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Audio Technica cartridges for best CD-4 performance

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fredblue

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I guess it would depend on how much that affects the frequency response/separation at the high end but I believe history has shown that that is not as critical an aspect as some of the other CD-4 parameters.

Doug
thanks Doug :)
i was just curious since it is an aspect of the AT440MLa/b that isn't to CD-4 spec.. but then neither is the given frequency response or channel separation info., so who knows how it "kinda" works for CD-4..?? 👀
 

Doug G.

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I realize I wasn't exactly clear in what I wrote. The aspect found not to be quite as important, perhaps, as others is the 47K vs. 100K thing, not the frequency response/separation thing which of course,is ALL important.

I have 2 Empire 2000 E/III cartridges, one with inductance very close to the 4000D series, and the other with the more typical higher inductance of this series. I can put a 4000D stylus on either one and they both work for CD-4. They were designed to work into a 47K load,of course.

Doug
 

audiomaster

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I put a Shibata stylus in my old AT 155LC cart. It lights the CD-4 light solidly and sounds better than the Stanton SQD4 cart that is listed for CD4, even though the freq response on the 155 is not that high as listed.
 

J. PUPSTER

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thanks Doug :)
i was just curious since it is an aspect of the AT440MLa/b that isn't to CD-4 spec.. but then neither is the given frequency response or channel separation info., so who knows how it "kinda" works for CD-4..?? 👀
So I guess that’s why the AT440MLx are good but not great at CD-4 (don’t they top out at around 32K?)
Where can a guy still get a AT15s in good nick?

AT440ML SPECS.jpg
 

Doug G.

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So I guess that’s why the AT440MLx are good but not great at CD-4 (don’t they top out at around 32K?)
Where can a guy still get a AT15s in good nick?

View attachment 61890
Well, it's really unknown what the MLx's are doing up there. Audio Technica limited their published specs to those they could guarantee but obviously, the frequency response is better than that or they wouldn't work for CD-4. Also, I would say they are very good at CD-4. It's just some rare times they have a bit of trouble whereas my XUV-4500Q, EPC-450C II, 4000D/I, and other vintage CD-4 cartridges are pretty much flawless

Doug
 

soesbeout

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I would guess my AT331LP goes higher than the 30K that's in its specs because it works fine for me my albums also are in great condition I don't play them often. The Pioneer PL-55DX that I play them on is also low cap all the way.
 

kfbkfb

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Phono cartridges for CD-4 (pspatialaudio.com)
^^^
Whilst, sufficient carrier level is a prerequisite and a good place to start, the frequency-response (and group-delay) variation of the cartridge throughout the CD-4 FM band (15kHz - 45kHz) needs to be reasonably level. And the inter-channel crosstalk needs to be certainly better than -12dB and preferably better than -20dB.
&
Essentially, the Shure test indicates the presence of crosstalk as a modification of a perfectly square, perfectly upright Lissajous pattern when the two subcarriers are viewed on an audio goniometer.


The nice thing about the Shure CD-4 carrier crosstalk test is that regular production CD-4 discs can be used, no special CD-4 test disc is needed.


Kirk Bayne
 

Doug G.

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One thing needing to be stressed, also, is that lighting the pilot lamp is only the beginning. That just means a cartridge is capable of reproducing the 30 kHz carriers at a sufficient level to trigger the demodulator circuit. The response could be gone above that and the lamp would still light.

The pilot is not meant to indicate acceptable CD-4 performance. It is just an indicator of the presence of the 30 kHz carriers. Heck, I have several regular two channel cartridges that will light the pilot but work for CD-4? No. The response must at least go up to 40 kHz (ideally 45 - 50 kHz) with adequate separation.

Doug
 

kfbkfb

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HiFi-Stereo-Review-1972-12.pdf (worldradiohistory.com)
^^^
Our recent tests of several high quality magnetic phono cartridges showed measurable output to beyond 40,000 Hz.
&
Our initial subjective impression was that, in sound quality, noise, and channel separation, all three magnetic cartridges were indistinguishable from the two special cartridges supplied with the demodulators.




I bought an Grado FTR+1 because it was inexpensive and it didn't require low capacitance tone arm wiring, which my PE2040 turntable didn't have (I didn't get a CD-4 demod until 1991, by then, my FTR+1 was packed away).


Kirk Bayne
 

Doug G.

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Yes, there have been cartridges not necessarily designed for CD-4 that work. Actually, most of my Empire cartridges are very close but not quite there.

