How does Shure V15 Type IV compare?


Hi,  I recently got back into listening to vinyl again after 30+ years.   I purchased a new Project Classic turntable, and a new JICO stylus for my Shure V15 Type IV that I've kept from the 80's.   The Type IV cartridge with the new JICO stylus still sounds really great,  I think just as good as I remember when I used it in the 80's.   It sure beats the hack out of the Ortofon 2M silver cartridge that came with the turntable.

My question is, how does the Shure V15 Type IV stack up against today's high performance cartridges?  I want to know because if I were to upgrade from the Shure,  where do I begin?  at what price point should I start looking?   e.g Is the Shure just as good as let's say Ortofon 2m Black?   I would hate to spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new cartridge only to find out that it is inferior to the Shure.

Any information will be appreciated.  Thanks!
xcool
No experience with the JICO replacement stylus, but I ditched the original IV and bought up a half dozen of the III's that I used before (both were still available in the late 70's).

Found the IV boring/lethargic sounding VS the III.

This said, I was using "old" phono preamps (Advent 300 phono section and the phono sections from various Dynaco PAS preamps, so perhaps it was a synergy/loading problem, though I doubt it.

Tried another highly touted budget Shure maybe 15 years ago (model #97 something) and it had the same lethargic type of sound.

DeKay
My question is, how does the Shure V15 Type IV stack up against today’s high performance cartridges? I want to know because if I were to upgrade from the Shure, where do I begin? at what price point should I start looking? e.g Is the Shure just as good as let’s say Ortofon 2m Black? I would hate to spend hundreds of dollars to buy a new cartridge only to find out that it is inferior to the Shure.

I’ve been buying cartridges almost every month to find out what’s the best, many people on this forum did the same things for a long time. The clear benefit of the vintage cartridges is the price/performance ratio. Here is an MM (or MI) is a winner. But you have to find them in pristine condition or NOS/Sealed and you will be blown away by the quality.

As you noticed JICO made a lot of styli for vintage cartridges, their SAS profile (Super Analog Stylus) is the best from JICO. One may think this is the answer to all the questions, but i want to tell you that many original vintage cartridges are just better than same cartridge with JICO stylus.

Shure best model was not V15 series but ULTRA 500 SERIES

Ortofon 2M series is not a reference MM even if it’s a good cartridge.

The problem is that MM is not trendy in modern High-End society nowadays. I don’t know is it good or not, because when it’s trendy the price can be $8-14k for an MI cartridge like this, i doubt you will find any owner on audiogon, they are more happy to buy MC for the same price. And i believe it’s better than many LOMC in the same price category, but who cares.

When MM or MI is not trendy in High-End world it’s an opportunity for us to buy them for reasonable price looking only for the best models from the past (some NOS samples still available). And when you said you’re spending hungrend of dollars ( not thousands) by advice is to buy something serious from the past. A few option for you below:

1) If you’re comfortable with high compliance cartridges under $700 then look for Pickering XSV/4000 Stereohedron. This XSV/4000 model is better than previous XSV/3000.

In the USA one of the most dramatic developments of cartridge performance was the introduction of the Pickering XSV/3000 series (in the 70’s). It offered the consumer a first generation of cartridges, combining both high tracking ability and superb frequency response. It utilized a new concept in stylus design - Stereohedron, coupled with an exotic samarium cobalt moving magnet. The "SP" versions appeared on the market later when Pickering offered a top-of-the-line Stereohedron cartridge, the XSV/4000 with wider frequency response, higher compliance and smaller effective tip mass. That was one of the best MM cartridges in the 80’s. It was very popular in Japan too, here is the flyer.

Pickering XSV-4000 has the most advanced stylus shape called Stereohedron which is achieved by grinding four flat surfaces on the diamond at precise angles to each other and their intersection creates areas used to contact the groove. The advantage of the Stereohedron stylus is that because of it’s long and narrow contact surfaces it tracks high frequency modulation minimizing groove wear.

