I like Sansui and AudioTechnica headshells in general. They deliver the best sound close to solid tonearm. The higher end is DynaVector ones but at much higher price point.
Cartridge I would prefer with sufficient output: medium to high moving coil or MM cartridges would be my choices. Also ones that match good with phonostage I use. In $4...500 range you can find very solid performers. I came upon Pioneer MC6 vintage cartridge with replaceable stylus and can't stop enjoying it. I wish they'd start making these styluses again.
Which headshell in $400 to $500 do you reccommend?
I like the Sumiko HS 12 because it has adjustable azimuth. $90 is the price.
I purchased some headshells from Ortofon, and didn't like them. Sold them here on Audiogon. The best headshells for the price I've found are from LP Gear. They have a solid machined aluminum headshell with azimuth adjustment for around $50.
Those $50 head shells at LP/Gear are the same ones that Yogiboy likes at $90 except the name Sumiko has been left off. Even the leads are the same!
I meant cartridge price not headshell.
I'm most happy with my Audioquest-labeled Orsonic headshell.
I have both Sumiko and LP Gear ZuPreme headshells. When I first got the Sumiko it was $40. Now they're $90 and the ZuPreme is still $54.95. Not only is the ZuPreme significantly cheaper, it is the same with one difference that I prefer:
The ZuPreme finger lift is attached directly to the headshell, whereas with the Sumiko it's a separate piece that has to be incorporated into the mounting screw assembly with the cartridge. I find it significantly more difficult to mount a cartridge on the Sumiko than on the ZuPreme. OTOH, you can use the separate finger lift as a shim if mounted between the top of the cartridge and the bottom of the headshell. My tonearm has height adjustment so I don't need no shimmin'.
Otherwise, at $54.95 the LpGear ZuPreme rules for what it does for so little.
@czarivey thanks for clarification.
I will order the LP Gear ZuPreme as reccomended by many of you.
Thanks a lot,
How does the ZuPreme compare to the Orsonic?
Personally I have no experience with Orsonic, which makes multiple models, A cursory look at Google returns show an AV1s, AV1b, AV101s, AV101b, AV11s, and Av11b. I don't know the distinctions, and the eBay listings don't seem to differentiate either.
The AV101 series cost about 50% more than the AV1 and AV11 series. I notice that the included cartridge leads are not as nice as the ones included with the Sumiko and ZuPreme headshells. But that doesn't tell everything.
I do know that the ZuPreme is slightly lighter than the Sumiko. I have a 6.5g cartridge on my Sumiko and an 8.3g on my ZuPreme, and yet the overall weight of each assembly is the same (21g). I don't have to reset zero balance when I switch, which was a happy accident.
The Sumiko's and the Jelco's are the same head shell except the Jelco's have the arm finger lift attached. The Sumiko's do not. The LP/Gears ''Zupreme'' is the Jelco version of the same Sumiko's. Yes, there are stranger things that are also true in this hobby or ours! (grin) People are more familiar with the Sumiko name so the Jelco's also get overlooked. Even more so overlooked are the ''Zupreme''.
Dear Dang: Quality level sound reproduction does not depends directly from the price of any audio item.
In a headshell maybe the more expensive looks better that the humble ones but that could not be reflected on quality sound level.
In your specific audio system and with your specific and unique music sound reproduction priorities you have to try 4-5 different headshells ( different headhsel build materials and different headshell weights too. ) and test each one with your cartridge to find out in which one performs better your cartridge. I can say not an easy task but a must to do it.
Same headshell with the same cartridge in different audio system gives you different sound.
Regards and enjoy the music,
Thank you Rauiruegas.
I have a LP Gear Zupreme on ordered. It will arrive in about a week.
I recently found a good deal on a Merrill-Williams REAL 101 table with the Ortofon TA-110 tonearm.
I need to buy a couple of headshells and am interested in the LP Gear Zupreme. Would the Zupreme be compatible with the Ortofon tonearm, or do I have to stay with Ortofon headshells?
The majority of head shells are made by various manufacturers and then branded by whom ever! Just because Ortofon's name is on it, doesn't necessarily mean that Ortofon made it. The head shell itself is compatible with the TA-110 arm. Now whether is is the right weight as Raul eluded to in an earlier post, would be hard to say without knowing what cartridges you intent to use it with.
griffithds 12-02-2015 2:53pm
The Sumiko's and the Jelco's are the same head shell except the Jelco's have the arm finger lift attached. The Sumiko's do not. The LP/Gears ''Zupreme'' is the Jelco version of the same Sumiko's.
As it turns out, if you go to the Jelco website (http://www.jelco-ichikawa.co.jp/products/headshell.html
), you'll see that Jelco offers four headshells including the Sumiko and ZuPreme versions:
The HS-50 seems to be used by a variety of brands.
The HS-30 looks pretty cool with brass, rosewood, and silver wiring. It'd probably be a good match for wood-bodied cartridges.
The HS-25 has the attached finger lift and is no doubt the source for the ZuPreme.
The HS-20 has the separate fingerlift and must be the source for the Sumiko.
The HS-25 and HS-20 both have the same body, headshell material, and silk-wrapped HFC litz wire. The HS-20, 25, and 30 all have adjustable azimuth, which is really nice to have.
It's been said before but in general Audio-Technica Technicard (or AT Magnesium with same design) headshells of different weight are the best money can buy with azymuth and overhang adjustments. It's also the easiest headshell to mount the cartridge (you don't need nuts as you can screw up the cart right in the headshell).
Personally i like ZYX LIVE-18 black headshell, but it's not cheap option. Sonically it was amazing combo for my ZYX Airy and Zyx Premium 4D cartridges when i have used them on EPA-100 tonearm. It was much better that stock technics headshell comes with EPA arm.
After trying 3 headshells (pole star, ZuPreme, Zyx live-18) with my Zyx Omega on the Pole Star tonearm, I have to agree with Chakster that the Zyx is the best on my system. I hear more music and less noise.