Removable headshells 101

Due to the influence of Raul's thread on MM cartridges, I believe that some of us (perhaps for the first time), have acquired a tonearm/s with a removable headshell?
In my case, there was a vacuum of knowledge or information about what makes a good headshell and for the last 6 months a great deal of my time and effort has been expended in acquiring personal hands-on experience.
Perhaps a Forum to share experiences will help new adherents to this once denigrated (by the High End) segment of tonearm design?
Timeltel has raised the subject of the rubber 'O' rings normally supplied between the headshell and the locking-collar of the tonearm.
Fidelity Research abhors them and Yamamoto headshells also are supplied without.
I have largely eschewed them with all my removable headshells but would be interested in the benefits that those who use them, claim to hear?
I was around in the old days and always took the washers out. There is nothing wrong with detachable arms except lack of rigidity, which is arguably less important for MMs, which are inevitably themselves less rigid due to their replaceable stylus. I recently bought a Jelco 750 to use on my back up table, I hadn't had a detachable arm since the early 80s. When looking at older headshells look at ones made from cast magnesium [ like the Lustre] or similar rigid material rather than flimsy designs full of holes that were designed for minimum mass rather than rigidity. The ADC cast aluminum ones were quite good. I got sticker shock when I looked at some of the new ones and I have enough old ones to use anyway.
Like Stanwal I was also around in the (good) old days and
also took the washers out. But to be honest I forget the reason why... I also agree with my old mate reg. Jelco 750
wich has different names as well different price in different countrys (Sumiko in the UK and ? in Germany).
To my knowledge the best headshell for the price. If the money is not an issue you may look for those Orsonic or
(Clearaudio) Stability headshells.

My knowledge is limited when it comes to discussions regarding headshells and I'm interested in learning as much as possible. Please feel free to pass on any websites etc.
I've just arrived here with a SAEC WE-308SX plus the 18gr ULS-3X headshell. I'm very excited but full of questions about almost everything. So, please if you don't mind to share your knowledge :
* Do you know any confirmed successful general rule for choosing the right HEADSHELL ?
* What matters the most for a successful CART/shell pairing
* How to choose the right combination of cart/shell/ARM ?
* What is the importance of the BUILD MATERIAL (between 2 headshells of equal weight) on sound reproduction ?
* Is it good to combine DIFFERENT materials for cart body/shell/armtube in order to break the resonances ?
* Is there any SEQUENCE of prefered materials following the transmition of the resonances ?
* Is there an UPPER LIMIT of the headshell's weight concerning the arm mass ? (if the counterweight can support it of course).
* How to recognize the good LIGHT WEIGHT headshell for your high compliance cartridge ?
* Any known excellent partners that is worth to mention ?
Dear nandric: IMHO the best headshell is the one that makes your/the cartridge really " sing ".

I have no preferences for headshell because some ones works great with some cartridges and " bad " with other cartridges even with the same cartridge but different tonearm a good one in one tonearm could be a bad one in other tonearm.

Resonances/distortions everywhere the tonearm/cartidge/headshell/TT/platform/etc makes almost imposible to predict the result between headshells and cartridges combinations. IMHO we have to try and decide through several tests.

So and in this subject said/say that this or that headshell is the best has IMHO no real foundation.

Remember that when an " important " persons/reviewers/guru in audio stated that this/that audio item is the way to go then we think is the best and when we have it almost always will sounds good for us even if not: we are prepared for that audio item sounds good way before we hear it.

Only our skill/experience/know-how level in audio could tell us what's " real " and what's only " illusion ".

Regards and enjoy the music,
If the headshell is light in weight and it sounds dead (doesn't ring) when you tap on it, it is a good headshell.
I'm surprised at Raul's response.
Whilst I can appreciate that what he has experienced may indeed be then throw up his arms and state that he has no understanding of the reasons for the performance changes of various headshells is contradictory to what he is always stating about the need for us to 'understand' the reasons behind good tonearms and poor tonearms, good turntables and poor turntables?
Raul carefully lists all the factors that play a part in tonearm design and turntable design yet here, with the (relatively) simple parameters of the 'headshell''s all too difficult?
Try it and see?.....maybe it's 'magic'?

