Anyone Using Vintage Phono Cartridges?

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
#1
Just wondering if anyone here at The Haven uses vintage phono cartridges?

Things like old Shures, Empires, ADCs, Elacs, others?

I have a Shure V15 (the original, Type I) that sounds very nice. It won't displace the DL103 but it doesn't sound bad at all.

Anyone else? :)
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#4
No, not quite, but... I have a very vintage Shure (I think it is an M3D) on loan from one of the local gurus. These are held in seriously high repute in some circles. There's some arcana related to the "best" stylus (vintage Shure stock) to use with them, and I don't pretend to understand the nuance. I do know that the owner of this cartridge is someone with impeccable taste in hifi (and experience that's both deep and wide in the hobby) -- so, we'll see.
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
#5
mhardy6647;n18334 said:
No, not quite, but... I have a very vintage Shure (I think it is an M3D) on loan from one of the local gurus. These are held in seriously high repute in some circles. There's some arcana related to the "best" stylus (vintage Shure stock) to use with them, and I don't pretend to understand the nuance. I do know that the owner of this cartridge is someone with impeccable taste in hifi (and experience that's both deep and wide in the hobby) -- so, we'll see.
The M3D has certainly gained the reputation - with the price tag to match - as a serious contender against current competition.

I'm interested to read your listening impressions.
 

Redboy

Knobophobe
#12
It's a fine cartridge with very nice tone, but it's not the ultimate in resolution or dynamics. I like it, but I like my 103 better. My Shure doesn't get a lot of play time.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#13
FWIW, I still have my purchased-new Grado F1+ and FTE+1 (and I think they're both good sounding cartridges at their late 1970s price points -- the FTE+1 was $13 ca. 1979).
 
#14
mhardy6647;n18356 said:
FWIW, I still have my purchased-new Grado F1+ and FTE+1 (and I think they're both good sounding cartridges at their late 1970s price points -- the FTE+1 was $13 ca. 1979).
There sure going for more than that these days..... ;)
 
#15
Redboy;n18355 said:
It's a fine cartridge with very nice tone, but it's not the ultimate in resolution or dynamics. I like it, but I like my 103 better. My Shure doesn't get a lot of play time.
I have an M7. Have to determine if it has the N21D stylus.

What tracking force works best with your M3D?

And where did you get that headshell? :)

I've also got an ELAC STS240 (a variable reluctance cartridge according to the product sheet) that I have to try one of these days.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
#16
TubeHiFiNut;n18352 said:
I'm was thinking >40 years old.

Shure V15 III and older.
Empire 1000 ZE/X and older.
Older Stantons and Pickerings.

Shure M3D is right in the wheelhouse. :)
Considering how cartridges have rubber parts that like to get old and hard, and awfully tiny wires, and considering how many wonderful new cartridge are available, I guess I am missing the appeal.
 
#17
Prime Minister;n18361 said:
Considering how cartridges have rubber parts that like to get old and hard, and awfully tiny wires, and considering how many wonderful new cartridge are available, I guess I am missing the appeal.
Seems like there are some vintage cartridges in use here at The Haven.

Are there some gems in these vintage cartridges? Don't know until I listen.

Sometimes vintage high-end gear can appeal to me where newer gear misses the mark.
 

billfort

Administrator
Staff member
#18
'Vintage' is a little hard to define IMO but I think my DL103 might qualify as vintage. No, it certainly does not push my 'high-end' Zyx Airy-3 to the shelf - the Zyx is better in every way to me - but the Denon isn't going anywhere; a good old friend I like to have around.
 
#19
On my Dual 1219 is an SAE (Coral of Japan) HOMC with the line contact stylus. I also have an Empire 999TE/X in the spare shell. Waiting is an Empire 2000ZEX. Throw in a DL103C that has a broken cantilever.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#20
billfort;n18378 said:
'Vintage' is a little hard to define IMO but I think my DL103 might qualify as vintage. No, it certainly does not push my 'high-end' Zyx Airy-3 to the shelf - the Zyx is better in every way to me - but the Denon isn't going anywhere; a good old friend I like to have around.

Like the Grados (IMO, at any rate), I think that the DL-103 has to be considered, at least, meta-vintage ;-)
They (Denon, or their subcontractors, as the case may be) have been making them (DL-103s, that is) -- more or less unchanged, AFAIK -- since the early 1960s, so if nothing else, they can be considered living fossils, or at least living anachronisms (in a good way); colecanths of hifi. (again, in a good way).

I bought one of the "Comet Supply" DL-103s when the price was $118. I really (really) don't think, in the modern era, there is anything that will touch a DL-103 for the ability to transduce flesh-and-blood music into one's home at anything like that price.


spinnin1f by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
 
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