Jelco SA-750D cartridges


I know there are other threads on this subject and there have been some useful suggestions for cartridges that are compatible with the SA-750D. Unfortunately, though, the conversation inevitably gravitates into what cartridges should theoretically work if we just knew the effective mass of the tonearm or that the fluid damping should allow the use of a wide range of cartridges.

Without wading back through the same old theoretical stuff, I would like to hear cartridge recommendations from people who are actually successfully using them, along with whatever tweaks may have been necessary to make them perform well (lighter headshell, etc.). It seems that the most recommended cartridge for this arm is one of the DL-103's, but am not thrilled with idea of a conical stylus. I would, however, consider one of the modified versions of the 103 with a different stylus shape, but I'm leaning away from moving coil.

I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone using moving iron or moving magnet models that work well with this arm. I like the idea of a user-replaceable stylus, but the Soundsmiths seem pretty interesting, too. Their reasoning for keeping the coil fixed and waving a light piece of iron in there seems like a good idea.

I would like to set an upper limit of $1000, but could push myself a little higher with good reason. By the way, I'm currently using a Heed Quasar preamp, but don't worry about that. That could easily change.

   
minkwelder
 It seems that the most recommended cartridge for this arm is one of the DL-103's, but am not thrilled with idea of a conical stylus. I would, however, consider one of the modified versions of the 103 with a different stylus shape, but I'm leaning away from moving coil.

Normally recommendations like this coming from people who never owned a better cartridge than this old crap from the 60s which is still in production and the reason is a low price. 

SA-750D is a mid mass modern tonearm, so you can use any mid compliance cartridge on it. You need a Hi-Fi Test LP to measure the actual tonearm/cartridge resonance and you can tune it with headshell and mounting screws (if you want to add mass for lower compliance cartridges). 

You don't have to own and use certain tonearm to understand everything about tonearm/cartridge matching. And every tonearm manufacturer of today wouldn't make anything too heavy or too light. The trend of super lightweight tonearms for high compliance MM is not a trend of today. Heavy tonearms like FR designed for fairly low compliance cartridges like Denon, but modern MC cartridges are mid compliance (most of them). 

So the answer is MID Compliance for MID Mass, you are in the middle of the trends. 

Recently i discovered very rare version of Pickering XSV/3000 cartridge designed especially for higher mass tonearm, the version is XSV3000SP with a compliance of 15cu (while the conventional Pickering was 30cu - high compliance for lightweight tonearms). It was very reasonable to design lower compliance cartridges in 1989 (it was discontinued in 1994), because previous design was released in the mid 70's when tonearms for MM were too light (5g mass). This classic MM cartridge with Samarium Cobalt magnet and Stereohedron stylus tip is great for Jelco and related mid mass tonearms. 

I was surprised that Michael Fremer interviewed Norman Pickering, check analog planet. Normally he's not into vintage gear, but Pickering cartridges just like Stanton and Grado are American heritage. 

A low mass, ultra powerful samarium cobalt magnet assures accurate tracking or high velocity modulations in the groove. Stereohedron stylus can be used for 1000 hrs. It is shaped to provide an enlarged area of record groove contact, while providing the ability to accurately trace the high frequency, the level modulations found on today's records, thus, the Stereohedron stylus provides superior performance which low stylus wear and low record wear. 

You should read Doug Sax comment about Pickering twin brother 881s HERE. Old but very interesting read. carts with Stereohedron stylus were reference cartridges at Sheffield Disc Mastering according to TAS MAG. At that time the Stanton 881s (equal to Pickering XSV/3000) wasn't even the top model, there are at least 3 more expensive models over the 881s and XSV/3000. Highly recommended! 




I used a Jelco SA-750D for years.  Had very good success with an AT OC9/II and Lyra Clavis Da Capo.  Both carts were mounted in the "stock" Jelco headshell that came with the arm.  From that experience, I would expect any of the AT carts in the OC9 family including the ART7 and ART9 to work well in the 750D.  
I’m leaning away from moving coil.

that’s right

I’m particularly interested in hearing from anyone using moving iron or moving magnet models that work well with this arm. I like the idea of a user-replaceable stylus, but the Soundsmiths seem pretty interesting, too.