2) Pickering was a parent brand to Stanton. This is the best and the rarest Stanton cartridge (CS-100 W.O.S.). Stanton Magnetics was one of the first American companies to make and sell magnetic cartridges that improved sound quality and allowed for a less-expensive product in the 1970s. Mr. Walter O. Stanton was the chairman and president of both Pickering & Co and Stanton Magnetics Inc until 1998. The latest Collector’s Series 100 signature model CS-100 WOS was made in Plainview, N.Y. in the late 80’s - early 90’s. Stanton was responsible for many of the early patents in phono cartridge and styli design and electrostatic speakers, as well as other electro mechanical items. He was one of the early leaders in the audio industry and served as president of both the Institute of Hi Fidelity and the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Stanton CS-100 W.O.S. cartridge has the most advanced stylus shape called Stereohedron which is achieved by grinding four flat surface on the diamond at precise angles to each other and their intersection creates areas used to contact the groove. The advantage of the Stereohedron stylus is that because of it’s long and narrow contact surfaces it tracks high frequency modulation minimizing groove wear. CS-100 is the only Stanton model with Sapphire/Ruby coated cantilever!

If you need more options let me know :) There are many more great high-end MM or MI cartridges from the bast than simply unbeatable today (imo) without breaking the bank. In my experience a lot of amazing carts cost no more than $700 or very near.




As and addendum...
  
Just listen to and enjoy what you have running.  

As the JICO is a "plug in" stylus replacement give it 30-60 hours of playing time B4 judging it's sound quality on a whole.

I find Chak's endless rants about fairly "RARE" vintage cartridges (rare in finding them in GOOD operating condition) as well as his rants about belt drive decks tiresome (to say the least;-).

DeKay
Oh it ended all right.
In the next time zone.
I have a Shure v15 Type 4 with the  Jico SAS stylus and it's a very decent cartridge. However, it's easily bettered by something like a Nagaoka MP500 or if you can go to an MC, the Hana SL.
I do not have a comment on the Shure other than it was never one of my favorite carts in any of it's iterations, my favorites from that era were the Grace F9 and the ADC XLMs, with that said, I abandoned MM carts when I installed my first MC, the GAS Sleeping Beauty back in the later 70s. After all that time, I ran across a Grace F9 motor, no stylus, in my audio drawer and purchased a Soundsmith OCL stylus assembly from SS and am now wondering why I abandoned the MMs for the MCs. I have in rotation some very good MCs including a DRTxv1s, ZYX Universe, Miyabi Standard and a AT ART9 which this Grace certainly doesn't give up much if any to any of them. I am getting ready to order another stylus assembly from Soundsmith so I can keep this goodness alive for the foreseen future. Enjoy the music
Good point @tooblue
Same here on two turntables with 4 tonearms in one system and MM/MI battle over LOMC all the time. Miyabi MRA, FR-7fz and many others are agreat but on the other hand i have Grago Signature XTZ (MI) at the moment and it’s lovely.

No one can tell that MC is better than MM, just because it’s MC.
MM or MI are always more convenient.

I don’t know why V15 was so popular and very few people remember ULTRA series from Shure.

I adore Grace LEVEL II and F14 models, comparing Grace MM to Grace MC is also fun, Asakura ONE was Signature LOMC from Grace (one of the rarest from this manufacturer).

I find Chak's endless rants about fairly "RARE" vintage cartridges (rare in finding them in GOOD operating condition) as well as his rants about belt drive decks tiresome (to say the least;-).

@dekay but i hope you can learn some from my posts at least. 

I want to know more about rare cartridges (or rare models from well know brands) myself and do my best to find them, because people who review cartridges have no idea about 80% of the cartridge population so the reviews are useless when they limit themselves only to new models. In the end we have maybe 5 different cartridges everyone is raving about, this is a bit boring and does not display the whole picture. I always trying to add some forgotten cartridges to the list of recommended MM or MI, because i know they are very good (and better than many more expensive units). 