Well I don't believe it's 'magic'.
I think there are certain basic physical and structural principles that govern a removable headshell design and the 'magic' may be related to cartridge/tonearm synergy?
That 'magic' is complex enough......let's not create myths and illusions at every twist and turn of the analogue chain.
To the uninitiated, it would appear that analogue is just too complex to bother with?......and that is just not the case.

Firstly I'd like to destroy the myth that removable headshells are in some ways inferior to 'fixed' headshells?
In 'theory', this must be correct as any possible movement or weakness in the rigidity chain between cartridge and arm-board is potential for information loss.
But we all know that in audio, the chasm between 'theory' and 'practice' can sometimes be vast?
The best sounds I have ever heard reproduced in my system have been with tonearms which have removable DIN phono connections and removable headshells.
I have 3 other arms with fixed headshells (or in the case of the headshell at all) and unbroken phono cables form cartridge clips to phono input.
So how is this possible?

I'm not sure that the weight of the headshell is, of itself, a consideration apart from its affect on the effective mass of the tonearm, but all the theory again about high-compliance cartridges in low-mass tonearms and low-compliance cartridges in high-mass tonearms I have found in my experience to be unreliable?
Why don't we comment about the mass and construction of the fixed headshells in tonearms?

For me, a removable headshell must have a structural logic and connection to its aluminium or magnesium socket tube.
If the connection to this tube is weak, it will allow torsion or twisting to occur and if there is an off-set between the headshell proper and this socket tube, then a bending moment is created which may allow movement.
The best removable headshells generally are those that are integral with the cartridge.
The Technics EPC100Mk3 and the Fidelity Research FR-7 group of headshell/cartridges are prime examples of these and it's easy to see that the axis of connection to the socket-tube is directly in line with the axis of the headshell.
This structural logic is utilised by Micro Seiki in their H-303X headshell for the MA-505 tonearm HEADSHELLS
Of course there are other points to consider and hopefully this thread will illuminate those?
But I refuse to concede that headshell design is a 'black' art :-)
Regards, Halcro: Henry, I'm going to take sides. Both. Raul is largely correct when he says one cannot know until a combination is tried. There are surprises, such as the deadening of a Signet TK7LCa cartridge when tried on a carbon fiber shell, just this weekend. Restored to a Jeweltone 8.5gm mag. headshell, it "sang" again. The reverse was true for an ADC-ZLM, also involved in the headshell trade.

A delightful clipping from a description of a titanium headshell: "Although it is somewhat heavy (18.5gm), in a carbon fiber (TA?) etc., it differs and weightiness peculiar to metal and forcibleness are charm". The writer, I believe, is expressing that the headshell has a characteristic signature, surely it dosn't stand alone in this.

Hopefully enough information will be gathered from your thread to conclude:
Just as it is accepted there is a "house sound" to be heard from various cartridges, there are identifiable characteristics with headshells of specific materials and design.
Or (re. Raul): There is no formula and it is predominately a need to determine the correct match.

It was mentioned that matching the tonearm is also important. The ADC's Stanwal refered to are good matches with my 12gm eff. mass Technics EPA-250 arm. Both the LMG and DMG designations are magnesium (6.5 and 7.7gm) and work well with the 250. The Sumiko/Lustre at 9.5gm is a high quality azimuth adj. shell but much harder to find. The cast Technics headshells, 7.5gm alu., are well finished, a very rigid design and (IMO) exemplify the "bang for the buck" category.

Are headshell leads to be included in this discussion?


I too have acquired a tonearm with a removable headshell option, and I could not be happier. I will not deny there is a lot to be said for the one arm bandit tonearms with no detachable headshell, but I like many different types of music (classical, jazz, electronic, international etc) and prefer the option of swapping cartridges to suit my listening tastes accordingly.

From my experience thus far I would have to agree with the premise that headshell, cartridge compliance, and tonearm mass are the first things I consider. Also, wire leads to cartridge, "do I want silver with this cart or do I want too soften things up a bit with copper wire leads." The options are endless and at some point you have to draw the line with the experimenting and just sit back and enjoy the damn thing. At any rate I believe you made a good choice and please do not let my BS nor anyone else cut you off from simply enjoying the music.

