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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 12:09 pm 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Stillman Valley, IL
I do believe the Canadian Astatic company just resells NOS needles and cartridges as they find them. They are not in the manufacturing business.

https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 19&t=16097

Yes Marco I do agree with your comments on Shure’s past history in the phono business. I have a friend who dealt with them as a reseller and they were all over the map when it came to dealing with them. At one time they actually started direct sales over the objections of their “authorized” dealers.

I have a nice V15 MkII as the only high end Shure in my stable. Sounds nice with a Pfanstiehl N75 3 mil. But the M44 is still the workhorse of my fleet.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 1:38 pm 
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Victor V
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Posts: 2090
Damfino59 wrote:
Astatic is long gone. I do believe what they had for inventory has been dispersed third or fourth party by now. Pfanstiehl still offers a large variety of needles for defunct cartridges. Their 78 3 mil Pickering/Stanton and Shure styluses are a decent low price beginners needle. Jico in Japan makes a good Shure 3 mil replacement also. LP Gear offers them on their website. But the best are the truncated styluses offered by Expert in England.

I do know Pfanstiehl offers a 3 mil stylus for some Audio-Technica cartridges. I have some for the AT3400 & AT3600 but I haven’t tried them yet. I do have a Grado mounted in a Technics headshell. Tracks at 5 grams but it has a low output compared with the Shure M44. So many possibilities!


Anybody tried Nagaoka 78 styli ?

I have a 4 mil Nagaoka for an Nagaoka MP cart that I bought from LP Gear. It does a decent job, except that you can't track real heavy with it. I haven't checked precisely, but it's one of those deals where 3 grams tracking force is probably about the max.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 8:42 pm 
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Victor I
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Stillman Valley, IL
Hi Wolfe,

I’m glad you have some experience with the Nagaoka cartridge & stylus. I could not see what actually their tracking weights are in the information from various websites. My own experience is limited to a 4 mil Expert stylus for the M44. I have been tempted to try Nagaoka out with their entry level cartridge and the 3.5 mil as I do like my Expert 3.5 mil. But I really usually fall back to the Jico 3 mil for casual playback. And of course my acoustic machines.

I am waiting on my new Kab Souvenir preamp to replace my old 1st generation one from 1995. And to think all of this started for me over 40 years ago with my Westinghouse phono with the Ronnette cartridge and a acoustic Birch portable.

Regards,
Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Victor I
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Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:24 pm
Posts: 166
Marco Gilardetti wrote:
...Now, right in the middle of the vinyl renaissance, with sales increasing at two-figures rates, Shure, which managed to survive the terrifying vinyl crisis of the '90s, quits producing their renowned cartridges. These are the kind of things that I really can't understand. ...


Pure speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the reason was that Shure made its name and reputation on high compliance, light tracking moving magnet cartridges. The fashion now, among those in AudioLand who would otherwise be potential customers for high-end Shure cartridges, is for heavier tracking, low compliance moving coil models; not infrequently, card-carrying members of the audiophile crowd meet moving magnet designs with sneers or condescension. Tonearm manufacturers have followed suit; finding an arm suitable for high compliance cartridges like the V15 series is not as easy as you might think. Confronted with a market hostile at the top to its traditional products and the expensive R&D that would have been necessary to develop a new line of high-end moving coils, the Shure mgmt. may well have simply decided the game wasn't worth the candle.

I'm very sad to see Shure go. I play everything, LP and 78 alike, with Shure V15Vx-MR cartridges, and I love them. I've had Expert retip N78S assemblies to go with them, and I've mounted each in a separate cartridge on a separate headshell. I like the Shure sound better than that of Stanton, and Shure's surefooted tracking is a real boon. But with Shure now entirely out of the business, I expect in due course I'll be driven elsewhere. A sorry state of affairs, to be sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 10:26 pm 
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Victor V
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Marco Gilardetti wrote:
Shure, which managed to survive the terrifying vinyl crisis of the '90s, quits producing their renowned cartridges. These are the kind of things that I really can't understand.

However, having been a loyal Shure customer for over 30 years, I have unfortunately to admit that this is no longer a great loss: some years ago they decided to prune their catalogue, and with a marketing strategy that I considered plain wrong back then and plain wrong today, they decided to keep going only with their low-end cartridges. Doing so, their M97xe model, previously a mid-priced honest "simple" elliptical, became their flagship. I mean: their flagship.


I bought an M97xe some years ago and put aside, because it's standard elliptical (LP) stylus was a mediocre tracker, particularly on inner grooves. Eventually I bought a Vivid Line stylus for it from LP Gear, which greatly improved it's tracking, plus the LP Gear 3 mil 78 stylus for the Shure M78S, which also fits the M97xe, so I get some use out of the M97xe now. With the Vivid Line stylus for LP's, the cart still has a rather rolled off (on the treble) quality that it always had, but it's decent for some things, like noisy older LP's. The bass is good.

