Resurrecting a 46 year old Shure V15 type III Cartridge, perils and rewards.

S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Its been sitting in a desk drawer for over 40 years, a Shure V15 type III Cartridge, which had been mounted to my Sony PS-4750 until I broke the VN35HE stylus sometime in 1975, or thereabouts, But, having heard very good reviews recently about this vintage cartridge fitted with the Jico SAS stylus, just for grins and giggles I ordered a Jico SAS-B microline stylus for it, as well as an additional stock headshell for my Technics SL-1210GR, thinking I'd have the old cart up and running again just for some pleasure from it. At any rate, up and running has not gone so well. First, it turns out that this cart's 15mm height will not sync with the TT's VTA adjustment device, remaining tail high at the ZERO VTA setting; and, now the 2mm shim required to get the cart level has brought about the need for excessively long cart mounting screws, which is adding apparently enough mass to the tonearm that resonance is peaking at less than 6Hz. Looks like the most compelling solution is to buy a 6mm platter mat to replace the stock 3mm mat and then chuck the 2mm shim, which would allow me to use shorter screws in hope of getting resonance in the 7 to 8 Hz arena. At any rate, for now I'm running the cart with shim and long screws; and, I sense it is delivering everything in the groove to get with a tone similar to CDs of same material. Now, wondering if any here have put this cart back into service and what the impressions might be?
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Its been sitting in a desk drawer for over 40 years, a Shure V15 type III Cartridge, which had been mounted to my Sony PS-4750 until I broke the VN35HE stylus sometime in 1975, or thereabouts, But, having heard very good reviews recently about this vintage cartridge fitted with the Jico SAS stylus, just for grins and giggles I ordered a Jico SAS-B microline stylus for it, as well as an additional stock headshell for my Technics SL-1210GR, thinking I'd have the old cart up and running again just for some pleasure from it. At any rate, up and running has not gone so well. First, it turns out that this cart's 15mm height will not sync with the TT's VTA adjustment device, remaining tail high at the ZERO VTA setting; and, now the 2mm shim required to get the cart level has brought about the need for excessively long cart mounting screws, which is adding apparently enough mass to the tonearm that resonance is peaking at less than 6Hz. Looks like the most compelling solution is to buy a 6mm platter mat to replace the stock 3mm mat and then chuck the 2mm shim, which would allow me to use shorter screws in hope of getting resonance in the 7 to 8 Hz arena. At any rate, for now I'm running the cart with shim and long screws; and, I sense it is delivering everything in the groove to get with a tone similar to CDs of same material. Now, wondering if any here have put this cart back into service and what the impressions might be?
I have owned at one time or another all of the Shure V15 series cartridges from the Type III onwards. I have to say I was always a little disappointed with the type III in some respects and continued to use mainly my Decca H 4E. I found it had a slight edge on the high end, and seemed to lack detail. In my view there was incremental improvement throughout the series. My favorite is the Shure 15V xMR by far.

However there is a problem as the usual capacitance loading including leads is very low, at 250 pf rather then the usual 400 to 500 pf.

So you have to use low capacitance leads, and add the capacitance desired in the RCA plug. SME leads are very low capacitance and you can add just what you need.

The Quad 44 input capacitance can be set by dip switches on the top of the preamp.

So here is a measured FR from Stereophile of the Shure V15 type III.



That agrees with what Shure published in the user manual.

Now I remember Geoffrey Horn publishing and FR of the Shure V15 xMR in Gramophone that was ruler flat. I know his set up was similar to mine

I think Shure were honest with their specs and measurements.

Here is the Shure 15 V xMR user manual showing a ruler flat FR.

The V15 xMR had a reputation for have a rolled off high end. I maintain this was due to improper loading, as few realized it requires low capacitance loading.

Here is what I mean here a member on Audio Asylum, measured the FR of his Shure 15V xMR, and it shows a rolled off high end. He did not state the loading conditions.



That would be audible. So you have to pay attention to the correct loading.

Properly set up, I think the Shure 15V xMR is the best sounding, and best tracking cartridge, that was ever produced.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
I have owned at one time or another all of the Shure V15 series cartridges from the Type III onwards. I have to say I was always a little disappointed with the type III in some respects and continued to use mainly my Decca H 4E. I found it had a slight edge on the high end, and seemed to lack detail. In my view there was incremental improvement throughout the series. My favorite is the Shure 15V xMR by far.

