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Thread: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

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    Default Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge?

    We just came across a number of Audio-Technica AT14Sa quad phonograph cartridges on a top shelf we did not realize we had.

    We're talking about the best ever made for quad play. We're also talking of product having been hidden for many years. We tested a few, all perfect. We also have a good inventory of genuine ATN14 styli.

    I am certainly (OK, hopefully?) not acting improper by listing what some may say is a commercial for product in a user-specialist forum.

    I consider this better than history repeating itself and wanted to let all know of this wonderful news.

    Let me know what you think. But be kind. We've been around nearly 40 years and I've never had the spontaneous need to tell anybody anything like this.


    Best regards,

    Jack Stern
    www.stereoneedles.com
    1-866-NEEDLES

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    The Real Thing Cai Campbell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Normally I would delete a message like this as spam, but considering the fact that a number of folks here have been hunting for a quality CD-4 cartridge I feel impelled to leave it. I've never dealt with this outfit, but if they really do have NOS AT14Sa cartridges for sale, then they are certainly worth checking out. I have used an AT14Sa cartridge myself and it offers exceptional CD-4 performance.

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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    The AT14SA was also marketed under the JVC name if memory serves. good item - but not quite upto the AT15/20 (which were the same - but the 20's were picked and inspected by hand)

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    Exiled Ex-QQ Lizard Quadzilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Brent
    The AT14SA was also marketed under the JVC name if memory serves. good item - but not quite upto the AT15/20 (which were the same - but the 20's were picked and inspected by hand)
    I would agree Bill. As I recall, the AT14Sa didn't sound at all as nice at the AT15Sa. It had quite decent CD-4 performance, but musically it was a little lacking. The seller's opinion though, that the AT14Sa was one of the best for CD-4 is quite an overstatement. There were a lot of better cartridges for CD-4 that were available, many which sounded better as well. Mike.

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    Senior Member lonster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Quadzilla
    (snip)... There were a lot of better cartridges for CD-4 that were available, many which sounded better as well. Mike.

    You say "were". Are any of these still available? Or are Jack's AT14Sa's about the best we can hope to find now?
    Thanks,
    Lonny
    Vintage Audio and Vintage Bikes, both SOUND great!
    QpS

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    Exiled Ex-QQ Lizard Quadzilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by lonster
    You say "were". Are any of these still available? Or are Jack's AT14Sa's about the best we can hope to find now?
    Thanks,
    Back in the quad-old-days, phono cartridges in general did not have the extended frequency response that CD-4 required. Today, a LOT of cartridges use quadradisc stylus technology for stereo playback ... athough now they use the terms fine-line or hypereliptical. All the is required is that they reach up into the 35K~45KHz frequency range, which MOST moving coil designs do, including high-output models that will plug right into a demodulator. You might pay a bit more for these, but the low-output models are much less affected by tonearm cable capacitance, which was the enemy of earlier quaddies. The AT14Sa is a good CD-4 cartridge, but not a very nice one musically. The best magnetic one I have ever used was the Grace F9E, which was sold as a CD-4 model. These are now hard to find, but there are a lot of others that will do nicely as well. Unfortunately it is not as easy as making up a list, because there are so many different turntables with marginal cable capacitance. I use an Ortofon MC20 Super on a Linn Akito tonearm with a T-20 transformer with excellent results on a Thorens TD-160 Super turntable for CD-4. I also have a stock TD-125 MKII with the older Thorens tonearm and an Audio Technica AT130E, which shouldn't work well for CD-4, but it works pretty well. You just have to experiment. A lot of guys use Grados (also sold as CD-4 models), but I have never liked them. They can hum badly in some turntables. Mike.

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    The Real Thing Cai Campbell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Quadzilla
    A lot of guys use Grados (also sold as CD-4 models), but I have never liked them. They can hum badly in some turntables. Mike.
    All Grado cartridges use elliptical styli. That very fact should eliminate them from consideration for CD-4 use.

    Mike, finding a good match between a "modern" cartridge and a CD-4 demodulator is a lot tougher than you make it sound, especially when you start talking about moving coil designs because of the need to utilize a step-up transformer.

