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MessagePosté le: Mer 29 Avr - 19:57 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Salut,
Il y a quelques jours j'ai posté ceci sur le site :

... sur la cellule AT120e on peut aussi installer une pointe de l'AT125 qui a un profil Line Contact (similaire Shibata). J'en ai commandé une chez le canadien pour 27$CAD  Exclamation mais j'ai toujours pas de réponse Sad ?

Bon, j'avais déjà désepéré de recevoir quelque chose, mais ce matin je reçois un colis avec ma commande de chez www.canadianastatic.com  Laughing . J'ai commandé une pointe de lecture ATN125LC mais je reçois une qui est marquée ATP-5 Shocked   wondering  . J'examine le diamant, il s'agit bien d'une pointe diamant nu et de profil cela me semble bien être du shibata. Je fixe cela sur le boîtier de l'AT120 et .... Shocked Shocked Shocked  ... j'adore j'adore j'adore  ... musique musique musique ... génial! Sans rodage cette cellule sonne superbe superbe et bat la pointe 120 de pleines coutures! Pour 30 $CAD (20 €) c'est tout simplement une très très bonne affaire !!

En recherchant sur le net on trouve très peu sur la cellule ATP-5, il semblerait qu'elle soit identique à l'ancienne AT135e (5Hz-30kHz!!), peut-être quelqu'un en sait plus sur cette cellule Question

hats off  Mario
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 30 Avr - 07:06 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Mario, I think that you got an incredible deal. Shibata styli are very nice indeed. From looking at a few old Audio Technica cartridges, I think that if a stylus fits a particular body, you can pretty much assume that it is compatible with the body and will work properly.

Audio Technica made a few hundred cryptic "private label" cartridges. It can be very difficult to find proper needles for them. So, you are in luck.

Note that Canadian Astatic is a real estate company that bought the stock from Canadian Astatic. One secretary takes care of stylus sales. They are just selling off that old stock of needles; they don't make any new ones. I think that the original Canadian Astatic just imported styli from the Astatic Company in the USA. I don't know if the secretary is able to tell whether individual needles are manufacturer's originals that are re-packaged, or if they are Astatic copies.

It is important to treat AT needles carefully. They are very easy to bend and break.

The frequency response of the stylus is not critical. What is important is just that it sounds correct on music that we can hear.
This is just some explanation: the fact that you are happy with the needle is what matters.
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 30 Avr - 21:51 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Hello Richard,

Many thanks for your precious advice! Indeed I am quite puzzled by this stylus. It does fit the AT120 body perfectly, but it confers to the cartridge a very different character. It is less bright than the AT120 stylus and displays a lot more authority in mid-bass and bass region. The response is also more flat all over the audible spectrum. The musical presentation is a whole more coherent than with the smaller ellipticals I have around. What it keeps from the AT120 is the punch, so I am not missing anything so far..

The stylus body is in a blue color (same as the AT135E) and carries the AT logo, brandname and ATP-5 model name. I imagine it is a genuine AT stylus body.

Canadian Astatic did not communicate at all when asked for clarification on the models, they just sent the styluses I ordered (the AT one and a Goldring 800E) on time and at correct price. No problem, but now I can understand the strange before sale behaviour. The styluses were nicely packed into small plastic 'Astatic' boxes with the inventory number and product code handwritten  on the back. I guess they were in stock long before the advent of home computers and Bill Gates ;-).

I don't have a microscope to have a closer look at the tip. With the 10x lens I can see the diamond is nude but not sure if square base. The cantilever is thicker and of conical shape. The AT120's cantilever is a straight pipe. Because of color marks on the cantilever I suspect that in fact it is a retipped or special version of the stylus. The Astatic product code is AT145qd (qd= quadrophony)

However you are perfectly right: the result is what matters and there I am not disappointed, on the contrary ! (but cartridge hunting is fun too!)

Kind Regards
Mario
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MessagePosté le: Ven 1 Mai - 01:53 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Great, Maco.

As you're discovering, the sound of a cartridge can be more the sound of its needle than the cartridge body itself. The large improvement that you're hearing is the result of a few factors, all in the stylus assembly, of course.
- Higher compliance
- The Shibata tip shape
- and to a lesser extent, I'm assuming, the way that the diamond is mounted.

As you know, the Shibata shape is complicated. I classify this tip as a version of the parabolic group, and I group parabolics into two general groups: 1st generation and 2nd generation. "Line contact" styli are in the second generation. The complicated shapes are in either group; it's not critical. As far as listening goes, the differences between the two groups are subtle. What you can expect, though, is quieter background noise and better high-frequency resolution. Also, smoother tonal balance. Record wear tends to be better. I believe, however, that when one of these needles begins to wear out, it will do extensive, permanent damage to the groove. So it's important to refrain from over-using it.

