Conical Stylus for mono rekkids- suggestions please

Looking for hints and tips on decent conical styli to add to the collection. Would prefer to keep tracking at 2g or under. Nothing extravagant- this is going to be for older 45s and older mono records (until I decide if I will eventually go with a mono cart down the road).

I have a decent collection of cart bodies to start with- Ortofon OM, Audio Technica’s near-latest and ubiquitous body as used in the AT440 and other AT and Signet carts, Stanton 681 and 881, ADC (XLM, ZLM, Integra), Shure V15 IV/V, and some others.

Just a basic but quality conical, as stated mostly for 45s and a collection of old mono records as I debate if my mono collection is worthy a dedicated mono cart.
 

Dan ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Bear Without A Care
Just my 2 cents worth....but I have found the noise floor on old records is greatly reduced using a Shibata or Line Contact styli.
 
Just my 2 cents worth....but I have found the noise floor on old records is greatly reduced using a Shibata or Line Contact styli.
For old mono records too?

I have a lot of shibata and line contact and variants I use with favorable and much preferred results with stereo records.

The consensus seems to be for old styrene 45s and older mono records (pressed on a true mono lathe, and sporting the “U” shaped groove vs later stereo and mono cut on stereo lathe “V” groove).
 

Dan ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Bear Without A Care
I own lots of mono records....which many were cut with a 1 mil pitch....but I still prefer the Shibata or Micro Line profiles, because they go deeper in the groove and are away from surface scratches and other noise. I also use the mono switch to reduce noise further.
 

1tumbleweed

Junior Member
.7 Mil is fine for vinyl 45s, but dangerous on styrene. I've had loads of experience with both, having grown up with many of both. All ex-jukebox copies (my dad was in the coin machine biz). I've ruined styrene 45s with a single play on a .7 mil stylus.
 
I own lots of mono records....which many were cut with a 1 mil pitch....but I still prefer the Shibata or Micro Line profiles, because they go deeper in the groove and are away from surface scratches and other noise. I also use the mono switch to reduce noise further.
Interesting! Thanks for the feedback.
 
.7 Mil is fine for vinyl 45s, but dangerous on styrene. I've had loads of experience with both, having grown up with many of both. All ex-jukebox copies (my dad was in the coin machine biz). I've ruined styrene 45s with a single play on a .7 mil stylus.
What do you recommend?
 

1tumbleweed

Junior Member
Depends on the life it's had. 1 mil for baseline, but if ML works, then go for it. I just think styrene 45s are a waste of plastic, though if that's what there is, then that's what it is. I'd love to know how many pennies they saved using styrene - that, and printing the label right on the plastic instead of a paper label. I remember a Dionne Warwick I ruined with a single play!

Full disclosure: I disposed of my 45s - some 2000 of them - many years ago. Don't miss 'em.
 
Depends on the life it's had. 1 mil for baseline, but if ML works, then go for it. I just think styrene 45s are a waste of plastic, though if that's what there is, then that's what it is. I'd love to know how many pennies they saved using styrene - that, and printing the label right on the plastic instead of a paper label. I remember a Dionne Warwick I ruined with a single play!

Full disclosure: I disposed of my 45s - some 2000 of them - many years ago. Don't miss 'em.
I just cleaned up a bunch- maybe 100?

I figure one play and see what makes the cut. Many likely won’t. The few that do will probably be converted to digital files.

The only exceptions are the more modern 45s that come with special edition albums or unique 45s issued during primarily the 90’s through current days. Those are not styrene, and seem to be a different beast in their print as well. They do fine with my elliptical and line contacts.
 
@Deli , There are outstanding mono styli available for the Stanton 681/680 series. First, any Pickering XV-15 stylus also fits perfectly.

The 1 mil/25 micron, conical spherical stylus would be a genuine Pickering D-4510 or Stanton D-6810. These are my recommendation for early mono EP, LP, 45rpm discs (pre-1967). While a .7 conical will work with early mono discs, the 1 mil tips are cleaner sounding with the wider grooved discs. I make this comment from practical, empirical experiences.

