What am I hearing in conicals?

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

  1. desertrat748

    desertrat748 Active Member

    Messages:
    230
    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.
     
    DavidTT likes this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. timmy.timmy

    timmy.timmy New Member

    Messages:
    36
    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 at 8:23 AM
    DavidTT likes this.
  3. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

    Messages:
    368
    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".



     
  4. WE6C

    WE6C Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    502
    Location:
    Colfax, Northern California
    My first experience with a conical was just a few weeks ago. Played one of my favorite recordings (Persuasive Percussion on Command records) and noticed less noise. At first I thought it was my imagination but after a few plays I realized it was not my imagination. This record was my Dad's from the 60's which has about a million plays so parts of it are noisy. At first I noticed right away on the lead in.

    One thing however it was comparing a different cartridge on a different table so....variables.

    After reading some opinions here, maybe I'll keep the conical on the one table???
     
    DavidTT likes this.
  5. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

    Messages:
    368
    So this morning after my last post above, I inserted a N97xe into the paradox pulse sc35c and set VTF at 1.75 with brush down. As I suspected, it added what some would consider to be beautiful extension, shimmer, almost delicacy to the sound. However, drums and cymbals were now too forward in the mix, guitars a little too precious, the overall mix shinier but less realistic to my ear.

    I'm not even going to try the 97HE. I'm going back to the OEM conical at 4.5g and am going to leave well enough alone. I believe that soon I'll be liquidating my "better" carts and styli because I just like the sound I get from plain jane heavy tracking conicals. Go figure. Here's hoping that I won't wake up to wrecked records in ten years from tracking at 4.5g! I'll take my chances.
     
  6. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    24,838
    Location:
    Angel Station, Alabama

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

    Messages:
    3,209
    I had found my perfect, use-it-til-I-die cartridge in the M97xE, now, sadly, discontinued. With Shure out of the phonograph cartridge business, will you be looking for a different cartridge, or do you think after-market styli either exist or will show up for your SC35C that will give you the same satisfaction?
     
    DavidTT likes this.
  8. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

    Messages:
    368
    I'm hopeful that for at least the next few years I'll be able to find OEM and quality aftermarket tips for the sc35c. At some point I'll likely be forced to go another route JR, but until then I think I'll enjoy these. Perhaps the Denon 103, which has a similar reputation, but costs more and will require an SUT or new phono pre. I keep on thinking that I should like the better carts and styli more, but in every case I install them but wish for something different soon thereafter. The only cart that hasn't made me want for different has been the lowly sc35c with OEM tip. Weird.
     
    jrtrent likes this.
  9. malden

    malden Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    I have several original "Made in USA" as well as the "Made in Mexico" Shure SS35C needles, but the best quality stylus for the SC35C cartridge that is currently available is the JICO SS35C. It's as good as the original and better than the Made in Mexico version. Like the original, the JICO has a .6 mil tip.

    https://www.jico-stylus.com/product_info.php?cPath=18&products_id=1040
     
    DavidTT likes this.
  10. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

    Messages:
    368
    Thanks for that link! Very informative and several posters there who appeared to be industry professionals discussed some of the topics touched on in this thread, but certainly in more knowledgeable ways than I have.

    I especially appreciated one poster discussing a finger snap that had been recorded and then played back with equipment that offered frequency response up to 50kh. Another engineer said that with this extended frequency response capability, the finger snap sounded different, but they disagreed on whether that difference was an accurate recreation of the finger snap or not. That led me to the idea of "extracting more from the grooves", something we hear often as testament to the more exotic tips. It raises the question in my mind whether that extraction of more is including lathe rumble, additive harmonics, potentially other artifacts from the recording chain that weren't part of the music itself. Do we WANT to extract information with tips that weren't part of the engineering specifications at the time the discs were cut?

    As a non-engineer, I can only read, discuss (without depth of personal knowledge) and subjectively hear what I hear. It's certainly fun to talk about with other hobbyists.

     
    Pio1980 likes this.
  11. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    24,838
    Location:
    Angel Station, Alabama
    Discussion actually starts here.
    https://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=1840.0
     
    AJD1964, DavidTT and malden like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. TobascoKid

    TobascoKid Active Member

    Messages:
    259
    You are hearing fewer distortions.

    Records are engineered to play conical styluses. What happens when we use substitutes? Which wears more? Is it conical or elliptical/bi-radial styluses?

    Luckily, the tests were done long ago. We get much less wear using conical styluses.