    Compliance is a major issue with finding a cartridge to work very well with a CD-4 demodulator. You can take the most "musical" cartridge in the world, but if it does not comply with your demodulator, all that musicality will not mean squat. For solid CD-4 performance, the AT14Sa is a champ! The AT15Sa is better and from what I understand, the AT20Sa is the top of the series (I've never owned one myself).

    You can shop around, try different cartridges, step-up transformers, or whatever... and be very frustrated for a very long time until you find a winning combination. Or you can buy something that is proven to work well and is readily available. It's all up to you...

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    Exiled Ex-QQ Lizard Quadzilla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Cai Campbell
    All Grado cartridges use elliptical styli. That very fact should eliminate them from consideration for CD-4 use.

    Mike, finding a good match between a "modern" cartridge and a CD-4 demodulator is a lot tougher than you make it sound, especially when you start talking about moving coil designs because of the need to utilize a step-up transformer.

    Compliance is a major issue with finding a cartridge to work very well with a CD-4 demodulator. You can take the most "musical" cartridge in the world, but if it does not comply with your demodulator, all that musicality will not mean squat. For solid CD-4 performance, the AT14Sa is a champ! The AT15Sa is better and from what I understand, the AT20Sa is the top of the series (I've never owned one myself).

    You can shop around, try different cartridges, step-up transformers, or whatever... and be very frustrated for a very long time until you find a winning combination. Or you can buy something that is proven to work well and is readily available. It's all up to you...
    Don't get me wrong Cai, I am not crapping on the AT14Sa. I also am NOT recommending Grado, merely pointing out that they were sold as CD-4 pick-ups. I just don't want Lonster to think that he has to jump on one of these because he thinks that this is the end of the road.

    As for moving coils, I have owned and played with LOTS of MC cartridges, with LOTS of step-ups, and I have NEVER found a combination that would not play CD-4 quadradiscs as well as any other ... even some eliptical ones. Remember though, that today's "eliptical" stylii are a LOT more refined than in the 70s, and there are a lot of very compliant ones as well. Keep in mind that quadradiscs require a 1.75 to 2.0 gram tracking force to ensure adequate groove seating, and a cartridge that is too compliant will cause more damage than it solves. Mike.

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    The Real Thing Cai Campbell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Quadzilla
    As for moving coils, I have owned and played with LOTS of MC cartridges, with LOTS of step-ups, and I have NEVER found a combination that would not play CD-4 quadradiscs as well as any other
    Yow, that hasn't been my experience. I tried dozens of MC/step-up combos before I found one that I felt worked well enough for CD-4. Granted, most of them "worked" but I was not happy with the quality of their performance. Maybe I'm just too picky, but I don't want people to think that once the demodulator radar light comes on that their CD-4 journey is over. Most folks are not tweakers; they just want a solution that works well without all the fuss. The AT14Sa is about as close as you can get to a "no-fuss" CD-4 solution. No, it's not the very best, but it is very well above sufficient.

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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Brent
    The AT14SA was also marketed under the JVC name if memory serves. good item - but not quite upto the AT15/20 (which were the same - but the 20's were picked and inspected by hand)
    I am one of the lucky quadie's that have a AT-20, NOS off of ebay for $106 a couple of years ago.
    Dave

    Todd is God, KINDA!

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    Default Re: Remember the Audio-Technica AT14Sa Quad Phono Cartridge

    I still have an unopened 20 and a 15 - I also have one of each mounted. My first cd-4 cart was a 14 under the JVC name - at that time JVC was in Long Island City, a few miles from my house. Bill Kist (one of the VPs there) and Gene Yamamoto (an engineer) were very involved with the CD-4 system, and took me on as a sort of test case - swapping out 4dd-5s, carts, and so on, untill I had fine tuned my system as best I could. The I was able to get a 20 - and the quality and separation jumped -
    best I could get was 18db - that number went to 24db. When I got a 15, I swapped it out - and there was no difference. It was at that point it was explained to me that the 15 nd the 20 were the same, off the same production line, as each was tested - those that tested better were labled 20.

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