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Shibata vs Microline Styli

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

  1. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    Exactly the same for me. I can't stop playing records with the AT-VM95ML on my Technics SL1200GR.

    Funnily enough, I played Rickie Lee Jones this morning. Still can't find my Rumours.

    Never heard anything like it before - perfect. Not just no IGD, superb, well rounded, full bodied sound - just the sort of sound I am looking for from records and why many still love them compared to digital.

    My P6/Ania is redundant.

    I don't think I have come across a game changer like this cartridge for a decade or more. Records can now be played with complete confidence.

    The last hi fi game changer I came across 10 years or more ago was AVI actives which I still use - can't imagine ever going back to a passive system but now AVI are no more with no service back-up I'm not sure what I'll do when my actives pack up, which they will do eventually.
    chartz and Simon s like this.
  2. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Isn't the Rega better in some way? Handling of complex rhythms? Fine detail?
  3. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Lots of active studio monitors to choose from. My son uses a pair.
    Phil Bishop likes this.
  4. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    Pro-ject arms do.
  5. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    The Rega/Ania dig out more detail I'd say, but then again the Technics/AT-VM95ML dig out easily enough.
  6. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Hawkwind and Fire

    As the OP I can state that getting an AT ML MC cart sounding right using pretty basic tools is a synch. Although I have better things to do than do it for another 7 turntables.

    Unless, of course, The Flaming Lips' 'Zaireeka' is available on vinyl. That might be fun.
  7. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    The Acoustic Energy actives would be on my list.

    However, AVI's actives have a built in DAC plus analogue inputs so digital is sorted and for vinyl I just connect direct to my phono stage. Sound superb too.
  8. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    ProJect arms have azimuth adjustment? Only if you count build quality so shoddy you can twist the entire armtube with mouse hands.
    PerF likes this.
  9. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Thanks to the other thread, I've ordered one for my GR. My lovely ESCo/Midas 103 is getting long in the tooth and they're not known for their longevity. Plus I really need a "daily" which delivers.
    Phil Bishop likes this.
  10. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    ML and MR stylii have been around since at least 1980s.

    I am surprised that someone has "discovered" them in 2021.

    This is not a new thing in any sense of the word other than the price. Today, these stylii are cheap, thanks to automated production.

    And honestly, if 95ML is the best cart you have heard, you are in the beginning of this journey. Though I am sure it's a very fine inexpensive cartridge.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  11. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    You hit on a very interesting and pertinent point there Dimitry, "this journey".

    I have a friend on a relatively tight budget who has just ditched vinyl. The reason? He decided the temptation to constantly upgrade cartridges, etc, was too great and ultimately too costly.

    Personally, I have not come across a cartridge that plays record better than the AT-VM95ML, in my system that is. I also have a way I like my vinyl to sound, confident, full bodied, decent detail, involving and, importantly, lacking in distortion. The 95ML ticks all these boxes. I can just relax and listen to my records.

    I have owned most of the usual contender "budget" MM cartridges from Ortofon, AT, Grado, Nagaoka, Rega, etc. I have owned a few MCs and still have an Ania on my P6. Around £200 is possibly the limit I'd spend on a cartridge these days.

    I appreciate some like to tinker, swap and change, it's an essential part of the hobby for them. However, for me having found a budget cartridge that does such a great job I'm happy to leave it there......although I am kind of intrigued as to how the more expensive AT ML cartridges may sound ;)
    Mr Pig and Simon s like this.
  12. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    And that's how it starts! As ML lover, here are some ATs for you:

    I have a similar relationship to my digital sources - I find that my OPPO UDP-205, checks all the boxes for me.
    Phil Bishop likes this.
  13. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    Just to throw another well played torture track into the mix for IGD (and one almost everyone will know), the title track of Dire Straits' "Brothers In Arms" which ends Side 2.

    On vinyl I have always found the organ and guitar at the very end of this track break up to some extent into a bit of a fuzzy, amalgamated, distorted mess.

    Not just now playing admittedly a near mint first pressing using the AT-VM95ML - everything stayed separated in the mix and free of any distortion.

    It's certainly the most surefooted cartridge I have come across to date :) Maybe there's some synergy with the Technics which is a surefooted machine?
  14. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Uh. Funny that, I’ve never found Brothers In Arms to be a torture track at all!

    As regards MR/ML stylii, I used to run a Shure V15VMR (before I had my first CD player) but that one didn’t clear torture tracks very well, in spite of all the Best Tracker Ever advertising at the time.
    My next cartridge was a Satin MC with Shibata stylus. Disappointing too.
    Not getting any younger.
  15. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    Torture track was probably overstating it and, as we know, the album is a fine sounding recording overall.

    It's just at the very end, guitar and organ, always got a bit fuzzy to my ears with most cartridges before. Not so with the AT ML :)
  16. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    I find the whole album torture...
    torstoi, PerF, Phil Bishop and 2 others like this.
  17. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    Only after you have loosened the grub screw. :D

    You could achieve the same by putting more washers under one screw of a Rega arm mount than the others.:)

    I used to fine level my Rega TT with beer mats and other shims.

    My Pro-ject turntable came with an Ortofon Cadenza Black, nude Shibata on a Boron cantelever. Never been happier.

  18. lencotweaker

    lencotweaker Mostly dreaming of record players

    What folks tend to forget is that ML was originally developed as an improvement over Shibata because the shape more closely resembles that of the cutter head. Back in the day, when AT launched the ML, it was more expensive than a Shibata and for the longest time was their top diamond. It’s beyond me why the sudden reversal because only AT have it this way around. It’s good there is choice but it’s a very fine line between ML, Shibata and any other extended line contact (like their SLC) and for the longest time is simply a matter of taste.

    Just because the Shibata AT variants are more expensive than their ML’s, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily better suddenly.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  19. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    I think most people on this thread are convinced that ML is better.

    I think that a Shibata and a fine elliptical or hyper-elliptical can be as detailed as ML, have a sweeter treble and be easier to setup. And that many other aspects of cartridge design are as or more important that the stylus shape - in the realm of high quality ones.
    lencotweaker likes this.
  20. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    It may be my imagination but I think I read somewhere that the Shibata was more expensive than the ML because AT had to pay to use the design, a patent fee, or something like that?

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