All good questions.
I too had those questions when I was first deciding which headshells to buy and found there were no readily available sources which could answer?
Hopefully we may uncover some of these answers in this thread? :-)
Greetings Professor (Timeltel),
Good to see you here.
I readily accept your experiences with headshells of differing materials.....and this is something we should all share.
But it should not be a mystery? We know that differing materials perform differently in audio, and in fact carbon fibre has been demonstrated (I believe), to be less than ideal for sound. Lloyd Walker changed his tonearm material to carbon fibre and then realising his mistake, quickly changed it to metal again. There are also one or two manufacturers of carbon fibre arms which have not taken the world by storm?
Material selection is a believable and understandable concept in headshell design and should not be confused with 'voodoo' science?:-)
and yes........headshell leads are of great interest to all of us. Please proceed. :-)
Dear Ramon,
Thank you for your thoughts.
I too am happy with the choices I have made thanks to the inspiration of many folk here on this site.
Dear Raul, Marllene Ditrich was wondering why so many women
are clothed so badly. According to the diva:'one can get
at present very decent clothes for $100000'.
The most of us don't own a store full of headshells nor
full with decent clothes. So when we buy some this naggish
money question may play some role. One wants a good headshell for a tolerable price. But you are right reg.
reviews in the HI-FI Magazines. This way I learned about
the Orsonic, Stability and even some Jelmax by wich I thought that they made a typo. BTW Dertonarms Magzine 'Das
Ohr' (1980?) in wich 10 headshells were ranked with the help of ordinal numbers. I am not able to understand your
conviction that an forum is somehow more objective. Ie one
get usualy 15 different answers from 10 persons.

Hello, so far my modest experiences have suggested to me that a well made magnesium headshell (without the rubber washer) is almost always the one that I prefer. In fact the only exception in my memory that I've experienced so far is that my odd-duck gold body Stanton 500 with a d5100ee stylus sounds better on an aluminum one (AT LT model).

But which magnesium headshell? I have examples of only seven--the inexpensive Technics, the (2) ADC models, two AT MG models (9, 10), the Jelco, and the Sumiko. On this point mileage varies for me--perhaps due to arm/cartridge variables.

Cartridge leads...I prefer silver wire and not wanting to pay $70+ for each set I make my own.

Dear Henry, a few really good headshell ? O.k. let me suggest a few:
- if weight really matters and has to be really low: Orsonic AV-1.
- if weight should be low, but not that low: Orsonic AV-101 or Stability Titan
- if weight not that much issue: AT Technihard AT-LH18 (ONLY the "18" !!)
These three do represent technically the best I have found in 30 years. If a cartridge/tonearm sounds bad with any of these 4 headshells, it is not the headshell's fault.
The AT-LH18 is absurdly cheap compared with the competition - it is the clear "best buy" in headshell design (even it's standard wires and clips are good!).
Litz wires for headshell ? Ikeda or Nagaoka silver litz wire w/rhodium plated clips.
There are other headshells out there - much more expensive ones and cheaper ones. None of these 4 equipped with the wires mentioned will let you down.
Each will easily stand it's own against any other headshell for any other price tag.
They stood the test of time (30 to 12 years on the market) and have all 4 superb rigidity, very good energy transfer and are technically smart designs with a no-nonsense approach.
They are the right stuff if you want to know whats really in the cartridge and in the groove.
Dear Halcro: I'm more sursprised by your post:
+++++ " state that he has no understanding of the reasons for the performance changes of various headshells is contradictory to.... " +++++, please let me know where I stated that sincerely I can't remember where.

No the headshell subject as any audio subject is in no way a " black art ", things are that exist almost no scientific research that can be confirmed through listening process or the other way around and due to this fact there are several " black art " audio subjects, that's all.

Now, if you re-read the MM thread ( first page. ) I stated there that I had " bad time " with the AT 20SS till I mounted in the SAEC UL3X headshell, I tested that cartridge in those " old " times with several other headshells and in different tonearmsand till today I don't have a precise explanation about. This seems like " black magic " but certainly it's not.

A few weeks ago I posted that I had some " problems " trying to made that the ADC 25 performs at its best, well I tryed in at least five different headshells ( where my guide was my experiences about. ) with no success til with out real foundation I mounted in an aluminum AT headshell that is full of holes/perforated and is not only ugly headshell but when you see it and when you have in your hand you can't trust in it! and you know what this AT headshell was the only one that made the ADC 25 really sings.
Black magic?, certainly not but even that I would like I don't have the time to design a scientific model to find out why that happened.

