Shure V15VxMR to be discontinued

I saw on that the V15VxMR was being discontinued - here's a notation from Shure:

"The V15VxMR may be discontinued in early 2005. If it is, the reason
is simple: the worldwide demand for phono cartridges declines every
year. The demand is now so small that specialized suppliers to
Shure no longer want to produce the parts for the V15VxMR. We are
searching for new suppliers but the processes required are very
arcane, thus making it difficult to find new suppliers. Once a final
decision has been made, we will post it on our web site. As of
today, we can only say: maybe."

"If the V15xMR is discontinued, we expect to have replacement styli
for the V15VxMR until late 2006, but that date may change if buying
patterns do not follow past trends. If you want to purchase a
replacement stylus now, seal it in an air-tight jar to keep ozone
away from the stylus bushing."

"The M97xE sells in greater number than the V15VxMR and our suppliers
currently seem happy to continue selling parts. But that too could
change in the future as the phono cartridge market continues to

What a shame - the end of an era....
What a shame in deed. I consider this cart being the best value today. Well, I guess nothing lasts forever.
Maybe it will happen, it sounds like it is not a done deal. I also see that Needle Doctor is selling these for almost twice what you can get it for at another dealer.
The V15xMR is a technically superb piece of engineering, sold at a sensible price. Unfortunately most of the people who remain interested in vinyl recordings are niche audiophiles who are impressed by hype and technobabble, and who consider an absurdly high price as a good thing.

The V15 is probably not the best pickup ever made, but in some regards, like tracking, it is unmatched, and overall it comes darned close to the best at a price that we can all afford/justify.
Luckily I have purchased mine and find it to be an excellent cartridge for almost no money. If the announcement is made that it will (absolutely) be discontinued, I may buy another one and store it away.

Could become like NOS tubes, go up in value rather than down, especially if it can be preserved.
I e-mailed Shure after finding the note at The Needledoctor, here's their response in full:

"This cartridge will be discontinued, with no scheduled replacement."

Someone else over at Vinyl Asylum got the same exact message when they e-mailed Shure as well.

I'm currently running the Rega Exact on my P5 but have used, and still own, a V15VxMR and find it to be a wonderful cartridge.

You're right Eldartford - too many people have probably overlooked this cartridge in favor of another simply because it's got the Shure name on it.

It's just such a shame that an icon of this caliber that has existed in one form or another for, what, 4 decades (?) is going by the wayside....
I just checked the website that I purchased mine from a year or so ago, and they've still got it for $210 but only list TWO in stock - so hurry if you want it!!!!!

That's a steal in anyones book and over $100 less than Needledoctor wants for it.

If anyone's interested in getting a spare or picking one up before they're gone - I can personally say that I had no problem at all ordering from this website:
Bummer. Here is a cartridge whose performance far exceeds its cost - rare these days. With all of the talk both here and on AA regarding this cartridge, I'm a bit surprised that there is insufficient demand. Maybe enough folks will follow Albert's suggestion of buying an extra such that they will be presume demand is again sufficient! ;-)

As an aside, I recently obtained a Shure VST V, reputed to be a "super" version of the V15. Very nice!
If it's a great cartridge at sensible price then why are they planning to abandon it? No marketing and no advertising are to blame. When was the last time Shure advertised on low/high end maganizes? They seem to do well on the "pro" side such as Shure microphones, low end DJ cartridges,etc.
This is a good point, Audiomax. Maybe THIS is their marketing strategy. Announce a possible discontinuation and then wait for any hue and cry. Or, as a prelude to introducing a new model.....(?)
What about continued availability of the other VN styli, VN5MR and VN3MR?
Shure isn't an "audiophile" oriented company. If they say it is going to be discontinued, you can bet your bottom dollar they are going to pull the plug.

If Shure actually were an audiophile company, they would discontinue this model and then come out with a "new & improved" model in a few months. Before actually introducing it though, they would start murmuring about all of the new "technological advances" that the new model will make use of. When they did introduce the new model, it would cost at least four times the street price of the old one. They would also offer select hand picked models that met ultra-tight tolerances and market them as a "limited edition signature series" for an additional price increase.

