Grace F14 MONO cartridges and styli

Dear all, i have to start this thread because i’ve come across first MONO cartride in my system.

The cartridge is extremely rare Grace F14 (MONO) LC-OFC from the mid 80’s.
I’m a huge fan of the Grace stereo cartridges, in stereo world the F14 LC-OFC is superb, this MM generator is the best ever made along with LEVEL II LC-OFC. As you might know the Grace made so many different styli with different cantilevers and different diamonds for F14 and LEVEL II series in the 80’s.

BUT I know nothing about mono cartridges, because i’ve never used any of them.
And i don’t even have enough MONO records, but i got some for sure.

I don’t play 78rpm SP ... and most of my mono records are 45 rpm (7’inchers) from the 60’s, 70’s, maybe a little bit from the 50’s.

My F14 LC-OFC cartridge has ONLY 2 PINS (not 4 pins like stereo versions). The special lead wire designed for use with mono is included, no problem with that.

Looking at the MONO stylus on my F14 MONO cartridge i realized it is not an SP version described here (definitely not a huge 3 mil. tip), but a nude stylus tip, small just like stereo tip on some other Grace styli that i have in collection. So it’s a good news, because i’m not gonna play 78 rpm anyway.

What i realized by trying this cartridge/stylus on my mono records is a lower compliance of the stylus compared to normal Grace (they are high compliance). The stylus replacement designed for F14 (not for older F9), the plastic shape of the F14 is always different compared to F9.

I’ve searched for MONO styli shapes online and i’ve seen many articles about oldschool conical styli of the different size for the mono records from the different eras. Also about the mono cut on stereo cutterhead.

I could find only one more Grace mono cartridge (LEVEL II) with 1 mil. conical tip described here

BUT this post on another forum is the most interesting:

"I play a number of vintage monos (primarily stuff from ’58 to the mid 60’s, admittedly no pre ’57 stuff) here with a modern microridge stylus and would never go back to using a conical on them (having done so in the past). They sound incredibly good with the microridge...

Based on my experience, I feel all the talk of conical styli being necessary to get the best out of mono records is urban legend at best, if not patently false."

If this is true i can use any stylus on my Grace MONO cartridge for my records pressed in the 60s/70s in mono ?

I don’t have a mono switch anywhere on my gear, but since the cartridge pins are designed for MONO only, i believe, i’m safe to cancel vertical noise caused by conventional stylus with vertical compliance ?

I can not detect a stylus shape yet, it can be Conical, Elliptical, Shibata (or maybe even Micro Ridge). I’ve heard they are all good for MONO made with stereo cutter head in the 60’, 70’s or even today.

Let me know what you think, it can be my first mono cartridge then.
10076406 d6c5 4854 a751 76cefa9d8a70chakster
Sorry, I forgot one thing.  Chakster, the way you have hooked up your Grace to your stereo system could cause a degradation of performance, because each channel of your stereo phono stage is now seeing the output impedance of the cartridge in parallel with the input impedance of the other channel.  But since you are probably running a 47K resistor on each channel as cartridge load, which gives a fairly high impedance in parallel with a much lower one at the cartridge, I am guessing the effect is not too terrible for performance. Conversely, the cartridge is driving the two channels in parallel.
@lewm what is the correct way of hooking it up then? Each headshell designed for stereo and has 4 pins, Mono cartridge has 2 pins. The "Y" type leadwire is original Grace, and the headshell for this MONO cartridge is also original Grace.

Not every phono stage or an amp have a mono switch. 

Try this. But be careful with that cartridge. If it has fairly high tracking forces and you cannot establish whether it has vertical compliance, I would not advise you to be playing any mono reissues that have been cut with a stereo cutter head with it.

You may experience hum problems as well within a stereo setup.
This is the "Y" type MONO lead wires, i have almost the same with my Grace F14 MONO


Looking at the headshell from the front, right side up (not upside down!) you want red to upper right and green to lower right. White upper left and blue lower left.

Looking at the cartridge from the rear, right side up (not upside down), you want red and white to the left pin, blue and green to the pin on the right.

That’s the way the Denon 102 should be wired so I’d try that first anyway.