View Full Version : Technics SL-D3 cartridge recommendation...


Sultan swing
04-22-2011, 02:52 PM
Hi, fellow AKers! Finally bought a decent TT!

As some of you know from my previous two threads in last three weeks, I've sold my belt-drive 1980es Sansui FR-D25 and after an intensive pursuit I've purchased a Technics SL-D3 turntable.
Technics is in EX or even NM condition and everything seems to work except an auto-start function, but that could be because I don't have a cartridge mounted, so maybe the TT doesn't want to put the empty headshell on the record. If not, I believe when I open it up, it won't be difficult to fix it, but that's not on my list yet.
Any opinion or advice on the Technics? Seems to me like a very decent MOTL direct drive TT.

1. Cart
My next acquisition is a cartridge for it. I've done some reading and research here on AK, and found that many SL-D1/2/3 owners use a Shure M97xe on it, and those who were asking about which cart to use, the same cart was recommended to them by many of you.
Is it really the best budget cartridge for it?

I have had an AT95e (also recommended to me by many of you 2.5 years ago) on my Sansui and was very pleased with it's musicality and great tracking ability, so I'm definitely considering it again.
But, that's my only real cartridge so far (not including Philips GP215 which was a ceramic cart with a sapphire needle) so I would be grateful if someone can recommend something else in that price range. I can get the new AT95e here in Europe for 35$, shipping included.

SL-D3's arm weights 12 grams and it's length is 230mm. According to the service manual it accepts carts from 6 to 9.5 grams.
Would AT95e be a good match for this tonearm?
I mainly listen to '60/'70/'80es rock, blues rock, some hard rock, '90es alternative rock and indie rock.
Please do have in mind that I have it hooked up on a 30 watts Sanyo amplifier with an integrated phono section, so some carts could/would be an overkill...

2. Maintenance
What do you recommend me to do now, after buying a used TT? Some DIY service check? Few drops of fine-machine oil on the platter bearing? (I probably have oil for my mother's sewing machine, will that do the trick?)
Should I spray the tonearm axis with WD40, or is that a big NO?
Does anyone know where to get spare hinges?

I appologize for the long(ish) post! Also, if I made or will make some grammar/spelling mistakes, excuse me as well, 'cause English is not my mother tongue.

Thank you! Any input is welcome!

hakaplan
04-22-2011, 04:43 PM
The auto-start often will not work without a cart for the simple reason that it requires weight at the headshell end to function properly. It sure will put a needle on a bare platter so be careful of that.

The AT-95E is an excellent match to the arm and should work well--that would be my choice. $35 is a bargain; it's $50 here in the US. The M97xE with the brush down would work fine, but it has a different sound. Some like it, some prefer the AT sound. The Shure has been described as too laid back unless the load resistance (Ohms) is propped up to 62K--don't know if your amp has that capability.

The light machine oil in the platter bearings is fine. DO NOT SPRAY WD-40 IN THE TONEARM PIVOT. If the arm moves freely it needs no lube. If the mechanics work, you're fine there, otherwise clean out hardened grease and relube with with lithium grease. If the speed is not steady (keeps wavering), spray Deoxit on the internals of the pitch control and the 33/45 switch.

Regarding your post, I didn't note any misspellings and it's grammatically fine with the exception of minor punctuation. In fact, it's better than 90% of what I see written on message boards by AMERICANS! Congratulation on having mastered English so well. :thmbsp:

Balifly
04-22-2011, 05:25 PM
I have no experience with the AT 95E.
I do have the AT95HE though ( following Howard's advice ).
The HE stylus puts the cartridge sound quality in another league altogether.
My AT 95HE sounds great on my Mitsubishi LT-22 linear turntable.
It is my primary turntable for rock music! :thmbsp:

There are several other nice sounding Shure cartridge for rock music.
The Shure M 75HE type 2 or the Shure M 95HE are what I am using.:music:

Sultan swing
04-22-2011, 06:52 PM
@ hakaplan

OK, thank you for the heads-up on the auto-start! Also, it's great to hear that the AT95e is a great match for the tonearm, because I really liked it and currently is very cheap to get!