If they did all of this, they could probably sell as many as they could make. After all, everyone knows that a good phono cartridge HAS to cost at least $1K and be of "limited production". Sean
So Sean, you are saying that all Shure has to do is raise the price and hype for their cartridges and sales will go up? You are probably correct. It has worked for others.
Bob P.
It would also help to buy a large ad in Stereophile.
And a glowing review with multiple endorsements from Michael Fremer.
And get Harry Pearson to say it sounds great with Musical Fidelity equipment.
Check out
$209.00 How can you beat that price?
Well, I received the new Shure today. Nice looking and appears to be well built. I am currently using a Grado Reference Sonata.
I was hoping to see a difference. Nope. The Grado wins hands down in this competition. I suppose I could keep the Shure as a spare betwwen changes. Well, I guess it was to good to be true. I expected alot out of the Sure. From all of the positive reviews and all.
Maybe as a two hundred dollar cartridge it isn't too bad. I was just expecting more out of it.
Well, now back to the loving task of putting the Grado back on.
BTW. The supplied bolts were not long enough. What's up with that?
A good cartridge should consistently sound good with any equipment not just with Musical Fidelity. A cartridge however could be a poor match with turntable/tonearm to yield poor sound.

My Shure V15VxMR will arrive tomorrow; I couldn't pass up the $212 price at Beach Audio. It will be a good cartridge to start with, and it will also be a good backup cartridge once I buy a moving coil design sometime in the future.

I noticed that the Shure V15VxMR has a mass of 6.6 grams and a compliance of 25cm according to the Shure web site at



This web site recommends tonearms with an effective mass between 11 and 12 grams.

However, when I use the Van den Hul equation at

to calculate the ideal tonearm effective mass for the Shure V15VxMR so that I can obtain the optimal tonearm/cartridge resonance frequency of 10Hz, which is recommended by Van den Hul, I obtain a tonearm effective mass of approximately 3.532 grams! This difference in effective mass is considerable, and I don't know of any tonearms that are this light.

Any comments or observations? Does resonance frequency calculations even apply to the Shure V15VxMR?

I understand that the SME 309 is a good match for the Shure V15VxMR. Is this correct?
Scottht: If you read some of my older posts about the V15VxMR, you'll find that i'm not a huge fan of this cartridge either. While it is a solid cartridge, it doesn't deserve all of the hype that it gets either. Then again, comparing this cartridge at $375 retail to the $200 that others are finding it at somewhat changes perspective a bit.

If one re-reads Fremer's comments about it, you can see that he's not in love with it, but also doesn't hate it. That's kind of how i feel about it. In my opinion, a well tuned Stanton 881S with the proper loading will blow it out of the water. This is part of the reason why Kevin at KAB Electro-Acoustics chose to work with Stanton over Shure when developing some new cartridges. Then again, if you really dig the Grado sound, you might not be crazy about the Stanton either, with or without phono stage loading changes.

With that in mind, have you experimented with cartridge loading at all? My experience is that the Shure works best with a very high impedance ( WELL above 47 Kohms ) and as little capacitance as you can get. Bringing the total phono stage impedance up to somewhere between 60 Kohms and 100 Kohms and removing any extraneous capacitance other than that of the phono leads themselvs should give you the best performance that you can get out of this cartridge. If you still don't like it after that, well, i tried : )

Artar: The Shure works best with a low to medium mass arm. It is more forgiving than many other cartridges in terms of tonearm weight due to the "dynamic stabilizer" acting as a damper. While the aforementioned Stanton also shares a "dynamic stabilizer" aka "brush" on the front end, its compliance is even higher, making it less versatile in terms of arm compatibility. Sean

Maybe one's view of the Shure V15 depends on "how you were brought up". I like its sound, and find most other pickups to be "colored". (Exception was a MC that I used for a while until discouraged by stylus replacement hassles/cost).

