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View Full Version : Shure M3D - yet another truly great classic cartridge



Marco
16-04-2009, 14:33
Well, after winning this little baby on Ebay last week and having it shipped from the States:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130296229316&ssPageName=ADME:B:EOIBSA:US:1123

I finally got around to installing it this afternoon... And I have to say that I am UTTERLY, UTTERLY gob-smacked!! :eek:

I'll just put a few initial thoughts down as I'm still optimising the set-up and tweaking a few things, but even at the moment, it sounds simply stunning and is arguably the best cartridge I have ever heard.

This thing does not sound like any MM cartridge I've used, as it has much of the refinement, subtlety and resolution of a good MC but with it such massive weight, scale, and cavernous soundstaging in terms of both height and depth, that it takes your breath away. It is yet another classic 1960s-era broadcast cartridge featuring Alnico magnets which completely outperforms the 'forensic', thin-sounding monstrosities, posing as phono cartridges, foised upon us today.

It trumps the DL-103SA in all the areas which it traditionally excels: bass weight (here the M3D has massive extension and drive which almost makes the 103SA seem 'anaemic'), rhythm, midrange clarity, tonal richness and tunefulness, and adds with it more 'insight' through the upper frequencies with all types of music giving a listening experience that is utterly beguiling. It is funky with a capital 'F' and boogies like a b*stard. I literally can't believe what I'm hearing with this cartridge - it has to be the bargain of century at 80-odd including shipping from the States, so excuse me while I laugh out loud! :lol:

It's a bloody huge bugger to fit into a headshell, though. If you thought the 103 was 'chunky', then the M3D is a veritable King-Size Yorkie bar in comparison, being both wider and considerably deeper, and also heavier. It took my extra-long NOS AT-LT12 headshell to accommodate it, especially when positioned sufficiently back towards the bayonet fitting (necessary for optimal alignment), squeezing my bulky solid-silver Ortofon headshell wires tightly up against the back. This is not a cartridge that will fit in a 'normal' arm or headshell.

Like a 103, it also needs plenty of mass, so the 17g of the magnesium AT headshell including cartridge stabiliser seems about right. VTF has been set at 3g (I think the range is 3-5g somewhat like an SPU). The cantilever is about the thickness of a toothpick so high VTF should present it no problems, and in terms of vinyl wear I'm not someone who frets over such matters as long as the stylus is in perfect condition and tracking securely, which sonically it appears to be, although I will treat myself to an original and genuine NOS stylus from Ebay shortly.

Anyway, as I say, it sounds absolutely stunning and begs me to ask the question: when these cartridges were first introduced, did the amplifiers and, in particular, phono stages exist to show what they were truly capable of??

I suspect not!! Quite frankly, short of a top-notch SPU, there is nothing on the market today which offers the M3D's type of sonic and musical qualities. If you see one in good condition for sale on Ebay, just buy it!

More later when I've got a better handle on things :cool:

Marco.

SteveTheShadow
16-04-2009, 15:54
Hey Marco

That looks like a good buy!

I had a similar revelation with a 1970s Stanton 890SA broadcast cartridge. The cantilever on this baby is similarly sized to your Shure, it looks to be about 1mm wide so pretty hefty.

Tracking at 3 grams in a Rega RB250 fitted to a Thorens TD150 it kicks ass like no other cartridge I've ever heard. TBH I had completely lost interest in vinyl until our Anthony insisted I try the TT in my system. Using an Ortofon MC10 through Sowter step ups, I was as apathetic as usual. But trying the Stanton, which I'd had for years and never used was a gobsmacking experience to say the least.

The Rega and the Stanton seem to complement each other perfectly. I see that the 890SA has recently been revived by Stanton for use in DJ turntables and has had some good press on the club scene. I bet in one of those "Regafied" Technics SL1200s it can set those club dancefloors alight.

As a domestic cartridge it is a little stunner, so I can understand your enthusiasm for the Shure, which looks like a similar type, but with better mounting arangements than the Stanton.

Steve

DSJR
16-04-2009, 16:10
Are you all mad? :D

The M3D is dull as ditchwater, no top, pounding bass, tracks ok I suppose, but not that well and was designed for the autochanger derived groove-grinders of the early sixties.

If you really want something like this, get an SC35C as used by the BBC after they ditched the Gray arms with G800's. Not only does it sound clear, despite the rapidly falling treble-end, it tracks better too than the M3D.

I sudder to think what the over-sized cantilever and crummy diamond polish are doing to your records Marco (Shure cottoned on very late to how important tip polish and alignment is and I've seen many a flawed, grubby nail attached to brand new V15 III styli (we had an amazing stylus microscope at work).

Marco
16-04-2009, 16:32
The M3D is dull as ditchwater, no top, pounding bass, tracks ok I suppose...


Bollocks!!! "Dull" it is not, and the bass is seismic but tight and tuneful with it. It just takes a decent amplifier and phono stage to hear it properly. If it sounded as you describe, Dave, it would be in the bin and not on the end of my SA-750D ousting the 103SA ;)

It sounds, well, just like real music! If you were here just now listening to some Charlie Mingus and John Coltrane playing 'live' in my room you'd be gob-smacked :eyebrows:

Steve, I know just what you mean! I'll comment more later.

Marco.

Mike
16-04-2009, 18:46
Steve, I know just what you mean! I'll comment more later.

Before or after your record grooves have been re-cut? :D :lol:

NRG
16-04-2009, 19:02
Response to 15Khz and min 3g tracking force:

http://www.cartridgedb.com/docs/shure_m3d.pdf

SteveTheShadow
16-04-2009, 19:02
Before or after your record grooves have been re-cut? :D :lol:

I don't see that high tracking weights are an issue. Most of the records I bought in the 70s as a teenager have less damage on them after being played on a Garrard SP25MkIII with Sonotone ceramic cartridge, tracking at 4 grams than my 80s records.

These were played with various, mostly expensive MM cartridges, tracking at 1 to 1.75 grams and virtually all of them have audible groove damage somewhere along the line.

A lot of the secondhand 60s vinyl I bought must surely have been played on some kind of autochanger, yet apart from a few clicks and pops, they sound very nice.

Steve

Marco
16-04-2009, 19:16
Hi Steve,


As a domestic cartridge it is a little stunner, so I can understand your enthusiasm for the Shure, which looks like a similar type, but with better mounting arangements than the Stanton.


I've heard other people whose opinion I trust being similarly enthusiastic about the 681EE, which is similar:

http://www.juno.co.uk/covers/308807-01-back.htm

And I've also had my eye on one of these Pickerings:

http://cgi.ebay.ie/NEW-Pickering-XV15-625E-Hi-Fi-cartridge-2-spare-styli_W0QQitemZ380116644584QQcmdZViewItemQQptZTurn table_Parts_Accessories?hash=item380116644584&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1300%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318

But the question is, with six cartridges already, do I need another one? :eyebrows:

TBH, I've always admired what good MMs do but never fully got on with them before, missing the top-end clarity and 'sparkle' of a good moving coil.

However, the M3D is the first MM cartridge I've heard that combines all the good things about the breed when done well, particularly the lack of need for high signal amplification via transformers, and a shorter signal path as a result (in my case, a direct connection into the all-valve MM phono stage inside my Croft preamp), with much of the magic and clarity available from a good moving coil.

It may lack the uber-sweetness, crystalline clarity and explicit detail retrieval in the upper frequencies of, say, a high-end Dynavector or VDH, but the top-end of the M3D is vivid and explicit with 'shocking' dynamics, in the way of a Decca but with less 'sting', and the bass and midrange are to die for! Its lower registers have a power and authority which no modern moving coil I've ever heard is capable of producing.

Tonally it is spot on; it would be considered 'rich' by modern standards but that's only because most of today's cartridges sound so anaemic and frigid in comparison, failing to give music a proper 'foundation'. The M3D cruises through all types of music with unerring security and calm, teasing out subtle inflections in rhythm and timing, and as a result maximising music's 'fun factor'. Its music-making abilities simply put a big smile on your face, particularly when the cost is taken into consideration!!

My belief is that the reason cartridges like this sounded 'dull' and 'tubby' during the era when they were originally released was because of the sonic signature of the partnering electronics and speakers of the day, not because this was how those cartridges inherently sounded. Well, it would explain the diametrically opposed opinions of, for example, Dave and I. Modern equipment and ancillaries, particularly phono stages, simply bring out the best of these classic designs and allow their qualities to be fully appreciated.

I am a very happy bunny, as the M3D is another superb find and valuable addition to my cartridge collection. My thanks go to Steve Sheils for introducing it to me :cool:

Dave,


If you really want something like this, get an SC35C as used by the BBC after they ditched the Gray arms with G800's. Not only does it sound clear, despite the rapidly falling treble-end, it tracks better too than the M3D.


Yes I've done some research and know about those, and have duly bought one too! I'll be fitting it tomorrow to my vintage FR S/5 headshell, so will do a direct comparison with the M3D and report back with my findings :)

Man, digital is nowhere near as much fun as this!

Marco.

DSJR
16-04-2009, 19:35
The reason why they sounded dull and tubby Marco is because they also MEASURED that way...:lol:

Are you shure (sorry, couldn't help it) that there isn't something wrong with your phono stage not doing the RIAA properly [ducks in anticipation] and lifting the top response? bass shouldn't be seizmic, as it was often eq'd down in level or removed altogether...

An SC35C I can happily take, tracking at 3 - 4 grammes, but I owned numerous 681EEE's (better supposedly than the EE version and I tried several styli at a time to get a good one) and an XLM II absolutely annihilated it - more musical, more reverb, more "real..."

Ah well. I thought I had an M3D but it must be memories of bodies mouldering in a drawer in the workshop years ago............

Marco
16-04-2009, 19:45
Dave,


The reason why they sounded dull and tubby Marco is because they also MEASURED that way...


I don't give a flying f*ck how they measured - it doesn't SOUND that way in my system! Trust me, I do know what I'm talking about here :)


Are you shure (sorry, couldn't help it) that there isn't something wrong with your phono stage not doing the RIAA properly [ducks in anticipation] and lifting the top response? bass shouldn't be seizmic, as it was often eq'd down in level or removed altogether...


LOL! No, there's bugger all wrong with the phono stage in my Croft - it sounds great with every other cartridge I've got and the M3D is no exception.

Take off the blinkers, remove old ingrained prejudices based on results with dull sounding 1970s hardware and transducers, and listen to yer uncle Marco............

THE M3D SOUNDS BLOODY FABULOUS!

:ner:

Marco.

Marco
16-04-2009, 19:56
Response to 15Khz and min 3g tracking force:

http://www.cartridgedb.com/docs/shure_m3d.pdf

Thanks for that, Neil - useful link! :)

Marco.

DSJR
16-04-2009, 19:58
I will concede one thing, the old Croft of mine has a still lovely phono stage, no-label ECC83's and all... :)

I had a great session with the turntable yesterday (I was out today and couldn't listen to anything).

I've been looking for an Ortofon MC2000 I once bought from HiFi dave with a glued up body (over-tightening fractured the mounting lug(s)) and I can't find it anywhere. I'm visualising an M3D body in my boxes of bits as well - Damn..................... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marco
16-04-2009, 20:07
I just wished you lived nearer, Dave - that's all, so you could hear this for yourself!!

I think part of the benefit I'm hearing is in simplifying the signal path... By using the M3D I've removed an SUT and also a pair of interconnects, which is bound to make a difference.

That's also the beauty of having a tube phono stage hard-wired into the internal preamp circuit, rather than a separate box (external phono stage) and interconnects in the signal path.

Yes, Croft tube phono stages are lovely and a bit special :)

Marco.

SPS
16-04-2009, 22:33
Glad its worked out for you marco, i'm very happy with mine i have four now, i picked another up last weekend
.. i have a couple of lp's that it strugles with the tracking, but the stylus are very very important..

i had an orgininal shure one retipped at great expense, but it did not track as well as some of the replacements that are available now...
the n21d tracks at less than 3 grams ok
mine has moved out an expensive mc..

nobody complained about lack of top end at my room at the wigwam show ..quite the opposite.. it was the m3d playing most of the day

they make the music room filling and sweet sounding.. and the bass is like nothing else i've heard..

i'm glad lots of people think they crap.. otherwise they would cost more than 80 marco..

i would say one needs a good system and a specific turntable/tonearm set up to get what they are capable of producing

Marco
16-04-2009, 23:07
Cheers, Steve - I'm lovin' it :)

Good point about the Wigwam show! ;)

Btw, can you mail or PM me that link which showed replacement NOS styli available for the M3D?

Cheers!

Marco.

Marco
17-04-2009, 08:46
And I now have a brand new Shure NOS stylus winging its way to me.....

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Stylus-for-Shure-N3D-Original-Made-in-USA_W0QQitemZ290299481945QQihZ019QQcategoryZ48648Q QcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262

It'll be interesting to see what difference that makes. The one in the cartridge seems pretty good, but you never know how much use it's had :cool:

Marco.

DSJR
17-04-2009, 15:32
80 for something that we shoved unloved into a drawer and forgot....WHY didn't I smuggle one home for "the collection" when I could :(

I know it's going to be TD125 based, but I have an arm from a Trio KD750 coming which seems it should be ok once it's re-wired and the Nagaoka headshell I've found (with w@nky headshell wires and looking very like the Sumiko) is crying out for a lower compliance cartridge to go with it, as none of my mm's will be ideal..

Marco, you're a VERY naughty man..............................................

hifi_dave
17-04-2009, 16:15
Dave,
When (when ?) you come over, you can have a rummage through my 'old cartridge' box. I've probably got at least a couple of M3D - we used to use them as paperweights.:lol:

markf
17-04-2009, 16:16
"Originally Posted by NRG
Response to 15Khz and min 3g tracking force:"

http://www.cartridgedb.com/docs/shure_m3d.pdf


Had a look at the data sheet above and it makes me think that the shure M3D is not
really a high fidelity cart isn't the spec for hifi 20 -20Khz.

Marco
17-04-2009, 16:20
Dave, LOL!

I've been doing some A/B comparisons between the DL-103SA and M3D... It's interesting going back to the Denon after being accustomed to the presentation of the Shure.

The difference is quite apparent, with the Denon definitely having more 'polish' and fine detail retrieval at the top end - traits of a good moving coil. However, the M3D has got more power in the lower registers and greater clarity through the midrange; the 103SA isn't exactly lacking in this area but its MM counterpart definitely has the edge, giving vocals in particular more of a 'hear through' quality with marginally more air and space surrounding instruments.

I could live with both, and indeed intend to. It'll be interesting to see what the new stylus brings to the M3D - I am expecting special things as goodness knows how much use the one in mine has had over the years.

