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Shibata vs Microline Styli

Discussion in 'audio' started by foxwelljsly, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Ye gods but that's really ambidextrous; I have trouble with one (deck, that is). You're not related to an octopus by any chance? :)
  2. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    How on earth are you able to choose which one(s) to play tomorrow ?
    Maybe your running vinyl all day long ?
    Five figure vinyl collection ?
  3. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    Not really been following this thread but we have had related discussions elsewhere about the AT-VM95ML microline.

    First microline I have owned and I bought it (after promising myself I'd not buy another cartridge) because distortion, particularly IGD, has been the plague of my vinyl life to date. It plagued me in the 1970s when I bought those albums new (Rumours and TB), it plagued me when I got back into vinyl in the late 1980s when the magazines were saying it was still better than CD.....what, not to my ears with my Rega and Linn K9!!!????

    My first microline is amazing - it's a revelation. So assured and you don't know where you are on the record because there is no audible distortion anywhere. Did the Tubular Bells today, OK admittedly a relatively new pristine copy, pretty perfect. I have yet to find my Rumours. Early Joni Mitchell will be another test, the title track at the end of Side 1 of Hejira for example, or pretty much the whole of Blue :eek:
    misterdog and Craig B like this.
  4. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    It's like having many cars...but a lot cheaper. Currently, I run Sony PS-B80 with Transfiguration Axia and Rega P9 with Ortofon Jubilee. In a few months I will switch to my front loading Sonys, both with TOTL vintage P-Mount Technics - MC and MM.
    joe9407 likes this.
  5. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Yes that’s what ML tips do.
    I could at last listen to the Tubular Bells end of sides for the first time when I bought one.
    As said earlier, DSOM too.
    And most piano and organ records too.
    I recently bought an SL-7, but I couldn’t find any ML cartridge for it, so end of side distortion it is for now.
    Phil Bishop likes this.
  6. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    There is a difference between worn and dirty. A long footprint stylus (e.g. ML, MR) will ride over the worn vinyl in the same way that a wide tyre will ignore small potholes on the road more easily than a bicycle tyre. The opposite is true with dirty records. If there is detritus embedded anywhere on the groove wall, you will hear it more with a long footprint.

    Personally, I'd like my stylii to ride securely in the groove from start to finish, minimise groove wear along the way, and make fabulous music.
  7. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Actually, on my Transfiguration thread, we discovered that the stylus shape on them is Ogura 3/30, which is a hyper-elliptical that rivals any ML or MR types.

    However, if you must have ML stylus in a P-Mount format for your SL-7, you can try the LPGear offering.

    My SL-7 has a vintage EPC-202C....there is no distortion with it.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  8. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    I also have an EPC-202 (original boron cantilever) with a low hour tip, and it does distort a bit on inner grooves.
    Thanks for the link Dimitry.
  9. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    I have to say, I wish I'd discovered ML styli earlier. This morning I played an old first US pressing of Carole King's "Tapestry" on my Technics fitted with AT-VM95ML cartridge. This record, picked up second hand, was basically unplayable previously as it has that kind of distortion towards side ends that smacks of being played with a misaligned stylus in the past. However, the ML stylus made it basically playable. OK, the distortion was still there but radically reduced to tolerable levels. "Tapestry" is always a challenging LP anyway, particularly the closing tracks with piano and vocal.
    Mr Pig and Simon s like this.
  10. Anh

    Anh Naim ghetto blaster

    Most obsessive audiophiles tend to go for 'high-end' MC carts or old skool stuff like the DL103, not the plastic fantastic Audio Technica stuff with or without a ML stylus.

    Like most boutque high-end or hyped up collector stuff, it shields itself deep behind subjectivism, and condemns the audiophile to perpetual frustration of painstaking setup, alignment, dark-art mythism peddled on forums. For extra LOLs, a big bill awaits once the audiophile stylus wears down after say 200 hours play.

