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Shibata vs Microline Styli

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

  1. chartz

    chartz If it’s broke fix it!

    Simon s and James like this.
  2. daytona600

    daytona600 Registered User

  3. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Suspect a lot has to do with nomenclature. "Microline" sounds a bit forensic. "Shibata" sounds delicious!

  4. lencotweaker

    lencotweaker Mostly dreaming of record players

    Like you I’m a serial cartridge fiddler and have had almost 60 different ones over the years and I’ve come to the same conclusion.
    DimitryZ likes this.
  5. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I'm surprised that the choice of aluminium or boron cantilevers don't differ much in their (starting) prices.
  6. lencotweaker

    lencotweaker Mostly dreaming of record players

    That surprised me too. Hardly any difference between ML, Shibata, Ali and Boron combinations really. Price comes down significantly for 10+ pricing though!
  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Not least as the price of boron shot up a year or so back.

    Am I right in thinking that detachable styli mm cart's all have ally cantilevers? Pure guess, partly for the cost reason but also that a boron canti would give little or no benefit, as far as I can see.

    Went into Trade Discussions just now for the first time (dunno why; hit the wrong button?) and saw an SME 30 with V12 fitted with a stone-bodied Koetsu. About £45 K's worth, I think was said. I've no idea why this was a discussion piece (it didn't say), but the dealer eulogised about it.

    If I spent nearly £9K on a K stone-bodied cart., I wouldn't stick it on the end of an arm with an eff. mass of 12g, however good a it was. I'd want an arm which starts at 20g if I wanted to get the best out of it. No doubt it sounds great, but that's surely not the point. My Urushi was lovely in an SME Five, but a heck of a lot better in a 12" 15g arm.

    Sorry, not exactly about styli but closely related. ;)
  8. Phil Bishop

    Phil Bishop pfm Member

    I know I'll get a "micro linear have been around for years" response but my AT-VM95ML has just negotiated Kate & Anna McGarrigle's eponymous album in its entirety without a single hint of distortion.

    I have been playing records for over 40 years - why have I suffered in silence for so long? Why did nobody mention ML to be before? :mad:
  9. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I just got my first Shibata setup the other day - an AT33SA. It's fantastic! I'm really surprised at how good it is, and I really don't get the whole Shibata set-up angst. I don't have VTA on the fly but there's absolutely no problems going from skinny LPs to 180gm.

    I bought this as a stop-gap to use until I can get my Miyajima to Holistic Audio, but I won't be in any rush now. It's a superb match with my 12" Ace Space, so I'm not sure I'll bother trying it with my FR64S. And it has a great synergy with my Longdog MCJ3. The gain structure is perfect, and like all Audio Technica it sounds just right at 100 Ohms. It seems to me very quiet in the groove and has a lovely balance between clarity, dynamics and texture. It's not quite got the tonal magic of my Miyajima, but nor does anything else I can remotely afford. So far, I love it.

    It would be interesting to compare with an AT33PTG, but I'm not certain I can be bothered at this point. I do have an old AT33EV but I know already that this SA is significantly better. I've also used an AT50ANV in the past. That was probably the most dynamic and revealing cartridge I've had, but I found it more difficult to get perfect set-up. This was before I had a Dr Feickert.

    In addition to the help of the good Dr F, I now have the Azimuth tool that Tony L recently recommended, and it is probably the best tenner I've spent in a while. A thoroughly useful little tool, and perhaps one reason why I've not had any problems with Shibata set-up.

    From Shibata martyr to Shibata evangelist!
  10. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I've a VM-95ML inc a VM-95ML/H installed on a Yamaha Musiccast 500 Vinyl TT-N503, the TT came with a bent headshell and an AT-3600 cart & stylus and frankly there really isn't much between both IMO the ML stylus and VM-95 cart are clearly better but I could easily live with the AT-3600 and for the cost of one of those carts it's unbelievable how decent it sounds.

    I'm going to try the VM-95ML cart/stylus on the stock Yahama headshell to see if there's a bigger difference and maybe play about with the set up, tracking weight etc then decide if I'm going to move the ML set up on.

    BTW, for my money there was no real discernible difference between the shibata stylus and the ML stylus, maybe a wee bit more bass with the shibata but both stylii sounded very similar to my ears in my set up which isn't anywhere near a top quality set up except for maybe my speakers which are Elac BS 312s, the amp is a Yamaha RN- 803D and I'm using the TT's inbuilt phono preamp into Line1 on the amp.
    DimitryZ likes this.
  11. Bairnstorm

    Bairnstorm pfm Member

    Sometimes the difference in sound is similar to counting angels dancing on the head of a pin but it could get us to 8 pages.
  12. audiopile

    audiopile pfm Member

    RE: Azimuth adjustment
    Take a look at the newer series of Soundsmith carts -simply dead clever arrangement of rods n slots in the top of the cartridge bodies -one of those "heck -that would work !" moments.
  13. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Shibata seems to be an early and very clever attempt to improve on an elliptical shape and move toward a sharper scanning edge, using technology available decades ago.

    It's a high resolution and forgiving shape. A rare combination.
  14. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter. the trick will be resisting buying this beastie :):
  15. krenzler

    krenzler pfm Member

    The 95ML is a lot of bang for the buck no doubt (compared to many other brands) but the generator within still IS a basic (cheap) design hence the very modest channel seperation of 23dB/1kHz. VM760SLC is 30dB for instance. Some of the top MM's of the "golden years" even higher (35dB+).
  16. DimitryZ

    DimitryZ pfm Member

    Excellent points.

    Most of current AT lineup appears to be a reworking of their golden years' designs. My AT reference from that time is AT33E, a fabulous cartridge.

    Surely, nothing to sneer at, as their TOTL carts from that era are superb. And it's impressive that AT retained the knowledge and manufacturing ability from that time.

    And yet...
  17. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    I did like the original ART9 after hearing it at shows a couple of times, but finally decided on the Miyajima Takumi when I was splashing out about 3.5 years ago. As I mentioned before though, I'd had an AT50ANV previously. Although I found it ultra-dynamic, I didn't like the balance in my system as much as I'd hoped. So I'd really need a demo of the ART9xa. However I should mention that when I borrowed a friend's 12" PU9 to try with the 50ANV that was a pretty amazing combination; I felt that was the closest to the master-tape I've been.
  18. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    Interesting, the AT-3600L has channel separation of 24DB
  19. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Why would it be of no benefit on a MM cart?

    I don't know about today, I don't pay attention, but Nagaoka used to do a version of the MP11 with a boron cantilever and it was a good cart.
  20. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    With all the usual caveats of it being a YT video/rip, although there's dropbox downloads...

    From reading I believe ML has considerably longer life than a Shibata used equivalently, worth consideration given typical price differential.
    Mr Pig likes this.

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