It’s a very good sounding cartridge. But for a NOS, you can get a lot of money on eBay. And then buy a 2M Black, which is a better sounding cartridge :)
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'Thanks, I thought about putting on the market but based on what I read in reviews or opinions I would hate to walk away and not know what everyone raved about back then. Can't remember if I ever heard one or not. It's a quandary for sure. Maybe someone who has used it can chime in. I'm sure there are better ones out there now but it sure would be nice just to see. I suppose I could try it and then sell as slightly used.
I have a V15 Type III in my collection of vintage MM cartridges. The Type III has a house sound common to all V15s (many love that sound but others not so much), but I find it to be the most balanced sounding of the V15 family, at least of the models prior to the Type V. A lot depends on the stylus. Most came with the elliptical (yellow pull body) stylus which is a good all around performer. The rare MR (MicroRidge) stylus (red pull body) is a big sonic upgrade IMO if you can find one. Takes the detail retrieval, airiness, and top-end extension performance up a couple of notches over the common elliptical.
All of the V15 are excellent trackers provided the suspension is still in good shape after all these years in storage. Beyond that, it really boils down to whether or not you like the V15 sound. Personally, I really like the sound of the Type III with the MR stylus with rock, blues, and even some more refined recordings, but would not choose it to be my one and only cartridge.
As to eBay value of a virgin NOS exemplar vs one that has been played briefly to validate that the suspension is still functional is a toss up. Some buyers will prefer the former and some the latter. Definitely take some good pics of the packaging before breaking it out for a test run if you decide to do so.
Hope this helps.
Thanks Dave that helps a lot. I noticed you mentioned a yellow pull out elliptical stylus. The label on the box says it's elliptical but the stylus is a pull out black and the body is silver. Do you know if stylus colors changed somewhere along the way?
I'm becoming more familiar with it thru reading and am more than likely going to try it. I do blues and rock so this may be right up my alley. If it pleases I'll hold onto it
I had the elliptical stylus and later replaced it with - I think - the MR (but it could haven been the hyper elliptical). The update was a real improvement with a sweeter and more detailed sound. It was an excellent cartridge, but required precisely matched capacitive loading. At the time, Quad made special inputs boards for them, to match loading and output level. Tracking even at low pressure was exemplary, frequency response (if loaded correctly) was very flat, and distortion was low. However, the expert opinion (including that of Shure itself) seems to be that these days no original stylus assembly can still be in good working order - it will have dried out.
Thank for the input. Consensus seems to be that the suspension for the stylus may be suspect after all this time. I did visually inspect the cartrige and stylus with a magnifying glass and see nothing visually other than that it is pristine. Just in case I did look for a replacement stylus and found only aftermarket stylie ranging from 13 to 88 dollars. A Phanstiel, supposedly made in switzerland, is 25 dollars and the highest priced ones are from Japan and shipped from there. Does anyone have any experience with these aftermarket stylus?
Any information would be helpful and appreciated
Aftermarket styli vary enormously in price and some are outright bad. The Japanese Jico ones have a good reputation. Shure themselves recommend their M97xE cartridge as the best replacement.
As an anecdote, I recently noticed that the audio archive of the British Library use the Shure M44 cartridge for their digitization of some old recordings, using specialty styli: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI5DYJPSf-A&feature=youtu.be&t=162
The stylus is a major part of the sound character and tracking prowess of the V15. All of the aftermarket offerings will change the sound. Most are so inferior as to be ignored as an option. The only one that is consistently said to be as good or better than the OEM stylus is the Jico SAS:
There is debate as to the superiority of that one as well. Try your original. It may play fine. Listen for excessive sibilance and other signs of mistracking and go from there.
To all that have responded, you rock my world. Thank you so much for your input/suggestions.
I will try the NOS as is and if need be get the best rated albeit most costly stylus if needed. I think I'll start by obtaining another headshell first for ease of swapping out between cartridges. It's also most economical.
Consensus seems to be that the suspension for the stylus may be suspect after all this time.For something this old you can count on it, and its not something you can see with a microscope. We're not talking about the stylus- the suspension is at the other end of the cantilever.
I would get the stylus replaced before taking it seriously! IOW if you like it now, it gets better :)
Ralf it’s no penalty for trying existing one firstThe needle will last forever, but the suspension on any Shure I've ever had never made it more than two years whether I used it or not.
If the cantilever appears to be fine, but won't hold the cartridge up when set up with the correct tracking force, this is a sign that the suspension has perished. OTOH, sometimes when it perishes it simply gets hard; at that point the cartridge sounds 'tinny'. Out of desperation when I had a cartridge do that, I put a tiny drop of brake fluid into the suspension area and let it sit with the cartridge pointed up for about a week. After that it played much better for about 6 months. Then it became really obvious that I simply had to replace the needle assembly.
I just bought a Shure V15 111 off eBay.
It had the original hypereliptical VN 35 E stylus which, given its age, I was not expecting much of.
The stylus tip looked ok under eyeglass although the cantilever looked like it had been dug up from the North Sea.
As a matter of logic the suspension was unlikely to be in great shape unless it had been stored in a cigar humidor.
Amazingly it sounded pretty good mounted in an FR66s tonearm, a match that was supposed to be made in hell according to the perceived wisdom of using high mass tonearms with high compliance cartridges.
The first thing I did was replace the charity shop tonearm wires with some half decent silver ones. That made a remarkable difference.
At that point the sound was very nice. By “very nice” I mean you could hear a great cartridge in there, but it was clearly worn - the high frequency crescendos in classical music were a tad shouty and hard.
I then got a JICO replacement VN35E (not the SAS version) which is supposed to be a direct replica of the Shure VN35E.
That immediately cured all of the old age symptoms (the shoutings/ hardness referred to above).
So what’s the verdict ?
To put things in perspective I have a collection of cartridges, London (Decca) Reference, Koetsu Jade d/c, Koetsu Vermillion, various FR7s, SPU Synergy and Classic + various original and souped up Denon103s.
It might be negative confirmation basis, rooting for the underdog, partial deafness or just plain lack of refined understanding, however the VR15 111 with the new stylus and cantilever (and suspension as this is included in the assembly which simply unplugs to replace) does not suffer by comparison with any of them in musical listening enjoyment.
Given that you can pick one up second hand for under £150, then drop say another £100 on a JICO (the SAS is more) then this begs the question what progress there has actually been in cartridge performance in the last 30 years.
I’d be happy with the Shure as my only cartridge ...