@chakster : how about the Microacoustics 2002 electret cartridge and the higher-priced models from this US company? I had the 2002 in use on a JH Formula 4 arm back in '78. Sounded excellent! 
@dekay : the V15 IV got a negative review in TAS back in the days of yore! The next version (V15 V mr) was a considerable improvement! I have a brand new-in-box one that I'm keeping as a heirloom piece!
I never was a big fan of Shure V15, in any iteration of it.  Not compared to any cartridge that is among my top 10 or so.  I used a V15 for years in the 70s, along with my AR-XA turntable; that was the standard set-up for middle class audiophiles with high end ambitions, back then. Many, like Chak, do say that the Ultra 500 is superior; I have no basis to doubt or confirm that, but the majority who have heard both do make that claim.
Chak, I'd have to go check my cartridge treasure drawer to be certain, but it seems to me that the Pickering model above the XSV3000 is the XSV4500.  I know you know about it, but above THAT there is also the XSV7500, which is a "low output" MM, an analog to the Stanton 980LZS and 981LZS.  There is also a high output version of the Stanton that Raul prefers over the low output one, 980HZS.  Back in the days when Raul's thread on MM cartridges was thriving, the Stanton 980/981 series got better "reviews" than the CS100.  No one mentions any more the AKG cartridges; have you heard one?  I have two, one with a van den Hul stylus, that I bought used (a rare exception) and just have never had the time to audition. They were known to break easily.  I own 6-8 expensive MC cartridges; only one or two of them can play in the league with the best MM/MI types in my collection.  So I tend to agree with Chakster.  Paradoxically for me, my best sounding phono stages are high gain types, two of which do not even accommodate high output cartridges.
The suspension on any cantilever of a stylus from the 70s, 80s or 90s is in a word 'shot' as it is perished. There is no way a stylus like this will perform properly- seek a new replacement. If not available there are many cartridges that will sound better as a result.
One inexpensive example is the Grado Gold.
Chakser:

Sorry, went a bit overboard about the vintage cartridges (not BD's VS DD's though;-).

DeKay
Roberjerman:

I never got to hear the MR version.

Thought about buying one (made in heaven match with my old SME), but the prices ended up doubling/tripling once it was discoed.

I recently found a new replacement stylus for my Grado (stored in a film can) that I don't recall buying, so I'm set for a few more years.

DeKay
Chak, I’d have to go check my cartridge treasure drawer to be certain, but it seems to me that the Pickering model above the XSV3000 is the XSV4500. I know you know about it, but above THAT there is also the XSV7500, which is a "low output" MM, an analog to the Stanton 980LZS and 981LZS.

@lewm

This is why i said XSV/4000 is very rare model, here is my sealed sample. Tosy Corporation was the importer in Japan and this is the only flyer i can find for XSV/4000 model.

Pickering also released "SP" version of both 3000 and 4000, the difference is lower compliance 15cu instead of 30cu, those are sweet for modern mid mass tonearms. The SP versions were popular in the late 80’s and mid 90’s. Some people might think that "SP" is for 78rpm, but in this case the "SP" is for "SPECIAL" and they are both for stereo micro groove records (Stereohedron stylus).

I never seen XSV/4500 but i have XLZ/4500 and XLZ/7500 in my collection. Those are great low impedance models made for use with high gain phono stages (or with MC headamps).

Another model is XSV-4500-XUV (or 4500Q) with Quadrahedron stylus for CD-4 records, but XSV/3000 with Stereohedron is better for normal records. Quadrahedron stylus profile is predecessor of Stereohedron. 

Pickering XSV-5000 is what i really like, another hard to find model, beautiful.

I sold my low impedance Stanton 980LZS when i compared it to Stanton Signature CS-100 WOS. I much prefer CS-100 WOS which is my favorite Stanton cartridge for sure.


No one mentions any more the AKG cartridges; have you heard one? I have two, one with a van den Hul stylus, that I bought used (a rare exception) and just have never had the time to audition. They were known to break easily. I own 6-8 expensive MC cartridges; only one or two of them can play in the league with the best MM/MI types in my collection. So I tend to agree with Chakster.