Finding 1 mil spherical styli for your other carts will be much more difficult and/or expensive. Many professional transcribers use the Stanton 681 and more than a few still use the Stanton 500. Stanton 500, like Pickering V15 carts and styli are less expensive than the 680 series.

If you check the more modern, mono capable carts, it's a rare one which comes with a 25 micron/1 mil tip. The Grado mono carts began with 1 mil tips, even an elliptical 1 mil stylus. Later offerings reverted back to the .7 mil tip. Beware of this if you are hoping for the cleanest sound.

Check the www.esotericsound.com site. They have a carts and styli page specifically for the semi-pro and pro transcription duties. Note the prices for the stylus model #s I have mentioned. This should help you decide what level of investment you need or want...

Enjoy the early discs...They are surprisingly good sounding using the right cart/stylus, as well as the correct preamp phono EQ curves for those pre-RIAA discs.

While the line contact and Shibata tips can elicit more detail from the early mono discs sometimes, a 1 mil conical/spherical tip will sound great with all early mono LP, EP and 45 discs.

Lastly, for those lurkers confused about conical vs. spherical, note that a conical looks like a tapered, pointy tip. A genuine spherical will have a more rounded tip, polished so it won't bottom out in the dirt/wear near the bottom of the grooves. Keep on spinnin' and groovin'...
 
@Deli , There are outstanding mono styli available for the Stanton 681/680 series. First, any Pickering XV-15 stylus also fits perfectly.

The 1 mil/25 micron, conical spherical stylus would be a genuine Pickering D-4510 or Stanton D-6810. These are my recommendation for early mono EP, LP, 45rpm discs (pre-1967). While a .7 conical will work with early mono discs, the 1 mil tips are cleaner sounding with the wider grooved discs. I make this comment from practical, empirical experiences.

Finding 1 mil spherical styli for your other carts will be much more difficult and/or expensive. Many professional transcribers use the Stanton 681 and more than a few still use the Stanton 500. Stanton 500, like Pickering V15 carts and styli are less expensive than the 680 series.

If you check the more modern, mono capable carts, it's a rare one which comes with a 25 micron/1 mil tip. The Grado mono carts began with 1 mil tips, even an elliptical 1 mil stylus. Later offerings reverted back to the .7 mil tip. Beware of this if you are hoping for the cleanest sound.

Check the www.esotericsound.com site. They have a carts and styli page specifically for the semi-pro and pro transcription duties. Note the prices for the stylus model #s I have mentioned. This should help you decide what level of investment you need or want...

Enjoy the early discs...They are surprisingly good sounding using the right cart/stylus, as well as the correct preamp phono EQ curves for those pre-RIAA discs.

While the line contact and Shibata tips can elicit more detail from the early mono discs sometimes, a 1 mil conical/spherical tip will sound great with all early mono LP, EP and 45 discs.

Lastly, for those lurkers confused about conical vs. spherical, note that a conical looks like a tapered, pointy tip. A genuine spherical will have a more rounded tip, polished so it won't bottom out in the dirt/wear near the bottom of the grooves. Keep on spinnin' and groovin'...
Fantastic info and advice. Thank you!
 
I knew you'd be chiming in on this @tubeactive...ha ha

...but I have heard so many times that the bottom of the groove is the part without wear?...can you please add some perspective on this? Thank you Lar!
 
The radio stations etc that I worked in preferred a Shure M44 -7 wired for mono for such tasks. There were times when we switched a M 44-1 stylus in for micrgrooves......However M 44 bodies are getting expensive now-a-days. Watch out with styrene records anything other than a conical with shred them.
 
The radio stations etc that I worked in preferred a Shure M44 -7 wired for mono for such tasks. There were times when we switched a M 44-1 stylus in for micrgrooves......However M 44 bodies are getting expensive now-a-days. Watch out with styrene records anything other than a conical with shred them.
I think I actually have a nearly nos M-44-7 with stylus in the stash, as well as an M-44-7 body. But you’re right- I believe I’ve seen a few sell recently for $200-$250.
 