I've never owned a Shure V15Vx-MR. They go for some pretty good coin on the used market now. Plenty of people still swear by them.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 3:02 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 704
Location: Italy
drh wrote:
Pure speculation on my part, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the reason was that Shure made its name and reputation on high compliance, light tracking moving magnet cartridges. The fashion now, among those in AudioLand who would otherwise be potential customers for high-end Shure cartridges, is for heavier tracking, low compliance moving coil models; not infrequently, card-carrying members of the audiophile crowd meet moving magnet designs with sneers or condescension. Tonearm manufacturers have followed suit; finding an arm suitable for high compliance cartridges like the V15 series is not as easy as you might think. Confronted with a market hostile at the top to its traditional products and the expensive R&D that would have been necessary to develop a new line of high-end moving coils, the Shure mgmt. may well have simply decided the game wasn't worth the candle.


I appreciate your insight and I'm not so much into the "high-end" madness to be able to assess wether this is what went through their minds or not, however in my opinion moving coil cartridges are and will always be a niche market because most vinyl enthusiasts (myself included) are not so prone to add an expensive MC preamplifier and deal with an expensive cartridge which stylus can't be replaced in order to get some imaginary sound improvement, more on paper than in ears. Moreover, today we're in the mid of the "vintage" madness: I see more questions being asked about "vintage" turntables than about new turntables, and I would thus say that a vast majority of people - old fellows and newbies alike - own a turntable with a tonearm that matches perfectly with traditional Shure parameters.

Coming to historical facts, I remember perfectly that when Shure announced the discontinuation of their V15-Vxmr model, they tried to calm their customers stating that they had a huge stock in their warehouse ready to be purchased; however said "stock" was literally hoarded in a matter of weeks. Not only they experienced a completely unforeseen increase in sales for a product they decided to discontinue, but they were also submerged by mail from customers and resellers who ran out of stock, both asking them to keep going with production. To them, they replied that "the beryllium shaft typical of the V15 could be no longer produced because of new safety regulations". This is, of course, bullshit; because not only beryllium can be replaced with other materials in a commercially viable way (imagine a composite synthetic material, described in ads as an improvement, better than beryllium etc etc...) but even if it really was the case, the production of the shafts could be easily outsourced to a foreign country, as everything else is. At this point however, pressed by mails from customers worried about the lifespan of their V15 cartridges, they declared they had a stock of replacement styli that would last, based on their calculations and past sales, three years. This stock, in turn, was depleted in a pair of months.

If I was a marketing teacher at some university, this would be by far my favourite example of a marketing insipience that had as aftermath a tremendous loss of potential business, a loss of millions of loyal customers worldwide, and finally the closure of an entire company branch on the long run.


Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Fri May 04, 2018 6:05 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 3:06 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 704
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Wolfe wrote:
I've never owned a Shure V15Vx-MR. They go for some pretty good coin on the used market now. Plenty of people still swear by them.

Correct, I would actually say that it is virtually non-existent on the used market, good luck finding one! Who had the foresight to purchase one, now keeps it. They close the cartridge branch while there is an immense business potential for a V15 reissue, this is absolutely crazy!


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 6:00 am 
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Victor III
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Wolfe wrote:
Anybody tried Nagaoka 78 styli ?

I have a 4 mil Nagaoka for an Nagaoka MP cart that I bought from LP Gear. It does a decent job, except that you can't track real heavy with it. I haven't checked precisely, but it's one of those deals where 3 grams tracking force is probably about the max.


Yes, I have the NMP 3.5 needle along with the MP-110 which can really sound amazing. But I agree, a tracking force of about just 2g is nothing that works reliably enough for general use. They should have definitely lowered the compliance for the 78rpm styli. Otherwise, the reproduction quality can outperform the large variety of styli for Stanton, Shure and AudioTechnica that I also have.

However, there's another problem, which appears to be related to the low tracking force. It appears as if some fine dirt can accumulate behind the diamond until it moves over it. This is very much audible and does not appear with other carts and higher tracking forces.

Nevertheless, the Nagaoka is really something to try out. For LP's I have been using the MP-500 with boron cantilever and it reproduces just perfectly.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 6:47 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 704
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WDC wrote:
I have a 4 mil Nagaoka for an Nagaoka MP cart that I bought from LP Gear. It does a decent job, except that you can't track real heavy with it. I haven't checked precisely, but it's one of those deals where 3 grams tracking force is probably about the max.


General building quality aside, this is exactly the same reason why I never really felt to "suggest" the purchase of the Shure M78S: too low max tracking force, too high compliance for being appointed as an "all round" 78 cartridge. It was O.K. on late non-warped electrically recorded 78s, but on older stuff with less-than-perfect groove spacing it wobbled terribly.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure leaving the phono market.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 8:12 am 
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Victor III
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The M78S was just a cheap mod of the SC35C, which had been already a pretty mediocre pickup. I purchased my M78S some 15 years ago and I could never warm up to this cartridge at all, same problems with poor tracking behaviour. The Nagaoka is much better in this field.

The stylus body is one of the poorest designs I have come by, a complete nightmare to swap. The side lashes make it highly succeptible to let the stylus flip over in beetween your fingers which usually will end in a bent or broken cantilever.

But the M44-7 with a Pfanstiehl 3mil stylus is a good alternative to have, under the condition that the turntable has an adjustable tonearm height.


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