Thanks. I’ve heard about AKG serious problem with suspension, i think it was @nandric who said that AKG even destroyed a bunch of cartridges for this reason. As a result the AKG cartridge is not in my wantlist.


@chakster : how about the Microacoustics 2002 electret cartridge and the higher-priced models from this US company? I had the 2002 in use on a JH Formula 4 arm back in ’78. Sounded excellent!


@roberjerman yeah, i remember those with very long cantilever, never tried, you guys in the states are more lucky to find one
Thanks for all the information from everyone.  I am quite overwhelmed.   I have been away from vinyl for so long, and many of the names that were mentioned here I have never heard of.    I remember back in the late 70's when I first saved up my summer job money to buy my first stereo system (all pioneer stuff), my first cartridge was a Stanton - can't remember the model name.   I later upgraded to the Shure V15 Type IV, and never looked back.  :-)
@xcool Stanton made so many different models including very cheap models for mass market and for djs and radiostations back in the day, but we're talking about a few top of the line high-end models with Stereohedron stylus tip here, nothing else. Actually my first cartridge in the ealy 90's also was Stanton (AL500) and it was junk, needles to say it is a completely different Stanton that i own now in High-End system. Any Stanton from 881s up to 980 and 981 series, including Walter O. Stanton signature SC-100 WOS can easily complete with $3000 modern MC cartridges (being a $600-800 NOS today). And you have to read this article to make sure what is Stanton and why Doug Sax at Sheffield Lab has been using Stanton 881s as his disc mastering monitoring cartridge. 

A little bit of history:

Walter O Stanton. A pioneer in the audio field, Stanton was responsible for many of the early patents in phono cartridge and styli design and electrostatic speakers, as well as other electro mechanical items. He was one of the early leaders in the audio industry and served as president of both the Institute of Hi Fidelity and the Audio Engineering Society (AES). One of the original owners of Pickering & Company, started in 1947, he later established Stanton Magnetics Inc in 1961. He was the chairman and president of both Pickering & Co and Stanton Magnetics Inc until 1998.

Under his leadership, the various companies developed leading products in the audio, aerospace, military and communications fields with factories in Plainview, New York and West Palm Beach, Florida.

Walter O. Stanton, the inventor of an easily replaceable phonograph stylus that was crucial to creating a consumer market for audio equipment, died on Monday in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. He was 86.

In the late 1940's Mr. Stanton's slide-in stylus made it possible for users to replace a needle assembly when it wore out, instead of having to send it back to the factory. Audiophiles snapped them up for home use, and the invention became one of the basics in phonograph cartridge design.

But Mr. Stanton was as much a salesman as he was an engineer. In 1950, he bought Pickering & Company, the audio component manufacturer that first sold his patented stylus.

A decade later he founded another company, Stanton Magnetics, which was one of the first American companies to make and sell magnetic cartridges that improved sound quality and allowed for a less-expensive product in the 1970's. Both companies had operations in Plainview, N.Y., and West Palm Beach, FL.

Rather than selling the phonograph as one big console, Mr. Stanton was one of the first to separate the electronics, the turntable and the cartridges and sell them separately to consumers.

To do that effectively, he prodded the major manufacturers to arrive at standards for the mounting systems for cartridges and the type of recording on vinyl records. He served as president of the Audio Engineering Society and was inducted into the Audio Hall of Fame, family members said.

In 1967, complaining that too many homeowners still thought of audio equipment as ''assorted pieces of gear lying about connected by all kinds of wires,'' he set up five rooms at the New York National Design Center to illustrate how music could be integrated into home decor.

Mr. Stanton was born in Canton, Ohio, and graduated from Wayne State University's School of Electrical Engineering in 1939. While there, he set up one of the first student radio stations in the country. During World War II, Mr. Stanton was involved in the design and creation of mechanisms for aerospace applications.

Mr. Stanton was known for holding outings on his boat near his longtime home in Laurel Hollow, N.Y., and playing jokes on employees. He ran both of his companies until retiring in 1998