    This comes from HiFi/Stereo Review; October, 1968; “Record-Groove Wear;” J. G. Woodward; page 88. The article and conclusions come from RCA laboratories.

    record groove wear 50 plays.jpg

    Photos 5-C and 5-D are the most important. 5-D shows the least wear using conical styluses.

    Italics are mine.

    “The four photos in Figure 5 permit a side -by -side comparison of the wear patterns following fifty plays by four different pickups. At A we see the wear produced by the 0.7 -mil spherical -tipped stylus in the ceramic cartridge with a 5 -gram tracking force; photo B shows wear caused by a high -quality pickup with a 0.2 x 0.9 - mil elliptical stylus and a tracking force of 1.5 grams; C shows the results of using another high -quality cartridge with the 0.2 x 0.7 -mil elliptical stylus and a tracking force of 1.5 grams; and D is the wear pattern for this same pickup, but with the elliptical stylus replaced by a 0.7 -mil spherical -tipped stylus and with the tracking force still at 1.5 grams. The almost complete absence of wear following fifty plays in this last case is remarkable.”

    “These SEM [Scanning Electron Microscope] studies show that an elliptical stylus produces more visible wear than a spherical stylus with a 0.7 -mil tip radius in the same cartridge and with the same tracking force. This result should come as no surprise to anyone, for it is in accord with what is known about the behavior of plastics and other materials when a mechanical indenting element is pressed against the surface of the material. Indeed, the manufacturers of some of the better elliptical -styli cartridges have been aware of this fact and have devoted considerable effort to designing their cartridges to work with very low tracking forces, partly to minimize record wear, although other important benefits also accrue from these advanced designs.”

    “The reason for the observed differences in wear for the two types of styli is quite simple. The applied tracking force presses the stylus tip against the record -groove walls, thereby deforming the wall surfaces at the areas of contact. Because of its larger tip radius, the 0.7 -mil spherical -tipped stylus has a larger area of contact than the elliptical stylus. Since the tracking force is the same in both cases, there is less force per unit area (pressure) for the spherical than for the elliptical stylus. As long as the force per unit area is below a certain threshold value (which depends on the material being deformed), the surface deformation is elastic. This means that when the stylus is removed, the surface returns to its initial condition. However, when the force per unit area exceeds the threshold, the plastic material at and just below the surface suffers some degree of permanent-as well as elastic-deformation. The permanent part of the deformation is what we observe in the photomicrographs. Evidently, the elliptical stylus exceeds the threshold at a 1.5 -gram tracking force, but the spherical stylus does not. However, the results for the 0.7 -mil stylus in the ceramic cartridge demonstrate that the permanent - deformation threshold is exceeded by a considerable amount when the tracking force is increased to 5 grams even for the larger spherical tip.”

    Less damage could mean less distortions therefore cleaner sounding records.
     
  13. TobascoKid

    TobascoKid Active Member

    Messages:
    259
    BONUS PICTURE

    How much damage will styluses do after 50 plays at 5 grams? Even using gentle conical tips, it is scary. Using elliptical/bi-radial styluses, I imagine much more damage.

    record groove wear 1, 10, 50 plays at 5 gms.jpg
     
    Dennman6 and DavidTT like this.
  14. malden

    malden Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    Thanks for the informative post, @TobascoKid . The only problem I have with this theory is that a "bi-radial" will wear a record faster than a conical. Aren't "bi-radials" simply conicals with the front and rear ground off?. It seems the only difference between the two types is the lower mass of the "bi-radial' Contact radius is still the same.
     
    DavidTT likes this.
  15. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

    Messages:
    24,838
    Location:
    Angel Station, Alabama
    Afaik, yes.
     
    DavidTT likes this.
  16. malden

    malden Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    Not all records are created equally. You really need to tailor the stylus to the record. This 30 plus year old .6 mil conical sounds better than a "nude" hyper-elliptical of the same vintage, same cartridge, on some of the older recordings I've been listening to today...


    IMG_0104.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018 at 8:15 PM
    Dennman6, vwestlife and DavidTT like this.

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

    Messages:
    3,209
    And yet Shure reports that their .2 X .7 mil Bi-Radial Elliptical maintains much better tangency to the groove, reduces pinch effect, and has significantly lower 2nd harmonic distortion. They attribute these benefits to its having a smaller side contact radius compared with the .7 mil spherical.
     
  18. malden

    malden Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,167
    o.k., so you believe them?
     
  19. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

    Messages:
    3,209
    At present I have no reason not to. Their engineers carried out some seemingly well-controlled tests to come up with the numbers they give for spherical, bi-radial, and hyperelliptical stylus shapes. Have you seen other research results that contradict their findings?
     
  20. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

    Messages:
    368

Share This Page