My first pickup was the old mono GE, followed by one of the first stereo pickups from Stanton. After that I always used Shure pickups, and I guess my ear is tuned to them.

By all objective criteria (things you can actually measure) the Shure comes out on top overall. But then the guy with the highest IQ is not always the most popular.
By the way, regarding arm mass, my V15 lives in a Sony "Biotracer" (servo controlled) arm, that has essentially zero mass. Pick it up and it feels "strange" like a wet noodle. Anyway, the Shure works very well in this arm. It tracks well (trackability test LP) at 1 gram, which, if you believe the brush is worth 1/2 gram, means 1/2 gram.
The Shure's suffer from non-linear distortions that are amplitude based. The louder the recorded passage, the more distortion that you get.

I think that this has a lot to do with cantilever rigidity ( or lack of it ). This is why the Shure tends to sound slightly squashed, mushy, grungy and fuzzy on peaks i.e. all of the energy in the groove isn't translated into vertical deflection. This is due to flexing of their thin walled hollow telescopic cantilever design. On top of that, the increased loss of vertical deflection helps to keep the stylus in the groove, which improves trackability but lessens sonic accuracy. Now factor in the "dynamic stabilizer" and you've got yet another reason why the Shure can stay in the groove. That is, the dynamic stabilizer acts as a shock absorber for the cantilever.

While Shure was shooting for reduced tip mass and the associated increase in "tip speed", they ended up trading off efficient energy transfer characteristics in the process by using a less rigid cantilever. Not only is there less cross section area in a telescoping design, you also have more "slop" where the individual segments of the assembly are joined together. That is, in comparison to a one piece cantilever where there are no segmented joints to worry about.

On top of that, surface noise consists of very rapid rise time transients. Since the Shure ends up losing much of the very fast, high amplitude impulse power of a "tick" or "pop" due to the aforementioned lack of cantilever deflection, it tends to sound somewhat smoother, softer and quieter. While this brings a somewhat endearing quality to records in poor shape, it is far from accurate or "good" at doing its job. That job consists of translating energy contained in the grooves to music coming out of your speakers in an accurate fashion. After all, if we lose information at the source, you can't recover it elsewhere. In effect, the Shure is coloured, but in a way that is euphonicly pleasant* to many people's ears. Sean

PS... If the Shure actually had lower reciprocating mass, it would have a higher resonant frequency than it does. In this regards, the Stanton 881S is superior as it offers wider bandwidth. Wider bandwidth means faster rise and fall times with increased accuracy and treble detail due to a reduction in overshoot and ringing. That wider bandwidth is achieved due to both a more efficient motor structure and lower moving mass. The 881S also has tighter channel balance, for more precise stereo imaging. The bottom line is a more natural presentation than that of the Shure, IF properly dialed in.

PPS... The original 881S stylus assembly is superior to that of the 881S Mk II. If you can find them and want the best performance from this cartridge, get one of the originals. You can always use the stylus assembly that came with the Mk II cartridge as a spare or replacement as needed.

PPSS... The Stanton is lower output than the Shure, so you may need more gain in the phono stage.

Cold out of the box, the V15 sounded warm. Over time it got even warmer, though the bass tightened up a bit. By any definition, the new V15VxMR is a warm, sweet-sounding cartridge. Its basic nature, coupled with its superb tracking ability, yielded a completely grain- and etch-free sonic picture that was never fatiguing or hard-sounding. Michael Fremer
Sean...Interesting discussion of the V15's characteristics. Strange though that you finish up with the favorable comment from Stereophile.

ALL phono pickups increase in distortion as the groove modulation increases, rather dramatically for the very loud passages. Overcoming this problem was, in my opinion, the greatest advantage of DBX-processed LP's.

For those who missed out on the brief period of DBX LP availability, DBX LP processing was similar to Dolby processing for cassette tapes, and involved dynamic range compression when the disk was cut, and complementary expansion when it was played back. This meant that the pickup was always near its optimum operating conditions. Never too soft, so that surface noise was offensive, and never too loud so as to cause increased distortion. Most people were blown away by the noise reduction, like a CD, but I found that improved pickup performance was very noticeable. (And not only with the Shure pickup).