However there is a problem as the usual capacitance loading including leads is very low, at 250 pf rather then the usual 400 to 500 pf.

So you have to use low capacitance leads, and add the capacitance desired in the RCA plug. SME leads are very low capacitance and you can add just what you need.

The Quad 44 input capacitance can be set by dip switches on the top of the preamp.

So here is a measured FR from Stereophile of the Shure V15 type III.



That agrees with what Shure published in the user manual.

Now I remember Geoffrey Horn publishing and FR of the Shure V15 xMR in Gramophone that was ruler flat. I know his set up was similar to mine

I think Shure were honest with their specs and measurements.

Here is the Shure 15 V xMR user manual showing a ruler flat FR.

The V15 xMR had a reputation for have a rolled off high end. I maintain this was due to improper loading, as few realized it requires low capacitance loading.

Here is what I mean here a member on Audio Asylum, measured the FR of his Shure 15V xMR, and it shows a rolled off high end. He did not state the loading conditions.



That would be audible. So you have to pay attention to the correct loading.

Properly set up, I think the Shure 15V xMR is the best sounding, and best tracking cartridge, that was ever produced.
I have no experience with the xMR, I have two V15V-MR cartridges. One of these is OEM snd the other is fitted with a JICO SAS-Boron stylus assembly. Both sound so similar I cannot reliability distinguish one from the other. I prefer these to the few other carts I have on hand. I have a moving coil cart on order, an Audio-Technics OC9XML, which I have been drawn to, in spite of its likely 6Hz resonance with my tonearm/headshell.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Field Marshall
I feel like a neophyte reading this. 2mm over a 10" tone arm seems like a very tiny angle. My trig is a little rusty to do the math without some homework, but the change in angle at the stylus would be minuscule. Do you really find these small changes in stylus angle to be audible or do you just like to be precise? What advantage is there to getting the tonearm resonance from 6Hz to 7 or 8Hz and is this measured or calculated?

My one regret with the Project tt is that the headshell is integrated into the tone arm. I have an Audio Technica AT-152LP (which was top of the line and since replaced by the AT150MLX) but without a removable headshell I've been lax to replace the Ortofon Red that came with the Project. I used to keep an old Shure for records that were in rough condition and reserved the AT-152LP for the good vinyl but that's not practical until I get another tt. Hard to do A/B tests between the Ortofon and AT considering the mounting and setup time and the AVR has only one phono input. The AT does have better specs on paper. Higher frequency response and wider separation but my speakers are only 12' apart so not sure if the change will be audible.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I feel like a neophyte reading this. 2mm over a 10" tone arm seems like a very tiny angle. My trig is a little rusty to do the math without some homework, but the change in angle at the stylus would be minuscule. Do you really find these small changes in stylus angle to be audible or do you just like to be precise? What advantage is there to getting the tonearm resonance from 6Hz to 7 or 8Hz and is this measured or calculated?

My one regret with the Project tt is that the headshell is integrated into the tone arm. I have an Audio Technica AT-152LP (which was top of the line and since replaced by the AT150MLX) but without a removable headshell I've been lax to replace the Ortofon Red that came with the Project. I used to keep an old Shure for records that were in rough condition and reserved the AT-152LP for the good vinyl but that's not practical until I get another tt. Hard to do A/B tests between the Ortofon and AT considering the mounting and setup time and the AVR has only one phono input. The AT does have better specs on paper. Higher frequency response and wider separation but my speakers are only 12' apart so not sure if the change will be audible.
Unfortunately setting up turntables really is an art. It is about as far from plug and play as you can get. Very small mechanical and loading errors have an oversized impact, and are audible. Excellent performance from vinyl discs is not easily achieved. If everything is finely tuned results can be superlative. Unfortunately that is seldom the case.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
I feel like a neophyte reading this. 2mm over a 10" tone arm seems like a very tiny angle. My trig is a little rusty to do the math without some homework, but the change in angle at the stylus would be minuscule. Do you really find these small changes in stylus angle to be audible or do you just like to be precise? What advantage is there to getting the tonearm resonance from 6Hz to 7 or 8Hz and is this measured or calculated?