Incidentally I tried the SC35C - only a quick listen though, and that definitely has potential. It doesn't have the sheer 'balls', scale, and midrange finesse of the M3D but for 25 it seems quite remarkable. I will be playing with it again at the weekend and optimising its set-up, so will report back in more detail then.

Right now, I must prepare for the arrival of Steve (Aquapiranha), who's coming round for a sesh, so much later, chaps! :gig:

Marco.

Marco
17-04-2009, 16:23
"Originally Posted by NRG
Response to 15Khz and min 3g tracking force:"

http://www.cartridgedb.com/docs/shure_m3d.pdf


Had a look at the data sheet above and it makes me think that the shure M3D is not
really a high fidelity cart isn't the spec for hifi 20 -20Khz.

Hi Mark,

Spec or no spec, I know what my ears are telling me and the M3D definitely is a high fidelity cartridge - and a superb one at that!

Right, must go! :cool:

Laters,
Marco.

SPS
17-04-2009, 17:52
"Originally Posted by NRG
Response to 15Khz and min 3g tracking force:"

http://www.cartridgedb.com/docs/shure_m3d.pdf


Had a look at the data sheet above and it makes me think that the shure M3D is not
really a high fidelity cart isn't the spec for hifi 20 -20Khz.

thats a very interesting point of view...

my ears dont work well above 12k..
and there not much in the way of music above 12k really...

so if that's a measure of quality hi fi .. well what can i say..
my system must be nothing like real hifi.....

thinking about it the above must be right..

my m3d sounds nothing like hi fi .


steve

Ali Tait
17-04-2009, 18:08
Quite right Steve,your system doesn't sound anything like hi-fi! I know which I'd choose against a system that did though.. ;)

markf
17-04-2009, 19:18
I didn't say anything about quality,I just mentioned that 20 -15Khz might not be considered hifi.

Ali Tait
17-04-2009, 20:31
Not trying to diss you Mark,just making the comment-if you're around 40 or so,you'd be lucky to hear as high as 15khZ.

NRG
17-04-2009, 21:34
thats a very interesting point of view...

my ears dont work well above 12k..

Steve, that may well be true....but



and there not much in the way of music above 12k really...

steve

That's just a load of bollocks ;) :lol:

DSJR
17-04-2009, 21:49
Steve, that may well be true....but



That's just a load of bollocks ;) :lol:

Bearing in mind that many of us listen at least a metre away from our speakers and that most of our rooms have absorbent furniture, I'd venture to suggest that "in room" there is little coming to our ears much above 12KHz anyway. FM radio is brick-walled at 15KHz and a fair number of LP's have to be rolled away above 15KHz to prent the cutter head taking off. Much used analogue master players have well worn heads and these are only replaced when the 15KHz levels on the master tapes (one of four test-tone frequencies) cannot be brought flat with the adjusters.

Barry
17-04-2009, 22:34
Delighted to hear of your success with the M3D. I am of course intrigued that you find, overall, the M3D to be comparable to your Denon 103SA.

The M3D was my first cartridge, bought fourty years ago! Intially used in the arm of a Garrard SP25 (III ?) for about three months, then transferred to an SME. From memory I think it was tracked at 4g. In those early days I chose a 'middling' value and assumed that for an SME, 4g would be sufficient. No trouble was found in mounting it in the SME headshell. I used the M3D for about a year, then moved on to the M55E, which at that time, I thought to be considerably better.

Later I moved up the Shure range: through M75ED, V15II(imp) and V15III, but none of these lasted long and I changed my alliegence to ADC and the Ortofon moving coils.

I notice that you also have an M75E, so the M55E lies roughly midway in the heirachy. I would thus be very interested in your views on how the M3D compares with the M75E. If favorable, I may get my 55E out of retirement and give it a go.

Regarding information on the M3D, I have found an advertising booklet for Shure cartridges (wherein it is referred to as the M3D-M). The only points where it differs from the data sheet provide by Neil (NRG) are as follows:
Output voltage 5mV/channel at 1000Hz 5cm/sec
Net weight 8.5 grammes.
(curious about the change in weight)

The M3D apparently has a strong following in Japan, so you are not alone.
It really does seem that what goes around comes around! I shall be following this thread with great interest.

Regards

Barry

Marco
17-04-2009, 22:34
Well...

Like I said, the 103SA definitely has better high frequency fine detail retrieval (it goes up to 25,000Hz), but the effect on the 'meat' of the music is fairly benign.

I can hear it, but it's not significant in terms of affecting the communication of the emotive element or 'soul' in musical performances, which for me is what matters. This is what I listen to music for on a hi-fi system (the emotional connection) - not forensically dissecting the minutiae of subtle details.

This is every bit as much a part of 'hi-fi' (if the goal is to replicate as close as possible the qualities of live music) as reproducing every minute detail on recordings. If my system or choice of cartridge didn't get the former aspect of the presentation right then the latter would be meaningless, and the overall result devoid of any real worth.

It boils down to the old argument again of how you listen to music, i.e. with your 'heart' or your 'head'. I will always firmly belong in the former camp, and cartridges such as the DL-103, Ortofon SPU and Shure M3D serve my needs perfectly, as to my ears they sound fundamentally more 'musical' than any ber-transparent forensic detail retrieval device, which is mainly what today's high-end moving coil cartridges excel at.

What use is a barrage of information firing at your ears if the overall presentation lacks musical merit? If I'm not bopping away and tapping my feet then quite simply the musical message is missing and my system has failed in its purpose. It's a matter of differentiating between a sound that's 'impressive' and one which is 'natural' and believable. *THAT* is what true 'high fidelity' is all about! :)

Marco.

Barry
18-04-2009, 00:01
Apropos the ability to hear above 12KHz or not, well if you are like me over fifty then you will probably not be able to hear tones at this frequency or above. What you will hear is if the harmonics of a solo instrument are truncated by your system. The harmonics or overtones are what give instruments their various 'tambre' and allows you to distinguish the same note played on say a piano, stringed instrument, woodwind, or sung.

I cannot really hear individual tones above about 12KHz, but I can easily hear the effect of filtering out all the harmonics of a violin above 15KHz.

Barry

Dave Cawley
18-04-2009, 07:31
Guys

I had my hearing tested a few months ago at Torquay Hospital. There is nothing remarkable about me, I'm in my middle 50's and could easily hear 16Khz. But that is not the point:

If an electronic device rolls of at say 15Khz, then way before that there might be phase distortions that could be audible. Also its response to transients could be badly affected. I routinely test phono stages to 32Khz (it's a easy figure for my test gear) and my favourite cartridges the AT-OC9ML/II and Shelter 501 II both go up to 50Khz. When I ran a SL-1200 with an OC9 using Alex's A.N.T. MC Ltd phono stage and his prototype headphone amplifier at the Heathrow Show a month back, OK with a pair of 900 Denon headphones, a lot of people said it was the best sound of the show. :kiss:

But the above is of importance for "me" and the music "I" like. Marco and I have quite different tastes and we have both learnt from that. What suites Marco doesn't quite suit me, and visa versa. For both of us this was a big and steep learning curve. Personally I like " ber-transparent forensic detail retrieval devices " they deal with female voices spectacularly well in my opinion. But I know where Marco is coming from.

I'm sure when Marco says " *THAT* is what true 'high fidelity' is all about! " he is expressing his own opinion based on his own tastes?

But there is now a quest, to keep Marco on song, what is the modern cartridge that would get him singing and toe tapping, could it be this one click here (http://www.ortofon.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75&Itemid=117) to see it ? Maybe I should get one for him to borrow? Maybe I would be converted?

:bag:

Regards

Dave

Marco
18-04-2009, 09:36
Good post, Dave - I'm with you 100%, even though I may not entirely agree, if you see what I mean :)


I'm sure when Marco says " *THAT* is what true 'high fidelity' is all about! " he is expressing his own opinion based on his own tastes?


Absolutely. It's clear that we value slightly different things when listening to music. For me if a cartridge doesn't get it right, musically, in what I call the 'meat and bones' of the audible range, then it matters not a jot what's happening in frequencies which are barely audible, even if as Barry and you correctly say, there is a knock-on effect further down the range where it can be heard on subtle aspects of the music. Basically, if (appropriate) music doesn't sound 'funky' or fails to 'boogie' then I'm not interested. My hi-fi system or the cartridge I use isn't some scientific tool for the analysing of detail - it's a device for listening to music!

This is what I feel is missing with modern moving coils such as the OC-9. Whilst it 'measures like a dream', and I greatly respect what it does in a hi-fi sense, it's rather too 'polite' sounding, lacking the 'soul' which a 103, SPU or the M3D has in spades - the latter despite having a curtailed high frequency response. Note that I'm not saying that these characteristics are somehow magically superimposed on the music by any of those cartridges, but rather that they simply reveal them more when present on the record. And incidentally, I don't hear anything an OC-9 does with female vocals which a 103SA can't ;)

When I listen to music, I don't want to just sit there nodding in polite approval respecting what a cartridge does to music in a technical sense; I want the way it presents music to make me feel like partying: it's that 'fun/feel good factor' - the sensation where music instantly puts a smile on your face, and before you know it hours have passed and there are 100s of album covers scattered across the floor... :gig:

Do you know what I mean? It's all subjective of course, so difficult to explain.

Most modern pick-ups I've heard, at any price, fail to engage me in that way... It's as if in the quest to tick all the hi-fi boxes some 'magic' has been lost in the process which is fundamental to portraying the passion and soul in music, rather like the way in which a good valve amp treats music in comparison to its equivalent solid-state counterpart. Often the latter is 'technically superior' in a hi-fi sense, whilst the former despite that is still somehow more musically satisfying. It's a similar type of difference between the classic cartridges I've mentioned and the likes of an OC-9. In effect, 'musicality' has been traded in favour of analysis. If that's your bag, then fine, but it's not for me. Hi-fi is all about choosing your compromises, anyway.

For me though, it's a real wake-up call listening to some of the classic cartridge designs from the 50s and 60s and comparing them to today's examples. I think that somewhere along the line designers have lost focus a little and taken their eye off the ball. What is most striking is the complete sea change in the type of sonic presentation or 'tone' favoured by manufacturers today and offered by their components, and I don't just mean cartridges. It applies to almost all areas of the replay chain, even recordings themselves! It makes one wonder how much real progress has been made since the heyday of stereo vinyl replay outside of striving for a notion of absolute 'accuracy' and the clinical style of presentation that often goes with it...

Marco.

Marco
18-04-2009, 12:06
Meanwhile, here's some interesting discussion on the M3D from the Vinyl Asylum archive:

http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/73/734572.html

My observations tally pretty much with that of the author "HOK".


Other notable comments:


"Hyped as the first stereo phono cartridge in many ads, which is very dubious, this is a capable performer. Considering it is from the late '50s, and popular into the '70s, it has received significant attention in the past few years. Checking on the bay, these have fetched $100. for over a year. Get yours as soon as possible, as the price keeps climbing. Remember, it is not simply a rare, early stereo offering that makes it's value. It's sonics earn it's value. There are more than a few overseas buyers, continuously bidding on any of these listed on the bay."

"I can see why there is still a demand for these. They sound just plain good. Neither of the modern cartridges I've been using can touch the bass response of the M3D."

"Being ancient myself, I can remember when that was a top Shure cartridge, in fact the top of the line if I remember correctly. I just couldn't afford it and settled for the M7/N21D. I did hear the M3D a number of times around 1960 and remember it being very good."


Some more pics: http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a276/Suits_Me/Brianboards03-04-06202.jpg / http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a276/Suits_Me/Brianboards03-04-06238.jpg


And from pink fish:

http://www.pinkfishmedia.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-26254.html

Note this comment in particular:


I was just browsing through an old mag this morning and came across an article on the V15 models and it mentioned the M3D in passing. Seems it was introduced in 1958 and was the world's first stereo moving magnet cartridge. Sold for 18 new in 1962, same price as an Ortofon SPU or an SME3009 arm ... that's a lot of money.

It'd explain the high ebay price. A collectors piece I'd guess.


The M3D is undoubtedly in my opinion a veritable 'classic' and deserves to be held in similar reverence as the venerable SPU. The only difference is that the latter has achieved more cult status through greater exposure.

The new stylus has arrived so I'll be fitting it later today and shall report on the results obtained :)

Marco.

DSJR
18-04-2009, 13:56
Marco, you're making me MAD!!!!! :D I wish I'd kept one at least as a reference... I wonder if the N21 stylus is still available anywhere? This would bring the definition and tracking parameters up to date perhaps?

My hearing is still OK in the mid, but a lifetime of ear infections (living in East Northants for five years killed them) and heavy headphone sessions at times have affected them badly. The BC2's go up well to 14KHz and the Coles sort of extends this (at very low measured level) to 20KHz plus and this suits me fine right now, as the Tinnitus whistles absorb anything else in the upper KHz region. (I can hear what the Coles' are doing, but it's probably more their roll-in point at 10KHz or so).

I'm doing a little exercise of my own with vintage mm cartridges. I love the Decca sound and remember one that had a similar sense of drive, while being high enough compliance for the Dual to handle. If it works out, I'll post some findings...


P.S. I too find the OC9 just a little bit too much apart from when it's used on a fruitbox/Ittok, although I know that bass is a strong point in well fettled SL1200's. My compromise would be the AT33PTG, which has the top end of the OC9, but a bit more power lower down to match. The old OC30 was very similar at the time and I loved it...

SPU's used to suffer horrendously bad tracking, but maybe now, with modern heavy arms, this doesn't happen.

One day, I'll hopefully return to an LP player that will do justice to my Decca Gold Micro scanner. This one entertained, boogied and tracked well, giving a very "master-tape" style of truthfulness as well (I had some good copy-masters to compare it with at the time).

pure sound
18-04-2009, 13:58
and deserves to be held in similar reverence as the venerable SPU. The only difference is that the latter has achieved more cult status through greater exposure.

and the fact that they kept making it.

It'll be interesting to hear one of these. Always thought the V15 was a piece of junk. Trackability (their word, I think) substituting for dynamic range.

DSJR
18-04-2009, 14:03
Load a V15 right and many of the "problems" disappear, honest guv...

What you'll never get from a V15 type cartrdge is the bloom and "analoguey" qualities these old classics add to the musical flavour. That's fine for me, but I do understand it's not for everyone.

My favourite oldies are the ADC's and the Sonus Blue models they spawned (same designer, Peter Pritchard). Neutral but spacious, the ZLM and Sonus Blue (Fine Line tip on the ZLM and Shibata tip on the Sonus). Bass distortion isn't the best, but the mids are sublime and the top sweet if mounted and loaded right.

There's a comment above on the M55E - May I respectfully draw your attention to the 5db suckout at 5-7KHz, followed by a sharp rise into resonance at 15KHz or so. High capacitive loading helps all Shures usually, but the M55E was apparently a V15mk1 by another name.