Incidentally, the comparison between Dolby and DBX in the business sense is informative. DBX would not license its process to other hardware manufacturers, or charged a very high fee. Dolby practically gave away their chips, so that they quickly appeared in every tape deck. Dolby was among the first to realize that there is more money to be made in software than in hardware.
"Dolby was among the first to realize that there is more
money to be made in software than in hardware."

Wonder if Sony will ever catch on (DSD)?
El: The Stereophile review basically says that the cartridge lacks high frequency response and articulation, resulting in a noticeably warm and relaxed sound. That "warmth" is a side-effect of the non-linear cantilever deflection. High frequency notes are neither high in amplitude or long in duration, so the smaller vertical deflections with shorter time periods get lost in the translation. The more high frequency articulation that one loses, the "warmer" that something sounds.

When it comes to Stereophile, you have to be able to read what ISN'T said and how they avoid saying it. Sean

PS... What ISN'T a "positive review" in Stereophile? Speakers that measure +8 / -3 dB's are ranked "Class A", amplifiers that generate non-linear distortions and lack stability are ranked "Class A", etc...
I guess I am not up on Stereophilespeak.

I question your suggestion that the V15 lacks HF response. I have seen frequency response plots (might have been in Shure literature) that look fine, and my own tests with a test LP (back when I could still hear the high end) always were OK.

Bottom line for me is that we are debating about who makes the best buggy whip.
When they test frequency response on a cartridge, it is done using a disc that maintains ( or tries to ) a standardized signal level over the entire frequency range at a specific velocity. Such tests should be done using the same test tones but at various amplitudes. This would test the cartridge to verify linear transfer rates with different input levels ( input vs output amplitude ) along with confirming consistent frequency response at various modulated levels. Nobody does this and that's why some cartridges seem to do better / worse than others in the micro / macro-dynamics category.

While Shure's own "Tracking Obstacle Course" LP has quite a few different tests on it, it doesn't test for vertical deflection of the cantilever via highly modulated passages. Why did they leave this out? Because it would be easy to see just how much distortion was taking place using their own reference sources. Obviously , nobody wants to make a product, hype it up for marketing and then give you the evidence to dispel all of their own hype. '

Like i said, sometimes it's not what was said, but what wasn't said and why. Other than that, do you think that most manufacturers pick a random sample and use it as the baseline for all of their published spec's or do you think that they use a hand-selected specimen that really makes their product look like it can dance? This is the very reason why some products don't meet their own spec's when actually bench tested. The mass produced pieces aren't nearly as good / consistent as the hand-selected specimens that the spec's were based on. Sean

PS... I've had three different Shure V15's in the past and still have one of the V15VxMR's now. The latest version is the best that they have made, but it still has a way to go.
Sean...As anyone who has experimented with matrix quad LPs knows, vertical signal from an LP is dramatically inferior to horizontal. (Of course that is why long long ago mono records were changed from vertical to horizontal, and why the 45 degree cutting angle was adopted for stereo. Pure vertical, as tried for the first stereo LPs is almost unlistenable). If one were to redesign the vinyl (mechanical) recording system a good place to start would be use of different equalization for vertical and for horizontal.