If I could, I would really like to hear the M97xe in my setup and then decide if that's the way to go, because the specifications are superior to the AT95e, the Shure has a better cut diamond (0.2x0.7mm) and tracking force is significantly smaller so that would result in record preservation!

As for the light-machine oil - great! Then I'll put a few drops of it on the platter bearing!
And also, I promise, I won't spray anything on the tonearm! :) It really moves freely!
I'll test the speed after I buy and mount cartridge!

Oh, and thank you for your compliment on my English!

@ balifly

It's great to hear that that little cartridge can sound so great! I think I'll go right now with the regular elliptical diamond, and, who knows, maybe someday I'll upgrade it to the hyper-elliptical! Glad that you like yours!

eteller
04-22-2011, 07:19 PM
It's a fine deck, replace the interconnects and fill the plinth with clay for better sound, IM me if you want more info. I run one daily on my 'blue collar system' with a Ortofon/Digitrac OM20, fine sound.

Sultan swing
04-23-2011, 02:51 AM
Eteller, thank you for your advice and offer to IM you! Will do that!

Sultan swing
04-23-2011, 06:42 AM
Anyone else?

A friend recommended me AT110e, is it really that better than AT95e, 'cause it costs twice as much?

hakaplan
04-23-2011, 08:52 AM
Anyone else?

A friend recommended me AT110e, is it really that better than AT95e, 'cause it costs twice as much?

Same stylus; uses lighter tracking force. But with an s-arm, which is higher in mass, generally cartridges with higher tracking forces (stiffer cantilevers) work better, and the 2g of the AT-95E is at the sweet spot and nowhere near the point of damaging your vinyl. The reason the M97xE is workable is that using the brush down negates the resonance caused by using too light a stylus force.

Azimuth
04-23-2011, 09:47 AM
I use a V15 III on my SL D2. I also use it on my SL 1700 and a V15 IV on my SL 5100. Should I switch to an AT95E or HE because of the tonearm?

hakaplan
04-23-2011, 10:55 AM
I use a V15 III on my SL D2. I also use it on my SL 1700 and a V15 IV on my SL 5100. Should I switch to an AT95E or HE because of the tonearm?

If you're satisfied with the performance, then no. Low TF (high compliance) cartridges can work fine on s-arms. But when one is considering purchasing a cartridge, it makes more sense to choose the better match, especially if the better match is cheaper :).

KrisM
04-23-2011, 11:32 AM
Might not help you, but I have been using an Empire 2000E/III(with an lpgear replacement stylus) on my SL-Q3. It works well. The cart that came with it was an MA2002e, but it wasn't a good match for the arm.

Azimuth
04-23-2011, 05:22 PM
Thanks. I am quite pleased.

Sultan swing
04-23-2011, 06:11 PM
Yeah, again a great coincidence that the cheaper cart is a better match! And I loved it's sound!

But, the Empire 2000/III seems nice on paper! Smaller stylus, wider frequency range and higher output (could be a good thing 'cause of my weak amp..) Where could one buy one? Stylus for it isn't that expensive... Around 40 bucks.

Still, my first choice is AT95e. But that Empire got my attention... How come it's got that wider frequency response range? This site (http://www.mantra-audio.co.uk/Empire_Cartridge_Specifications.html) says 5-35,000 Hz.

Sultan swing
04-23-2011, 06:15 PM
V15 III seems great, too. Also, the stylus is in my price range. But, that seems logical what Howard said. And why not spend the difference on some LPs?

Sultan swing
04-23-2011, 06:20 PM
One more thing. I'm asking this just for amusement, which other carts would be perfect (compliance-wise) for this tonearm? Let's say under 150$.

Balifly
04-23-2011, 07:50 PM
Don't known anything about the perfect match of cartridge and tone arm.:scratch2:

The AT 95 cartridge with the AT95 Shibata stylus would be a very nice combination.