My one regret with the Project tt is that the headshell is integrated into the tone arm. I have an Audio Technica AT-152LP (which was top of the line and since replaced by the AT150MLX) but without a removable headshell I've been lax to replace the Ortofon Red that came with the Project. I used to keep an old Shure for records that were in rough condition and reserved the AT-152LP for the good vinyl but that's not practical until I get another tt. Hard to do A/B tests between the Ortofon and AT considering the mounting and setup time and the AVR has only one phono input. The AT does have better specs on paper. Higher frequency response and wider separation but my speakers are only 12' apart so not sure if the change will be audible.
The proper VTA brings out the best tone balance; and, resonance peaking at 8 Hz or above is desirable since it's in the inaudible arena. I too have an Ortofon 2M Red, as well as an AT cart, the VM540ML. I can easily compare and contrast those carts along with my Shure carts, having two turntables and multiple phono stages on hand. So far, the carts to beat are the AT-VM540ML and Shure V15 type III fitted with a Jico SAS-B stylus assembly. Both deliver a CD like tone with the AT being somewhat extra crispy on high frequencies and the Shure less edgy on high frequencies. Both deliver bass to my liking, accentuated to taste via my 2.1 preamplifiers

At any rate, LP play is a paradox. I know there's a lot to like about it, as well as a lot to dislike about it; thus, wondering about it all, I recently performed an experiment to see if I could discern what means to recorded music was overall preferable.

The experiment was performed with Classic Hauser, a high dynamic range recording, on LP, CD, 24/96 FLAC Download, and Apple Music Download. Playing these, nine ways to Sunday as listed below, I had hoped the experimentation would determine what medium sounded best.


LP>Technics SL-1210GR/Shure V15V (SAS)>Sony TA-E9000ES Pre-Pro Phono Preamplifier input
24/96 FLAC Download>Foobar2000>OPPO-205 DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
24/96 FLAC Download>Foobar2000>Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD (for usb to S/PDIF conversion at 24/96)>TA-E9000ES optical S/PDIF input
Apple Music Download>iTunes>Airport Express (wi-fi to S/PDIF 16/44.1 output)>Sony TA-E9000ES optical S/PDIF input
Apple Music Download>iTunes>OPPO-205 DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
Apple Music Download>iTunes>Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD (for usb to S/PDIF conversion at 24/96)>TA-E9000ES optical S/PDIF input
Apple Music Download>Network connection to OPPO-205 DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
24/96 FLAC Download>Thumb Drive>OPPO-205 DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
24/96 FLAC Download>Network connection to OPPO-205 DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
CD>OPPO-205>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
CD>Rip to iTunes in ALAC>OPPO-205 DAC up sampling to 24/192>Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
CD>Rip to iTunes in ALAC>Airport Express (wi-fi to S/PDIF 16/44.1 output) Sony TA-E9000ES analog input
CD>Rip to iTunes in ALAC>Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD (for usb to S/PDIF conversion at 24/96)>Sony TA-E9000ES optical S/PDIF input
Conclusion: all processes yielded a satisfying listening experience, whereby tone, sound stage, and detail seemed so similar as to preclude any revelation to a particular process delivering the most compelling sound; however, three things did stand out: first, the presence of pops distracted LP pleasure, second, play of downloads via OPPO usb DAC, Drive Port, or Network connection is inconvenient, and finally, the iTunes play of the Apple Music AAC download via Airport Express to the Sony TA-E9000ES was most convenient, and sounded on par with the CD, ALAC and FLAC media. This makes me question any need for a means to music other than APPLE MUSIC. The exercise was a fun activity on a cold and dreary weekend which has kept me indoors. Note, Apple Music to thumb drive was not tested, since it would have required purchase of the album to permit copy to thumb drive.
 