Dave Cawley
18-04-2009, 15:53
Hi Marco

What about the cartidge I suggested? Are you up for it?

:bag:

Dave

Marco
18-04-2009, 16:11
Hey, Dave, of course I'm up for it! :eyebrows:

As long as it doesn't cost me anything to try ;)

We'll need another SUT to use though, which matches the Ortofon, as its requirements are rather different to the 103 and hence the A23...

Marco.

DSJR
18-04-2009, 17:00
One of the "Dave's" will get you there in the end Marco and you have three to choose from at least (two of us have been in the industry since the year "dot" ;) )

Marco
18-04-2009, 17:04
Oh mammy, daddy, Mary and Joseph... :wow: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :D: :eek: :eek: :champagne::champagne: :mex: :dance: :dance: :fingers: :goodnight:

Marco.

Beechwoods
18-04-2009, 17:14
Marco's there... audio nirvana. Nobody bother him now... :lol: ;)

NRG
18-04-2009, 17:58
Bearing in mind that many of us listen at least a metre away from our speakers and that most of our rooms have absorbent furniture, I'd venture to suggest that "in room" there is little coming to our ears much above 12KHz anyway. FM radio is brick-walled at 15KHz and a fair number of LP's have to be rolled away above 15KHz to prent the cutter head taking off. Much used analogue master players have well worn heads and these are only replaced when the 15KHz levels on the master tapes (one of four test-tone frequencies) cannot be brought flat with the adjusters.

No, there is, the amplitude may be lower but there is a lot of information reaching the ear above 12Khz. I have deliberately configured amps to roll of at 12Khz before and recently tweaked the output filter on my TDA DAC to roll off at 12Khz and the effect is clearly audible, loss of detail and air in the mid-range as well as the loss of detail in HF and masking of subtle information.

NK @ HiFi-World clearly showed a few years ago there is plenty of information on LP above 20Khz...the response may be ragged and lower in amplitude but it is there and should not be dismissed.

Marco
18-04-2009, 18:38
I don't doubt it, Neal, and I agree to an extent. But like I said earlier, if a cartridge with an extended high frequency response doesn't communicate music as effectively or enjoyably in the main area of its frequency range as well as another example with less extension at the top, who gives a shit? Well, certainly not me! The fact is the M3D gets it *so* absolutely right, musically, within the boundaries of its frequency range that you can forgive it missing out on a tiny amount of resolution.

In any case, I don't listen to music to get a 'cerebral thrill' or to analyse minute detail retrieval - passion, emotion, and hairs standing up on the back of your neck is what it's about. This M3D is fun with a capital 'F' and grooves like a very groovy thing. I can't stop giggling at how laughably good it is, and for 80!! :eyebrows:

When the new stylus was fitted it became quite clear that the cantilever on the old one had been bent downwards, or something, perhaps due to significant pressure applied from the top at some point (excessive VTF, perhaps?), as when the cartridge is installed now in the headshell, the cantilever, and the cartridge as a whole as a result, sits up much higher on the record surface. Performance has also moved up considerably; now there is more detail and 'sparkle' at the top end and a greater sense of security in the way music is reproduced, so I suspect the old one must have been quite worn.

I can see now why this cartridge was originally designed for broadcast purposes, as the ease of cueing is fantastic! You can see exactly the point now where the tip of the stylus makes contact with the record grooves. This makes for superb user-friendliness and simply adds to the pleasure of playing music :smoking:

A couple of other things... Before I installed the cartridge I cleaned the brass output pins with a fibreglass pen which I use for cleaning the pins on my valves, as looking at them closely there was some grunge which had obviously built-up over the years, and then finished off the job by lightly dabbing some Isopropyl alcohol onto them with a clean cotton wool bud to restore them to sparkling like new. You could see the dirt come off quite clearly!

I'm sure this would also have made a difference. I also swapped headshells and it's now living in my vintage FR S/5, which seems to suit it really well sonically as well as visually. Tomorrow I will play around with adding some more headshell mass as I suspect that I haven't quite optimised things fully in that area yet. However, at the moment I'm quite content with running in the brand new stylus and simply enjoying the glorious music this classic gem is making :cool:

Beechy, you've gotta get one for your Lenco!!

Marco.

P.S I just worked out roughly what 18 in 1962 (the cost of the M3D back then) equates to today... Try adding a couple of zeros on the end! Yep, that sounds about right ;)

pure sound
18-04-2009, 20:23
P.S I just worked out roughly what 18 in 1962 (the cost of the M3D back then) equates to today... Try adding a couple of zeros on the end! Yep, that sounds about right ;)

18 is actually about 628 compared with average earnings but only 276 against retail prices. It's tricky to say exactly because electrical goods are relatively cheap nowadays.

Good to hear it's doing its stuff though. Has it now consigned your 103 SA to the spares box?

Barry
18-04-2009, 21:52
A couple of other things... Before I installed the cartridge I cleaned the brass output pins with a fibreglass pen which I use for cleaning the pins on my valves, as looking at them closely there was some grunge which had obviously built-up over the years, and then finished off the job by lightly dabbing some Isopropyl alcohol onto them with a clean cotton wool bud to restore them to sparkling like new. You could see the dirt come off quite clearly!

Marco.

Had the same problem with an EMT recently. After setting it up in an SME arm, there was no sound. Thought the cartridge was faulty, but the coil resistance measured correctly. Nearly tore my system apart looking for the fault. Traced it to the cartridge contacts that had become oxidised (they are not gold plated). A little application of a diamond file worked wonders and the system was back firing on both cylinders.

Barry

Marco
19-04-2009, 00:05
18 is actually about 628 compared with average earnings but only 276 against retail prices. It's tricky to say exactly because electrical goods are relatively cheap nowadays.


Yes indeed, Guy. I think my figures were a bit out, although I suspect that's it is still a little more than the 628 you're quoting. Regardless though, it was an expensive item in its day and way beyond what the average person could probably afford. The fact is the M3D is not a budget cartridge, and it sounds like it, too :)


Good to hear it's doing its stuff though. Has it now consigned your 103 SA to the spares box?

LOL! Not quite yet, but it's certainly the one playing tunes at the moment and seems likely to become my de facto cartridge of choice - yes, that good! It's about 90% there - I just need to eke out the remaining 10% of performance from tweaking a little further. I've settled with bang on 3g VTF, which is where the music seems to snap into focus, so not too excessive, as the 103 tracked at 2.7g.

Tomorrow I will play around with headshell mass and ascertain the optimum amount. Right now it's off to listen to some more tunes and then bed... :smoking:

Marco.

SPS
19-04-2009, 18:45
and the fact that they kept making it.

It'll be interesting to hear one of these. Always thought the V15 was a piece of junk. Trackability (their word, I think) substituting for dynamic range.


i think you have Guy, it was a m3d playing most of the day in my room at the wigwam shoiw ..
i'm sure you came in with pete..?

i have had a couple of v15's and done a a/b with a m97and loads of others from my cart box...
my view is there was no comparison... but the stylus is critical


steve

DSJR
19-04-2009, 21:28
You'll be "discovering" the Decca FFSS (or whatever it is) next. Another goodie and they don't seem to self-destruct like the London models do...

Marco
19-04-2009, 21:48
Hehehehe... Oldies are quite often goodies, as I'm sure you're often told, Dave :eyebrows:

;)

Marco.

SPS
19-04-2009, 21:57
No, there is, the amplitude may be lower but there is a lot of information reaching the ear above 12Khz. I have deliberately configured amps to roll of at 12Khz before and recently tweaked the output filter on my TDA DAC to roll off at 12Khz and the effect is clearly audible, loss of detail and air in the mid-range as well as the loss of detail in HF and masking of subtle information.

NK @ HiFi-World clearly showed a few years ago there is plenty of information on LP above 20Khz...the response may be ragged and lower in amplitude but it is there and should not be dismissed.


that is interesting Neil,
what sort of filter did you use to roll of at 12 khz.. with out affecting the treble too much


overtones is quite an interesting subject
i have a few books that cover the subject..

excluding electric music it seems there are not many instruments overtones that extend above 15 k and many commonly used going only up to around 10khz..
there are of course conflicting views.. one book works out the overtones per instrument.

as a comparison far more instruments produce bass notes at under 50hz, which many systems can strugle to reproduce correctly, and usually substituting a little box /port resonace to help things along

i was not saying theres nothing above 12k.. but its of little importance to me..
my hearing extends to 14.5khz, but the volume starts drops off above 12 khz
whilst testing my latest baffles playing test tones, my girl was running about with her ears bleeding at the other end of the house.. in line with what the sound meter was reading...
whilst i could only just hear those tones...

in my veiw a good level of bass is more important

that was my point.. the m3d works for me.... at the age of 51.. and the cartridge just a little younger.. its a good a good match to my ears....


to me... its the cartridge equiv of a globe px4...

SPS
19-04-2009, 22:05
You'll be "discovering" the Decca FFSS (or whatever it is) next. Another goodie and they don't seem to self-destruct like the London models do...

i have one in my box.. no where near in my view.. its closer to the m97/v15

Marco
19-04-2009, 23:08
Steve,


in my view a good level of bass is more important


I agree - most music I listen to is 'beat driven', so bass response is very important. But as with anything else, quality is much more important than quantity. Frankly, I'd rather have no bass than bad bass - deep bass is a bonus, but it must be tightly controlled, and above all, rhythmic and tuneful.

Fortunately, the M3D passes the test. Its qualities in the bass are quite phenomenal. I have never heard such control, power, and authority in the lower registers from any cartridge in the 25+ years I've been into serious hi-fi.

*BUT*, and it's a big 'but'... As you know, getting serious performance from an M3D is not easy. It's about as far from 'plug & play' as you can get! One has to remember that it is from a different era where the thinking in hi-fi was diametrically opposed to that of today. I would advise anyone who's considering obtaining one not to do so unless they have the following:

1) A quality 'classic-style' turntable: i.e. Thorens TD124, Garrard 301/401, SP10, SL-1200/1210, Lenco, etc, on which to accommodate a high-mass tonearm. Modern belt-drive motor units wouldn't cope with the demands of the mass and also a cartridge tracking at 3-4g. 'Dynamic wow', amongst other things, would be a major issue, nor would the M3D fit (and proper alignment be acheived) on headshells partnering the arms normally used on these turntables.

2) As stated, a high-mass arm, preferably with a detachable headshell to facilitate the use of one of the many ultra-high mass detachable headshells on the market (and they'll need to be big, too!) necessary to provide the M3D with something suitable to 'work against' and thus an 'operating environment' which resembles as close as possible the massively constructed broadcast arms that would have partnered it originally.

3) And very importantly, a high quality, neutral sounding MM phono stage, preferably valve, as the (in general) greater musical resolution will help open up the M3Ds top-end and give it more 'air and space'. Also, as neutral and revealing a system as possible to partner it, particularly loudspeakers.

The M3D is a detailed and revealing cartridge (within the boundaries of its frequency range) but it is also 'rich' in terms of tone and with a powerful, deep bass, so any system which has the propensity to sound 'muddy' or 'tubby' and/or already has a bass-rich balance in terms of the cumulative sonic signature imposed by other components will not be suitable.

If you can tick all the boxes above then scour Ebay and find one of these gems for yourself, because trust me, once you've heard what it can do with music, and the magic it teases out of those grooves, you won't want to return to a cold and clinical sounding (in comparison) modern device! ;)

Marco.

Will
19-04-2009, 23:31
Steve 51 :dummy: 13500hz for me 63 :smoking: I'll bring my Visaton horn tweeters to Eggborough if you want, my fostex roll off at 12khz and they sound dead without the tweeters to 35khz, sweeps are single tone only usefull for spotting humps and dips, clean top end adds body too.
I dont think the M3D drops like a stone like my speakers.
You can expect a few questions about OB's I've got some Field Coils comming.
Will.

Marco
20-04-2009, 06:58
Will, are you really 63? You don't look it, mate! I'd have pegged you as ten years younger :smoking:

Marco.

DSJR
20-04-2009, 07:17
One day, you guys will realise that LP's don't always have much bass on them (apart from the classic era of 12" singles when most of the eq and limiting was turned off). Adding it back in with a beefy sounding cartridge reminds me of the whole LP12/Ittok era, the deck adding its own character.

I suspect the Decca's do sound a bit like a well loaded V15 - ruler flat response out to 12KHz or so and what's above depending on the stylus and sample of cartridge (I wish I still had those old HiFi Sound mags from the late sixties to scan and post...).

Marco
20-04-2009, 07:51
Hi Dave,


One day, you guys will realise that LP's don't always have much bass on them (apart from the classic era of 12" singles when most of the eq and limiting was turned off).


Sorry matey, I know where you're coming from but that's not quite the full story. Yes, some LPs don't have much bass on them for the reasons given, but there are plenty that do, genuinely - and when it's here the M3D makes the most of it!! You must not have a system that is capable of revealing the full (visceral) impact of deep bass notes on recordings to make that statement.

I was just talking to Martin about the live Kraftwerk box set 'Minimum Maximum' on another thread (Andy's Usher one in Strokes of Genius - see here: http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?p=42415#post42415) and if you play tracks such as 'Dentaku' or 'Electro Kardiogramm' through a good system with big speakers, the deep bass on those tracks is quite phenomenal and will simply pin you to your seat and 'energise' the room! That's what it does in my system. If you're not hearing that type of effect with vinyl, then don't blame the recording 'cos it's there!! :ner: ;)

I could name tons of other albums I've got which give a similar effect in terms of bass impact. Shpongle, anyone? In fact, anyone who heard my 1210 playing Massive Attack, amongst other stuff, in the AOS room at the Scalford Hall show would I'm sure testify to the fact that deep bass does exist on vinyl!! 12" singles? Let's not even go there!!! :lol:

The M3D handles lower registers in the right way, typically like high quality big speakers with large bass drivers, in that it can sound quite bass-light with some recordings because it only reproduces bass when it's there on the recording, not some false superimposed coloration, but when it is there then you hear it all in its thunderous glory :eyebrows:

The DL-103SA also does this, minus an octave or two in comparison... ;)


Adding it back in with a beefy sounding cartridge reminds me of the whole LP12/Ittok era, the deck adding its own character.


No, that's not what is happening at all!! I would never seek to create that sort of euphonic coloration in my system. I'm sure that Steve (SPS) would confirm this, having heard his T/T, cartridge and amp in my system. You obviously don't know me as well as I thought you did!!

You really must pop up to North Wales sometime so I can suitably 'educate' you in the ways of the Marco-boy, and then we won't be having silly conversations like this in future :cool:

Marco.