That combination should come in just under $150.00.:music: :D :thmbsp:
http://www.turntableneedles.com/-710-Dshibata_p_3721.html

hakaplan
04-23-2011, 08:01 PM
Don't known anything about the perfect match of cartridge and tone arm.:scratch2:

The AT 95 cartridge with the AT95 Shibata stylus would be a very nice combination.

That combination should come in just under $150.00.:music: :D :thmbsp:
http://www.turntableneedles.com/-710-Dshibata_p_3721.html
And yes, it would be an ideal match. The thinking is that higher mass arms mate better with higher tracking force styli and vice versa.

Another one would be the Denon DL-110.

Sultan swing
04-24-2011, 03:14 AM
Great! Will have that in mind one day!

Sultan swing
04-24-2011, 03:53 AM
Could someone please explain me the chart on VE about cartridge compliance?
Here it is: http://www.vinylengine.com/cartridge_resonance_evaluator.php?eff_mass=12&submit=Submit

And where does AT95e stand? If I understood correctly, it doesn't fit in the green area, but hopefully I'm wrong.
(The arm mass is 12g.)

Sultan swing
04-26-2011, 02:31 PM
Considering one more cart...the Ortofon OM5E. It's recommended VTF is 1.75g and it's mass is 5g.
Would that be a good match for the 12g Technics tonearm?

iLUVanalog
04-26-2011, 02:44 PM
Anyone else?

A friend recommended me AT110e, is it really that better than AT95e, 'cause it costs twice as much?




I would stick with the AT95E...it's a perfectly fine cartridge and a good match for the tonearm. I had two of these cartridges and used them until I upgraded to the Denon DL-110. I also had the AT95HE, which is also quite good. I would imagine the tonearm you have on your table is the same/similar to the arm on my SL-1200, so no matching problems with the AT95. Also, you have to admit the price is great. The AT95E is a LOT of cartridge for not a lot of money. The AT95HE is a nice upgrade and about $30 more than the "E". Steve

Sultan swing
04-26-2011, 02:51 PM
Thank you, Steve! I really, really liked the AT95e for the last two years on my last TT, so it's really great to hear that it will be a good match for my new TT an tonearm.
Seen some videos of people using an AT92E cart on Technics tonearms that look a lot like mine, despite the fact that it's tracking is low (1-1.5g)... Is that cart better than AT95e? It seems better on paper...

KrisM
04-26-2011, 03:00 PM
Yeah, again a great coincidence that the cheaper cart is a better match! And I loved it's sound!

But, the Empire 2000/III seems nice on paper! Smaller stylus, wider frequency range and higher output (could be a good thing 'cause of my weak amp..) Where could one buy one? Stylus for it isn't that expensive... Around 40 bucks.

Still, my first choice is AT95e. But that Empire got my attention... How come it's got that wider frequency response range? This site (http://www.mantra-audio.co.uk/Empire_Cartridge_Specifications.html) says 5-35,000 Hz.

There were a lot of them sold back in the day. There were also different model numbers, but the bodies were basically the same. I have three right now, one that is a 2000, one that is unlabeled, and one that is 66REX(I think). The first two came from ebay, and the third was on a PE/Dual that I picked up. I like the one I have on my SL-Q3, but I wouldn't spend too much on one, they are quite common. By the time you buy it and the replacement stylus, you might be into something better that is new.

Sultan swing
04-26-2011, 03:06 PM
OK, thanks! Think I'll stick with the AT.

iLUVanalog
04-26-2011, 03:08 PM
Thank you, Steve! I really, really liked the AT95e for the last two years on my last TT, so it's really great to hear that it will be a good match for my new TT an tonearm.
Seen some videos of people using an AT92E cart on Technics tonearms that look a lot like mine, despite the fact that it's tracking is low (1-1.5g)... Is that cart better than AT95e? It seems better on paper...




Can't comment on the AT92E...never owned one. The 92E is also a P-mount/"universal" mount cartridge. I never use a P-mount cartridge on a standard tonearm. If I buy a P-mount cartridge, it is going on a P-mount arm...period.

