OT: Stylus pressure

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Postby JV » Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:45 pm

The more complicated stylus shape (elliptical, hyper-elliptical, fine line, micro ridge) the more meticulous and EXACT setup is needed. They are also more detailed sounding and usually pick up less vinyl noise because they "read" the groove deeper than cheaper styli. But they are very picky and need almost microscopic setup and lots of fine tuning to sound great but once set, they just blow away the others by accurate and noisefree, dynamic and distortion-less sound. Va-va-voom! Wrong setup can obscure their sound completely.
Conical styli are not so dependent on exact setup but their sound is usually just generic, nothing special but usually adequate if you don't need to squeeze all the juices from your records.
Denon DL 103 however is an excellent and cheap cartridge and does have conical stylus. It's a legend among cartridges, not heard myself but all stories told are usually pure praise. It's a moving coil though and needs special amplification. But it's "cheap" around 100-200 € class.
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Postby BMC » Thu Dec 23, 2004 5:51 pm

And what about my questions re: Tracking force, Juha?
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Postby JV » Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:14 pm

Oh, tracking force or more exactly vertical tracking force is the same term as stylus pressure. Take my advice, buy a set of accessories: 1) stylus force measurement gauge, 2) a gauge or protractor for setting up the overhang and tangential angle of cartridge in order to achieve the optimal tracking angle for your records, 3) acquire a friend who can show you these things at your place with your own rig. You can read a lot of things in the Internet but a good lesson in real life is worth more than gold.

It's a shame these things are a bit complicated but it reflects the habits of the past years. Usability was not the thing manufacturers wanted to achieve because in those days retailers would come to your place and set them for you. These things are some kind of relics from the past. Setting up a seedee player is much easier :wink:

And one more thing about cartridges. In my opinion proper setup is the more important thing than the cartridge itself. It's perhaps 70 % of the sound. You can buy more percentages with more expensive gadgets, but setup determines the actual sound. If it's only jamaican music you listen to then for example Ortofon OM10 or AudioTechnica AT440 are very good choices. Ortofon Concord is very easy to set up if you have a tonearm with removable headshell. Almost forgot to mention Goldrings, their GX series is very very good but due to their complicated Gyger stylus they need exact alignment. I have never used Shures or Stantons nor Grados so I acn't say anything about them.
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Postby BMC » Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:44 pm

Thanks for the help, Juha! Useful as always. Cheers!

I just sent a question to Gemini about the ring for the counterweight (ie. whether these numbers on it refer to grams or just a scale with a total of 5 grams). This is apparantely quite important, conscidering Juha's remark above, for not making the pressure too low!
Last edited by BMC on Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Semi-Decent » Thu Dec 23, 2004 6:45 pm

Juha - nuff thanks for that info.

What you say about elliptical needles needing more complicated, meticulous and EXACT setup really hits home here... it seemed like my elliptical needle was especially fickle until I got everything setup just right.
(I finally broke out a level and realized my turntable was way outta whack)

I assuming you are saying spherical = conical then?

Care to respond to the following comment ?-?:

I've heard certain reggae vinyl junkies say that the conical stylus is better suited for reggae, mainly because conicals give a warmer sound and they handle the bass ends of reggae better (vs non-conical)...

If this is true - does this also mean that elliptical(non-conical?) needles are
more 'treble' oriented and less bass effective?

Hate to bug you on these ticky-tacky questions, but I gotta feeling you could clear some of these things up...
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Postby JV » Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:46 pm

I think the bass response has got very little to do with the needle shape. Frequency response is more dependent on how the coils and magnets are fixed. Technical engineering stuff I don't understand. Needle shape just assures the optimal tracking contact with the grooves. Spherical aka conical always track poorer because its contact with the grooves is not perfect. But things aren't always that simple, you can't just say something is better by its design. It's the overall quality of assembly that makes a good cartridge not just needle shape.
I remember that Stanton's especially emphasize bass, it plays bass that isn't exactly on the records. Some Shures exaggarete highs in order to have a good scratching touch "aaahh-fresssssshh". I prefer things neutral where everything's just right, nothing lacking, or nothing boosted.
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Postby Maarty » Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:10 pm

