CD-4 Cartridge Stylus Recommendations

QuadraphonicQuad

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Quad D

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Hmm... will my Grado Master 2, low output, work? The only issue is the 1mV output.

My TT is a Linn LP12 with OEM cabling.

I tried to buy a transformer for the Grado, to use with my CD4 demodulators, but the sale fell through.
The Grado will work with a booster gain stage, with some loss of CD-4 signal, depending on how you do it, MC transformers are not good because Grado needs 47 k loading like a MM(I) cartridge. I did try the booster with Statement, not ideal, I did not try directly but I am almost sure 1 mV is too low for a demodulator.
High output wood bodies work though, but if coils assembled backwards (it happens) just reverse +and - leads on cartridge for each channel.
 

quadsearcher

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Just purchased a used Pickering XUV-4500Q.
Supposedly 200 hrs on the stylus. We'll see!!!
The specs just can't be rivaled, for the price, by a current offering.
Yeah! I saw that and have been following your cart/stylus adventure (and others' on the forum), very similar to mine. I've had an AT440MLa for a while but set it up on a turntable with problems. It played the first half of a side really well. I've been looking for a cart already setup on a table because I think my biggest issue is alignment. I used to do it visually and square up the stylus perpendicular to a line from spindle to edge of record over the range of travel, but after trying a GeoDisc and an aftermarket Dual overhang gauge from ebay I'm more uncertain than when I started.
That cart sounds like a good choice, with reputable styli available for now, in case. I thought about buying it.
I really want to try the AT95S~~ whatever it is called, great price for a current model but of course not made for CD4 (and I have a 440 already). Still a great price even as a stereo cart and I hope they sell a lot of them. That would help keep shibatas in production!
 

MidiMagic

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I did a study of cartridge mounting and tracking error in the 1970s.

With a normal pivoted tonearm, there can be at most two points along the swing of the tonearm where the tracking error is 0.

When high frequency behavior is most important, the important figure is not degrees of tracking error, but degrees of error divided by radius (inches) of stylus position from the record center.

I then did a study of various tonearms. Most of them were designed to minimize tracking error in degrees, as opposed to minimizing tracking error in degrees per inch. I then changed the design of two of my arms to minimize degrees per inch. The third one I owned at the time could not be changed because the overhang was fixed.

In the case of CD-4, the tracking error must be minimized at the innermost grooves to minimize CD-4 errors.
 

edisonbaggins

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Yeah! I saw that and have been following your cart/stylus adventure (and others' on the forum), very similar to mine. I've had an AT440MLa for a while but set it up on a turntable with problems. It played the first half of a side really well. I've been looking for a cart already setup on a table because I think my biggest issue is alignment. I used to do it visually and square up the stylus perpendicular to a line from spindle to edge of record over the range of travel, but after trying a GeoDisc and an aftermarket Dual overhang gauge from ebay I'm more uncertain than when I started.
That cart sounds like a good choice, with reputable styli available for now, in case. I thought about buying it.
I really want to try the AT95S~~ whatever it is called, great price for a current model but of course not made for CD4 (and I have a 440 already). Still a great price even as a stereo cart and I hope they sell a lot of them. That would help keep shibatas in production!
I definitely have interest in the AT-VM95SH. We'll see how huge a PITA it will be to install the Pickering. VTA & protractor set standing by.
If it isn't too bad, or if I manage to figure out swapping head shells easily, etc. might get curious enough to try different carts.
 

Quad D

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I did a study of cartridge mounting and tracking error in the 1970s.

With a normal pivoted tonearm, there can be at most two points along the swing of the tonearm where the tracking error is 0.

When high frequency behavior is most important, the important figure is not degrees of tracking error, but degrees of error divided by radius (inches) of stylus position from the record center.

I then did a study of various tonearms. Most of them were designed to minimize tracking error in degrees, as opposed to minimizing tracking error in degrees per inch. I then changed the design of two of my arms to minimize degrees per inch. The third one I owned at the time could not be changed because the overhang was fixed.

In the case of CD-4, the tracking error must be minimized at the innermost grooves to minimize CD-4 errors.
I was very fanatical about tracking error, until I realized the cartridge intrinsic tracking ability on inner grooves has more of an impact than my fanatical precision. In other words, great tracking cartridge with low IGD and somewhat in the ballpark alignment sounds better than the average cartridge with fanatically precise tracking error alignment. Since than I somewhat relaxed my precision, and focus more on other things, like reducing harmful mechanical resonances and vibration transfer between the cartridge and rest of the turntable. It also greatly improves tracking on high/medium compliance cartridges.
 