Doug
 

TVB

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So, I have an audio technica at15sa body. Where can i get a shibata stylus for it that will preform as well as the original?
 

markshan

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My main thrust above wasn't stylus availability but performance. While it is generally touted that modern micro line styli work better for CD-4, I don't believe that to necessarily be true. My old cartridges with good Shibatas or contemporary cuts, perform as good or, actually better, than my modern cartridges with later diamond cuts.

Doug
The later cuts are more sensitive to alignment.
 

Doug G.

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I don't know. In all cases, getting the small front/back radius absolutely perpendicular to the groove walls is most critical. I would think that would be pretty much the same, regardless of the exact cut.

Doug
 

quadex

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I had the most incredible luck this week scoring a slightly used AT15Sa cartridge with TWO ATN15SS stylii !! One stylus was used and the other has very low use according to the seller. I will say this- my current setup consists of an AT14Sa cartridge and ATN14 stylus, purchased as NOS a couple years ago. This unit, on my Sansui FR5080S tt into my QRX-9001 has always provided me reliable CD-4 quadraphonic reproduction. However, I just finished installing the AT15Sa and ATN15SS combo, and- BOY-OH-BOY!! Hard to believe there would be such an improvement in the depth, separation, detail, and warmth to the music, but my ears are picking up these improvements big time! There is truly something to be said for the vintage equipment. I live relatively close to Audio Technica's US HQ in Stow, Ohio and am thinking I will bring both ATN15SS stylii over to them for a more professional assessment as to their condition and wear status. If you come across these products and are interested in great CD-4 performance, grab them!!
 

audiomaster

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thanks Doug :)
i was just curious since it is an aspect of the AT440MLa/b that isn't to CD-4 spec.. but then neither is the given frequency response or channel separation info., so who knows how it "kinda" works for CD-4..?? 👀
Keep in mind the cartridge/cables/preamp input circuits interact. You have a cartridge with resistance and inductance, cables with primarily resistance and capacitance, and an input circuit with sometimes adjustable resistance (loading) and probably some capacitance and inductance also. These all form a complex circuit with an effect on the signal that is complex and hard to exactly predict. The only way to get an exact reading would be to play a test disc with frequency tones and look at response. That might be good for a mastering room setup to check masters cut. But generally the real test is "Does it sound good"!
 

fredblue

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Keep in mind the cartridge/cables/preamp input circuits interact. You have a cartridge with resistance and inductance, cables with primarily resistance and capacitance, and an input circuit with sometimes adjustable resistance (loading) and probably some capacitance and inductance also. These all form a complex circuit with an effect on the signal that is complex and hard to exactly predict. The only way to get an exact reading would be to play a test disc with frequency tones and look at response. That might be good for a mastering room setup to check masters cut. But generally the real test is "Does it sound good"!
this is all very very true! numerically and in theory and beyond! you have clearly had quite some experience of the foibles of CD-4!

i have (inexplicably) had that 30kHz adjustment tone "meeeeeeeping" like a good'un with my JVC 4MD-10X, yet had some of the worst most sandpaperiest demodulated Quad of all time!

then the totally out of spec AT440MLb squawks its way through the 30kHz tone yet gives no distortion at all, disc after disc!

5 years of fiddling about with CD-4 later, i am left with more questions than answers 😂
 

Doug G.

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I had the most incredible luck this week scoring a slightly used AT15Sa cartridge with TWO ATN15SS stylii !! One stylus was used and the other has very low use according to the seller. I will say this- my current setup consists of an AT14Sa cartridge and ATN14 stylus, purchased as NOS a couple years ago. This unit, on my Sansui FR5080S tt into my QRX-9001 has always provided me reliable CD-4 quadraphonic reproduction. However, I just finished installing the AT15Sa and ATN15SS combo, and- BOY-OH-BOY!! Hard to believe there would be such an improvement in the depth, separation, detail, and warmth to the music, but my ears are picking up these improvements big time! There is truly something to be said for the vintage equipment. I live relatively close to Audio Technica's US HQ in Stow, Ohio and am thinking I will bring both ATN15SS stylii over to them for a more professional assessment as to their condition and wear status. If you come across these products and are interested in great CD-4 performance, grab them!!
Typically, as you went up the scale, costwise, with the vintage CD-4 cartridges, the capability to track the records didn't necessarily go up but the fidelity was improved, often drastically, as you discovered. I have several vintage cartridges, including the less expensive Stanton 780 with a "Q" or "4DQ" stylus and it tracks records fine but the fidelity is not as good as, say, my XUV- 4500Q or Empire 4000 D/I.

Doug
 
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