In the last four years I tested around 80 different cartridges with different tonearms and different headshells and even this kind of whole experiences I can't be aware today why the ADC 25 performs so well with that AT headshell maybe you have a precise explanation and I would like to hear it and learn about.

+++++ " The best removable headshells generally are those that are integral with the cartridge.... " ++++++

I respect your opinion but I have to disagree here, why?:

IMHO an integarted cartridge/headshell design preclude that we can find out which tonearm/headshell is the best match ( the cartridge examples you named were designed almost 40 years ago and between all those tears till today many things already change it on the whole subject. ) for that cartridge today shows us at its best even we can't test it in a fixed tonearm headshell design.

In the other side the internal wire/connectors inside that kind of cartridge designs are 40 years old and IMHO we today have better wire/pin connectors for cartridge mount: no doubt about.

There are other " problems " like in the FR where you can't change overhang or azymuth ( if the tonearm does not has it. ) or offset angle for testing different geometry tonearm/cartridge set up or for anything else.
I like more flexibility.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Dertonarm: I own the Orsonics and the AT ( the three models. ) ones, I think I own over 35 different headshell designs that I use trying to make the best cartridge match.

++++++ " These three do represent technically the best I have found in 30 years. If a cartridge/tonearm sounds bad with any of these 4 headshells, it is not the headshell's fault. " +++++

as almost always with you a statement that you can't prove. In the other side I can prove it is not that way.

The ADC 25 and AT20SS are only two examples that even if one headshell design could seems the " best technically " not always is a good cartridge match and with some cartridges could sound bad.
IMHO there is no audio perfect items and headshells are not an exception.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Nandric: +++++ " I am not able to understand your
conviction that an forum is somehow more objective. Ie one
get usualy 15 different answers from 10 persons. " +++++

normally I don't trust on professional reviewers that are biased some way or the other to commercial compromises, I don't trust either in 30 years old reviews where the audio items ( audio systems. ) used are way different from today ones.

I don't trust on reviewers where things were that their reports are faulty ( by its review process. ) and where their findings are different from what we heard on different home systems or that are out of reality against live events taked as music reference.

Even that Halcro and I are not always in agreement ( we are in the main audio targets. ), fortunately, I trust with out doubt over say MF. There are many reasons why I trust in Halcro but one critical is that Halcro is not biased in any commercial way and in his honesty that he reports what he heard, it does not matters if I agree or not.

In this forum there are several persons whom I trust with out doubt over any single reviewer out there.

Do you think that I don't trust in Downunder only because he and I almost always are in disagrement?, no I trust in him that's not biased in anyway.

There are several other persons in this forum that are very well regarded, that own great audio systems and that I don't trust on them, mainly because are biased: biased or in a commercial way or biased to support some one.

In good shape: can I trust in Dertonarm or Syntax or Nandric ? could you?

Yes, I trust in non-biased people in this and other forums against/over reviewers even if we have " 15 different answers from 10 persons ", the subject here is which of those 15 answers are the " one " and only your skills/experience/know-how level along some type of research ( who is telling what, which audio system they own, music sound priorities of those persons, biased?: to what, etc, etc ) can tell you.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul, you know very well that there is no way on this earth that I could proof something so that you would agree wholeheartedly.
It is just plain not possible.
Just as I am unable to proof anything to you, - so are you vice versa.
So where is the problem ? It is always nothing else then a subjective statement. I in most cases I try to choose a point of view based on fairly neutral technical ground - you most of the time are rather on the side of subjective sonic reception.
I guess that both points of view have their merits.
I for one think, that if a cartridge needs a "good match", then the cartridge's body has problems.
I for one believe in audio components which do not require sonic matches.
If an audio component needs a certain sonic counterpart to produce neutral sound, then the designer of that specific component has not finished his design/job. In other words - I think it is a problem, if a certain given cartridge calls for a certain "sonic match" in a headshell to perform it's best.
The 4 headshells I have named above will rank in the top class of every survey which would analyze headshells regarding rigidity, lack of resonance and energy transfer ( can be measured...).
It is not just about MM/MI cartridges.
Give any of the later 3 headshells a try with serious LOMCs (MM and MI aren't the only cartridges out there ...;-) ...) and you'll see/hear what I mean. Here it is much more about energy transfer and much less about damping resonances of a cartridge's body.
However - I think the AV-1 may be very good even with the ADC and AT20ss.
Dear Raul, The expression I used was 'objectivity' not 'trust'. I don't believe that you will choose any component because of your trust in somebody but because you
believe in your own capability to make a choice. The most of us need in the first place the information about 'what there is' or what is available. This information we can get from HI-FI magazines, forums, friends,etc. We then try
to compere technical info about preselected items,etc and
then make a choice. When we actualy own the item in casu we can be satisfied or disatisfied. I have subscription i.a. for Sterephile for more then 10 years but never bought anything recommanded by Fremer. But as you noticed
I have some headshells recommended 30 years ago by the German Magazine 'Das Ohr'. It may be an coincidence but I noticed that Dertonarm refered to the same headshells. We
know each other for about 2 years so no conspiracy was possible 30 years ago. There may be persons who buy their
gear because Fremer of Pearson recommended them but I am not among them. Not because I trust or distrast them but
because I learned to make my own choice.

