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 Post subject: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 3:53 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
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This is a follow-up to a previous thread.

I finally had the time to do some testing. I waited for so long to really gather the money that I needed to have the styli retipped by Expert, and then waiting for the goods to go back and forth from Italy to UK, that I could select a good bunch of "test records" in the meanwhile. So what I wanted to do was pretty clear in my mind, although this may not necessarily be my final take on this matter, and I may change my mind later, after a longer and more intense use of the set.

On these premises, in my opinion, the most evident fact is that if the record has permanent wear caused by overused steel needles or such, trying to track the grooves "upper" with a wider diamond is useless. Distortion will still be all there, and to make things worse surface scratches will become more hearable. In my experience the only possibility to improve the sound is the other way around: to track the groove deeper than normal, with a thinner diamond. The sound improvement is perceivable but it is however, in all cases, limited: I could not get an all-round "good" sound from any of the worn-out records that I tested.

What so far I couldn't seem to find good use for are the wider diamonds. The 35mil, in particular, was warmly recommended to me. I tested these diamonds with a selection of the oldest well-kept records that I own, and the 4.0mil diamond seems to play them well, but in turn the 3.5mil and 3.0mil seem to play them just as well, and in most cases the 2.5mil would also play them well, with no evident swishing on the bottom of the groove.

When playing records that, in my mind, would be finely matched by the 3.5mil truncated diamond, I could hear almost no difference than when I played them with the 3.0mil non-truncated diamond, or when I heard any difference it was so subtle that I asked myself if it was just self-suggestion.

Coming to the the 2.5mil diamond, it indeed has plenty of use with later 78 records made in the '50s. These are tracked so well that I wonder if a 2.0mil diamond could still track them well, and perhaps with some improvement in respect to sound distortion caused by previous groove wear.

In short: I am very happy with the thinner diamonds that I selected. :D Countrarywise, I couldn't find a real use for the wider diamonds. :oops: As said, I am aware that the latter require further testing, and I might change my mind at a later time. Also, people with a record collection different than mine or mostly produced in another country could draw different conclusions.

This said, if I had to do it all over again, I think I would leave out the 3.5mil or the 4.0mil diamonds, and take a 2.0mil diamond instead and see what happens. Smaller diamonds seem to be more useful, at least with with Hi-Fi equipment, than larger ones.

Should anyone had the patience to read through the whole post, I'd be glad to read your comments, opinions and suggestions on this matter!


Last edited by Marco Gilardetti on Fri May 04, 2018 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 8:08 am 
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Victor V
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Marco,

It's certainly a trial and error thing with the larger size diamonds. I use my 4.0 TE almost exclusively for playing mid-late 20 Victor Orthophonics and almost ALL UK HMV discs from the mid 20s up to the end. The larger tip diameter rides higher in the groove and does a great job of reducing the dreaded HMV "crackle". Obviously this isn't the case for each and every one of these, but in general, it's what I find it to be most useful for. It's also excellent on certain acoustics, like Victors from about 1905-1907 where for some reason, the groove pitch tends to be a bit wider. Again, it's not hard and fast, as they say, but it's served me very well and I'm glad I have one. I have custom sizes from 2.0 all the way to 4.0 and the investment to me was one of the best I've ever made.

Sean


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 8:16 am 
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Victor III
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Are really talking about 35 and 40 mil, not 3.5 (89 µm) and 4 mil (~ 102 µm)?


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 8:22 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
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No there's a dot in between, let me edit it.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 8:45 am 
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Victor III
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Much better. :D

My personal observation with wide styli has been not that much different. Wider styli on earlier records tend to make everything worse compared to going deeper into the groove. It does make sense if you consider that many steel needles have a tip of about 4 mil or slightly larger. Especially Berliners will almost never play better with a wider stylus, including the early 5" Berliners.

So, with a wide stylus you basically tracking close to the point where the steel needle has done its damage. I use my 3.5 mil styli and the Victor Orthophonics and HMV period records for most of the time. While 3 mil tends to work with most other brands of that late 1920's, it is indeed too narrow for these records and you'll get that swishy brackground noise.

What did Expert charge for these?


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 9:00 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
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OrthoSean wrote:
I use my 4.0 TE almost exclusively for playing mid-late 20 Victor Orthophonics and almost ALL UK HMV discs from the mid 20s up to the end. The larger tip diameter rides higher in the groove and does a great job of reducing the dreaded HMV "crackle".