SPS
20-04-2009, 08:16
Steve 51 :dummy: 13500hz for me 63 :smoking: I'll bring my Visaton horn tweeters to Eggborough if you want, my fostex roll off at 12khz and they sound dead without the tweeters to 35khz, sweeps are single tone only usefull for spotting humps and dips, clean top end adds body too.
I dont think the M3D drops like a stone like my speakers.
You can expect a few questions about OB's I've got some Field Coils comming.
Will.


not another ob experimenter...!! will they be at eggborough?

i'll be looking forwards to hearing some field coils.. it will be a first for me..

scott and ed came around on friday night to hear my now not so new baffles

scott said they where the best he'd heard them.
i can't help but want to try and improve things more..
i've been looking at some rather large drivers for the sub 100hz

cheers steve

DSJR
20-04-2009, 08:41
Hi Dave,

You obviously don't know me as well as I thought you did!!

You really must pop up to North Wales sometime so I can suitably 'educate' you in the ways of the Marco-boy, and then we won't be having silly conversations like this in future :cool:

Marco.

I'd love to come up to see you, but it's out of the question right now. I haven't seen my family in years and I suspect it'll be a funeral that'll bring me up your way ....

To cut deep bass on any record needs LOTS of "land" to contain the squiggles. The groove should often be a bit deeper too, to prevent cheap pickups from jumping (for a OTT example look at the infamous telarc 1812 cut, which had bass down to 18Hz or so).

Most "commercial" LP's (yes, even Kraftwerk) would have the bass mono'd below 80Hz and mostly filtered away below 40Hz or so. This could be re-constituted by a cartridge with a severe rise in response below 30Hz I suppose. Using a massive arm/shell may reduce this to acceptable levels I suspect. I do agree that most LP players out there reproduce "bass" as a distorted 60 - 80Hz bloooooooooooom...........

Sadly I no longer have the ATC 100A's which went flat to 45Hz and with a very gentle rolloff with useful output at 20Hz. The BC2's, although tamed, roll off below 60Hz and there's little there below 40Hz in-room apart from in the cloakroom, where the deeper wavelengths are just audible ;). I do remember the IMF's we used to sell, which really did have seizemic bass down to 14Hz, enough on a master copy of DSOTM to rattle the windows severely.

I very much respect bigger speakers like yours Marco and would love to hear them (not too loud please, as my ears will no longer take it..:( ).

I have my spies out and hope to find an el-cheapo M3D in due course.....

Marco
20-04-2009, 08:49
Using a massive arm/shell may reduce this to acceptable levels I suspect. I do agree that most LP players out there reproduce "bass" as a distorted 60 - 80Hz bloooooooooooom...........


Regarding the first point, I guess it must do, as there is no "bloooooooooooom" with the M3D on the Techy/Jelco SA-750D/FR S/5 combo, or indeed with my system as a whole. Quite simply, high-quality direct-drive T/Ts don't do 'bloom' when set-up and partnered properly in the right system: they just reveal exactly what's on the record, full bass notes and all - and so does the M3D ;)

You're welcome to come up to mine any time :)

Incidentally, only get an M3D when you can say "yes" to all (and I mean ALL) of the prerequisites I listed above, otherwise you're wasting your time and will only end up with a false impression.

Marco.

NRG
20-04-2009, 10:19
that is interesting Neil,
what sort of filter did you use to roll of at 12 khz.. with out affecting the treble too much


overtones is quite an interesting subject
i have a few books that cover the subject..

excluding electric music it seems there are not many instruments overtones that extend above 15 k and many commonly used going only up to around 10khz..
there are of course conflicting views.. one book works out the overtones per instrument.

as a comparison far more instruments produce bass notes at under 50hz, which many systems can strugle to reproduce correctly, and usually substituting a little box /port resonace to help things along

i was not saying theres nothing above 12k.. but its of little importance to me..
my hearing extends to 14.5khz, but the volume starts drops off above 12 khz
whilst testing my latest baffles playing test tones, my girl was running about with her ears bleeding at the other end of the house.. in line with what the sound meter was reading...
whilst i could only just hear those tones...

in my veiw a good level of bass is more important

that was my point.. the m3d works for me.... at the age of 51.. and the cartridge just a little younger.. its a good a good match to my ears....


to me... its the cartridge equiv of a globe px4...

Ah! PX4 now your'e talking Steve...

Crikey, if Steve is a youngster at 51 then I'm still in nappies! :lolsign: My hearing is a bit better than 14Khz....but I take your point. Still I think its unwise to just ignore the upper registers as these are sensed more than heard.

My experiments where with the WAD KiT88 and the WAD K5881 PSE. The PSE nested feedback loops can be tweaked to alter the response... or I could have messed about with a LP filter on the input...anyhow tweaking it to 12K had a very noticeable effect, not just the loss of upper freq response but also loss of mid range detail...

This is a great web site showing instrument freq ranges, no fundamentals up in the regions we are talking about (maybe pipe organ get close) but there are harmonics that stretch past 12KHz.

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

Glad you like the M3D, my points aren't meant to dismiss it or your enjoyment of it but to just say there's a lot of upper freq information that will be missed if the roll off point is too low....

SPS
20-04-2009, 11:47
Ah! PX4 now your'e talking Steve...

Crikey, if Steve is a youngster at 51 then I'm still in nappies! :
My experiments where with the WAD KiT88 and the WAD K5881 PSE. The PSE nested feedback loops can be tweaked to alter the response... or I could have messed about with a LP filter on the input...anyhow tweaking it to 12K had a very noticeable effect, not just the loss of upper freq response but also loss of mid range detail...

This is a great web site showing instrument freq ranges, no fundamentals up in the regions we are talking about (maybe pipe organ get close) but there are harmonics that stretch past 12KHz.

http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm

Glad you like the M3D, my points aren't meant to dismiss it or your enjoyment of it but to just say there's a lot of upper freq information that will be missed if the roll off point is too low....


thanks neil, thats a good link it equates to my books except on the violin..
which is a difficult one to measure by all accounts.. one books states 15 k and the other which works it out.. based on a good violin thinks 9.8k is about it... for what its worth ?

so on the whole the m3d is not missing much out.. as it does not cut off at 15k .. just drops its output..like our ears

my question about filtering around the 12k mark is that filters are usually.. lets say 12 db or 6 db per octive.. and an octive can extend quite low into the treble... the feed back loop was often used as a tone control on early 'basic' amps and had a shallow slope..
i just wondered if you had used some type of 'brick wall' filter

thanks steve

NRG
20-04-2009, 11:55
No brick wall filter Steve, also that 12KHz was the -3db point meaning the response was probably flat up to approx 6Khz rolling of gently past that. I found the effect very noticable....will you bring your setup to Owston?

NRG
20-04-2009, 12:02
This would be interesting to try....

http://www.shure.com/stellent/groups/public/@gms_gmi_web_ug/documents/web_resource/us_pro_m66_ug.pdf

NRG
20-04-2009, 12:08
More Shure info from the 50's...cartridges towards the end...

http://www.coutant.org/shure61/shure61.pdf

SPS
20-04-2009, 12:12
No brick wall filter Steve, also that 12KHz was the -3db point meaning the response was probably flat up to approx 6Khz rolling of gently past that. I found the effect very noticable....will you bring your setup to Owston?

thanks..

yes..

and eggbrough....
i hope it works this time..
last time was a disaster...

pure sound
20-04-2009, 12:37
You can expect a few questions about OB's I've got some Field Coils coming.
Will.

Which variety? Vintage or Fertin/Supravox?

NRG
20-04-2009, 13:04
Interesting the M3N21D owners manual on VE states the response is out to 20K with conciderable 'response' down to 10Hz and up to 30KHz....

Marco
20-04-2009, 13:50
Fantastic links there, Neal... Oh what I'd give for an M236 professional tonearm!!! :eek: :wah:

I shall set a goal to find one somehow, somewhere... :eyebrows:


Interesting the M3N21D owners manual on VE states the response is out to 20K with conciderable 'response' down to 10Hz and up to 30KHz....


Could you provide a link to the discussion you're referring to on VE?

Marco.

Marco
20-04-2009, 14:06
Check this link out, chaps!

http://shure.com/stellent/groups/public/@gms_gmi_web_ug/documents/web_resource/us_pro_m3-n21d_ug.pdf

Marco.

Barry
20-04-2009, 14:06
Fantastic links there, Neal... Oh what I'd give for an M236 professional tonearm!!! :eek: :wah:

I shall set a goal to find one somehow, somewhere... :eyebrows:



Could you provide a link to the discussion you're referring to on VE?

Marco.

No doubt about it Marco -

Looks like you will have to fit the N21D stylus to your M3D and play it through the M66 equaliser. When you have done that, you can then track down an M3D-LS (Laboratory Standard) to play in your M236 arm!

Happy hunting!

Barry

Marco
20-04-2009, 15:00
Well, I've found one!!! But............... It's in shit condition: :(

http://cgi.ebay.com/Shure-Brother-M236-Tonearm_W0QQitemZ230337889936QQcmdZViewItemQQptZVi ntage_Electronics_R2?hash=item230337889936&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

I daren't risk it as it's probably broken. I've even found a headshell to go with it (scroll down and see "Shure Tone Arm Head":

http://www.surplussales.com/Equipment/Audio.html

Pity that wouldn't fit on the Jelco...

Marco.

Marco
20-04-2009, 19:10
If anyone fancies bidding on an M3D, here's one on the Bay now:

http://cgi.ebay.com/SHURE-M3D-STEREO-PROFESSIONAL-DYNETIC-CARTRIDGE-M3D_W0QQitemZ300308693880QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Def aultDomain_0?hash=item300308693880&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A6%7C294%3A50

:)

Marco.

Beechwoods
20-04-2009, 19:59
Marco - that one ships to the US only - ya gotta watch out!

Marco
20-04-2009, 20:07
Where does it say that, Beechy? All I can see is that shipping to the UK is "not specified" - does that mean categorically that the seller will not ship to the UK?

Oh, and have a look at this:

http://blog.paran.com/blog/detail/postBoard.kth?blogDataId=29495490&pmcId=carboots&page=0&totalCount=0&pageStyle=null&myCateId=0&yearMonth=null&rDay=null&style=Bbs

I've managed to source one identical to the above, but I'm not saying from where ;)

Marco.

Beechwoods
20-04-2009, 20:16
Where does it say that, Beechy? All I can see is that shipping to the UK is "not specified" - does that mean categorically that the seller will not ship to the UK?

Marco - just below that line, it says:

Ships to: United States

Normally, you'd see 'Worldwide' instead of 'United States' if it shipped over here.

TBH it'd be worth asking the seller anyway if you were interested... just don't be surprised if they said no...

Marco
20-04-2009, 22:41
Ah, missed that bit matey. I'm ok, I've got one - I was just thinking in case anyone else was interested :)

Incidentally, I've been having a play with my Shure SC35C - here's a pic:

http://www.bswusa.com/proditem.asp?item=SC35C

Completely ignore the fact that it says it's for DJ and Club use for "scratching and mixing". It may be used in those applications, but trust me, in a high quality T/T and arm, and though a high quality phono stage, this little baby sings like a canary!

It tracks quite happily at 3g (same as the M3D), and like Dave said earlier, is what the BBC used at one point for broadcasting in their radio stations. This is an absolute bargain (they can be picked up new for about 25-30 in the UK!) and gives about 80% of the M3D's performance in a much less expensive, brand new and more user-friendly package.

The SC35C has got a nice 'chunky' bass, but doesn't have the sheer 'balls' and extension in the lower registers of the M3D, nor its cavernous soundstaging and clarity through the midrange, but it's not far off. Musically it is quite similar, being very 'assured' with any recordings you throw at it, detailed and dynamic sounding, and completely un-fatiguing.

It still likes a little more headhshell mass than normal (I found 16g optimal) and a medium to high-mass arm, too, but it's much smaller and lighter than the M3D so isn't as fussy to partner successfully. I'd rate it as every bit as good as a stock DL-103 (and better in some areas), with a similar type of sound, and so therefore an absolute bargain!

If you've got the likes of a Techy with a heavy headshell and a decent MM phono stage, give it a whirl. Honestly, you'll be shocked and stunned at just how good it is for the money :cool:

Marco.

The Grand Wazoo
20-04-2009, 23:11
Marco,
Please understand this is not meant to be a veiled insult or anything of the sort. However, I'm interested to hear of the things you've bought in the past that you've instantly regretted.

The reason that I ask is that you are always so effusive about your successful purchases. You do have a way of describing your findings very well, & in a way that enables one to understand what improvements you are finding.

However...........your system is in a constant state of flux...............

I, on the other hand, have settled on a combination which a lot of folk wouldn't be greatly interested in, but would be astounded at what it can do if they took the time to listen to it.

There are things I know that I could do to improve things, and admittedly, I have other priorities for cash right now, but .........I'm happy with it. BUT. If, for some reason, I couldn't ever change it, then it wouldn't be a big problem to me.

You've invested a lot of time (not to say cash) in your hi-fi over the years & I'm as interested in the dogs as I am in the gems!!!!!

Marco
20-04-2009, 23:47
LOL. No insult taken, Chris :smoking:

Good question, btw... I'm just about to spin a few more tunes on the Techy then off to bed, so I'll come back to you tomorrow on this :)

Marco.

The Grand Wazoo
21-04-2009, 00:06
No problems, I await with baited breat for your reply.......... Or replies?
Maybe this would be better in a standalone or different thread?

NRG
21-04-2009, 06:46
Ah! Good to see you found the document Marco....also did you note the tracking force with the new stylus?

Marco
21-04-2009, 07:24
Hi Neal,

Yes I did, but what intrigued me more was your reporting of the difference in frequency response. It will be very interesting comparing the N3D stylus to the N21D when it arrives.

Intriguing stuff this, isn't it - what are your thoughts on the matter? :)

Now to answer the question Chris asked me... :cool:

Marco.

NRG
21-04-2009, 07:44
Hi Marco, I'd expect the difference to be similar when going from the 103 to the 103R...an opening up of the HF and perhaps a more detailed and controlled Bass...However as with all things Hi-Fi I reserve the right to be wrong! :lol:

Just seen a 103 thread on PFM recommending the 103 for use in an Ittok...:confused:

Marco
21-04-2009, 08:49
Marco,
Please understand this is not meant to be a veiled insult or anything of the sort. However, I'm interested to hear of the things you've bought in the past that you've instantly regretted.

The reason that I ask is that you are always so effusive about your successful purchases. You do have a way of describing your findings very well, & in a way that enables one to understand what improvements you are finding.

However...........your system is in a constant state of flux...............


Hi Chris,

I can see how you'd interpret my current cartridge shenanigans in that way, but the actual fact is my chosen system components stay pretty constant. You'll not read about me chopping and changing my system like our very own (and very nice, grovel, grovel ;)) 'serial box-swapper', Jerry!