Sultan swing
04-26-2011, 03:12 PM
And this Ortofon I mentioned? Have you heard that one? Possibly on your Technics?

Sultan swing
04-26-2011, 05:35 PM
@iLUVanalog: What VTF did you use on Technics/AT95e combo?

hakaplan
04-26-2011, 07:45 PM
The OM5E is a good match. I don't think it has the wide acclaim that the AT95E does. I'll let iluvanalog speak for himself, but generally you want to run cartridges at median or slightly higher tracking force. So the AT-95E should be run at 2g or maybe a little higher if that seems to work better. The reason is that with too low a force the arm bounces around in the groove and can cause damage.

The AT-92E (aka 92ECD) is an improvement on paper, but not the best match to the Technics s-arm. P-mounts are best used either on p-mount arms or low mass arms. They are intended to track at 1.25g.

Forget the compliance chart. Compliance numbers are not always reliable, especially the way AT reported them. Use tracking force as the guide, since as the compliance goes up (the cantilever spring becomes softer) tracking force goes down, and vice versa--low compliance cartridges have stiffer springs and require higher tracking force styli. Stiffer springs mate better with higher mass arms and vice versa. 2g median tracking force, give or take maybe .25g is the sweet spot for a 12g arm. Like I said before, this is a general guide. Do some folks have success using lower tracking force cartridges with s-arms? Sure. And for $25 (in the US, at least) it's not a big deal to spring for an AT-92ECD just to see if it sounds good. But I wouldn't spend a lot on a cartridge that might be a questionable match--unless you can return it.

Sultan swing
04-27-2011, 04:21 AM
My friend has this Ortofon so maybe I'll try it. But, I'm aware that it isn't as positively reviewed as the AT. Not that it didn't get positive reviews, it's just that it didn't get as many as the AudioTechnica, at least so far.
I've heard it on his Pro-Ject Debut III and it sounded very nice, but he suspects that this cart has a tendency to exaggerate the surface noise.

OK, I like what I'm hearing, 2g +/- 0.25 isn't that bad.

As for the AT92ECD, I was just asking, as I seen it's frequency response and was "wow"! Sticking to AT95e, maybe trying friends Ortofon OM5E...

Have been reading about those Red Ed carts... Has anyone listened and compared them to AT95e? VTF is similar, stylus is the same (in the elliptical model)...

eteller
04-27-2011, 08:04 AM
I had a OM5E, it was flat and boring. Move up the Ortofon ladder and it gets better. The Digitrac (similar to an OM20) is wonderful. If it were me I'd look at a AT 440MLa, wait for a Amazon deal.

Sultan swing
04-27-2011, 10:28 AM
Maybe I'll buy the AT440MLa someday, but for my student-budget, it's just too expensive...

iLUVanalog
04-27-2011, 10:37 AM
@iLUVanalog: What VTF did you use on Technics/AT95e combo?




AT specifically recommends 2.0gm VTF with the AT95E, and that's what I used.

Likewise with the AT95HE.....2.0gm.

iLUVanalog
04-27-2011, 10:40 AM
And this Ortofon I mentioned? Have you heard that one? Possibly on your Technics?



No experience with that particular Ortofon. The only Ortofon's I have owned are the X1MC (which was excellent, by the way....but discontinued) and the OMP-10 (currently own), and it's a P-mount.

Sultan swing
04-27-2011, 03:49 PM
I tracked it at 1.8g, never mistracked a groove... Will try the 2g when it arrives.
Thanks to all!
Have this eBay seller that will give a stylus-cleaning-liquid with brush. Is that a necessity? How many of you use this?

Sultan swing
04-29-2011, 08:42 AM
Ordered the AT95e yesterday! Really looking forward mounting and hearing it 'cause last few months I've used a AT3400 conical stylus on it... So back to elliptical and with a better TT!
Bought that little Ortofon stylus brush for 3 bucks. For 3$, it's better to have it, than not to...
Probably will order some of that Magic Eraser someday, too...

Will get back when AT arrives...