Looking for opinions on the Micro Seiki headshells. They have a lower COG as opposed to all other headshells out there.

Would it be advisable to not use any other headshell for the Micro Tonearms?

I never seen this brought up before on the net and would think there should be some discusion about this out there.
Dear Dertonarm: Of course that I already used those headshell with LOMCs. The Orsonic and AT headshell ( older the Ors. ) were out there way before I started to test MM/MIs.

About cartridge body I think almost all cartridges have " problems " and are not perfect as you and other persons ( including me ) can whish but this is true with almost any other audio item so: what's the point?, I posted several times that all the TTs are unfinished designs ( you and me already discussed on this subject. ) but on tonearms we can say the same as with cartridges or speakers or amplifiers.

My point is that due that our audio world is not perfect we have to have the tools ( in this case: headshells/tonearms. ) for our cartridges can shows always at its best and this means ( between other things . ) that we have to look for matched items.

You are a wise man and I know that you know way before your last post what I'm refering to. Dertonarm I think that the time when we always want to win a discussion are past and our today contribution are " deeper " than that self misunderstooded satisfaction. I think and believe in your maturity even that several times you ( IMHO ) don't shows it.

Anyway, I don't want to follow opening more " windows " in this thread.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Nandric: Of course that I don't make any audio item choice only because I trust in you and that's not what I posted.

++++++" the subject here is which of those 15 answers are the " one " and only your skills/experience/know-how level along some type of research ( who is telling what, which audio system they own, music sound priorities of those persons, biased?: to what, etc, etc ) can tell you. " +++++

IMHO anyone of us follow a process ( personal one. ) when we take a decision.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hey Folks,

As some may have read/remember, I have a Sota Star/SME 309 on order. I get the idea from reading SME's description that the 309's removable headshell is not standard and would not be interchangeable with the headshell's you folks are mentioning. Is this correct? The SME is different?

Dear Raul,
Thank you for your responses and trust.
I also take with a large grain of salt the recommendations of most reviewers (except for perhaps Art Dudley & Arthur Salvatore) because their job effectively, is to promote new audio products.
Thus they mostly test and listen to, the latest (and greatest?) and probably don't have the time or opportunity to hear the great vintage analogue products which we, through forums such as these are able to?
You thus will never hear a current reviewer test a new audio cartridge against some of those vintage MM designs we have found to be so special?
You won't hear them test the new 'super' tonearms against the FR series or the Micro Seikis or the Audiocrafts or the SAECs etc for the same reasons.
The results of this myopia are constant articles and reviews which give the impression that the state of high-end audio is relentlessly moving forward?
This I have found in the last year or so, to be rather far from the truth.

On the issue of headshells though, I tend to agree with Dertonarm that if a well-designed headshell does not work well with a particular cartridge, there is more likely to be a fault or quirk with that particular cartridge body or design?
Of course it is easier to just say......poor match.....incompatibility......lack of synergy etc but I'd really like to know what are the reasons for these excuses?
And there must be definable reasons? The fact that we don't have the knowledge or patience to discover these is simply an admission of the depth of our lack of knowledge when it comes to audio? :-)
Dear Dertonarm,
Thank you for your recommendations.
Interestingly, Audio Technica headshells I have experienced, frustrate me enormously.
Firstly, their fixed mounting holes in lieu of slots, makes aligning the geometry of the cartridge a hit and miss affair. I find you can be a millimetre or 2 away from achieving the correct stylus position and the only way to correct this is to unscrew the small side screw holding the headshell to the socket tube and slide it back or forth. This side screw is in fact then, the prime point of transferring the structural rigidity of the headshell to the socket tube.
As such it is totally inadequate.
Additionally, these fixed mounting holes do not allow one to adjust the overhang angle of the cartridge so that the stylus is tangential at the 2 null points.
If one is interested in accuracy and rigidity, I find the AT headshells ones to be avoided :-)
I have used other headshells in the MA-505s arm with great success.
At the moment the Yamamoto HS-1As is sounding particularly fine with the FR-5 MM cartridge mounted therein.
The only problems I can see with the Micro tonearm is for heavy cartridges and headshells whereby the counterweight ends up precariously close to the end of the arm-tube?
I've just purchased some additional weights from Holland to avoid this problem.
Interesting discussion. One thing for sure, do anything in an audio system and it will sound different - headshells are just another variable.