    Any record that I come across that sounds bad/broken, is because it is bad and /or broken - and no cartridge can compensate for that.
    nmtjb likes this.
  11. Anh

    Anh Naim ghetto blaster

    I noticed you threw in the clause of 'fine' when talking about the elliptical stylus, they are not cheap and it's general lack of presense in the market is the sort of thing that invokes daft bidding wars on auction sites. A commonly available ML stylus is far cheaper proposition and doesnt require iron-mind determination or the ownership of 8 decks to set it up precisely on each alternative listening session and hope for the best.

    It's a exception to the rule, it's like justifying that an old boiler is economical per annum as a modern one ..... only if you service yourself it each year, run it sparingly during evenings, insulate every room and wrap up warm between the months of October till May.

    Most people will not have that, and nor should they with old (and expensive) stylus designs.
  12. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    I think that pretty much all stylii today are made on automated micromachinery and should cost about the same.

    ML, MR, Shibata, Replicant, Geiger, etc., are all harder to setup than elliptical, essentially by definition. The exotic stylus are not new, either.

    Some storied cartridge makers escewed the more exotic shapes and stayed with fine and hyper-elliptical. Technics, Grado and Transfiguration, for example.
  13. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Lot of gray between broken and perfect.
    DimitryZ likes this.
  14. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Honestly, I think some of us maybe very sensitive to distortion/potential distortion....I am being careful here.

    I don't think I have ever heard (or were obviously bothered by) the dreaded end of record or pinching distortion.
  15. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Oh no I've heard that alright. It can be anything from a more compressed sound to obvious and severe miss-tracking.
  16. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    I guess I can start listening for it. Four of my decks are linear trackers, 5 have Biotracer arms and the last two are Regas.

    I never noticed anything obviously different between the beginning and end of the record.
  17. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Then you are blessed Dimitry.
    I’ve listened to records for a good 45 years now.
    Not bad decks, far from it, rather good cartridges too (had my first Shibata in 1982, a V15 MR, B&O 20CL, Goldring’s Gygers...) and I’ve heard that horrid inner groove mistracking/distortion regularly.
    The AT ML tip solved all my problems.
    Oh, the DL103 conical tip does a fine good job too, by the way: it only just plays - only just - Songbird and Last Chance Texaco.
    The ML just clears everything, period.
    Phil Bishop and Simon s like this.
  18. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    I am intrigued. I will play RLJ with SL-7/P202 and PS-X600/Grado XTZ and report back.

    Few hours later.

    If I heard something, it was really subtle for both setups - much less difference that the decks/cart combinations exhibit themselves. If I were to stretch, I would say a little less relaxed and immediate for the end track. Nothing remotely describable as mistracking or distortion - sibilance was essentially the same, with maybe a little less HF.

    P202 has a standard elliptical - 0.3 x 0.7. XTZ appears to have a 0.2 x 0.7 with a small Shibata-like undercut. It did have more energy in high frequency and more detail. P202 had more PRAT and a denser sound.

    My pressing is original, from over 30 years ago and well played. I ordered a new audiophile pressing to compare.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  19. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Unless the stylus is poor or not aligned properly it's usually not too bad but there is often a drop in quality right at the end of the record. Sounds thinner, more compressed. Depends on the music too.
  20. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Yes, and that’s one of the reasons why CD became king. That busy symphony finale could finally (!) be heard in all its glory! And what a relief it was... in 1988 for me – I wasn’t exactly an early adopter.

    Edit after Dimitry’s edit:

    My RLJ pressing is also more than 30 years old – I think I bought it in 1980!
    Anyway, with the AT stylus, I get an absolutely perfect sound, even possibly more engaging than CD (not even a posh deck, my plain old Thorens TD160, TP16 arm for today).
    It’s the best result I’ve ever had so far.

    But then again, the classic Denon isn’t far behind, although there is some treble softening perhaps.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
    Phil Bishop likes this.

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