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Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Field Marshall
So the AT-VM540ML is Ortofon Bronze territory. I was afraid you were going to say the AT-ART7 for C$1800. :) I was surprised to see that Audio Technica has such high end offerings. Thanks for your insights.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
So the AT-VM540ML is Ortofon Bronze territory. I was afraid you were going to say the AT-ART7 for C$1800. :) I was surprised to see that Audio Technica has such high end offerings. Thanks for your insights.
Sidebar: one AT offering that is very compelling is a headshell that is adjustable for azimuth and stylus to headshell tail distance. It has fixed cartridge mounting holes which assures cart will comply with the TT manufacturer’s tracking error scheme. I just purchased one. I am excited about it since sans such accommodations for cart alignment I find getting a cartridge properly aligned to be just too difficult. This headshell paired with a cart which has encapsulated nuts like the Ortofon 2M Series should make cartridge mounting fast, easy, and proper.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
I replaced the long stainless mounting screws with plastic ones and this brought up resonance a bit, now at 6Hz. The reduced weight of plastic mounting screws was cause for tracking force and anti-skate adjustment. The result is greater clarity, sounding on par with stereo SACDs of same music, mostly Diana Krall works listened to this morning. At any rate, I am very pleased with the outcome.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Field Marshall
Been meaning to add some Diana Krall to my collection. She has some wonderful sounding recordings. My best experience to date is hearing one of her CDs through some large Magnapans driven by large monoblock amps straight off of a DAC. It sounded like the band was live 15 feet in front of me. Audio nirvana at a friend's in Wisconsin.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
I've owned both a Type 3 in the late 70s on a Technics DD turntable but I could not get rid of the hum. Probably defective as I bought it used. Later I had a Dual with a Type 4 and it was ok but the cart was too heavy for that arm. Anyway even with the problems they tracked flawlessly and sounded pretty good. Good luck with Shure. :)
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Been meaning to add some Diana Krall to my collection. She has some wonderful sounding recordings. My best experience to date is hearing one of her CDs through some large Magnapans driven by large monoblock amps straight off of a DAC. It sounded like the band was live 15 feet in front of me. Audio nirvana at a friend's in Wisconsin.
I have 16 of her albums. Three are 5.1 SACDs and one is a 5.1 BD Video. Yeah, I like her presentation of "standards" I also like Linda Ronstadt's work in that arena. Here's a little Diana Krall needle drop I put together a few years ago:
 
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S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
I've owned both a Type 3 in the late 70s on a Technics DD turntable but I could not get rid of the hum. Probably defective as I bought it used. Later I had a Dual with a Type 4 and it was ok but the cart was too heavy for that arm. Anyway even with the problems they tracked flawlessly and sounded pretty good. Good luck with Shure. :)
My type 3 has been somewhat difficult to adapt to my Technics Turntable. It is now delivering a better sound in all manner than from my other carts but the need for a 2mm shim to get the proper VTA has complicated things enough to wonder if getting a thicker mat and chucking the shim might improve the carts performance. At any rate no hum and dead wax areas are black as coal.
 
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Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Field Marshall
I have 16 of her albums. Three are 5.1 SACDs and one is a 5.1 BD Video. Yeah, I like her presentation of "standards" I also like Linda Ronstadt's work in that arena. Here's a little Diana Krall needle drop I put together a few years ago:
That's really lovely, thanks.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
My type 3 has been somewhat difficult to adapt to my Technics Turntable. It is now delivering a better sound in all manner than from my other carts but the need for a 2mm shim to get the proper VTA has complicated things enough to wonder if getting a thicker mat and chucking the shim might improve the carts performance. At any rate no hum and dead wax areas are black as coal.
Great! Like I said I bought my type 3 used and the hum was very low couldn't hear it when I t turned up the volume a little. The type 4 was definitely too heavy for the super lightweight Dual arm but still managed to track and sound ok. Of the 2 carts I preferred the 3 I wasn't a big fan of the brush on the 4.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Great! Like I said I bought my type 3 used and the hum was very low couldn't hear it when I t turned up the volume a little. The type 4 was definitely too heavy for the super lightweight Dual arm but still managed to track and sound ok. Of the 2 carts I preferred the 3 I wasn't a big fan of the brush on the 4.
Since my last report I've listened to just about all of my very familiar albums now with the Shure V15 type III/Jico SAS-B; and, since all sound better as I recall ever hearing them with any other cart, I am for sure going to make the as configured Shure my daily driver. I may still purchase a 6mm mat to preclude need for the long screws and plastic spacer; but, even now, I have no doubt that this cart is preferable to my AT-VM540ML which till now I have perceived as best. It's just a little too Kentucky Fried Chicken Extra Crispy for me on some violin and cello selections I enjoy.
 
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davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
Since my last report I've listened to just about all of my very familiar albums now with the Shure V15 type III/Jico SAS-B; and, since all sound better as I recall ever hearing them with any other cart, I am for sure going to make the as configured Shure my daily driver. I may still purchase a 6mm mat to preclude need for the long screws and plastic spacer; but, even now, I have no doubt that this cart is preferable to my AT-VM540ML which till now I have perceived as best. It's just a little too Kentucky Fried Chicken Extra Crispy for me on some violin and cello selections I enjoy.
Believe it or not I'm now running a cheap Rega Carbon conical cart on my Planar 3. The conical tip just seems to agree with my used LPs. Sometimes more expensive isn't always better.
 
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