I have 3 types of Ortofon from their mid range, top of the range and wooden one as well as two cheap headshells from Belldream and Sumiko.

You put all 5 headshells onto one cartridge and the sound is different on every one. You can identify the ranking, however when you change cartridges the ranking may be completely different - why? the musical word is synergy.

I do listen to folks opinions here to see what their views are on combinations as we cannot listen to everything. If I have the same combo, it is always interesting to see if you hear the same things as they do.

An interesting comparison is between fixed and removable headshell tonearm with the same cartridge.

I own the Exclusive P3. This table comes with a straight arm wand with fixed headshell and a S arm wand with removable headshell. Without any doubt my Ortofon A90 sounds best with the straight arm,fixed headshell. Read into that as you like.

I am sure that folks ranking of cartridges and overall MM or MC preference may change if they changed amplification components in their system from SS to tubes or visa versa.

Anyway, sounds like I may need to look at an Orsonic hgeadshell again. Question - it looks as thou the only wiggle rooim on these headshells is at the front of the cartridge - Is their adjustability limited?
Dear Henry,
sure - the fixed mounting holes of the AT-LH18 aren't the smartest of ideas.
The firm circular grip of the actual headshell around the throat tube is however very good and extremely solid. And gives extremely versatile adaption to overhang.
Same solution I. Ikeda uses for his headshell and same I would use if I would fancy about designing a headshell.
It may not please you, but it does please the engineer even better than the solutions favored by Orsonic or Clearaudio - i.e. one screw tip.
So the only real drawback here is the fixed mounting hole indeed.
But the AT-LH18 is relatively inexpensive (around $55,-), comes with very good wires and tag clips and - dare I !! - one can widen the mounting holes of the cartridges body to adjust offset a bit.... ;-) .... just kidding ...
No - in fact, take the headshell - go to the next fine tooling workshop and have the fixed holes drilled open and modified to long slots - é voila !
The serious audiophile finds space for modifications in every component....;-) ....
Dear Halcro: +++++ " The fact that we don't have the knowledge or patience to discover these is simply an admission of the depth of our lack of knowledge when it comes to audio. " +++++

yes we are ignorant ( at least I'm. ) on many audio subjects see it from the " scientific " point of view, fortunately my/our years of audio experiences help us some way or the other.
What in some audio subjects I/we don't have is for example ( Downunder's one. ): why the same cartridge in the same tonearm but with different headshells souns different. We can speculate about but I don't have a precise/real an proven answers coming from a scientific process that take in count every single parameter with influence in what we heard.

Yes, maybe is time to change this. Who say " I " ?

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Henry, it's not just the headshells ..... the headshell wires and tag clips are - due to extreme variations in contact pressure and material - contributing or distracting a lot to/from the sonic performance.
Here the signal is the most tiny one - unamplified and unequalized yet. Contact pressure and contact material is paramount.
So - we aren't just comparing headshells - we are comparing different headshells and in most if not all cases different tag clips and different headshell wires....
Dear Halcro: +++++ " If one is interested in accuracy and rigidity, I find the AT headshells ones to be avoided " +++++

maybe no other headshell manufacturer as Audio technica has so many different models: different in weight, different in headshell build materials ( magnesium, aluminum and blended. ), different on headshell shape and different on headshell damping, I own around 9-10 AT models.

Accuracy?, till today in no one of the AT headshells I have any single trouble about accuracy, I always achieve the cartridge desired set up.