I have huge collection of MM and some MI too (also many MC).
Modern MM cartridge are normally mid compliance, so absolutely no problem for your Jelco mid mass arm. Some of the best vintage MM/MI are mid or high compliance. Anything with MID compliance should be a perfect match for Jelco, when i say MID it is 15-20cu @10Hz , anything closer to 30cu is high-ish compliance. If you will see in the specs of Japanese cartridges a compliance figure measured with 100Hz then simply convert it to 10Hz before you will make any calculation of the cartridge/tonearm resonance. Use "x1.7" formula to convert dynamic compliance from 100Hz to 10Hz. Every calculation must be made ONLY if you know dynamic compliance at 10Hz (remember).

And i hope you can find on our forum the right mass of Jelco tonearm.

Some very nice modern MM cartridges on the market are from Garrott (Australia), strange that i’m only one person on Audiogon who recommend Garrott, it is a very old reputable brand, legendary! Their P77i Dynamic Coil is starting point for you, but for more AU$ you can get Garrott Optim with F.Gyger stylus.

There are alternatives to SoundSmith for sure!

Grado MI for example, but most of them are high compliance.

From the golden age there are mid compliance Audio-Technics AT-ML series, the AT-ML170 OCC is real killer!

Victor cartridges like X-1IIe with titanium cantilever and much more expensive X-1II with beryllium cantilever (Shibata tip) are also mid complaince and perfect for Jelco.




@bpoletti:

Thanks for the recommendations. I grew up with AT cartridges and need to shake my bias against them. My memory of the cheaper ones I used back in the day is thin, bright and veiled, but the Signets were excellent. I'll have to look more closely at the ones you suggested as well as the Lyra.

@chakster:


Thanks for the compendium of cartridge compliance knowledge. I'm a retired engineer, so the calculations aren't a concern. The problem lies with the conflicting data on the effective mass of this arm. Apparently, the Jelco people can't even agree on the correct figure.

The data sheet I have for the 750D lists the effective mass as 13.48 g, but there are numerous accounts online of people who have communications from Jelco listing the effective mass as high as 20 g. The source of the confusion is not clear so, rather than depend on questionable data, I thought that first-hand recommendations from people using the 750D would be the way to go.

Particularly enlightening is knowing that there is a way to test tonearm resonance without lab equipment. I didn't know that there is a "Hi-Fi Test LP" for this purpose. That is indeed a game changer.  

Yes, Hi-Fi Test LP if the only way for us to see when the arm and cartridge resonate at certain frequency recorded on the test track for lateral and vertical compliance (separately). Great tool, buy it. In addition to the theory, using Hi-Fi Test LP is practical method.

These two tracks on LP is what you need to measure everything and report us, this is how you can find out the mass of the arm (if you know everything else).


1) Cartridge/Arm Lateral Resonance Test - Sweep 25-5Hz (L+R)+ 1kHZ Pilot Tone 0:75
2) Cartridge/Arm Vertical Resonance Test - Sweep 20-6Hz 0:40

P.S. I don’t think the mass of the short Jelco is 20g, maybe it’s the mass of the long version of the arm?

Reading this forum for a long time i see many people using everything wrong when it comes to the arms and cartridges matching, some people use it right.


I use an AT-150MLX and a Jelco 750 9".  I current use a ATN-150Sa stylus with it's Shibata tip. Their is tons of information in the forums on the AT-150.  NOS one are still out there. 
Thanks vegasears. I just put the AT-150MLX on my short list. From the reviews I've read, it sounds like a good choice.
LP gear is selling the 150SA cartridge at half the price of the 150MLX. Is the MLX body worth the added expense?  
@minkwelder I really don't know, I have not kept up with the changes in the audio-technica line.
I just want to add that New AT-150MLX and Vintage AT-ML150, 170, 180 are two different series of cartridges (but people always mix them together by mistake), they are completely different, the AT-ML170 (and especially AT-ML180) are two best MM cartridges ever made by Audio-Technica, this series is rare and best sounding of them all. The cantilever is Gold-Plated Boron and Beryllium, the stylus is MicroLine, cartridge base is Ceramic. 

AT-150MLX and relates series are inferior in comparison to the AT-ML170 and AT-ML180. The styli are not compatible, the diamond mounting style is different, the material is different (beryllium is not available anymore). 

Reviewers never review Rare Cartridges from the past, they can only review current models and they never compare the best cartridges from the past to the current models from the same brand. 