Do you see a big problem using the Shure V15VxMR with the Origin Live Encounter tonearm, which has an effective mass of 14.5 grams? The resonance frequency would be about 7 Hz with this tonearm/cartridge combination. Would the stabilizer brush help overcome any mistracking that might occur due to record warps being transmitted through the cartridge as a result of this somewhat low resonance frequency?
I did say some things about this cartridge that might not have been called for, I am not sure. I got it and used it for 1 hour. I just plain didn't like the sound. But, I dod believe that system... synergy.. is important. Some things work and some don't. I have learned a lot about that in the last year. What you think is supposed to work for you, and gets great reviews, just doesn't always work. I sold the Shure after giving it only 1 hour in my system. Well, last night I re-installed my Grado Reference Sonata. Which for some reason I thought the Shure might be more to my liking. I was becoming less thrilled with my Grado than I thought I should. I use a Geo-disc to set up my cartridge alignment. Well, I am listening to my system tonight, and everything sounded better than ever. I think that over the last year between usage, and trying different strategies. I screwed my set up somehow. Because what I was becoming unhappy in the sound of my TT was gone. All of the slam and presence was back again. I guess I learned a valuable lesson. I need to stay more on top of my set up.
Anyways, I just wanted to share that.
Mine just arrived today. Second one of these cartridges I've owned.
Last week I managed to pull the diamond and cantilever clean off my V15Vmxr, sheer stupidity, of course. I sent it back to Shure with my tale of woe, and they called today offering to replace the stylus assembly for $50 including return shipping. The lowest price I found in the retail channel was $140 shipped from Jack's Music Factory.

Barb, who works in repair at Shure, verified that this cartridge is discontinued. The disturbing part is that she has NO more cartridge bodies even for repair - if someone sends them a V15 with a body problem they offer them a new M97. She still has a few new styli, but said her supply is running out and that styli have also been discontinued already, so that the only new styli are what's in the retail channel right now.

If you love this cartridge and want it new, sooner would be better than later...

My cartridge came yesterday.

Today, I also ordered a replacement stylus from Jack's Music Factory for $140. The street price is usually $175 to $185.

I also sent the following question to Customer Support at Shure:

"Will the Shure V15VxMR work well with the Origin Live Encounter Tonearm?

The effective mass of the Encounter tonearm is 14.5 gm. When this arm is mated with the Shure V15VxMR cartridge, which has a mass of 6.6 gm and a compliance of 25 cu, the resulting resonance frequency of this tonearm/cartridge combination is about 6.9 Hz using Van den Hul’s equation.

According to Van den Hul, the resonance frequency should range between 8 Hz to 12 Hz, with 10 Hz being optimal.

Will the Shure V15VxMR’s Dynamic Stabilizer overcome any distortion, sonic degradation, and mistracking that might occur due to record warps “exciting” the cartridge as a result of this somewhat low resonance frequency?

Thanks in advance for your help."

If I get an answer, I will post it here.

It's official: according to Shure Brothers tech support, the V15VxMR has been discontinued, and there are no plans to replace it. Furthermore, there will most likely be no replacement styluses either because the U.S. Government has classified beryllium dust as a potential health hazard. The V15 uses beryllium in the stylus shank.

If you haven't ordered a replacement stylus for your V15VxMR, you might want to do it now.

Discussion Thread
Response (Michael Pettersen) - 11/12/2004 07:47 AM

We have never tested the V15VxMR with the Origin Live Encounter Tonearm. Our gut reaction is that it will work well, but we certainly cannot guarantee it having never performed the test.

We suggest that you seek out other owners of the Origin Live Encounter Tonearm and ask for their advice.

Note that the V15VxMR is discontinued, effective immediately. A small supply is still available.

No more can be manufactured as the beryllium stylus shanks are no longer available from our supplier. Beryllium dust has been classified as a potential health risk by the U.S. Government.
Beryllium dust has been a known health risk since 1961 when I went to work on the Polaris Mk1 missile guidance system, which had various beryllium parts. At that time we had warnings about even touching the metal unless you had gloves on. As time passed it was realized that solid metal, and even chips from a machining operation posed no risk. Dust, from a grinding operation is the only issue and techniques and equipment now exist to do this safely.. I can't see how grinding would be part of making a stylus. I think that Shure is just looking for an excuse to get out of the business.


You are probably right. It could also be that the supplier of the beryllium material for the stylus shaft is no longer interested in supplying the needed material at a price that makes sense in a marketplace dominated by MC cartridges.
The resonant frequency of the V15 in a medium mass arm is, indeed, lower than is customarily considered optimal. However, the brush damps this resonance to the point that warps and footfalls are not the problem (sonically or structurally) that an undamped resonant frequency of ~6Hz might suggest.

No doubt resonance of the arm/pickup is an issue. Conventional wisdom is to arrange for the resonant frequency to be in some particular range that is thought to be best.

