Both the various gyger and micro line stylus shapes have very narrow vertical contact patches that are "tall" (contacts the groove from the bottom of the groove to the top). This demands quite precise azimuth adjustment. I doubt that there would be much operational difference between the two types. I also wondered if unipivots might be more forgiving when it comes to azimuth and work better with these types of profiles because the cartridge is free to tilt a little and "snug" itself into the groove even if the azimuth is set slightly off.
I've heard the Transfiguration Phoenix mounted on an ARO/LP-12 combination and it sounded fantastic. That cartridge has an Ogura PA stylus, which has a micro line profile.
My bet is that if the Benz is otherwise compatible (right compliance and weight) with the ARO, the new stylus will work fine.
Thank you for your response. I currently use a wood bodied Benz MO.9 which I think has an elliptical stylus. I think it sounds great on my analog rig. However, I'm thinking of getting a Ruby3H and I see the older ones have the micro line and the S Class have the gyger s. So I don't have any personal experience if either would work well or not. But what you have said gives me great hope. Thanks for the tip on the Phoenix as well.
I just bought a recently manufactured Benz LP and it came with the LP-S Gyger stylus. I think Benz tends to incorporate improvements in their cartridge line without changing the model name. So if you buy a new Ruby 3H, you may find it comes with the new stylus as well.
In any case, my LP tracks inner grooves better than my Benz L2 woodbody. Perhaps that is due to the Gyger stylus, perhaps to other reasons.
The Gyger stylus would help with inner groove distortion. Inner grooves have tighter twists and turns because the same amount (time) of information is squeezed into a smaller diameter. The much narrower profile of these types of styli can more easily trace the tighter turns.
The potential negative of these types of profiles is the necessity to get azimuth right. My own experience suggests that these styli might also be more sensitive to proper VTA (it could just be the case that better cartridges tend to use these types of styli, so the "sensitivity I hear may really be the product of greater resolving power of these cartridges and not a property of the stylus).
One would think that these ultra narrow profile shapes would be prone to more issues with wear, but, so far, I have NOT found that to be the case -- they seem to have a very long service life.
Among cartridge manufacturers, "micro line" is used only to refer to the microline and microridge styli manufactured by Namiki Jewel. Among audiophiles, however, it appears to be used more broadly to designate advanced line-contact styli in general, which is wrong and a source of confusion.
The major hallmark of the microridge profile is that contact with the LP groove is achieved by side wings or ridges that protrude to either side of the stylus. If you could look at a microridge from directly above with a microscope, you would see that these ridges stand proud of the main section of the stylus, and have a very narrow side radius of 2.5um. Due to the small side radius, the microridge has better high-frequency capabilities than any other stylus shape, and due to the protruding nature of the ridges, the microridge can be worn perceptibly and still retain its high-frequency tracking capabilities. With other stylus profiles, wear causes the side radii to become bigger and bigger, and this means that the high-frequency tracking capabilities deteriorate.
However, there is more to a stylus than just the side radius. If you look at a line-contact stylus from the front, you will see that it is shaped like a spearhead with curved (convex) blades. This curvature is referred to as the major radius, and the shape and size determines the vertical length of the stylus' contact patch with the LP groove. The larger the major radius, the longer the contact patch becomes, but alignment becomes less tolerant of errors.
The the Ogura PA has major radius of 30~35um, the microridges have a major radius of about 70~75um, while stylii like the Replicant 120 and Gyger S will have a major radius of about 120um. As you can surmise, the microridges can track more of the groove than a PA, and a Gyger S can track even more of the groove (but will be trickier to set up).
OTOH, the Replicant 120 and Gyger S have a side radius of around 5~6um, about double that of the microridge. FWIW, the Ogura PA has about 3um. A larger side radius is kinder if you are playing records made of fragile materials (like molded styrene), but the larger side radius will fit less well into very high frequency groove undulations, which get smaller the shorter the signal wavelength (IOW, the higher the frequency).
In summary, rather than what is better or worse, these stylus profiles were designed with different philosophies and priorities, and different styli may be preferred depending on what the cartridge designer wants to achieve for a specific model.
The longer major radius of the Gyger S suggests that you will need to be more careful of azimuth during setup, while the microridge won't be quite so demanding in this respect (but more so than with a PA). Molded styrene records may be OK with the Gyger S, but should be kept away away from cartridges with microridge or PA styli.
regards and hth, jonathan carr (lyra cartridge designer)
Dear Jonathan: Thank you to illuminate the stylus cartridge " sky ".
