with a new elliptical, just between tracks I can have one sound just okay but then two songs down will sound excellent. I am experience that right now with Rolling Stones sticky fingers. With the song “Bitch” I can hear quite a bit of a distortion when it gets busy but then with “Dead flowers” and “Moonlight mile” sounds much better. Elliptical can bring out more of everything.

    A conical may smooth things out with less of a difference. That’s not always a bad thing where less detail is less distortion.
     
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  19. timmy.timmy

    timmy.timmy Active Member

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    I am with the Shure on this (not in depth) trial/comparison for what it's worth. As it is, it shows (more in real I am sure) space (at least 2-D) between the instruments and give them a fuller body (wider frequency spectrum) which in timber to me seems more real (alive) and so less ear tiring (artificial).

    And that even if for some reason(s) unknown to me, this Shure collects all the unwanted groove dirt residue and noises unlike the others on trial. Or could it be that this stylus shape/cut is the only one picking up all the dirt in and from the groove as this trial/comparison shows ?

    Yet, I have find out the same with the last tweak and improvement in sound where I gained in clarity once again, since then I can clean most of my records once again or deeper than ever to get snap, crackle and pop free listening time sessions. Such is the cost with my conical stylus.

    I do find in comparison the others stylus/cart too light, almost evanescent, which annoy me and my listening pleasure. Even though in all proportion the other stylus/cart likely sound better balanced and detailed maybe or precise somehow. Only they do not appeal to my ear buds.

    This exactly is why I never was attracted to most High-End Hi-Fi gear. They can be impressive, surprising in achievement and even captivating at times, but to me never appealing. I am a music listener before an audiophile and so my music must be sounding safe and sound before any other kind of definition in sound or it's dissolution of musicality...
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  20. DavidTT

    DavidTT AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Timmy, your words "too light, almost evanescent" capture beautifully what I believe I'm loving about conicals, especially the Shure sc35c at this time. I'm listening to it right now with some sweet guitar work by ZZ Top and it sounds most right. I just remounted the sc35c after having mounted it in the paradox pulse aluminum body, so now it will accept a wide range of styli. I'm listening to a couple of side samples and then will mount a n97xe and a 97HE to try those out in this body. I suspect I'll hear much in the way of "air", "shimmer" and the like with these more advanced styli, but we'll see whether they can sound as right as the OEM conical.

    I ordered a used sc35c from ebay a couple of days ago and will probably mount it in a paradox pulse as well. The next step will be to try JICO .6 conical options and the N35x, but I'm finding myself consistently drawn back to conicals. It's very possible that I share your preference for "safe and sound" sound over shimmer and "air".



     

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