In thinking about WHY my servo controlled "Biotracer" arm in the Sony turntrable works so well, I realize that it has solved this problem in a different way. Instead of moving the resonant frequency to the "best" point, resonance itself is eliminated. There is no resonant frequency for this arm.
Everything has a resonance, especially an electro-mechanical device such as a tonearm. There's no way around it although the Q of the resonance can be played with. Sean
Sean would have had my agreement up until the last 10 or 15 years, during which my work involved electromechanical systems including many digital servos. (It was a missile guidance system, and had about a dozen servos of one kind or another, but all digital). Given sensors that are accurate, motors that are strong, and a powerful microprocessor, the dynamic characteristics of the controlled member are entirely (well as close as you could want) a function of the algorithms you design and run. It is as if the actual physical mechanical item, in our case a phono pickup arm, no longer exists, and what does exist is a "phantom" item, which "inhabits" the physical device, but which completely defines its properties. This phantom is defined by the lines of code in the control algorithm, and can be just about anything that the designer wants. Lack of resonance would be one of these desirable properties.

And, for those who don't believe in science but would rather go with what actually works, let me tell you straight out that the servo-controlled arm in the Sony PS-X800 turntable exhibits no resonant behavior at all. I attribute this to the servo design. Do you have another suggestion?
El: One would have to have an equal yet opposite controlled reaction that responded on a phenomenally time sensitive basis in order to cancel the type of resonances that we are discussing here. Given that a tonearm has freedom of movement in both the vertical and horizontal planes that responds on a dynamic basis to the modulated grooves being tracked, and i've never seen an arm that had servo controlled motors responding to and driving an arm in both of those planes simultaneously, i'm pretty sure that the arm on the Sony ( along with all other tonearm / cartridge combo's ) has some type of resonance to it.

The only other approach that i know of to address such a resonance is "fluid damping", which several different advanced design tonearms make use of. Even using such an approach, the resonance is not removed, it is just altered in bandwidth and amplitude ( "Q" ). Sean
Sean...Believe me, sean, it can be done. Analog implementation of the necessary algorithms was not possible, but digital servos can be absolutely phenominal.

You want "fluid damping"? No problem...just a few lines of code. Oh and what would you like the viscosity of the fluid to be. You can make it anything you want, even far beyond the range of any real fluid. Would you like the viscosity to vary with frequency? No problem. In the real world this is called a "non-Newtonian" fluid, and the only one I am familiar with is tomato catsup. (Viscosity goes down with rate of flow, or as Ogden Nash said...

You shake and shake and shake the bottle.
None will come,
But then a lot'l.

Recently, Shure has added the following bits to their V15VxMR page regarding the discontinuation of their cartridge -

We regretfully announce discontinuation of our legendary V15VxMR audiophile phonograph cartridge due to scarcity of exotic materials essential in the manufacturing of the VN5xMR stylus. These materials are increasingly difficult and costly to obtain, and substitutions of those materials would compromise the performance standards expected of the V15VxMR.

In keeping with the tradition of the Shure phono line, we attempt to provide replacement styli for at least five years after a cartridge model is discontinued. This V15VxMR cartridge must be discontinued immediately so that remaining VN5xMR styli can be placed into our replacement parts inventory.

We strive to continue offering innovative audio products that provide outstanding performance and value, and apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
--, Sun Nov 28 21:10:11 EST 2004

-eric (who recently just bought one of these)
Hi you guys chatted up quite a storm, now its my turn :o)

I am 40 and have got 25 years extensive listening with the Shure V15 type 3 and type 5. I always watch for alternatives and this evening I spent 4 hrs surfing the web for non-Shure cartridges.

Overall, I consider the V-15 type III or type V to be the best solution. In two words: RECORD WEAR. I see all these audiophile cartridges that sport primitive tip-shapes tracking at 1.5 - 2.0 grams. Hey back in 1978 I was learning that even an elliptical at 1.5 grams would cause record wear after a few dozen plays, you could pick up on it immediately, it was guaranteed to happen esp. on inner grooves.

