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 Post subject: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 4:09 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7177
Location: Portland Oregon
I have my old cartridge Shure on a Technics SL-D2 and I am beginning to suspect the needle because of tracking issues. I have re balanced and tuned up the tone arm and anti skating settings and all seems to be correct but because of my lack of descent magnification I can't check the stylus for wear. Are there replacements made these days and if so, what about counterfeit parts?
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 4:42 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 4058
Location: Sunnyvale CA
Ed Jacobs wrote:
I have my old cartridge Shure on a Technics SL-D2 and I am beginning to suspect the needle because of tracking issues. I have re balanced and tuned up the tone arm and anti skating settings and all seems to be correct but because of my lack of descent magnification I can't check the stylus for wear. Are there replacements made these days and if so, what about counterfeit parts?
Ed


Last I had to do it, you could get the stylus assembly for around $5. At this point, they are *all* "counterfeit" to one degree or another, since Shure hasn't made them for about 50 years.

https://www.turntableneedles.com/N3D-Ty ... _1374.html

The tracking issue is not likely to be the stylus. A worn stylus (and it wears *very quickly* for a M3D) will cause record damage in very short order, but not usually a tracking problem all by itself. The stylus suspension is probably much stiffer than it was, but more likely, your tonearm may be too light for acceptable tracking. When the M3D was built, tonearms were heavy cast aluminum and had a very high inertia. A relatively light modern tonearm will not track well even with brand-new suspension and the correct tracking force. And, by the way, the correct tracking force is somewhere between 4 and 6 grams - which is why the stylus wears out so quickly, and why it destroys/etched the grooves after a few plays. Less than that, and it will spend half the time mistracking or jumping the groove entirely.

A better question is - since this is a completely modern turntable, why are you using a cartridge from the dawn of time, basically, the first cartridge anyone made that could just barely function on stereo microgroove records? That is something closing in on *60 years old*? Even in the best of conditions, in perfect shape, it has mediocre performance and astronomical tracking pressures, leading to very rapid record wear on anything but very high density pressings. Get something like a Grado Black or Audio Technica elliptical stylus, which track at a gram and a half or so, and is compatible with relatively light-weight tonearms.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 5:14 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7177
Location: Portland Oregon
It is part of a tube stereo I built in high school in 62 and I have listened to almost no music from that time till now. I still have it so I wanted to try and bring it back to life for my grand kids so they could see how real music is made.
Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 6:17 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 4058
Location: Sunnyvale CA
Ed Jacobs wrote:
It is part of a tube stereo I built in high school in 62 and I have listened to almost no music from that time till now. I still have it so I wanted to try and bring it back to life for my grand kids so they could see how real music is made.
Ed


You may want to add inertia to the tonearm to be more compatible with the cartridge compliance, and for sure get a replacement stylus. Double-check the tracking weight, too - it wants to be about 4.5-5 grams.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Mon 15, 2018 7:18 am 
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Joined: Jun Wed 21, 2006 1:56 am
Posts: 889
Location: Katy, Texas
Ed,
First of all you need to figure out what you have. There are two different versions on the M3D and they were available early on with different stylus' and probably many different stylus over the years.

The M3D was produced for just about the entirety of the age of stereo vinyl and the early examples are getting quite pricey especially if they have the original shure stylus in them. If you have the early version then there is no seam on the cartridge and it has a two peace case that was hand assembled. The later version are molded and you can see the molding seem running down the middle. This will have a stylus that looks like stamped steel. The later ones will have a stylus that is tubular and can be either M3D tubular or N21D tubular.

if N21D then is will track at about 2 grams.

Be aware that a good original MD3 with the hand assembled case and the correct stamped stylus is quiet sought after today. I have one mounted in a Grey 108B tone arm and yes i track it at about 4 grams.

If you can get or have the N21D stylus then you can probably get it to work in your arm but odds are you have the m3d stylus since your having problems with it. ALso, i've been told the n21D will not work in the non-molded early M3D carts.