MM cartridges were better in the 70's/80's than today, because today trend is LOMC 

It seems like people on Audiogon always using the same MM cartridges from the same Brands and never ever trying to find something special. it looks like some other cartridges does not exist for them in their world, very strange! What is it ? The lack of experience ? The lack of curiosity ? 

I always read in any thread something like AT and Nagaoka, nothing else, well, maybe Grado and SoundSmith too. But what about other cartridges, there are so many great cartridges made in the past. Why anyone have to stick to 4 modern brands only ? I just don't understand it. 



I owned a SA-750E for seven or eight years and tried it with a sh*tload of cartridges from 5g (Dynavector Karat 19A) to 12.5g (Koetsu Onyx Platinum). Basically it handled all of them very well indeed. The SA-750 isn’t the very last word in refinement, but it’s certainly a very competent arm and in terms of price/performance it can’t be beat.

As far as recommendations go, I’ll recommend what I always recommend:

A grand will get you an Audio-Technica ART9, which is about as good a cartridge as anything I’ve heard, at any price. Solid Boron cantilever, Special Line Contact stylus.

Roughly $750 will buy you an AT33Sa, which is almost as good. Tapered solid Boron cantilever, Shibata stylus.

Finally, $550 will buy you an AT33PTG/II, which is merely very, very good. Boron cantilever, MicroLine stylus.

If MM is what you want, the Audio-Technica VM760SLC and VM750SH are superb examples of the species. Astoundingly, so is the Goldring 1042 at a price of £200 (from Juno Records in London).

There are certainly excellent vintage cartridges, such as the Audio-Technicas mentioned by Chakster, but if you don’t particularly want to spend countless hours searching eBay and the like for reasonable examples and spare styli to go with them I’d just forget it.  Nor will it save you any money, more likely the opposite.

Nor do I agree that they are in any way, shape or form head and shoulders better than current cartridges. The very best of them (AT-ML170/180) may indeed have a slight edge on the top of the line VM series cartridges, but nowhere near large enough to justify the amount of time and effort required to get hold of them.

In my opinion, to my ears and as heard in my system.
@agripps nice post!  Thanks.
Nor do I agree that they are in any way, shape or form head and shoulders better than current cartridges. The very best of them (AT-ML170/180) may indeed have a slight edge on the top of the line VM series cartridges, but nowhere near large enough to justify the amount of time and effort required to get hold of them.

The AT-ML 180 OCC is NOS condition went for over $2500+ last year, and the NOS stylus for this model went for $900+ even in Japan where domestic cartridges are cheaper. Nobody would pay that much if those cartridges are not significantly better than cheap AT line of modern MM cartridges you’re talking about. The AT-ML180 with its gold-plated hollow pipe Boron cantilever (there is a beryllium version of AT-ML180 too) has one of the lowest moving mass among the MM cartridges ever. This is one of the best MM in existence. It was reference AT Moving Magnet cartridge.

If you never owned this model then do yourself a favor and find it, it is well worth the effort even if it will take several years, you may never heard anything better than this. It is a much better cartridge than Technics P100 mk4 which goes for the same price, but with elliptical tip and with softened suspension that no one can repair even for very high cost, however, people are buyin’ it. Made in the mid 80’s - early 90’s the AT-ML180 OCC does not have any problem with suspension/damper.

Moving mass is the key for live sound of Moving Magnet, it is critical aspect of design. There was a serious competition between Audio-Technica and Technics in the 70's and in the 80's. It was like the battle of the titans of the industry in Japan. Who cares about moving magnet cartridges now in the digital era ?

I will repeat again that all information from many owners of the AT-ML180 is on this forum, anyone can search and read feedbacks from users who actually compare many AT Moving Magnet cartridges. Everyone can hear the difference between then, even AT-ML170 is not as good as AT-ML180. And there was an AT 50 Anniversary model in comparison too, modern AT just loose the contest (even if they are good), we’re talking about some exceptional MM cartridges, not an average working horses. And people who invented AT-ML180 are retired long time ago. New people making new cartridges. There are no connection between old and new, it’s different generation.





A $400 cartridge in a Jelco 850 will sound better than a $1000+ cartridge in a 750.
Damn, can't edit my post:

I meant AT150 Anniversary LTD MM that someone compared to AT-ML180 long time ago. 

And i meant not "cheap" but still cheaper cartridges than AT-ML180, actually used AT-ML180 is not so expensive as NOS AT-ML180. 