Regards and enjoy the music.
Wow, thanks for this Jcarr. I've always wondered why some of my carts seem to destroy styrene 45's and others do not. Shame because I've ruined a few great 45's using a dynavector 20XL while the Shure V15V I used in the past would not. Had no idea it was due to stylus design.
Thank you for taking the time to give such an in-depth response and helping me as well as others understand this better.
Please forgive my ignorance, but when you mentioned records made of "molded styene", how do you know when one is made of such substance?
Thank you also to Larryi and Dave for sharing your comments as well.
Arnold: I've had the same sad experiences as you, and I've also had inquiries from customers asking about the suitability of our cartridges for use with polystyrene records. I have therefore looked into the matter in some detail.
But I don't use Gyger stylii in production, and my hand-on experience with stylii with side radii in the 5~6um range is not as extensive as side radii in the 2.5~3um range. I _believe_ that 5~6um is large enough for molded styrene records, but perhaps larger side radii are more suitable. If other Audiogoners have experiences with Gyger stylii (or other stylii with side radii in the 5~6um range) on styrene records, I would very much appreciate hearing about those experiences.
Don, AFAIR, molded styrene was used primarily by Columbia Records for doughnut 45rpm singles which were manufactured in the mid-60s. If any one else can add to this information or correct it if it is wrong, I would appreciate it.
best to all, jonathan carr
The "donut" 45's I'm referring to were mainly made in the 80's. They were more like hard plastic than soft vinyl. RCA, A&M, Columbia/epic/CBS, Casablanca, and a few other labels used it. The needle would litteraly tear up the record as it played. You could lift the tone arm up and see the build up of gunk on the stylus and white residue on the 45. Different cartridges would damage them while others would not.
Thank you, Arnold. AFAIR, the styrene records that I handled were from an earlier time than yours, so it is good to know that there are more labels and time periods to watch out for. FWIW, I believe that molded styrene was used to save production costs.
I wonder if there is a URL which discusses these styrene records at length (labels, time periods, artists etc.) It would also be interesting to know if all styrene records behave in pretty much the same manner (regardless of production era or label), or some can better withstand a small side-radius stylus than others.
Records turning white as they are played is not a pretty sight!
regards, jonathan carr
I found some information about styrene and issues with shredding them and which types of carts do not and the stylus they use:
To add more info: the best cart I had owned in the past that played styrene without any damage was the shure V15Vxmr and that uses a microridge stylus.
Arnold, very interesting! In my experiments, changing the stylus from a small side radius (including an microridge) to a larger one kept styrene records from being chewed up. Other parameters were kept the same, so I have fair confidence that the size of the side radius is a core factor.
And yet there are individuals like yourself who report being able to play styrene records with microridge stylii and get no damage. 'Tis a mystery.
The V15VxMR had low vertical tracking force requirements, so that could be one factor.
Also, if you look at the second table here http://www.shure.com/proaudio/products/djphonocartridgesandneedles/ssLINK/us_pro_djlibrary_phonograph
you can see that while the 3.0mil front radius computes to 75um (which is per Namiki's design), the side radius of 0.15 computes to 3.75 (larger than Namiki's original design specifications of 2.5um).
It could be that Shure uses a variant of the MR modified to have a larger side radius.
regards, jonathan carr
Too bad shure doesn't make the V15Vxmr anymore. I can't believe they stopped production on it. Probably the best moving magnet cartridge value out there. What I may do is buy a M97XE which is priced under $100. It uses an elliptical stylus. I'll experiment and see if it shreds styrene. If it doesn't, I may just purchase an extra arm wand for the JMW-9 and use the Shure just for 45's when needed. I'll keep the dynavector 20XL for LP use.
Why SHURE stopped production on the mighty ULTRA 500 is a mystery.
Happy us J.Carr is still among us. What a relief! . I want to explain the following. The so called ''Gyger styli'' are designed by Van den Hul for Gyger. The Gyger 1 was difficult to produce but so was the Gyger 2 so he than designed the ''S''. Van den Hul never produced his own styli but made an arangement with Gyger such that he was
entitled to sell Gyger under his own (trade) name. But he deed not
mark them as 1,2, or S but used the ''general reference'' Van den Hul. That is to say without distinction between 1, 2 and S.
BTW Lukatschek from Benz moved from ''Gyger S'' to micro-ridge
not the other way round. To my knowledge Jan Allaerts is still
using the ''S''.