So maybe you are right and the beryllium tube flexes and causes a little distortion. Well, your audiophile cartridge, after costing you $1400, is going to chew the grooves up with the high force and the primitive tip shape. Bet that will sound real nice. Vinyl involves compromise. I'd rather have a V15-5 cartridge that the critics bash all day long, but the fantastic little bastard tracks at 1.0 grams (hell set it at 0.7 its not a problem) and I don't have any record wear whatsoever, I can play my records forever and really enjoy them extensively, and my stylii last twice as long so I lose much less on new needles thanks to my 1 gram Shure cartridge, so neener-neener-neener. :o|

BUT WAIT there's more. There's DUST. We all have dust in our record grooves. I am interested in setting up a laminar-flow HEPA clean-air filter. I also would like to use filtered-compressed, de-ionized air on a hose to clean records. However, as a mortal human being I did not get there yet and there is always some dust around. There can also be small semi-adhesive particles on the record that are stuck there and can be knocked loose. Those come from human skin, and so on, even on the cleanest pressings. I've had plenty brand new records they have particles on them that I have to knock-loose under the microscope with a sharp sewing needle. BACK TO THE SHURE, the long contact ratio and the steep narrow cut of the stylus, well, it deflects dirt out of the groove. But meanwhile those elliptical stylii, they are too roundy and its like running
over the dog, it goes right under. So your fancy $1400 audiphile cartridge with elliptical stylii? it is packing the dirt contaminants into your grooves, unless you setup with HEPA laminar flow and compressed air cleaning, that is.

Shure made a mean move when they discontinue something like that. The engineering was tops on the Type 5. This is purely a matter of bad marketing and short-term greed, the same thing that kills all other fine products (MFSL, silver-Pioneer, Heathkit, HP calculators, 2 of our 5 space shuttles, the Concorde, etc). Somebody wants to trade-up their Lear Jet, and they figured out the fastest way to get there was to trash a factory floor, lay some people off, and take some b.s. tax writeoff. No I never liked the type 5 brush. For that reason, my all-time favorite is the type 3. I see as of today, market conditions are $350 for a new-in-carton type III and $220 for a new-in-carton type 5. That's saying something. Clearly Shure Bros. lazy greedy marketeers and MBA's never paid any attention to their customers or they would have a version with and without. Everybody likes the tall-narrow cut on some of the Ortofons, Shure could just make a version more like that and no brush. Also the old Shure technical pages wail and moan about the arm having too much resonance. Hey I had an ultra-heavy Pioneer turntable arm on a V-15 type III back in 1979 and yeah if there was a warp it was clearly seen that it the arm was oscillating up & down a bit. So what, I never heard a thing from that effect. I always thought it was 'cute'. Meanwhile I REALLY NEED the clear access under the cartridge, for example, when I use a bottle of stylus cleaner and am trying to clean the stylus.

LOL Shure Bros and the USA Hillary government carrying on about Beryllium dust. Imagine the microscopic quantities from a .0005" tube wall, whatever machining might be done. What, they can't put in some suction ? Its hysterical. The real reason is they want us to eat junk food, watch junk movies, listen to junk music (CD's) and if we gotta have some vinyl, get a 'DJ scratch' cartridge and some old rap records and generally be good little consumers without an ounce of brains in our heads. We can resist this trend by introducing as many people as we know to vinyl, ideally the educated types who can sort out up-from-down. Really it was the blue-collar guys who wrecked vinyl, smearing peanut butter on their records and using rusty needles, until they demanded CD's which weren't even intended to be high-fidelity in the first-place, merely meet the neeeds of Joe six-pack. Proper and quality playing of vinyl (a LOW RECORD WEAR cartridge) is a beautiful thing and the proof is in the pudding and people of intelligence need to see & hear it.