I even sold some spare AT-ML170 for abour $650-750 when i bought my NOS AT-ML180 finally.   
If you never owned this model then do yourself a favor and find it, it is well worth the effort even if it will take several years, you may never heard anything better than this.
I've not owned it, but I've heard it, and I don't agree with your assessment at all.  I have heard better than that, but even if I hadn't I'd have zero interest in trawling the internet for weeks, months or years in order to attain a slight incremental improvement.

Nobody would pay that much if those cartridges are not significantly better than cheap AT line of modern MM cartridges you’re talking about.
That's patently and obviously untrue.  The AT-ML180 is exceedingly rare and like most things exceedingly rare it has become exceedingly expensive.  Examples of this abound in more or less any product cathegory you can think of.

Is a1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider worth $18.5 Million because it is that much better than a Ford Focus?  Is a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 worth US$31.19 million because it is that much better at showing the time than a Casio?  Is an antique Kirman rug worth $33.76 million because it is that much better at covering the floor than a Wilton?

I think the answer in all cases are fairly obvious, as it is in the case of the AT-ML180.


Thanks for the input, agrippa. I had actually begun sorting through the information and reviews on the AT VM line and trying to make sense of the different levels. I want to make sure I'm up to speed on the performance differences in the stylus shapes, particularly Microline and Line Contact. It's something I never gave a lot of thought to in the past.


One thing that concerns me a little are the reviews mentioning the upward tilt in the AT's high frequency response that can get somewhat shrill in some systems. I don't think anything in the rest of my system would do anything to exacerbate that, but it is something I'm particularly sensitive to.

I'm also considering either the 2m Bronze or Black, but leaning slightly to the AT VM's at this point.

I do think noromance makes a good point. As I move up the price ladder, there's a point where the additional expense would be better spent on a better arm.   


@minkwelder I've two 750 arms and a 850S and 850L on two different tables. The 850 is in the next echelon. I think you should replace it first. Then explore cartridges. It's a direct swap.
I agree with @noromance  and the Ortofon Bronze is a fine cartridge 
@noromance:

Now ya really got me going, right in the middle of a big wave of upgrade-itis! I just replaced my W4S STP SE with a Backert Labs Rhumba 1.2 Extreme and it was a VERY good choice, indeed.

I'm seriously going to consider an arm change. What is it about the 850 that makes it such a leap forward?

@tomic601 

Thanks for the thumbs up on the Bronze. I think if I went the 2M route, I would go for the Bronze over the Black. I'm not sure the price difference would be justified.
@minkwelder George Merrill has the best price on Jelco. Make sure you use the JAC501 (red) phono cable not the cheaper one. Search for my post on the 850. Read full thread.
I’ve not owned it, but I’ve heard it, and I don’t agree with your assessment at all. I have heard better than that, but even if I hadn’t I’d have zero interest in trawling the internet for weeks, months or years in order to attain a slight incremental improvement.


If you have no interest then it’s another story, people who have no interest in something unique will never be able to compare average cartridges to something special. I bought every AT cartridge from AT-ML150 to AT-ML180 and each one was huge step above. I can’s say the even AT-ML150 OCC is a bad cartridge, but top model AT-ML180 OFC (and OCC) is superior in every aspect of sound.

That’s patently and obviously untrue. The AT-ML180 is exceedingly rare and like most things exceedingly rare it has become exceedingly expensive. Examples of this abound in more or less any product category you can think of.


This is rare indeed, but rarity alone is nothing in audio, most of the rare and unknown cartridges are not expensive, i know this because i always search for them and buy them for my collection (it’s very interesting process). There must be a reputation and most important a sound quality that thrills people to pay over $2k for MM cartridge. I gave you an example of another very expensive cartridge that almost every audiogon member tried to find and buy for serious amount of $$$ (Technics P100 mk4). Also i think most of the audiogon members who collect vintage MM bought those AT-ML180 when it was relatively cheap and when NOS styli were in the shops for some time, the model was discontinued in the 90’s, then NOS turned up for sale for at least 10-15 years. Today it is very rare and much harder to find. But i have mentioned before a friend who discovered a stash of NOT Victor and AT cartridges in Las Palmas in the record store, sealed cartridges in the boxes collected dust on the shelf in the storage for over 30 years in very old recordshop.