I've owned the same speakers (Spendor SP100s) since 2002, the same CDP since 2006, ditto with my preamp, and the same T/T now for nearly two years. Outside of cartridges (yes I do have an unhealthy fetish :eyebrows:) my only recent acquisition is my TD valve amp, and that was bought nearly 10 months ago. I predict that it will stay with me as long as my speakers (and probably even longer).

No, matey, my system is not "in a constant state of flux" - I just love dicking around with (classic) cartridges! Oh the joys of detachable headshells :lol:

As for "dogs" that I've bought in the past; there aren't many because anything (equipment, cables or whatever) that makes it into my system has been very carefully considered, researched, and then auditioned at length - so any mistakes I've made are few and far between.

Outside of small and relatively inexpensive items like cartridges and valves, I don't 'take a punt' on things with the view to selling them on later if I don't like them - it just isn't my way. Once I make the decision to buy new equipment then it has 'passed the test', so I tend to live with it for years and just enjoy the music it makes.

However, I'll give it some thought and if I can think of any gear which fits the category you describe I'll come back and let you know :)

Marco.

DSJR
21-04-2009, 09:40
The tragedy Marco is that the M3D cost you 80! I bet there are countless small HiFi shops with old'uns shoved in a workshop drawer thinking they're valueless. In fact, I'm counting on it.......;)

I was under the impression that the N21D was eliptical, yet the current replacements (Swiss made?) indicate that they're .0007 conical. Interesting to see if you find the 21D any better.

There's a thread on Vinyl Asylum (I think it's there) that said the M3D original styli suffer from aly fatigue and fracture. Perhaps that's in more humid climes than the UK.

I've found a good M55E but I'd be very scared of using this today. That massive 16KHz resonance peak is worse than a misbehaving Decca and they're bad enough if not fettled properly... I'd sooner have one of my Supexes re-tipped I think.

I look forward to further revelations with interest...

aquapiranha
21-04-2009, 11:10
Well I thought the SA sounded good when I heard it Marco, so this must incredible!

PS. Do me a favour and PM me the names of the Kraftwerk album (boxset) you have, and also that wierd movie soundtrack one... Valerie or summat, cheers!! Steve

Marco
21-04-2009, 11:27
The tragedy Marco is that the M3D cost you 80! I bet there are countless small HiFi shops with old'uns shoved in a workshop drawer thinking they're valueless. In fact, I'm counting on it....... ;)


LOL. I hope you're lucky, mate, and have what you need to optimise it :)

Thing is though, with respect, 80 is not much more than a (half) decent night out for me, or 'sweety money', as they say up in Scotland... Especially when I think of the all the supposed 'hi-end' moving coil cartridges I've bought in the past at many times that amount, and then how much the M3D pisses all over them from a great height, 80 is not only a bargain - quite frankly, I've stolen the f*cker! :lol:

So no "tragedy" whatsoever!!

Steve,

Will do! I trust you enjoyed the 'ol Dansette then t'other night? :eyebrows:

Del and I enjoyed your company very much. We must do it again sometime :cool:

Marco.

jakwb
21-04-2009, 23:09
The SC35C.....
. I'd rate it as every bit as good as a stock DL-103 (and better in some areas), with a similar type of sound, and so therefore an absolute bargain!


Wow Marco, you're saying the SC35C sounds as good as a stock 103? If so, then that is just too intriguing not to investigate myself. They go for around $35-40 over here in states and if it sounds as good as the 103, I'll be shocked. I'll have to give it a try sometime. :eyebrows:
Jason

Marco
22-04-2009, 07:42
Hi Jason,

It doesn't quite have the openness or clarity through the midrange and top-end of the 103 (I don't think many MMs can compete with good MCs in that respect, although the M3D does), but when the SC35C is set-up and partnered properly it's not lacking much in that area - and it has great bass with that 'funky', rhythmic, presentation that the 103 does so well. It is also completely 'unflustered' no matter what you throw at it, making you want to play record after record, forgetting all about the 'hi-fi' in the process and just concentrating on the music...

I guess it's not bad for $35-40 dollars ;)

Marco.

DSJR
22-04-2009, 13:06
I thought a lot of the SC35C when I used one and while the price is so good, I might get one for the GL75.

According to HiFi Choice, the M97EJ was another goodie - NOT the 95EJ apparently, but stylus quality did vary back then.

These heavy trackers do have quite a droop in treble output that can sometimes be tamed with plenty of capacitive loading - 400pF is normal. less than this emphasises the dullness.

Marco
22-04-2009, 14:43
These heavy trackers do have quite a droop in treble output...


I think you're right Dave in the case of the SC35C - it's not the most 'crisp' sounding cartridge in the world, but neither is it 'dull' in the right set-up. The M3D (partnered and set-up optimally) is a different animal altogether in that respect: think 'Decca-style' midrange without the 'spit' and a lovely open-sounding, communicative style of clarity. Did I mention the stonking bass, too? Oh yes, I have! :eyebrows:

I'm a great believer that only in a neutral, open sounding system will you hear what any components truly sound like. If an M3D, for example, sounds 'dull' and 'bloated' with no top-end then blame your system not the cartridge. What it does is simply not over-emphasise or 'prioritise' the upper frequencies in the way of most modern cartridges (think Goldrings and some current Ortofon MMs, yuk!) It is just very even-handed in that respect, which a good system will showcase properly.

It also has the right amount of bass to give music a proper 'foundation', unlike some of its anaemic-sounding modern counterparts. If you think the M3D sounds 'tubby' or 'bloated' then that's only because the latter sound 'thin' and they're what you're used to and consider as 'normal'! There's a good reason why the Japanese love M3Ds, 103s, SPUs, etc, and it's because as audiophiles in general they're a lot more discerning than we are.

It's my belief that the sea-change in the 'tone' quality and sonic presentation of modern cartridges compared to classics such as the M3D has attuned our ears to a false sound that isn't natural, and thus our 'benchmark' is flawed...

Marco.

DSJR
28-04-2009, 20:37
GOT ONE!!!! But this M3D needs a new stylus.....

Have you now tried the N21D Marco? If it's an upgrade as originally intended, I'd be more inclined to order one of these...

Marco
30-04-2009, 07:33
Hi Dave,

Good news - It'll be interesting to see what you think when you obtain a new stylus :)

The N21D has been shipped from the States but hasn't arrived yet. As soon as it's fitted I'll have a listen and let you know how it compares to the N3D.

Marco.

SPS
30-04-2009, 08:31
i found an improvement moving over to the 21, although all mine are pattens

i have quite a few of the round and v stylus types.. about 30 in total.. i got carried away...

sorting the softer ones gives the better tracking.. i've found the tracking is the main issue with the m3d .. thats the only issue really.. once your set up is ok for it

steve

DSJR
30-04-2009, 21:03
I was given a box full of ancient treasures, many broken though, but there is an Ortofon MC10 II brand new with headshell... There's also a V15 IV, an Empire 2000E IV, and an AT OC30 with intact cantilever but no diamond on the end... Oh yes, a quantity of M75-ED's in various states of wear (how many of these darned things did Shure sell in the seventies?)

I'd like to ask anyone with a few N3D or N21D styli if they've checked the diamonds under a microscope? Shure used lousy quality tips at one time, but I suspect the current "patterns" may well be of better quality. I still flinch at the huge diameter cantilever and wonder if Shure ever did an eliptical version?

Marco
01-05-2009, 07:31
i've found the tracking is the main issue with the m3d .. thats the only issue really.. once your set up is ok for it


Hi Steve,

Do you sometimes get sibilance ('sssh' sounds when words with the letter 's' are sung)?

I get a touch of this now and then with certain recordings and wondered if it was attributed to tracking issues?

Headshell and arm mass, including VTF (at 3g), seems optimal (the cartridge is living in my 17g vintage FR headshell), as voices and instruments are clear, detailed and nicely presented, so I'm loathe to add more mass as I feel that it may tip the balance too much in the way of 'fullness', which I don't want.

I just wondered if you had encountered this before and if so what you did to rectify it? :)

Dave,

Sounds like an interesting box of treasures there! I don't own a microscope, so haven't looked at the tip of the N3D. Interesting that you say Shure once used lousy tips... As my N3D is an original NOS item, this could be an issue, so I suspect that some 'stylus rolling' is imminent! :eyebrows:

It'll be interesting to see what the N21D brings to the party. Personally, I don't get hung up on high VTFs, thick cantilevers, or conical styli which are considered to be technically 'wrong'. It's the sum of the constituent parts that counts, after all, not the individual bits in isolation...

Experience tells me that much of the engaging sonic and musical characteristics of classic cartridges which operate with and possess the above is down to the very fact that they are present - quite simply, much of the 'magic' these cartridges have would be lost if more modern and 'accurate' tips were used.

Sure, there may be some sonic improvements gained in the process, but in many cases at the expense of what gives classic cartridges their 'soul'. One only has to listen to any of the non-spherical tipped 103s, SPUs or EMTs for this fact to be showcased in all its glory. The choice of stylus tip is fundamental to the sonic signature of these classic cartridges, but as ever with hi-fi, chacun son got.

I’m hopeful that the N21D will simply improve on the qualities of the N3D without altering the 'magic' of the M3D’s overall musical presentation.

Marco.

NRG
01-05-2009, 10:30
Marco have you any experience of the Ortofon SPU?

There's a thread over on PFM that's piqued my interest...the 750D seems to e available off Ebay for 330 notes or so and would seem a possible match....mounting it would be an issue for me so I'd have to make a plinth for the SP10...:scratch:

SPS
01-05-2009, 13:05
Hi Steve,

Do you sometimes get sibilance ('sssh' sounds when words with the letter 's' are sung)?

I get a touch of this now and then with certain recordings and wondered if it was attributed to tracking issues?

Im hopeful that the N21D will simply improve on the qualities of the N3D without altering the 'magic' of the M3Ds overall musical presentation.

Marco.


yes marco, thats the main issue.. thats why i have tried so many stylus
i've not totally eliminated it ... but its good enough now.. it tracks as well as most carts do in my experence..

the softer the stylus, the better
thets why with a well used stylus, the suspension gives.. improving things in my experence ( i'm talking m3 here)

all stylus need to be run in, extra down force and lots of use.. is the order of the day to speed things up.. but be careful...

i found the n21 improved this and other aspects, without any down sides

best of luck

steve

steve

DSJR
01-05-2009, 20:01
I'm sure the contact area polishes with running as well, but many cartridges from the seventies had roughly turned and polished diamonds IMO and experience visually. The styli fitted to the better Japanese cartridges were often object lessons in the art of stylus shaping.

I wish I'd had a camera to record it, but the best stylus I EVER saw was from an original Dynavector "Diamond" from the late seventies. The cantilever was better formed and polished than any budget to mid-price stylus tip I'd seen up to that point and as to the exquisite beauty that was the Shibata (?) tip itself, it was a shame to mount the thing up and use it :)

break-3
02-05-2009, 06:10
All this cartridge-rolling talk is getting me itchy to bust out my wallet again. I really have to resist... :(

Marco
02-05-2009, 08:42
Marco have you any experience of the Ortofon SPU?

There's a thread over on PFM that's piqued my interest...the 750D seems to e available off Ebay for 330 notes or so and would seem a possible match....mounting it would be an issue for me so I'd have to make a plinth for the SP10...:scratch:

Hi Neal,

I've heard quite a few SPUs over the years in different systems, and thus I'm pretty familiar with it, but have never owned one. I aim to rectify that situation at some point soon, though!

What is it you'd like to know? :)

No doubt the Jelco would suit an SPU really well, but beware of inferior quality items for sale on Ebay - apparently there are some shoddy examples of older models (never used) being sold as new where the bearings have seized.

Marco.

Marco
02-05-2009, 08:54
yes marco, thats the main issue.. thats why i have tried so many stylus
i've not totally eliminated it ... but its good enough now.. it tracks as well as most carts do in my experence..

the softer the stylus, the better
thets why with a well used stylus, the suspension gives.. improving things in my experence ( i'm talking m3 here)


Hi Steve,

Interesting what you say about "softer" styli. The suspension on the original stylus which came with my M3D had definitely 'given', I thought due to misuse. However, there's no doubt that the newer, 'stiffer' stylus sounds better, probably due to the other one being worn. I will certainly continue using it, letting it run-in and become 'softer'.

What VTF do you use with your N3D?

Marco.

Darrenw
12-05-2009, 20:01
wow this one went a bit high - managed to sneak mine on ebay the other day for 30 and thought that a bit dear - I bid 50 on this and was no where near

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEDWX:IT&item=400047782366

someone other than you and steve must rate these Marco

rgds
darren

Marco
12-05-2009, 22:30
Oh there are a few people around with sophistication and taste... ;)

That was for three of them, though, no? They normally go for around 100 each so the 30 you paid was a bargain!

Marco.

P.S you have a PM.

DSJR
13-05-2009, 07:27
So, any feelings on the N21 stylus yet?

The canadian Astatic site looks interesting, but I don't know where the styli are sourced from. Jico's site looks good and I'd hope that their re-makes of all sorts of styli would if anything be better than the originals (I've been looking at the horrendous nails fitted to a number of M75-ED's recently - ughhhh!!!!

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 07:41
someone gave me an M75ED are they any good? mine looks a little wobbly but sounds fine on the garrard at the mo

rgds
darren

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 10:47
Marco

fitted my M3d this morning as I now won't be coming over on friday I thought might as well give it a go (impatience got the better of me)

anyway its a bit rough (distorted) but the remarkable thing is the volume unamplified - loud enough for low level listening (though a bit trebbly and weedy)

have I fitted the stylus wrongly (just pushed it in) or is this normal for an M3D to be so loud sans amplifier?

its only playing a robbie williams album at the mo (can;t trust my set up on a decent albium) but will run it a bit to see if it improves with run in

rgds
darren

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 11:31
yep mm - built in to the air tight atc1

worked fine with the shure M75Ed I took out to pop the M3D in - I suspect I haven't set it up right ut followed the instructions re fitting the stylus and did me best on cart set up (which worked ok for the M75ED I set up last week)

as stated elsehwhere I am no vinyl set up master but I am having a go at these things with a view to getting better

it sounds distorted but otherwise plays ok - the really big thing is the volume I get with no amp - never heard it go that loud from an unamplified cart and arm before - its not loud enough to listen to but you can certainly hear it clearly accross wthe room

any suggestions gratefully recieved

rgds
darren

DSJR
13-05-2009, 12:12
The M75-ED was the seventies version of the Linn K9... All the "in" dealers sold shedloads of 'em, but very few would actually own one themselves I think...