I am thinking towards having a high-end "loaner" system available that with close friends I let them take it over in their fancy house for a few weeks (Martin Logan electrostatics, Hafler 9505, etc) and generally spread the word on awesome vinyl. Shure's vanishingly low-record-wear and tendency to do well with dirt & dust makes their cartridge pretty much mandatory for spreading the vinyl gospel. In all the years I have used "HE" and "MR" stylii (the hyperelliptical and micro-ridge by Shure) I have NEVER heard ANY detectable record wear, including records I have played 150 times. With other stuff I pick up on the record wear immediately. Shure is a practical cartridge for practical and discerning people. Shame to CEO's, executives, and marketeers who constantly terminate good products in order to build crap for Wal-Mart instead. I think the real problem is they are jealous of engineers because engineers build wonderful things, but all they can do is stash away another bag of money and kill another fine product. Deep down such moves are lashings out of inferior, greedier people against the rest of us who have appreciation of beauty. Oh yeah, same thing with destroying the Hubble as V15 MR, its all connected.

Thank you very much for letting me share this info. - Norm (Seattle area)
Norm: Clean your records one time very thoroughly, put them in high grade bags and then brush them off with each play. As far as cartridges and TT's go, align the cartridge and arm, set the proper tracking weight and be done with it. Maybe you'll have to adjust VTA once in a while, but good arms do this "on the fly", so no big deal.

For those "lower quality, higher error rate" designs that use pivoted arms, you'll have to do all of the above AND try and find a suitable anti-skate adjustment. Given that this will change over the curvature of the disc, good luck.

Other than that, did you ever think that all of the mistracking / stylus drag / dirt in the grooves is probably what has caused the various distortions that you make mention of and others complain about? Then again, what else can one expect out of a design that can only be "theoretically correct" a maximum of two times across an entire disc? Believe me, those problems are NOT from using a "reasonable" tracking force on a properly aligned arm / cartridge on a clean disc. Sean
Hi Sean,

you 'jumped a groove' on me because I was just thinking about which cartridge is best for practical vinyl enthusiasts, and what to do when Shure quits selling the beryllium cantilever cartridges. You are describing some things about angular tonearms vs. linear tracking tonearms.

Well a guy could buy that Pioneer linear tracker but that will cost you, plus the maintenance. It also has to 'be your style'. I always liked the classic "S" arm just for everyday usage that is. The cartridge is where I want it. I never got into using a knob to electronically place the arm, but obviously some folks are into that. Yes the error on a pivoted tonearm is about 2 degrees I heard, and its correct only at 2 points as you said. It really depends on the shape of the needle. That 2 degree error has to be absorbed by the stylus tip. I've got every respect for linear motion tonearms. Maybe somebody should make a longer "S" arm (make it 2 feet long). I think antiskate adjustments work OK, they assert the outward force on the cartridge so that its not being dragged radially inwards by the pivoted arm configuration.

Back to cartridges, regardless of whether you use a pivoted tonearm or a linear tonearm, you need a cartridge that tracks lightly and accelerates quickly, so that forces between the diamond and the vinyl are low. You also don't ever want to lose contact with the vinyl, for that is fatal.

I have a really high respect for the old 'trackability' concept of Shure Bros., and haven't seen anything do a better job at avoiding record wear. The very lightweight stylus & cantilever allows lower tracking forces. The good tip shape is the cat's meow (the microridge stylus) and I am baffled why a high-end Grado would sport an "elliptical" stylus. Back to my main point-of-view, what do I care if the beryllium tube flexes a little, provided that the cartridge has the quality of not wearing out the records, esp. on the dense inner grooves.

Yes, I brush the records thoroughly. I use the high-grade bags which used to be called "DVRP" and they are still available new (discwasher valuable record protector). Yes, I set track force and antiskate once, I set to 1.0 gram , and would have a hard time sleeping at night if I had to switch to a $1000 cartridge that wanted 1.8 grams.

Question, is there anybody you can trust who can do an honest inspection of a needle? I think if you go to a dealer, they'll say "yup you need a new one" because they want to sell product.


- Norm the days of mag tape, radio stations used to use 16 inch records to prerecord programs. Some audiophiles used these turntables. The long pickup arm was a plus.