Even when I have to change the offset angle you always has a small margin about and if the needs in OA is wider then you always can mount the cartridge with non-paralled headshell holes.
IMHO I can't see how any AT headshell could be not accurate.

Rigidty?, well on some of the AT headshells the manufacturer choosed to give the customer two great options: overhang adjustement ( through different holes and with a " fine tunning " overhang through that screw you hate. ) and Azymuth one ( remember here that several tonearms has not the Azymuth changes option. ). There are many people that today " die " for these options that they don't have it in their cartridge/tonearm set ups.

Are there trade-offs?, could be but those headshells were not designed thinking only on Halcro.

In the other side AT have some headshells with out those options that you reject, one of them is the MG10 or the one I'm using with my ADC 25 that comes with slots to hold the cartridge.

Are there better headshells?, certainly are but I don't recommend avoid the AT before test it.

Regards and enjoy the music,
By adding up variables one get the natural effect of the
'chosen one'. The MM thread is actualy reduced to 4 persons
because the rest needs to get a degree in electronics to be
able to participate. Some added education in administration is also needed to keep 145 AT, 160 Technics and other kinds of carts secluded. I want mention the styli. Buying MM carts in order to be able to write about them is a very strange hobby. May I ask the questinon if and when those guys are listening to the music? I have the impression that thy only have the time to listing to the test records of wich they need at least 4 examples in order to prevent overheating of the LP. What for heaven's
sake is the sence of testing two carts a day? What possible sence is in owing 100 different carts? This whole fuss has nothing to do with music but with some egos who want to be 'super egos'. Adding an separate thread about the headshells speaks for it self. The other is actualy dead. Is this what some other nations refer to as the degeneration of the Western society?

Dear friends: If you want to change your headshell lead wires these IMHO are very good options:

these ones are the AT top of the line and are the ones that comes with the AT Technihard latest headshell design. I own and works really fine.

these made by VdH with silver wire are highly recommend.

both Ikeda very good wires.

Which one is better?, well a hard call but I stay with the silver made ones.

Btw, both sellers are trusty.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Which one is better?, hard call but I stay with the silver made ones.
Threads like this cause my pocketbook to drain itself of currency. Bought new headshell leads and an Orsonic Av-11b headshell. Thought I might as well now before this thread causes the other unintended consequence (compare MM/MI thread): the skyrocketing of headshell prices. Where can I find an AT-LH18 for $55?

Q: I just bought an Azden ym p50vl (sic!--see above); any thoughts on good headshell match? Or does matching require knowing the tonearm as well?

Halcro (or anyone): what headshell are you using with your signet 'freaks'? I'm using mine (tk 5ea with at 155lc stylus) with an AT ms-11 headshell. I've not been entirely happy with the sound; maybe it's the headshell?

What about for the empire 4000 D/iii (which I also just bought; sic!)? I'm really not happy with the sound I'm getting from that cart--I got a NOS stylus, so maybe it's breaking in.
Dear Raul, regarding headshell wires and clips: every once in a while we are in complete agreement ...;-) .....
Dear Nikola, ... touché ...;-) ....
What for heaven's sake is the sence of testing two carts a day? What possible sence is in owing 100 different carts? This whole fuss has nothing to do with music but with some egos who want to be 'super egos'.

What sense is there in watching sports or tv or having a cocktail or any of the other countless activities undertaken by citizens in a pluralistic democracy? Unless one is a devotee of Plato or Aristotle and gazing at the Forms all day, push pins or poetry: whatever (to butcher Bentham).

Perhaps the intention is to achieve super ego status (who really knows?; who cares?), but nevertheless the MM thread and hopefully this one has helped a lot of people acquire information that would be otherwise lost or relegated to the chosen few. Where else am I going to get opinions (for free!) on relatively obscure headshells but through threads such as these? One shouldn't confuse the value of a practice with the value of the original intent (cause).

But you are probably right, Nandric, that all this is but a symptom of the West's decadence and decay. But we knew that already when 100 million votes were cast to pick the winner of American Idol :-).
Nice one Nadric :-)

I was sucked into the MM thread for a while, now I listen the carts I like and all but one of the MM's sit in my cupboard arguing over who might get played next.

I have no idea how someone can make decisions on the full merits of a cartridge after using it for 4 or 5 choice cuts or several days. Then again as I am reminded, I am not as skillful or experienced as some and that is why I have to live with a cartridge for a long period of time to appreciate all its strengths and weaknesses.