You are ignoring the fact that many audiogon members have a lot of rare cartridges, some of them are still unused, and when it’s too much they can sell. Some people lost their interest to MM, some people just need money. You can forget about ebay when you have audiogon and audiomart. Most of the members are retired or close to it, so why do they need so many cartridges ? Always worth to ask. I am searching for rare records the same way, people who collected them for entire life don’t mind to sell since the price is so much higher nowadays, it’s a good profit for them. I bought my rare Garrott p77 this way from another audiogon member for example. 

Anyway, my thought is that Audio-Technics simplified all MM cartridges, they changed cantilevers from hollow pipe to rod, they changed the way the stylus is mounted on the cantilever to this type. More important they changed the shape of replacement plastic inserts, what you can see now in current models is what they invented with old AT20Sla in the 70’s - this shape.

But the insert of the AT-ML170/180 vintage series is completely different - this shape.

Audio-Technica engineers have ensured against unwanted parasitic vibration with an Anti-resonance Ceramic Mounting base only for vintage AT-ML series, not for any new cartridges.

And regarding stylus mounting, i not sure what do you like more: THIS NEW or THAT OLD

Obviously the old has lover moving mass and more realistic reproduction.

And those Beryllyum cantilevers, remember ? Not available anymore for any manufacturer.

But when you will read on the boxes of my NOS AT-ML180 you will see two different versions, one with Boron cantilever and another with Beryllium cantilever.

And our simpikins5 (another fan of vintage AT, but different model) reported last year:

" There was a thread on Audiogon quite a while ago in which a former engineer from Audio Technica was participating. He wrote a rather in depth post as to why Beryllium was the go to material for cantilevers and the panic that ensued at AT when the EPA came down with the order that it no longer be used due to the dangerous toxic dust released when machining the material. He stated that the engineering department underwent a lot of R&D to find a suitable replacement material and Boron was what they determined would be closest, however it was still a compromise. Apparently Beryllium allows for the largest frequency excursion without distortion and also permits better channel separation and signal to noise ratios."

Quotes from the Audiogon contributors:

"Today I received all the pieces of Audio Technica AT-ML170 LC-OFC. Body from Japan and NOS original stylus from elsewhere in USA. For first hour at 1.5g or so it is best tracker I’ve ever had, really clings. Will continue further run-in and evaluation. Thanks Raul!" - Siniy123

"Buying a used AT-ML170 was the best analog move I’ve ever done. Second best, buying a used DV 10xGoldL. Two reference carts that will blow away carts costing $$$$$ more." - Kiko65

"The 103Fl with the Paratrace stylus is my top MC. Better than my $3500 Benz Micro Ruby 3. Where it falls a little short, is when it gets compared with MM/MI’s like my Signet TK10ML MK2, TK7CLa/155LC Sonus Dimension 5 or the AT ML170". - Don

"In my experience that AT ML-170 OCC is one of the must to have cartridges (MC or MM) along the 180 OCC." - Raul

"I also owned a AT ML-170 at one time this was one of the best ones I ever heard,near the Signet TK10.Anyway,just my take on these models." - Travbrow

"The AT 170 ML is fantastic at letting me hear, study, and analyze the tone of a particular instrumentalist on a recording; I can’t think of any MC that I have owned let me do that to the same degree." -Frogman




** P.S. Personally i think it’s an oustanding vintage MM cartridges, definitely in my top-5 list. It’s important to understand in details the construction of this model, because devil is in details.





The reason I'm not interested is simply that its so very easy to buy a cartridge with equal or better sound at a lesser cost than "your" vintage Audio-Technicas.  An AT33PTG/II for example.

If I was a collector or a an obsessive fan of vintage MMs it would of course be different, but I'm neither of those.


UPDATE:

I ended up buying an AT VM 740ML. I only have about 30 hours on it so far and I can't quit smiling. It is better than I thought it could be and works better in my system than the Denon DL-110.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great MM cartridge.
Congrats.  Glad you're happy with your new cart.
The reason I’m not interested is simply that its so very easy to buy a cartridge with equal or better sound at a lesser cost than "your" vintage Audio-Technicas. An AT33PTG/II for example.