I have never known whether Audio Technica has made their own stylus assemblies or if they've purchased them. A manufacturer can also buy the diamond tip, or buy the diamond with cantilever as a unit. I have a few styli like this, in fact, made by a long-gone aftermarket needle manufacturer. I've long suspected that AT either bought needles outright, or made them up from tip+cantilever assemblies. A cartridge maker is not neccessarily a needle maker. Shure has been reputed to have purchased their entire needles from one or two aftermarket needle companies.

Regarding the authenticity of cartridge bodies: I have never seen an imitation of these, except in only one or two cases involving cheap ceramic replacements. And of these, the imitations exist because the original manufacturer is long gone.

If you think about it, it makes good business sense for a cartridge manufacturer to make as few cartridge bodies as possible, but to make wide varieties of styli for them. Stanton/Pickering is my all-time favorite because of the ease of stylus interchange as well as clarity of their designations. Quality was excellent, too. I'd say that Ortofon has been as good, and almost as extensive. I can't talk with much authority about Ortofon because of having almost no experience with the brand. Shure made it hard to interchange styli with bodies because they made them impossible to fit together through the use of obstructive plastic shrouds. So they purposely took exactly the opposite approach that Stanton did. I think that AT had a philosophy somewhere between the two. AT's designs, though, usually don't allow quick, safe, stylus changes.

If I have any expertise about phonograph cartridges, it is partly because the detective work has been so fascinating. It's endless.
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MessagePosté le: Mer 29 Juil - 14:47 (2009)    Sujet du message: Mon ATPN5 n'est pas un shibata Répondre en citant

Crying or Very sad   en voici les preuves par microscope :









Le profil (vu d'en haut) est d'une pointe elliptique. Comparée à la pointe ATN120E qui est .3x.7 celle-ci est plus grosse, donc probablement .4x.7

Mais elle retire beaucoup de détail (mais moins que la DENON DL160!) et sonne fabuleusement bien, plus de corps, verve et impact. D'après mes recherches il s'agirait en fait d'un ancien système pro (broadcast et DJ) d'où sa compliance très basse <5. C'est peut-être cela, mariée au bras Jelco assez lourd, qui lui confère le caractère précis et autoritaire sans aller dans le roublard. J'applique 2g de VTF et cela suffit (on peut aller jusqu'à 4g).

Le vendeur au Canada me l'a envoyée au lieu de la AT125LC commandé au prix de 26 CAD. Je ne regrette pas à ce prix, et je l'utilise souvent pour les disques Rock et autres variétés. Pour ce genre de musique elle est très musicale et sonore.

Voilà

hats off Mario
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 30 Juil - 22:12 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Hi, Mario.

I must reply in English; this is the only language that I know well. I don't know French, but I know François. I read your post through Google Translate. I like the way that you describe the sound of cartridges.

I will confirm what you have observed about your stylus. The ATN-120E's dimensions are .4 x .7 mils (100 x 180, metric). And as you have reported, I think that this is a very good size for playing all forms of popular music, including rock. It gives an outstanding signal-noise ratio with this material. It is also a very good tip size for playing 45 rpm records, although for mono 45s, I prefer the rare 1.0 mil conical tip (25um).

Aftermarket stylus manufacturers/distributors had their own methods for classifying diamond tip sizes. Sometimes, their classfications were better than the systems used by original manufacturers. For example, the letter "Q" was probably used for all needles that were more sophisticated than the "E" (ellipticals). The reason for "Q" is that it stood for "quadraphonic." The best quadraphonic system used a radio-frequency signal to carry the rear channels, which required a specially-shaped diamond. Thus, the first elongated elliptical tip was developed for this purpose by a man named Shibata; his shape is sophisticated.

Note, however, that these systems do not distinguish between the ellipticals' tracing radii, and the differences between elliptical tip dimensions are quite audible. For example, a .3 x .7 tip is 50% wider than a .2 x .7 tip. And although the .2 x .7 was regarded for many years as the ultimate audiophile tip size, in general, I prefer the .3 x .7. Interestingly, among Stanton's products, for a long time, the "best" Stantons had the .2 x .7 tip, whereas the "best" Pickering tips were .3 x .7.

I've noticed that in many cases, the aftermarket stylus companies re-packaged geniune Audio Technica styli rather than made their own imitations. The reason for this was probably that AT gave them exceptional prices. I don't believe that this was the case with other brands, although it has been obvious to me that, for example, replacement needles for Grado, were beyond the means of the aftermarket companies to fabricate with any economy. This was probably the same for B&O.