My father used to say that there were three types of people in the world:-
Those who contributed
Those who benefited from that contribution
Those who did neither......the oxygen bandits
Somewhere in Holland a little Dutch man is hyperventilating
In regards to the head shell leads issue, I just did away with them completely.

When I rewired my stock Technics SL-1200 tonearm I drilled out the din connector at end of the tonearm and removed the connector (the black plastic insert)from the Technics headsheel. I then soldered the cartridges clips directly to litz wire fished the wires through the openning in the connectors.

I can still easily remove the headshell, by unclipping the clips, unscrewing the headshell and carefully fishing them through the opennings. Obviously this is a delicate procedure, but with a bit of care it can be done quickly.

As such I get the best of both worlds removable with the least connection points in the signal path.

You can see a photo that shows the end result on my "system" page.

One small precision, the picture that shows the setup is in the Full-Circle system under Benz Glider tab.
Can anyone make a suggestion of where to purchase a variety of headshells. I am looking for a light headshell presently, not real easy to find new. I have bid on a couple on ebay but I guess I have short arms and long pockets.
For cheap headshells ($25-$28) I quite like the Denon PCL5 and PCL7 models available from Foxtan (Hong Kong) on EBay or Email me for contact details.
For reasonable price/ great performance headshells ($90) I go with the Micro Seiki 303-X available from Goldenageaudio (Melbourne) on EBay or Email me for contact details.
For high price synergy on FR series tonearms I like the FR-3 headshell available from both the above sources and I must admit I'm impressed with the Yamamoto African wood headshell available directly from Japan (beware of Chinese copies ex Hong Kong).
There are also cheap Chinese made copies of the Orsonic headshells ex Hong Kong from a prominent dealer to beware of?
Dear Halcro, My father was familiar with i.a. Adam Smith who was the first to mention something called 'division of labor'. The wealth of nations is somehow connected with this division but this 'principle' also imply that we all benefit from each other. But if simplicity of an theory is
a virtue (like Popper thought) then I should mention my mom. According to my mom there are only good and bad people.
BTW I have a valve so when I notice some steam comming from
my ears or some overheating I adjust the valve.

Dear Banguo363, I am suprised that such a eloquent person
can make such kind of comparision. Social activity is universal and not restricted to 'pluralistic democracy'.
The question of the sence of those activitys is impossible
to answer a priory. But my experience is that those activitys make us 'social being'. But your comparision looks like this: John killed two persons and rob two banks but,you know, nobody is perfect. Ie all kinds of activitys are somehow equal qua sence or nonsence( what is the sence of a,b,c...n).
Now regarding the info you got from MM thread. To me the
difference between MC carts and MM carts is this.If you fancy whatever MC cart you can buy one. If you fancy some
MM cart, say , a cart of the month, you may need to wait ad
calendas grekas to get one. The scarcity principle is already at work so you had the chance to buy the AKG 100 for $2900. But you also mentioned your pocket book while I mentioned Marllene Ditrich. So despite your contra arguments I am convinced that you will keep your pocked book in check.This however does not suggest that you will
ever own,say, 10 MM carts. And this make, according to me,
some possibility to discriminate between sence and non sence. BTW if you was able to read nearly 4000 contributions to this thread you should be also able to discover many statements about the headshells.

Dear Banquo363: The very first time ( one year ago ) that I tested the Azden I made it mounted in a SAEC ULS-2X ( composite build material. ) in the AT 1503 tonearm with very good results.
This time ( you can read about in the MM thread: last posts. ) I mounted in the Grace G-945 with own magnesium Grace headshell and its performance is nothing less than spectacular.

Remember that as important is the headshell as is the tonearm and cartridge/tonearm set up along capacitance loading.

Btw, I don't think is the best move to go for the Technihard AT headshells: its plattform body ( between other things. ) is too short for many MM/MI cartridges.

On the Empire cartridge you can read here about:

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear dertonarm: Yes, " every one in a while ...". Well, I think that we agree more than what we " shows ".

Audio it is not E=mc2, is almost simple that it is difficult not to agree on the main subjects.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul, indeed. Regarding the AT Technihard and the short platform (which 2 of the 3 indeed have) - that's why I recommended the AT-LH18 ONLY. This - the most massive of the three AT-Technihard headshells features are much longer mounting platform.