See reviews from 1977 below. The V15 III was just coming to the end of its life (and was thought outclassed by the ADC XLM/ZLM and the decendant Sonus Blue, which I still think sounds amazingly good, top Empires and MM Ortofons back then. MC's had just begun their resurgance and the FR's, Supex etc were making their mark.

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/DSJR_photos/1977ShureReviews.jpg

By the time the Me75-ED got going, it had been well and truly annihilated by the budget competition IMO.




Marco, I'm glad you love the Devon's. They have a magic all their own and had been all but forgotten in the mele for the big ones. Keep them if they're in good nick, or offer them to HiFi Dave for his collection, as he keeps missing out on these and bought some vicious LGM's instead ;)

Berkeleys can be frighteningly thuddy and boxy and the surround foam-life on all the HPD's has been done to death already. I really think the DMT's being later and with more solid boxes would be the best choice - far better developed after Tannoy went to town updating the concept in the early eighties.....

Marco
13-05-2009, 12:38
I suspect I haven't set it up right...

...any suggestions gratefully recieved


Darren, what are you tracking it at? The optimal is 3g - any less than this and that'll explain why it's sounding the way it is.

You will also need to add some mass to the headshell of the Alphason - 2p coins Blu-tacked on should work if you don't have anything better. Try two of them to start with and see how you get on.

Also, have you aligned the cartridge properly in the headshell and is your arm set at the right height (parallel to the record surface)?

If in doubt, bell me - I'm in :)

Marco.

DSJR
13-05-2009, 12:52
You know guys, I'm inclined to suggest an M97-EJ if you want a more "solid" sounding Shure for the Aphason arm. It was preferred to the ED version as I vaguely recall and the XE stylus should also fit I think.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=170330630085



The Aphason would be far happier with an AT120E or 440MLa (I don't know the others in between). As Marco suggests, try adding loads of mass and even have an engineering shop turn up a bigger counterweight if necessary (Audio Origami may be able to assist here as Jonny seems ok to turn up spacers for Rega arms etc...

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 14:05
substantially better at 3g than the 2g I was using - dunno why but thought I read it somewhere this morning when trying to find what weight to use

might still need a little VTA and alignment tweaking (not great eyesight and clumsy to boot)

doesnt appear to need another (or extra) weight as the weight is middle ish of the travel available - am I mis uderstanding the need for weight (ie need it if you cant get it to balance at 3g)

thanks for help thus far - getting there now

Darren

Marco
13-05-2009, 14:44
Hi Darren,

I just remembered that it's the N21D stylus you've got so the max is 2.5g - I'd therefore reduce VTF to 2.5g.

No you need to add extra weight to the headshell only to increase the arm's effective mass, as the M3D is designed to operate in high-mass arms - much more so than your Alphason is as standard; that's why I mentioned Blu-Tacking coins onto the headshell :)

When you do this things should improve quite dramatically. Don't worry too much about balancing the arm - as long as you can measure 2.5g VTF using your stylus pressure gauge with the extra weight on the headshell it will be fine.

My own N21D stylus has just arrived from the States so I'll be having a play myself later :smoking:

Marco.

DSJR
13-05-2009, 15:49
I'm finding the MC30 Super too brightly lit for even my tastes and I remembered I had what I thought was a knackered AT OC9 in the loft. I brought it down, cleaned the stylus only to find it's still ok. I mounted it up in a spare headslide, noting that the fixing isn't straight AT but either a "Deccapod" kind of arrangement (two copper coloured recessed Allen bolts each side holding the golden cartridge body in place) or it's possibly the Stilton modified version.

I've had the above in the loft for getting on for twenty years and wasn't expecting it to sound any good, as it was very sick when traded in, but after about 10 seconds to sort itself out, it sounds great with very good tracking, only missing the way a good fine-line or micro-ridge tip seems to trace unworn parts of the groove..............

I'm really worried that I'll find the M3d/N21 a bit rough and coloured with too much bass energy, which is something I really don't need..

Please keep this thread open. I'll await Marco's findings on which stylus to get and then I'll jump in.

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 19:24
Guys

prolly being a bit thick here but if you add mass to the headshell (penny and bluetack) you just have to add mass to the other end to balance it off at 2.5 grams - so if it balances at 2.5 with no pennies or blue tack then why is it better to add mass to both sides and have it looking like a dogs dinner?

confused from stoke - unless its about having a bit of extra pressure on the bearings but whats that got to do with the cart

is there something to read on the interweb re this stuff - learnning new tricks is giving me a headache

having reviewed my set up technique I think I have it all right except perhaps the overhang - if I am out on this by a mill or two what sound difference could I expect (distortion - now mild not pronounced so getting there!)

apologies for all the questions - having fun learning

rgds
darren

Marco
13-05-2009, 19:55
Darren,

Adding mass to the headshell in terms of added weight has got nothing to do with balancing the arm in reference to VTF - it's about cartridge compliance, which is a discussion for another thread.

Your M3D needs added headshell mass in your (lightweight) arm in order to perform as intended, so add the coins as I suggested, as long as after doing so you can achieve VTF of 2.5g.

If it works, and the sound is improved, you can get a nice brass or metal plate made to the same 'mass' as the coins and Blu-Tac, which will simply insert between your M3D and the headshell relatively invisibly :)

Now just go and DO it! Yer uncle Marco knows best :lolsign:

;)

Marco.

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 20:09
Marco

already did it just wanted to know why I am doing it - looks like blu tack arm but its balanced and playing away - not shure if its made much difference so I am now going to try resetting all the bits I did earlier to make sure I havent buggered something up

its almost good now but it doesnt sound great - will leaving it running help - I am playing an old ZZ top disc now thats so warped it will be a good excercise work out for the stylus to losen things up a bit

point me in the direction of an article on compliance would ya uncle M

Rgds
darren

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 20:23
ok found this -

Tonearm/Cartridge Capability
For best performance, the tonearm and cartridge must be matched. All cartridges will not work with all tonearms, and vice versa. To insure a proper match, one must be aware of the mechanical specifications of both the arm and phono cartridge. To see how these characteristics interact and determine compatibility, we must first understand the dynamics of the relationship.

Any cartridge/tonearm combination will exhibit resonance at a specific frequency (or frequencies). This resonance is due to the interaction of the cartridge (acting as a spring), and the weight of the arm (acting as a mass). The "springiness" of the phono cartridge is described as compliance, the weight of the arm is specified in mass. As an example, a heavy weight on a light spring would obviously over-flex the spring, conversely, a light weight on a strong spring would not allow sufficient flexion.

At resonance, the arm/cartridge combination produces a dramatic rise in output. An increase of 3 to 6dB or more is common. This tremendous boost can cause severe problems if it occurs in the region of recorded music (above 2OHz), or in the area where record warps and rumble are problematic (below 5Hz). A cartridge/arm whose resonance occurs in the region above 2OHz can be influenced by music on the record. At this frequency a significant jump in output (resulting in a "bloated" or "tubby" sound) will be experienced. In extreme cases, the stylus may actually jump out of the groove. Similarly, a cartridge/arm combination that exhibits a resonance below the desired range will exaggerate the effects of record warps, or rumble produced by the turntable.

The goal in matching a specific cartridge and arm is to achieve a resonance in the 10 to 14Hz range. Some feel that limiting this range even further, to 9 to 11hZ, is best.

I've seen the following formula for calculating the resonant frequency of an arm/cartridge:
Resonant Frequency = 1000/[6.28*square root (M*C)]. Where M is the mass of the arm and cartridge and C is the compliance of the cartridge. As an example, if we had an arm/cartridge with a combined mass of 14g, and a cartridge with a compliance of 20, the resonant frequency would be 9.535.

This simple equation doesn't take into account all factors, including tonearm damping and, internal cartridge damping, but it will give you general idea of compatibility.

A decade ago, high-compliance cartridges were the rage and these needed to mate with very low mass tonearms. However, today’s heavier, lower-compliance phono cartridges (especially moving coils) have required tonearm designers/manufacturers to reorient themselves in the direction of medium to high-mass arms. Further, some of the currently available MC cartridges put back a tremendous amount of energy into the arm. This reflected energy takes the form of standing waves, which travel up and down the length of the tonearm, potentially creating mis-tracking problems and/or frequency dependent cancellation. A well designed tonearm will dissipate this energy, rather than reflecting it back to the cartridge. The ability of the arm to accomplish this will be dependent upon bearing design, internal damping and rigidity.

In a situation where a higher compliance cartridge is employed in a medium to high mass tonearm, the ill-effects of the match can be mitigated to some degree if the tonearm offers fluid damping. Here, a small paddle connected to the arm rests in a reservoir filled with viscous silicone fluid. This design feature restricts small, rapid motions of the arm (like the small undulations that would occur in a high-compliance cartridge), while providing unrestricted progress to the arm as it slowly traces across the record. This system also may improve the sound of some phono cartridges that offer little internal damping of their own.

The only way to accurately measure system resonance is with a calibrated low frequency test record and a chart recorder, or other sophisticated test equipment. Since most of us do not possess this capability, it is wise to do some preliminary homework in assessing the compatibility of any potential arm/cartridge combination. There are a few general "rules of thumb" that we need to consider:

* A tonearm whose effective mass is rated at 10 grams or below is considered low mass (e.g. early SME’s, Grace 747 etc.). A tonearm whose effective mass is rated between 11 and 25 grams is considered moderate mass (e.g. SME 309, IV, IV-Vi, V, Triplanar, Graham). Arms above 25 grams of mass are high mass in nature (Eminent Technology, Dynavector).

* A phono cartridge whose compliance is rated at 12 x l0ˉ6 or below, is considered low compliance. A cartridge whose compliance is rated between 13 x l0ˉ6 and 25 x l0ˉ6 is considered high to very high. Note: Another way of expressing compliance is um/mN. Here a rating of 5 to 10 is considered very low, 10 to 20 is moderate and above 35 is very high.

* Low mass arms mate well with both moderately high and very high compliance phono cartridges.

* Moderate mass tonearms are good companions for moderate to low compliance cartridges.

* If a low compliance cartridge is used with a low mass tonearm, undesirable resonances can occur in the audible range. Mistracking may also be a problem.

* When a high compliance cartridge is mated with a moderate mass tonearm, resonances in the infrasonic range may occur in addition to some unwanted high frequency damping.

It may not be possible in every case to accurately determine whether a particular cartridge is suited to a given tonearm by a simple glance at the specifications. This is especially true in border-line situations. However, poor combinations can be easily identified and avoided.

Several variables can influence our ability to accurately predict a match using the manufacturers supplied specifications. Some of these are: 1) The manufacturers specifications themselves can vary in accuracy due to differences in measurement techniques. 2) Sample to sample variation of the cartridge. 3) Differing amounts of internal damping of the cartridge or tonearm and 4) the age of the cartridge. The situation is further complicated by the fact that we should calculate both vertical and horizontal resonance points.

Happily, most of the popular, modem-day moving coil (and many moving magnet) cartridges and the current crop of medium mass tonearms represent a fairly good match. Exceptions do exist however, and we should be aware of the sonic pitfalls. An improperly matched cartridge and tonearm will not only sound poorly, it may even cause irreparable damage to records and stylus. So, it is well worth the effort in preliminary comparisons to determine the compatibility of the proposed cartridge and tonearm


now per vinyl engine the alphason is:

Description

Over seven years professional design and development, including computer aided structural and vibrational analysis, together with top quality materials and precision construction, goes into making this the worlds best sounding tonearm.

Not only have basic parameters of tracking error, bearing friction and effective mass been catered for, but also such advanced scientific details as rigidity, resonances, energy paths and structural damping have been analytically optimised.

The Alphason HR100S is a most unusual arm. An ultra-strong, one-piece titanium casting forms the arm-tube and head shell; tool-grade steel is used for the gimbal-bearing housing and ultra-tough ceramic for the bearings themselves.


Specifications

Effective length: 229mm

Mounting distance: 211mm

Overhang: 18mm

Effective mass: 11g


and the shure is a low compliance cart

so should it be ok given above it said - * Moderate mass tonearms are good companions for moderate to low compliance cartridges.

11g is the lower end of moderate so I guess the pennies are adding to this to make it firmly moderate - is this right?

cheers
Darren

Marco
13-05-2009, 20:36
Yes the pennies are adding to the effective mass of your arm. Your next assignment is to research 'effective mass'. You need to understand how it influences the performance of the cartridge in terms of resonance.

Fun this, isn't it - who needs to play music? :lol: ;)

Marco.

Darrenw
13-05-2009, 20:49
playing music as I learn - tah mahal

googling effective mass next once picked up daughter number on from local gig

cheers
Darren

Marco
13-05-2009, 20:58
LOL - it's all go!

Marco.

NRG
13-05-2009, 22:30
Info:

http://www.theanalogdept.com/cartridge___arm_matching.htm

Resonance Calculator:

http://www.cartridgedb.com/

Aim to get the resonance F in the middle of the green range...

Edit: you are going to need a total arm mass of about 35 gram to get the resonance down to 11Hz, lead pipe anyone?

Marco
14-05-2009, 11:53
Edit: you are going to need a total arm mass of about 35 gram to get the resonance down to 11Hz, lead pipe anyone?

Neal,

No, just use some of this: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Lead-Flashing-for-Dolls-Houses-Self-Adhesive-Strip_W0QQitemZ350175289532QQihZ022QQcategoryZ7000 1QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l126 2?_trksid=p1742.m153.l1262 :)

Marco.

P.S All Tannoy discussion has been moved to a separate thread here: http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=2795

Darrenw
14-05-2009, 15:41
Marco

how loud is your M3D? I can hear the music accross the room unamplified and am a bit worried about it - didnt get this with my shure M75ED this beastie hardly needs the amp on so saves electric I guess!

is it normal?

rgds
darren

DSJR
14-05-2009, 20:11
Do you mean "needle-Talk?"

This is commonplace on old low compliance cartridges and non-existant on pretty well all modern designs...

If your stylus is an oldie, then I suppose the suspension could have stiffened up, making the problem worse I suppose, but as people have reported on here that this isn't probably the case, then it could be a gemeral chacteristic of this model, coupled with the low mas of the arm used. Try for an N21D, they're cheap enough..

P.S. It was the M97HE which was highly recommended as a great all-rounder, but as many have commented that the AT440MLa is better again, we're back to bright and sparkly sounding cartridges.......

Marco
14-05-2009, 20:35
Dave,

Darren's got a brand new N21D stylus, so that's not the problem. It's like you say - a trait of these types of cartridges. Mine does it too, but not to the same extent as Darren has described.

Not had a chance yet to play with my own N21D, but will do over the weekend, so will report back soon. I know you want to know which one to get :)

Marco.

DSJR
14-05-2009, 20:42
I can't afford to make a mistake with this as I don't have much (well, none really ;)) disposable income...