In a nutshell .. you really have to be careful with that cartridge and you really need to know the ins and outs of it to get it to work. I wouldn't run it in even a medium mass tonearm. It really wants to be in a hi mass late 50s arm or hi mass changer arm. I would take Brett's advice and try another cartridge. the M97xe although is getting a little pricey would be a good mach for that turntable.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Tue 16, 2018 10:48 pm 
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Joined: Apr Mon 04, 2011 4:23 am
Posts: 690
Location: SW PA
They aren't cheap, especially when you figure in shipping, but according to every audio/turntable forum I've been on, Jico Stylus in Japan makes the highest quality, closest in construction to original, best sounding aftermarket styli available.

https://www.jico-stylus.com/

By the way, I'm NOT a fan of the current production Shure M97XE. Many people love and rave about them, but the fact is they have a very rolled off high end and just sound muddy and dull to me. They call it the "warm" analog sound. :roll:

I don't know what you would want to spend on a new cartridge, but for about $20 shipped on ebay, I can recommend the Audio Technica CN5625AL. They sound shockingly good for the price. Even a lot of the folks on the audio forums that have very high end equipment don't deny that the cheapo AT sounds great. There are some other great sounding cartridges for less than $100 new, and lots of bargains when pairing used cartridge bodies with aftermarket styli.


Last edited by beat_truck on Jan Thu 18, 2018 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 7:15 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7177
Location: Portland Oregon
I really appreciate all your input guys, you may have helped awakened my old love of vinyl which went away in the 70s after a head injury. I have stacks of almost new discs as high as I am that I could not listen to nor ever give away so I think it is time to see if that old love can be rekindled.


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 4058
Location: Sunnyvale CA
Ed Jacobs wrote:
I really appreciate all your input guys, you may have helped awakened my old love of vinyl which went away in the 70s after a head injury. I have stacks of almost new discs as high as I am that I could not listen to nor ever give away so I think it is time to see if that old love can be rekindled.


As an engineer, I too am fascinated by the mechanics of record playback. I find it nearly a miracle that it works as well as it does, and with the well-known limitations, if you get everything right, it works remarkably well. Just think of what you are doing to get information off a stereo microgroove record - literally microscopic wiggles in a flexible medium, locally heated to nearly the melting point of the vinyl, picked up by relatively huge stylus in a flexible suspension, then attached to a massive and complex series of flexible elements (the cantilever, the magnets hung off the end of it, the stylus attachment to the cartridge, the cartridge mounting of the coils, the headshell, the arm, back into the table itself) usually assembled at random with no real analysis of the flex properties, in and many cases, vert light damping, all converted to at most millivolts of sign, run through long, skinny wires with significant capacitance, attached to a high-gain amplifier with a moderately heavy filter. To get *any* sort of signal that even vaguely resembles the original input is almost beyond conception. Basically, you are hammering on a vast network is spring/mass/dampers all interconnected and with nearly randomly chosen characteristics, and then attempting to pick the hammer blows out of the resulting wild oscillation on the spring at the other end. The inertia mismatch/incompatibility you are apparently encountering is just one of an incredible number of shortcomings or possible issues you can have - but by dint of perseverance, you really can find and fix most of them.

By the way, when you get your replacement cartridge, I would strongly suggest getting or downloading one of the many turntable alignment guides/tools (usually gauges made of paper or cardboard) and spending considerable time getting the alignment right. Three dimensions are critical - the angle of the cartridge in the headshell/skew angle, the vertical tracking angle, and the overhang. You can just screw it on there about in the middle of the headshell slots and it will work, after a fashion, but even tiny changes in the skew or vertical alignment can make a huge difference in the results, and the overhang can sometimes be critical as well. Most of the time, back in the good old days, it was slapped together at semi-random and how it worked was wildly variable from example to example, so people would argue over the merits of various cartridges and tonearms endlessly, actually not having any idea how they worked, but how accurately they were assembled swamped any other effects. The P-mount cartridge was an attempt to get the alignment at least close to correct most of the time- which it sort of does. But it also assures that you can never get it exactly right, either.

Also adjust the tracking force around the "nominal" to seek out the ideal. Because of the variations in compliance in the various parts and the random nature of the process means you can never be exactly sure what tracking force is best. The nominal range is intended to put the magnets in the linear area of the pickup coils, but within the range, its close enough, and changing the tracking force up or down a bit changes the compliance of the stylus suspension slightly, which you can use to optimize that with the compliance of the rest of the system. It is not always better at higher force (like putting a penny on the head shell like the good old days), but the range is usually pretty large (typically 1.5-2.5 grams) and that can make quite a difference.

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Shure M3-d tracking
PostPosted: Jan Thu 18, 2018 5:18 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4107
Location: Boston, MA USA
I can confirm the quality of JICO stylii. I bought one for a Pickering XV-15. It looks great and sounds excellent -- clear and very clean.

-David


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