This would explain my findings pretty well, as I possibly have none UK-pressed record of this kind. However, I have a pretty huge lot of old HMV operatic records (I ignore where they were pressed) and I will do some further testing with them.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 9:08 am 
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Victor III
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F. Depero, "Grammofono", 1923.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:19 am
Posts: 710
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WDC wrote:
What did Expert charge for these?


Well, I asked them to retip only the 2.5mil, 3.5mil and 4.0mil with a conical truncated diamond. The 0.7mil you see is the standard "microgroove" of the Stanton 500, and the 3.0 mil I decided not to have it retipped and live with it (it's a stock LP TUNEs non-truncated conical diamond).

For retipping the three mentioned styli they asked £ 147.42 VAT and shipping included. Of course you have to add to this the cost of the replacement styli ($ 25 each, plus shipping, from LP TUNEs).


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Victor V
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WDC wrote:
Much better. :D

My personal observation with wide styli has been not that much different. Wider styli on earlier records tend to make everything worse compared to going deeper into the groove. It does make sense if you consider that many steel needles have a tip of about 4 mil or slightly larger. Especially Berliners will almost never play better with a wider stylus, including the early 5" Berliners.

So, with a wide stylus you basically tracking close to the point where the steel needle has done its damage. I use my 3.5 mil styli and the Victor Orthophonics and HMV period records for most of the time. While 3 mil tends to work with most other brands of that late 1920's, it is indeed too narrow for these records and you'll get that swishy brackground noise.

What did Expert charge for these?


I've also found that a wide stylus can play above damage, or at least, a less noisy part of the groove. It's a two-way street. Also as mentioned, early electrics and some early acoustics - Victor especially - can benefit from a 4.0. I wouldn't want to be without one.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 10:03 am 
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Victor I
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I find that the only rule of thumb is: there are no rules of thumb. I've had beautiful-looking records that distorted on peaks no matter what stylus size/configuration I chose, and I've had records that looked trashed but played beautifully with one or another. And vice-versa, of course! Sometimes, the big size gives a fuller, better sound than the smaller ones even though none has distortion issues; sometimes it's the small one that wins; and sometimes all sound pretty much the same. With acoustic records, I find my 4.0 mil truncated elliptical to be very useful; with electrics, maybe not as much. I don't have a 2.5 or 3.0; my "small" truncated elliptical is a compromise 2.8 mil, and it's also extremely useful. My 3.5 is great for the average electrical when it works--but that's my "hard luck" mounting, now out of service for the second time. (First time, fumble fingers here managed to damage the cantilever when slipping it into a cartridge; had it remounted, and apparently the N78S assembly I sent Expert was a dud. And now Shure has quit making the things. Sigh....) Sometimes, the stock spherical configuration works when the ellipticals don't. I've never come up with any rhyme or reason; it all boils down to "use what works, and don't worry about any theories."

I should add that my set is for the Shure V15Vx-MR, each mounted in its own cartridge and headshell so I can swap out without handling the stylus assemblies themselves--I learned my lesson from the fumble-fingers incident noted above! Sadly, with Shure having not only discontinued the raw materials (N78S assemblies) but left the cartridge business entirely, I imagine my days with that setup are numbered.

Oh, by the way: what a beautiful box! You obviously have some serious wood-working skills.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments and impressions about my diamond styli set.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 12:40 pm 
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Victor II
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I'm one of the guys that talked you into the purchase of a 3.5, so I guess I ought to reply ;) . I guess it all depends on the records (labels) and their age. My collection contains mainly American and British dance bands from the 1920's, and most of them are on Victor, (British) HMV, Columbia and Brunswick. And of course on budget labels such as Banner, Perfect, Imperial, Supertone, etc. Compared to the 2.7 standard non-truncated stylus I started out with (and the 3.0 tc I bought later on), the 3.5 tc gives a big improvement on a lot of Victors, British HMV's and budget labels. Less hiss, and no more swishing. On Brunswicks, Columbia's (and Okeh's) the 3.5 usually offers no improvement over the 3.0, and sometimes even a (slight) deterioration in the form of more audible scratches.

But, of course, this isn't true in all instances. I have many Victors that sound pretty much the same, whether I play them with a 3.0 tc or a 3.5. But in a lot of cases the 3.5 is an improvement over the 3.0. Perhaps in the case of HMV's (British ones) even more so.


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