While I'm on this subject, I believe that I may have one extra 1.0 mil (250u) mono LP stylus that I can sell. It's a superb size for the earliest mono LPs and all mono 45s: brings out the music and suppresses a lot of the noise. This is for the Stanton 500/Pickering V15 cartridges. If you're interested, please holler, yodel, or send me smoke signals (I'll see if Google can translate from French smoke signals).
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MessagePosté le: Ven 31 Juil - 16:57 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Hi Richard,

I always appreciate your valuable information on the subject, it helps me a lot to understand when trying to discern in the vast offer of cartridges and styli available. I am just beginning and try to work the ladder up, first trying to get best the out of "common" carts like AT120 and the Denon DL160 which are in my understanding already outstanding in their price range. I also have some ordinary vintage stuff like ADC, Empire, Goldring and an odd AT66 but soundwise there's no surprise ...
I will give the Stanton 680EEE another try by installing it on a lighter tonearm on my next L75 heavy plinth deck. Reading thru the reviews and forums it confirms what you said about it that it is a very fine cartridge. Maybe I just must get accustomed to the "moustache"  of the Stanton. Re Mono cart, actually I am not (yet) Mono, I do have some 33 rpm microgroove Mono recordings but no 78 at all. May be you can post your offer in the relevant section here.

Kind Regards hats off
Mario
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MessagePosté le: Ven 31 Juil - 23:19 (2009)    Sujet du message: Diamant Shibata Répondre en citant

Hi Mario,

Three things that I forgot to mention in my previous posts:

- I liked your photos, although I could not make out the tip very well. The precision workmanship of the AT cantilever is admirable. The Japanese seem to excell at their micro-precision. However, this, in itself, does not give us a superb cartridge or one that is practical.

- The view of a stylus that's essential is head-on (or from the rear). This is the view that matters, and it doesn't even have to be a nice picture: my most useful image is a simple shadowgraph because it has the best contrast. It's also the view that's used at Expert Stylus. What have you been using for a microscope? I have been struggling with the Mattel/Intel computer microscope (now marketed under the name "Digital Blue").

- The first "advanced" elliptical stylus shape was introduced to play the radio-signal quadraphonic records. So, this is the reason why a few of the aftermarket needle companies used the letter "Q" to designate stylus designs that came after ellipticals. It did not take long for the cartridge manufacturers to discover that this type of quadraphonic stylus delivered sonic advantages for ordinary stereo records, too. Shibata's task was to create a stylus that would deliver the ultra-high-frequency carrier wave for the rear channels without damaging the record groove at the same time.

We can get the best sound from a record when we use a stylus (or even a cartridge setup) tailored to the individual record. Obviously, we can cease to have any musical enjoyment if we carry this quest too far. Thus, it's best to come up with a system that each of us can live with, and I think that (at least for myself) the most satisfying approach is one of "enlightened compromises."

The playing of phonograph records consists of compromises no matter what. We're faced with geometric problems that fight each other. Amazingly, we can come up with amazingly good sound despite the deficiencies. One fact, though, is that there's no such thing as one single stylus that can play all long playing records properly. I say this because there were just enough changes in the way that the records were cut to prevent our getting the best sound from a single "universal stylus" or a single cartridge installation. Here's just one example:

In the stereo era, I think of three"sub-periods" of vertical tracking angles. In the beginning, the tilt of the cutter was slight, if at all. This was a transitional mono-to-stereo period. After that, the record industry adopted some sort of standard, and the cartridge makers standardized on a specific playback angle. This gave us Shure and Stanton's "V15" models. But the record cutters didn't sit still; they advanced their tip angles even more. Some cartridge makers compensated with angles of 21 degrees and greater. In my own mind, the really important angle is not so much the VTA but the Stylus Rake Angle. However, the two are inter-related. When we hear annoying distortion in complex music, it's probably because our vertical tracking angle is excessive; our sound will improve if we ensure that our cartridge is at least mounted flat. I sometimes think that I'll do even better if I tilt the entire cartridge backwards! But again, this is a matter of matching the stylus to what's in the groove.

I've come to believe that what matters most about how we play our records is not how good or bad the cartridge is, but how well our needle is matched to the record and how well we've aligned the cartridge and its stylus.

Regarding the cartridge brands you've named, I have a special dislike for the Empire brand that has nothing to do with the quality (their products were fine), but their method of marketing. Most of their cartridges were sold under "private label" numbers, which makes fitting the proper replacement stylus very difficult or altogether impossible. Shure and AT played the same game. Ironically, if you've got an Empire 999, I have a needle for you.

The brushes that came on many Pickering and Stanton cartridges do a very good job of removing dust. Dust is very bad for records: it does more damage to records and needles than most audiophiles realize. Stanton's brushes are un-grounded. They develop an electrostatic charge from the friction as they play, so the dust particles are attracted to, and stick to, the bristles. The charge in the record groove is neutralized by the grounded cantilever of the stylus assembly. The brush also gives a slight stabilizing action, but nothing on the order of Shure's brush assembly (which isn't as effective with dust).

I admit that once I figured out Stanton's sensible method of identifying their products, I found the designations of Empire, Shure, and AT to be time-wasters.

Well, I'll stop here. It's enough to think about.

Regards.

(c) 2009 Richard Steinfeld
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