Marco
14-05-2009, 21:04
I think I've got a good handle on what you're looking for (and the kind of sound you like) so I'll bear this in mind when making the recommendation :)

Marco.

Darrenw
14-05-2009, 21:08
might be flogging one soon as not feeling the love with this cart - started off looking like a bargain and indestructible (which appealed to me) but given I am going to have convert my medium mass arm into a higher mass with plates and new weights plus put up with the needle talk then I am not sure it is the cart for me

back to the denon dl110 if things dont improve soon

rgds
darren

Marco
14-05-2009, 21:16
That's a shame - cartridges are always a case of 'suck it and see', but I get the feeling that the way yours is set-up still isn't quite right. When you hear the M3D in my system (unfortunately not tomorrow - see PM) you'll realise why I like it so much :)

What I don't get is why the 'needle talk' is such an issue. Surely when the volume is up and a record is playing it doesn't matter... And why would you play a record with the volume turned down anyway? :confused:

:smoking:

Marco.

Darrenw
15-05-2009, 07:36
the needle talk was more a concern before I knew it was normal - as you say I can easily live with it as long as I am sure its not harming my records - I guess mine is amplified slightly by my kit living in an alcove - my worry was that something in the cart must be acting like a speaker to give the level of volume I am getting and (perhaps incorrectly) I assumed that this volume was a source of energy loss and thus affect the sound

I think the set up is ok now but still tweaking a bit - anti skate is the thing I am trying to get my head round

thanks for the pm - turned out well cos daughter announced she has a concert so couldn;t have stayed very long today anyway

rgds
darren

Marco
15-05-2009, 08:05
Hi Darren,

We'll do it again, mate, in a couple of weeks. I may have some 'interesting' new speakers then, too :eyebrows:

The 'needle talk' is definitely not harming your records, so don't worry about that, but it shouldn't be as prominent as you're describing. I'll analyse more what my M3D does at the weekend when I fit the N21D stylus. It's something I've not paid much attention to as I've never left a record playing with the volume down. It could be louder because, like you say, your kit is in an alcove, but I'll let you know how my cartridge compares with what you've described.

Anti-skating should usually just be set to the same value as VTF, so 2 to 2.5 in your case. Something I do is to 'play' a demo record with no program or grooves cut on one side (there are a few of these for sale on Ebay), and adjust the anti-skate so that the stylus remains as much in the centre of the record as possible, with minimal drifting from side to side. This usually results in anti-skate being spot on but sometimes some further (slight) adjustment by ear is necessary.

The M3D really is quite special *IF* you've got the right 'bits' to make it work. But like I said a few pages back in the thread, it's not a 'normal', plug & play cartridge by any means - there are certain conditions it needs in place to perform optimally. If I were you I'd hold onto your M3D but go back to your 110 until we get together and I have a chance to look at your cartridge and arm properly. I've got some bits and pieces at mine which I'm confident will go a long way to sorting things. Let's not give up yet! :)

Marco.

MartinT
15-05-2009, 10:04
Something I do is to 'play' a demo record with no program or grooves cut on one side (there are a few of these for sale on Ebay), and adjust the anti-skate so that the stylus remains as much in the centre of the record as possible, with minimal drifting from side to side.

That's not the correct way to set bias. Using a blank record means that the point of the stylus traces the blank surface which does not exert the same force towards the centre of the record. There needs to be a groove in order to establish correct bias. My recommendation is to use a tracking test (such as on HFN69 or HFN75 test records) and tweak the bias in small amounts until the least mistracking is heard.

Marco
15-05-2009, 10:50
You're right, Martin, however as I fine-tune such settings (VTF, anti-skate, etc) finally by ear, anyway; for me it doesn't really matter. The other devices, such as the demo disc I mentioned, are simply to get things in the 'right ballpark' :)

Marco.

Darrenw
15-05-2009, 14:13
ok how do I adjust the anti skate on an alphason? I have a small weight on some fishing wire which hangs down a hole - I am assuming moving the anchor point of the wire forward and backwards along the length of the shart it attaches to changes the angle and thus the amount of weight acting on the arm

only problem is when I move it back and forward it doesnt seem to have any impact

might just wait for expert help - some of this stuff is hard to "get" shame they don;t do a manual that shows how to set up the aplhason - there is one on VE but it doesnt do the detail I need

shan't get rid of it before I see you Marco as its very possible my set up is less than optimal - it sounds ok now as it is so there is potential to be unlocked I suspect.

Rgds
darren

Marco
18-05-2009, 06:56
Dave,

I've been doing some listening today and the decision is *very* easy: go for an N21D - it's a complete no-brainer :)

I can't really wax any more lyrical about how superb the M3D sounds when optimised fully, but installing the N21D stylus just takes it beyond a joke at how laughably good this cartridge is considering its vintage - well actually, it's probably because of its vintage that it's so good!

Swapping out the (already excellent) N3D for the N21D and listening to 'So Long' on the album 'You're Mine You' by Sarah Vaughan on Blue Note (Capitol), her voice was rendered even more 'shmaltzy' and seductive than before, with the added sparkle and top-end extension of the N21D ably teasing out each intake of breath and inflection in the process, the band swinging in time behind her, which gave this track the spine-tingling and emotional rendition one feels is faithful to the original performance.

On the N3D, this track was made to sound 'heavier', with seemingly less dynamic range, robbing Vaughan's voice of a little of its natural extension and clarity, and making its lush, lilting intonations slightly more indistinct than with the N21D, such that one wasn't as able to connect with the feeling and mood behind the performance, or the sense of musicianship conveyed by the accompanying band. In short, with the N21D at the helm the music was reproduced more 'completely' and thus more believably, too.

On the practical and hi-fi set-up side, VTF is lowered from 3g to 2.5g with the use of the N21D, so those who baulk at exposing their delicate records to 'brutal' downforces can relax a little more when the stylus hits the groove. In short, anyone contemplating the purchase of an M3D should consider investing in an N21D as a no-brainer, as without doubt it provides a superior tip with which to trace the musical information on one's records, making an already wonderful cartridge that bit more special :cool:

Here's where I got mine:

http://www.turntableneedles.com/Need...163-1374.html#

Go for the genuine Shure tip. It may take a while to arrive from the States, but the wait is more than worth it!

Marco.

Marco
18-05-2009, 07:15
shan't get rid of it before I see you Marco as its very possible my set up is less than optimal - it sounds ok now as it is so there is potential to be unlocked I suspect.


Hi Darren,

Good stuff - I'm sure we can make things a bit better with the M3D than you're currently getting :)


only problem is when I move it back and forward it doesnt seem to have any impact


Although they are said to be better and more accurate, I'm not a fan of the 'thread & weight' type of bias adjustment. I like a dial that I can turn and see the setting as a numerical reading - it just gives you more confidence that things are set correctly. The anti-skate mechanism should be making a difference, though, even if you (seemingly) can't hear its effect, sonically.

Can you balance the arm using the counterweight?

If so, reduce VTF to zero and get the arm so that it's just 'floating' above the record surface and no more without touching it. When you've achieved that, you should notice the arm trying to pull towards either the end or the beginning of the record (unless the bias has been set to zero), and therefore adjusting the bias should bring the arm 'into line', keeping it still and just 'floating' above the record surface, providing that your deck is absolutely level.

If the arm doesn't respond as per above, the anti-skate mechanism is jammed or broken!

Marco.

DSJR
18-05-2009, 07:30
Dial in bias is usually on a spring affair, although some better arms have a magnetic system.

The thread and weight system should work, unless the arm bearings have gone notchy of stiff. perhaps the weight is binding in the housing?

Marco, a very kind online friend has taken pity on me - watch this space......

Marco
18-05-2009, 07:37
Nice one, Dave. What arm are you going to be using, incidentally, with your M3D?

Yep, there's definitely something up with the bias adjustment on the Alphason if things are as Darren describes, which could explain partly why the sound isn't right with his M3D.

Marco.

DSJR
18-05-2009, 08:48
I can't use the Duall I suspect, as although the mass isn't as low as I thought, it's not rigid enough (although the two mc's I'm currently playing with [MC30 Super and Stilton? OC9] have very well damped bodies that don't upset the arm at all).

I have a good Rega R200 (bias still works) awaiting wiring at Audio Origami (either from arm to amp or go the whole hog and re-do the lot in one piece from socket to phono plugs). This should work well on the Technics I reckon, either with Rega's plastic spacer or with an AO metal spacer I've seen him make for it on his excellent site.

The other arm is an unknown quantity. It's from a Kenwood KD750 and needs a full re-wire. Apart from slightly tight horizontal bearings (as noted in a 'Choice review as well as mine), the arm seemed to perform well and I love the drill-chuck arrangement for arm height.

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q8/DSJR_photos/KenwoodArm3.jpg

Respect to Paul (Pulse Studio) for the arm and photo....... This arm needs a bit more room thasn the SL150 can provide, so I'll put it on the TD125 when I get that one going.

DSJR
20-05-2009, 15:24
Well, the (now VERY good) internet pal has sent me a "Finetone" N21 stylus and after messing around with screw lengths and adding some lead ballast to the Dual headslide I balanced it up, set tracking weight to 2 grammes, cued up and off I went!

The diamond looks like something out of a 50's autochanger - not the cantilever so much, which is a bit neater than the Shure original, but the shank is very (unfashionably) long on the cantilever and you can see the tiny diamond chip stuck on the end. Looking under a microscope shows the quality of the diamond polish to be very good on this one and rather better than an Empre 2000E IV I was given recently, which was supposed to have an eliptical tip profile (yeah, right...).

You know, it's not a bad cartridge at all, even in my lashup. I played with a B&O SP14 with similar conical tip and 2g tracking and it was as dull as ditchwater. Changing to the calibrated and far superior SP12 eliptical stylus (at 1.2g) added a little sparkle and superb tracking, but still rather muffled. The M3D/21 isn't anything like that at all!!!!

First listening on a little played but hooribly cut Elton John LP (Rock Of The Westies) showed that playing the upper part of the groove works wel with pressings made from worn-out stampers, any other special line tip getting too deep and having too much bass distortion. The N21 stylus clears the bass distortion completely, the mid is reminiscent of the Decca in its immediacy and the top end is a bit unrefined but not in the least bit fierce or spitty, which I found a surprise. The treble is held to side end as well, something else I wasn't expecting.

The other thing which amazed me frankly was the sense of depth and reverb, which other, more recent Shures just don't seem to "do."

To conclude on first listening, I'd say things got worse for Shure when the M44/55 series came along, these latter models sounding both dull and sharp at the same time. Even the V15 II needed a good few years of development into the era III version to get a coherent character. The M3D/N21 is a forgotten classic (Yes, you're right Marco!!!:lol:) amd I look forward to giving it some when I can afford to get one of the arms sorted and mounted on the Tecchie.....

To quote Mr Spock, "Fascinating!!!" :)


P.S. No needle talk on this sample to speak of, but the counterweight is so far out the back I can't get the lid on when I've finished...................................

Barry
20-05-2009, 16:04
To conclude on first listening, I'd say things got worse for Shure when the M44/55 series came along, these latter models sounding both dull and sharp at the same time. Even the V15 II needed a good few years of development into the era III version to get a coherent character. The M3D/N21 is a forgotten classic (Yes, you're right Marco!!!:lol:) and I look forward to giving it some when I can afford to get one of the arms sorted and mounted on the Tecchie.....

To quote Mr Spock, "Fascinating!!!" :)


P.S. No needle talk on this sample to speak of, but the counterweight is so far out the back I can't get the lid on when I've finished...................................

First of all your expression that I have highlighted is precisely the definition of an oxymoron (from the Greek oxys: sharp and moron: dull), that is, an obvious and nonsensical contradiction.

But seriously, I'm finding this debate fascinating as the M3D was my first cartridge, which was then replaced with an M55E. Both were used in an SME, with the M3D tracking at 4g and the 55E at, I think, 1.5g. At the time (35 years ago) I thought the M55E was significantly better. Unfortunately I no longer have the M3D (fitted with whatever was the standard issue stylus: N3D?) but still have a sample of a 55E. I ought to revisit the 55E to see if it sounds as bad as you say, but I'm not sure if I can be bothered, if it really does sound that bad vis a vis modern cartridges.

Knowing that the M3D, has a low compliance (4cu according to my 1971 Hi Fi Yearbook), maybe the SME was innapropriate (I calculate the LF resonance to be close to 17Hz) and additional mass should have been added to the cartridge. Also, I wonder if the interest being shown in the likes of Ortofon SPUs, EMTs, early Deccas etc. as well as the M3D, is because they are of low compliance and are fitted with conical tipped stylii. I have yet to be convinced on the use of alnico magnets, but am open to persuasion.

Regards
Barry

The Grand Wazoo
20-05-2009, 16:53
First of all your expression that I have highlighted is precisely the definition of an oxymoron (from the Greek oxys: sharp and moron: dull), that is, an obvious and nonsensical contradiction.

It's a bit like the derivation of the word 'Politics'

Poly meaning many........
and ticks being parasitic insects.

Or:

'Expert'

Where an Ex is a has-been
and a Spurt is an uncontrollable drip.

Barry
20-05-2009, 16:59
It's a bit like the derivation of the word 'Politics'

Poly meaning many........
and ticks being parasitic insects.

Or:

'Expert'

Where an Ex is a has-been
and a Spurt is an uncontrollable drip.

:lolsign:

Barry

Marco
20-05-2009, 17:36
Hi Dave,

Great news - nice one :)

You should've known yer uncle Marco knows best... :eyebrows: ;)

Seriously though, you had ME at one point questioning if I was hearing things or not, such was the severity of your 'anti-M3D-ness'!! :lol:

I'll add some further comment later when I've got more time. I'm sure the best is yet to come with yours, so enjoy!

Marco.

DSJR
20-05-2009, 19:23
I have an M55E mk2 with the drop down stylus guard and will play with that as and when.

What I meant by the sound of the above being soft and sharp was that the M55 and V15 II have a severe suckout followed by a massive peak at around 16 - 19KHz, which has the deleterious effect of overloading many phono stages on surface ticks and pops. I found the M55E to have almost a tinsel effect which I didn't really like. The ADCs' generally sweet neutrality is far to my taste.

I'm looking forward to getting the Techie going.

P.S. I tried the N21D at 2.5 grammes and heard little difference on a quick listen, so 2 grammes it'll stay for now.

Barry
20-05-2009, 19:56
I have an M55E mk2 with the drop down stylus guard and will play with that as and when.

What I meant by the sound of the above being soft and sharp was that the M55 and V15 II have a severe suckout followed by a massive peak at around 16 - 19KHz, which has the deleterious effect of overloading many phono stages on surface ticks and pops. I found the M55E to have almost a tinsel effect which I didn't really like. The ADCs' generally sweet neutrality is far to my taste.