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The MCA-76 is a pre-preamplifier not a transformer.

I have both the MCA-76 and the SL-20Q. My cartridge needs a re-tip. I was getting sandpaper quad on the inner grooves with the SL-20Q, I had bought it used so it was likely worn. Through careless handling I broke the tip off:(.
Ouch, I have the MCA-76 (Preamplifier, I stand corrected) as well. In search of the that missing NOS SL-20Q. I have two EPC-460c with new OEM Shibata and a SH-400 (many other demodulators as well, various states) I've got an AT20Sla with a reproduction Shibata. Been looking for a Micro Acoustics QDC-1g as well. My comparitive test bed is rebuilding a couple of JVC JL-A40 turntables. Australia is the place! Bought replacement capacitor kits, and recently some plastic cuing cams (3D printed), looking at audio out options for RCA or better cables and maybe power cords.

On the Ortofon MC cartridges; I found some German references about the SL-15Q (1972) with a "stylus resembled that of the Shibata but was of Ortofon's design, rather as the Pramanik variant of the Shibata was developed by an engineer at Bang & Olufsen."
 

kfbkfb

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I was very fanatical about tracking error
Have you tried any linear tracking turntables and/or tonearms (I wanted to get a good turntable w/linear tracking tonearm, but about the time I was interested in upgrading, digital audio was on the horizon, so I bought a low end turntable which I still use)?


Kirk Bayne
 

Quad D

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Have you tried any linear tracking turntables and/or tonearms (I wanted to get a good turntable w/linear tracking tonearm, but about the time I was interested in upgrading, digital audio was on the horizon, so I bought a low end turntable which I still use)?


Kirk Bayne
My friend had a Yamaha linear tracker, the fancy famous one (don't remember the model now), it sounded good when it was working right, but often we had to fiddle with it. I think the benefits of linear tracking are realized only on expensive contemporary designs, the legacy stuff is hit and miss. I personally think tonearm tracing error (when properly set) is less audible than the dominant characteristics of the cartridge mounted on it. So I don't see a problem with the regular tonearm, and don't think about linear trackers.
 

trevorspiro

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Jan 24, 2010
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Ok, folks! Lots of CD-4 advice has been exchanged over the last few weeks. It's all much appreciated!
I think it would be helpful (to me) to break down the advice by specific items.

So... carts and styluses!

Here are the compiled recommendations, thus far (updated 8/8/2022):

ADC
ZLM
SX LM MK II

Audio Technica
AT440MLA
AT440MLB
AT12SA
AT14SA
AT15SA
AT15SS
AT20SS
AT20SLA
AT912Sa
ATVM740ML

Band & Olufsen
MMC6000
MMC5000

Empire
4000D I/II/III
440D

Grace (Sumiko)
F8/F
F8/E
F-9F
F-9U

JVC
X 1
4MD-20x
CD4-1000

Micro/Acoustics
QDC-1G

Nakamichi
MC-1000

Ortofon
SL20Q
MC-20
MC-20 Mk II

Panasonic
EPC-451
EPC-450C II

Pickering
XUV-4500Q
UV15-2400Q
UV15-2000Q

Pioneer
PC-Q1

Satin
M-117X

Shure
M 24H

Sonic Research
Blue Label
Silver Label P

Stanton
780-4DQ
780-Q

Strain gauge
???

Technics
EPC-45OC-II

Win Laboratories
SDT-10

Criteria I care about:

1) Easy compatibility, e.g. some carts/stylii need a special preamp. Let's avoid those, unless they're clearly ultra superior. Bear in mind that a TT and/or demod might need to be acquired, so a cart/stylus that plays well with lots of gear will leave the most options later.
2) Currently manufactured, i.e. let's avoid discontinued models that might, or might not, be available.
3) Value, e.g. let's avoid $5k carts. Several hundred dollars is doable.
4) Good sound! Let's avoid products that really just don't do it for ya! I'm no audiophile. If it's decent, I should be happy.

Thanks for the help! I'd like to make a cart/stylus purchase soon and get this show on the road, as they say!

:SB:LB:SG
I used to use the JVC X1. It was excellent until the X2 came along which was better. However, the best was the Grado Signature G3 mounted in a Grace G707 on a Linn LP12 turntable. CD4 reproduction was so clear!
 
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