With your cartridge a tracking weight of 3 - 3.5 grams (and anti-skating of approx 2g) would be best suited for playing records at home. This should give the best results and lest wear (to both your records and the stylus). You should only increase the tracking weight of these cartridges if you are playing out (where feedback due to high volume and or vibration from poor staging etc are a problem), or if you intend to do a lot of scratching, and don't care for damaging your records

The 500 is a prefectly good dj cartridge. Keep in mind that these are dj cartridges and are not the best sounding overall, compared to highend audiophile cartridges. They are designed for dj's who want to scratch, back que and play at loud volumes on dj style turntables.
The problem's I had with the 500's is that they are not the best tracking cartridge around, they seem to wear quite fast (should be replaced every 6 mths if you play records every day, especially Jamaican vinyl) and also that the large plastic body surrounding the stylus can ride low clipping the record (especially at higher tracking weights) causing jumps or skips with warped records or Jamaican vinyl with ruff edges (from when the records are trimmed at the factory). Some dj's cut part of that plastic off (although I wouldn't). I now use the Ortofon DJ (the blue one) which is one of the best for dj's who ain't purely scratch dj's.

Respect
Maarty
---------------------------------------------------------
The following is taken from

http://www.dancetronics.com/ortofon/ortofaq.html

What is the difference between spherical and elliptical?

If you were to look at the needle from above, the spherical (sometimes called conical) would look like a circle, where the elliptical would look oval in shape. Ellipticals generally have a slightly better sound quality than sphericals. Keep in mind that DJ model cartridges are not the best sounding overall.

Which model(s) wear the records the least?

There is a lot of controversy about this question. Many say that spherical needles are easier on records than ellipticals. We really have no scientific proof to back up this claim. Most record wear comes from worn needles, excessive tracking force and improper anti-skate settings.

Which model is the most durable for DJ battling and other forms or hard use?

The DJ elliptical model, although the spherical is supposed to track better (according to scratch DJs).
Maarty
 

Postby jb welda » Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:17 pm

bmc youre making this way too complicated.

the counterweights on the end of your arm supply the tracking pressure or whatever you called it. 0 is 0 grams, 3 is 3 grams. there should be no magical adding of 2 grams to make the range from 2 to 5 if thats what youre asking. just set the thing to 3 grams and if it skips a lot increase it a bit. or get a little teeter-totter scale like juha advises, that measures the true pressure at the stylus tip for you.

stop stressing, it sounds like youre in the right ballpark just by the fact that you balanced your arm and set the counterweight to zero at that point. be SURE to move the weight with the ring with the numbers on it though...just moving the numbered ring wont do anything. the weight should move away from the cartridge/balance point as you turn the ring and weight to add to the tracking force.

one love
jah bill
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Postby BMC » Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:39 pm

jb welda wrote:bmc youre making this way too complicated.

the counterweights on the end of your arm supply the tracking pressure or whatever you called it. 0 is 0 grams, 3 is 3 grams. there should be no magical adding of 2 grams to make the range from 2 to 5 if thats what youre asking.


Hi Bill, thanks for the answer. What I in fact was wondering is that the manual says the counterweight for the stylus pressure (the adjust range) is from 0 - 5 gram. However, the ring itself goes from 0 - 3. What I thus was wondering is whether this 3 on the ring referred to 3 grams and so I have to turn it more than one round for the 3.5 g. or refers it just to the maximum, ie the 5 grams as written in the manual. I just looked howfar I could go up with the pressure by just continuing moving the weight forward after the '3' and I could go as far as two full rounds ('6' on the ring-scale) so I don't understand where that 0 - 5 range written in the manual comes from. Hope you get my point. I'll take your and Digi's word that the 3 just simply means 3 grams.

Cheers.
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Postby Semi-Decent » Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:09 pm

Hail Juha - Hail Maarty,

Really soaking up the info you have provided - lotz of interesting things typed by both of ya. Truly appreciated.
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Postby jb welda » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:41 am

bmc: the only thing i can add in way of clarification is that often manuals are incorrect for the exact piece of equipment they accompany, often because they are for an earlier, later, or different piece of equipment (but close enough) or because the text you read was cut and pasted from another manual (from something that was slightly different) and never corrected for the current piece of equipment or because of translation difficulty or just from sloppy editing.

i would trust the ring and more or less ignore the manual in this case, but dont disregard it altogether, its probably 99% correct.

one love
jah bill
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