I'm looking forward to getting the Techie going.

P.S. I tried the N21D at 2.5 grammes and heard little difference on a quick listen, so 2 grammes it'll stay for now.

Interesting, both of the M55Es I had/have do not have a drop stylus guard - in fact I didn't know there was a Mk II version. Perhaps I will have to relisten to my sample after all. After trying the M55E, the next Shure cartridges I used were the V15 II (imp), then the V15 III, whereupon my interest in Shures ended. I had by that time been introduced to the Ortofon SL15E and was switching my allegiance to ADC, which I think are better designs (I still have the 10E IV, 25 and 26 models).

Out of curiosity, how much additional mass are you using with the M3D and what is the effective mass of your Dual(?) arm?

Regards
Barry

Marco
01-06-2009, 21:46
Dave,

Have you missed Barry's post above, matey? :)

Marco.

DSJR
01-06-2009, 22:11
Apologies - yes, I missed it.......

The Dual has an effective mass of around 15 grammes I think (judging from a review of it's somehow less substantial replacement, the 704). the arm-resonances are distributed across the upper midband and with some cartridges like the B&O SP12 I have (with 1/2" mounting bracket) and a Pickering V15 TE I bought initially for the GL75, the handling "feedback noises" are horrendous. Interestingly, with the MC's I have it doesn't happen, nor with the ADC's/Sonus Blue to any extent.

I had some lead weights that I'd picked up from various far eastern cartridges way back in the seventies and I used a broad oblong one I found, which I estimate at 5 grammes. The total mass is almost too high for the counterweight to handle and although I was getting great results, I've been playing with various successes with the other "newbie" cartridges in my collection.

The lasting effect for now is of a big, generously hearted cartridge with midrange depth and delicacy it really shouldn't have. Since this is my first experience of the N21 version, I suspect this must have something to do with it. Shame is, the N21 deserves an EJ style tip - better than a conical but not a "full" eliptical in the traditional sense. Even so, The Finetone edition N21 stylus tracks well right through to side end and is great on older and possibly worn records (those UK pressed Epic and WEA LP's from the mid 70's are often hideous with a fine-line stylus as I suspect the grooves are too shallow...).

I found the M55E II, which came along in this form around the early eighties IIRC. The cantilever is crushed so I can't use it, but if you look on many of the US styli sites, you'll see the transparent stylus guard if an original is pictured. The next big thing could be the M75-6S that found its way into the later Garrard SP25 IV. Apparently, the basic body mount can be more solid than the upper-model M75's which come unstuck and the open body style can take practically any of the era's Shure styli - M75/91 series etc. to the V15 III series apparently.

The thing is, ADC's have a magic in the mid which I like very much. I found a new VLM Mk2 stylus and compared it to the XLM III and ZLM I have (same body for the test). The VLM has an "energy" to it which I think Marco would like, but I have to say that the XLM III with tapered cantilever and good quality tip and the ZLM with its fine-line one do have the edge in delicacy. The MC's I've been playing with have the potential to eat them alive though.

I'm reserving full judgement on the M3D/M21 until I have a more suitable arm/deck for it.

Barry
01-06-2009, 23:08
Apologies - yes, I missed it.......

The Dual has an effective mass of around 15 grammes I think (judging from a review of it's somehow less substantial replacement, the 704). the arm-resonances are distributed across the upper midband and with some cartridges like the B&O SP12 I have (with 1/2" mounting bracket) and a Pickering V15 TE I bought initially for the GL75, the handling "feedback noises" are horrendous. Interestingly, with the MC's I have it doesn't happen, nor with the ADC's/Sonus Blue to any extent.

I had some lead weights that I'd picked up from various far eastern cartridges way back in the seventies and I used a broad oblong one I found, which I estimate at 5 grammes. The total mass is almost too high for the counterweight to handle and although I was getting great results, I've been playing with various successes with the other "newbie" cartridges in my collection.



Hello Dave,
Thanks for your reply. I am puzzled by the lack of 'handling noise' you find with the ADCs/Sonus. Assuming a cartridge mass of 5g for the B&O SP12 and with a compliance of 25cu, using this cartridge in your Dual arm would place the LF resonance at around 7Hz, which might explain your findings. However the ADC/Sonus have a similar mass and compliance, yet you report no problem, despite the LF resonance being too low. :confused: Moving coil cartridges usually have a lower compliance, though not low enough to move the LF resonance to say 10Hz, so :scratch:.

When I had the M3D, I used it in an SME. It was fitted with the standard 'cooking' N3D stylus. I calculate that under these conditions it would have had an LF resonance of ~17Hz; this time too high. So using it in a higher mass arm with some additional mass makes sense.

I still intend to give the M55E a spin but it is slipping down my list of priorities.

Regards
Barry

DSJR
02-06-2009, 09:09
The low frequency resonance is something to do with HOW MUCH as well as what frequency I think.

The Dual arm has a tuned counterweight (the main mass is suspended on a spring of somsort inside the cage to cancel out as much as possible any reactions with the chassis suspension) and this minimises the huge rise at resonance apparently. The "handling feedback" I refer to is a structural microphony whan I man-handle the headshell area and with the Pickering it's very severe. The ADC varients don't seem to do this and neither do the V15's or the heavier MC's.

The M3D would have a truly MASSIVE arm/cart resonance I suspect and an SME (even the pre-improved) would struggle to contain this I reckon. used with a very heavy arm with solid headshell as Marco does, should reduce the resonant frequency as well as the amplitude. The N21 stylus does seem a slightly finer and better damped device altogether, judging from my non Shure replacement.

Regarding arm-cartridge resonant frequency, an old pal of mine (Graham Holliman) used to use a Sansui direct drive (the one with the best W&F figures in an Angus MacKenzie test) with an ADC XLM - the very highly compliant one - and weight the headshell down even further, giving a resonant frequency of 5 Hz. Surprisingly, the thing was quite stable on most discs and on well recorded Decca pressings of things like Kings College Cambrige Choir, the sound through his JBL Paragon clones was palpable, if extremely coloured - the atmosphere of the venue easily felt as well as heard. Inserting a 20Hz filter as many phono stages do made the sound more "mechanical" somehow.......

Barry
02-06-2009, 16:25
The low frequency resonance is something to do with HOW MUCH as well as what frequency I think.

The Dual arm has a tuned counterweight (the main mass is suspended on a spring of somesort inside the cage to cancel out as much as possible any reactions with the chassis suspension) and this minimises the huge rise at resonance apparently. The "handling feedback" I refer to is a structural microphony whan I man-handle the headshell area and with the Pickering it's very severe. The ADC varients don't seem to do this and neither do the V15's or the heavier MC's.

The M3D would have a truly MASSIVE arm/cart resonance I suspect and an SME (even the pre-improved) would struggle to contain this I reckon. Used with a very heavy arm with solid headshell as Marco does, should reduce the resonant frequency as well as the amplitude. The N21 stylus does seem a slightly finer and better damped device altogether, judging from my non Shure replacement.

Regarding arm-cartridge resonant frequency, an old pal of mine (Graham Holliman) used to use a Sansui direct drive (the one with the best W&F figures in an Angus MacKenzie test) with an ADC XLM - the very highly compliant one - and weight the headshell down even further, giving a resonant frequency of 5 Hz. Surprisingly, the thing was quite stable on most discs and on well recorded Decca pressings of things like Kings College Cambrige Choir, the sound through his JBL Paragon clones was palpable, if extremely coloured - the atmosphere of the venue easily felt as well as heard. Inserting a 20Hz filter as many phono stages do made the sound more "mechanical" somehow.......

Ah, if your refering to noises heard just be simply handling the arm/cartridge combination (presumably with the volume turned up), then this is more difficult to explain. The microphony must be due to vibrational forces somehow causing the cartridge to generate a signal. And for that to happen, the stylus/cantilever has to move relative to the body of the cartridge/headshell/arm. This is more likely to happen with cartridges having a high compliance un-damped suspension, but I would have thought it would require a very high cantilever/stylus mass - or have I missed something? :scratch:

Graham Holliman - now there's a name from the past! Infra-bass and all that. I could never understand how he prevented his low LF tuned arm/cartridge from being upset by the infra bass frequencies he claimed to be able to reproduce, or did he have the TT in another room?

Barry

hifi_dave
02-06-2009, 18:35
I don't remember him ever managing to produce any 'infra-bass'. All I remember is him getting very angry when we didn't like the sound he produced after having the whole day to set things up just the way he wanted.:lolsign:

Darrenw
06-06-2009, 19:56
MArco

any news on how your m3d does re needle talk - I am suspecting its influenced by my alcove but can;t imagine its all to do with that - might take the stylus out and start again to try setting it up from scratch

rgds
darren

Marco
06-06-2009, 20:12
Hi Darren,

How's it going? I can report that it doesn't sound anything like what your describing... You can try setting things up again but I reckon it's your alcove.

Did you get your anti-skating issues sorted out?

Marco.

Darrenw
07-06-2009, 19:28
its going round in circles I think - will leave it til I can get a second opinion

have added a bit more weight today to see what that does a penny on the head and a couple on the weight - looks a little odd to the causual observer to say the least now

rgds
darren

SPS
07-06-2009, 19:35
Mine sings along quite loud too..
it is the needle.. the arm is well damped

is it a good sign? i'd guess i could tape a horn of an old wind up gramaphone to it ...and get quite a sound

mine's been resting this week.. a much more modern cartridge is playing

a (very rare i think?) dynavector 30a from 1981.. it tracks better than i've been able to get the m3 to .. and sounds almost as good

steve

DSJR
07-06-2009, 19:52
My N21 has a very much smaller diameter cantilever to the standard N3D one the cartridge came with (diamond and shank weren't there) and I get little to no needle talk.

Re Infra Bass, Graham (who's an old pal of mine) made some interesting points - perhaps for the wrong reasons I don't know. For example, he was changing coupling caps on Naim amps long before it became fashionable in some circles to do so. His reasoning was the start the bass rolloff at 5Hz max, rather than 10Hz as standard. He also showed me the massive phase shifts caused by Naims old HF filter (all but cured with the 72/102/82/52 and modern replacements I think). I also remember the IMF pro Monitors going down flat to 14Hz (door rattling frequency) and fairly well down to 10Hz although this was more of a pressure wave (no wonder our master-copy of DSOTM made my ears pump in and out on the heartbeat).

I did a better setup of my M3D today, fitting it into a better headslide, reducing the extra mass a little and changing the fixing screws. You know, this really is a good cartridge with the N21 stylus and it certainly sounds great on the current batch of LP's I've been playing (the Dual should be a 1019 rather than the 701 really). The ADC's are still slightly "cleaner" but lack that "push" that the M3D/N21 and Supex have. I'll tell you summat again though, some original 1970's rock/jazz-rock LP's I have sound pretty dire, lacking any bass and "scale."

MartinT
07-06-2009, 20:13
I also remember the IMF pro Monitors going down flat to 14Hz (door rattling frequency) and fairly well down to 10Hz although this was more of a pressure wave (no wonder our master-copy of DSOTM made my ears pump in and out on the heartbeat).

I converted a pair of IMF Professional Monitors for bi-amping for a friend some 30 years ago. He ran them with a superb pair of ultra-rare Dynavector valve monoblocks and a Radford hybrid power amp. They had wonderful midrange communication and could certainly create pressure waves in the bass. I remember those Dynavectors fondly and have never seen them mentioned since.

SPS
07-06-2009, 21:03
Just to add,
mine is using the n21 stylus, the turntable is mounted in a corner so that may be adding some horn loading to the needle talk..

cheers steve

Darrenw
08-06-2009, 17:28
one option I have is to take it out of the alcove to see what that does to the needle talk but as one on here pointed out - why would you listen to the record spinning without the amps on too - if it isnt bothering the record then I am not too bothered I guess

mine is N21 as well steve

darren

TheMooN
06-07-2009, 09:32
I'm hoping to give this combo a spin shortly once I have sorted a suitable armboard ~




http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w220/Tsushima1/P10005162.jpg

Marco
06-07-2009, 13:48
Nice one.

Looks very interesting, Roger - keep us posted! :smoking:

Marco.

Barry
06-07-2009, 16:21
Oh! - nice, looks like a modern (Jelco) version of the original Ortofon RS212.

TheMooN
06-07-2009, 17:31
Oh! - nice, looks like a modern (Jelco) version of the original Ortofon RS212.

Half a Ceeegarrr there bdh :) ~ It is an Ortofon RS-212 , I just polish it a lot !

DSJR
06-07-2009, 19:10
They don't arf fetch a lot of dosh these days. Hope you like it ;)

A quickie regarding the N21 stylus... Mine has a much smaller (but still chunky) cantilever compared to the N3D original (with diamond yanked out...). is this the case with anyone else who has the N21?

TheMooN
06-07-2009, 19:36
I was planning on a spare N21D however they seem to be $21.95 + $30 + Shipping + approx 20% duties /fees etc etc , kinda adds up :(

SPS
06-07-2009, 20:09
I was planning on a spare N21D however they seem to be $21.95 + $30 + Shipping + approx 20% duties /fees etc etc , kinda adds up :(


hi.. have quite a few vintage nos 'finetone' n21d i would let them go for 17 inc p/p
pm if your interested

thanks steve

Barry
06-07-2009, 23:00
Half a Ceeegarrr there bdh :) ~ It is an Ortofon RS-212 , I just polish it a lot !

Goodness, I've never seen one looking that good before! Are you sponsored by Duraglit?

SPS
07-07-2009, 21:53
i refitted the m3d back into my tonearm tonight and lost a few hours setting / adjusting and generally playing about..

i had replaced it with a vintage dynavector 30a, it was a close thing, the dynavector tracked a little better, the m3d a little more bolder/fuller sounding with just a little less detail..

the set up is fidelity research fr64s sw,( with the s/steel arm tube) thorens 124 and an 18 gram headshell.. some may have heard it at the wigwam show
this year it sounded very well in my veiw..

i was wondering how 'mass' affected the performance of the m3d
i had used the cart with a 2p ( around 7 grams) blue tacked to the headshell, with no real improvement

any way i found a 3" length of 5/16 stud, it weighed in at 30 grams i blue tacked it above the arm tube lengthways, i just managed to balance it...

i was so shocked by the improvent in performance i took it off and tried it without and then replaced it again..
the speed, transients and fine detail all showed real improvements..

this cartridge was not designed for todays tonearms...it really needs holding steady.. but what a sound, a genuine improvement..

i think a very high mass diy tonearm is in the pipeline..

steve

TheMooN
08-07-2009, 05:44
i think a very high mass diy tonearm is in the pipeline..

steve

Most Interesting Steve as I hope to borrow a friends TD124 for my own dabbling

Length of Lead Pipe next then !