They are not equal and can’t be equal because you’re comparing MM and MC. I owned various AT LOMC cartridges and they were good, but not equal and not better than AT-ML170 and AT-ML180. Also you ignoring the fact that you can see with a microscope and actually can hear too, but since you never owned those top AT MM i have nothing to say. I think to compare what is better you will have to buy at least 30 different cartridges and you need time to compare them in your own system on matched tonearms. If you think each new cartridge is better than old one you are very naive, i guess i already gave an example of the NOS tubes that are almost always better than any new tubes with a few exceptions from very specific brands. Claiming that next new model is always better is 100% marketing strategy to sell more, making them cheaper is another marketing trick, but it has nothing to do with the quality unfortunately. Vinyl is not the main media today like it was before. 

If I was a collector or a an obsessive fan of vintage MMs it would of course be different, but I’m neither of those.

I’ve been able to find and buy at least 4 mint or NOS samples of AT-ML170 and AT-ML180 with sealed NOS styli for them.

I am surprised that people 20 year older than me on this forum never owned some of the best cartridges that was so easy to buy (and much cheaper than today) in the 80’s. This fact makes me think that some people are not interested in High-End cartridges and know nothing about it. The lack of experience indicate it very well. Luckily we’re another category of people too, but most of them simply stop posting on audiogon, probably because it is became extremely boring (maybe i’m wrong).

They are not equal and can’t be equal because you’re comparing MM and MC
I’m not, I’m comparing sound.  As heard by my ears, in my system.

I think to compare what is better you will have to....
You don’t know me from Adam, nor what I’ve done or haven’t done, owned or haven’t owned. You’re incredibly good at making baseless assumptions though, I’ll give you that.

Claiming that next new model is always better....
Which is one thing I haven’t done. Good at building straw men too.


i have nothing to say
If only. However, you keep postulating your subjective opinions as if they were handed down from the heavens and not to be disputed. For some I’m sure it sounds impressive and is quite convincing, but for someone who’s been round the block more than a few times it gets really old, really fast.

mink, what kind of music is  your  favorite ?
@schubert


I listen mostly to rock, blues and jazz. No heavy metal, though, unless you consider Led Zeppelin to be heavy metal!

For rock, I lean more toward stuff like The Band, The Kinks, Jeff Beck, Warren Zevon, Little Feat, old Fleetwood Mac (before Buckingham/Nicks), Steely Dan, etc.

For blues I like Buddy Guy, Savoy Brown, Little Walter, John Mayall, Paul Butterfield and the like.

Jazz artists I like are Charles Lloyd, Les McCann, Eddie Harris, Herbie Hancock.

So far, the VM 740ML is doing an outstanding job on everything I've thrown at it. Missing is the random occurrence of distortion at certain vocal frequencies that I was getting from the Denon.   

Good to hear you struck gold with the 740ML.  My own examples from A-T's previous top series are superb performers, so I'm not at all surprised.
Thanks for steering me in that direction, agrippa. Probably the best AT I ever owned before this was the 120E. My memory tells me it was just OK, but my memory isn't what it used to be.

Since the 700 series bodies are the same, it also provides the option of SH or SLC stylii.
Buying an SLC will give you two styli with very similar charcteristics, so I’d probably advise against doing that. The Shibata on the other hand will provide a little more body and a slightly richer mid range, making it rather less like buying the same thing twice. Neither the ML nor the SLC is lacking in those departments, but rather than being absolutely neutral the Shibata will add a little extra romantic ambience to the final product. If that sounds good to you, then the Shibata is my recommendation for a second stylus.

If/when you want to branch out and try an MC, Audio-Technica has you very well covered there too. The ART9, AT33Sa and AT33PTG/II all perform very well indeed in the SA-750 and either one will have you smiling in no time. I wouldn’t advise moving futher down the AT33 line though, as the AT33EV with its nude elliptical stylus is about on par with the 740ML you now use. To my ears at least it will require an AT33PTG/II to conclusively better it.

There’s also the new OC9X line of cartridges, but to date I’ve not heard any of those.

Finally I’ll just reiterate that to my ears the ART9 is one of the greatest bargains there is, equalling anything I’ve owned or heard.

As always: in my opinion, based on my ears and my system.
Thanks for the advice, agrippa. I had to wonder how much different the SLC stylus could be and felt that paying almost twice as much to get it was probably not going to be a benefit in my system. I would probably upgrade my tonearm before experimenting with a stylus upgrade.

If I do upgrade the arm, I would probably want to step up to a better cartridge. I'll definitely put the ART9 on my short list.

Thanks to all for the great advice.