Finding a genuine Shure M44 1 mil conical stylus today, is considered unobtainium, unless you go aftermarket...Great carts, btw...
I prefer the Stantons myself, sonically. I crave soundstage imagery, which my Shures did not yield with my systems. The Shures have width and height, but lacked depth IMHO. The Esoteric site has transcription grade styli for Shures, Pickerstanterings, even Grados. Another choice of carts and styli for stereo and mono playback is Ortofon. Orto offers stereo carts and special tips, including wide ellipticals, called "Special Ellipticals" in some lit. They had something like a .4 or .5 mil x 1.2 mil wide elliptical, actually designed for the stereo, disco mixer spinners ! This special elliptical bonded tip/cantilever could be grafted onto a shortened cantilever of any brand, by a retipper.

Wear of records is anything but predictable. Since @Zen Cafe has his supercool record cleaner, the bottom of his discs may be super clean. Many of us listening with older mono discs spin what is available, in any condition. The previous life of an obviously scratched up disc is not where I would put a fave Shibata tip. My reasoning is simple: Line Contact types are super polished. The "sharper" the tip, the easier to wear. That is predictable. A spherical will outwear any elliptical, when it comes to playing "average" condition discs. The cleanest, discs might love to be played with a line contact, sometimes.
This is why transcription service professionals have every type of stylus available, in order to elicit the best possible reproduction for each disc transfer to the customer's preferred tape or digital files. If you think it is complex for simple 1 mil microgroove 33 1/3 and 45 RPM discs, wait until you try and enjoy 78 RPM discs...Those UK sourced, nude elliptical styli are quite costly, these days. They do not have long life with well worn 78s...Transcribers have 2.7 mil, 2.8 mil, 3 mil, 3.2 mil, 3.5 and 4 mil, not to mention the 2.0, 2.2 and 2.5 mil wide tips for the early, 16 inch Transcription discs and the 2.5 to 2.7 mil tips for the mid '50s 78s...However, when sampling 78s for my own collection, I usually use a 3 mil sapphire tip for Shellacs, at first....

Many of us remember walking or driving to school or work, while listening to the radio, hearing a cool sounding, new wannabe hit. If we liked it, there was a good chance that we stopped to buy the new single at the corner store, on the way home. 45s either made or broke the band way back when. They were designed to play on record changers, with the 45 RPM disc's label area wider than the grooved area. More importantly, many 45s were mixed differently than their LP versions and can sound quite good. Some 45s had non-LP "B" sides. Keep on spinning the grooves...
 
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Fantastic info and advice. Thank you!
Lar, I've got about 600 45s of all kinds here including later era pressings from the 70s on and I am often amazed how wonderful they can sound. Not the kind sound that is HiFi-ish but instead, one that is dynamic and engaging. As you know, I'm more an LP rare groove collector, but recently I've been joyfully adding 45s again.

I'm in Boston right now and found a shop via Google that has some Brazilian 45s. I may mask up and run in briefly to take a look. Of course, they will get cleaned before serious play as I consider that essential for any vinyl.

And boy are you right about b-sides! There is a guy on YT called I Collect Old Records and he is always hunting old 45s and 78s. I think you would love him!
 
The 103 is a wonderful cart. Very robust and musical sounding. I actually have the "r" version, but the signature is essentially the same. These have great retip and body mods available. Very hard to beat in the price range...
 
Lar, I've got about 600 45s of all kinds here including later era pressings from the 70s on and I am often amazed how wonderful they can sound. Not the kind sound that is HiFi-ish but instead, one that is dynamic and engaging. As you know, I'm more an LP rare groove collector, but recently I've been joyfully adding 45s again.

I'm in Boston right now and found a shop via Google that has some Brazilian 45s. I may mask up and run in briefly to take a look. Of course, they will get cleaned before serious play as I consider that essential for any vinyl.

And boy are you right about b-sides! There is a guy on YT called I Collect Old Records and he is always hunting old 45s and 78s. I think you would love him!
Oh I am just south of Boston. Boston, Allston, Cambridge and Somerville have some great record shops!
 
@Deli The shop I found is called Planet Records in Cambridge. I'd appreciate any suggestions for record stores that might deal in obscure prog and ethnic records. Nice place this here Boston!
 
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