Are you looking for a stylus? If so, Jico in Japan has replacements.
7 responses Add your response
I bought an Ed Saunders for my V15 Type IV and it sounds amazing and tracks beautifully. In a head to head comparison with the original Shure, this stylus measures extremely close.+1...I just bought an Ed Saunders stylus for my V15III and it is indeed very, very good.
Shure V15 Type IV HE edsaunders.com replacement stylus review written Aug 2017:
I purchased a replacement stylus for the Shure V15 Type IV HE phono cartridge recently from the edsaunders.com website, and am very satisfied. The stylus and surrounding assembly are nearly identical to the originally manufactured ones, which I also have on hand for this comparison.
One weakness in the original, and in many other cartridges, was that the rubber surround in the cantilever tube would harden over time so that the stylus could not move, making the cartridge sound very nasal and distorted, thus rendering it useless with age. Because of this, our V15 was sitting in a drawer unused since about 1992. Another close relative of the V15 Type IV was the original Shure M97HE. My family owned two of these, both purchased around 1981. One M97 has been in South Carolina and the other in Nevada with their differing climates. These never deteriorated and still work well; surprisingly, they did not exhibit the same rubber hardening flaw as the V15 Type IV which was more expensive at the time of production.
Another potential weakness in cartridge needles is also that with age, a stylus tip can weaken and break apart. In the original Shure VN45HE stylus mentioned for example, eventually the nude HE diamond tip broke the cantilever near where the tip is attached, from constant vibration and use. The diamond tip itself was still OK, though.
I took a closer look at the 'saunders' replacement stylus tip, using a Ruper 12X machinist's magnifier, and it is not a full nude diamond as on the original, but appears to be a hand set diamond tip glued to a metal bushing. White light looks the same color and shines through this tip as on the original. But the only certain way to tell diamond from sapphire is through periodic examination with a magnifier; after 200-300 hours use, sapphire should start to show wear while diamond should last over 1000 hours without visible signs of wear. Both materials work fine if factory polished correctly, but sapphire is much less expensive and would account for the variation in prices on replacement needles from different suppliers on the market. As for the stylus shape, I cannot confirm with my magnifier but it did look at least elliptical and similar to the original. The construction technique of setting of a diamond or sapphire tip to a metal base has been used at least since the beginning of monaural long play 33 1/3 rpm phono cartridges in maybe the late 1950's.
Before installation, I examined the rest of the stylus assembly and it is nearly identical to the original externally, including the telescoped cantilever, which was a Shure patented invention as far as I know, at the time that gave lower tip mass. The metal used in construction should have higher tensile and yield strength than a mineral crystal, even if lower bending strength than either sapphire or ruby, which are used in the JICO SAS styli. However, for obvious reasons, I did not take apart the square-shaped cantilever tube to look inside, as that would destroy it.
Unlike on some cheap replacements, the 'saunders' has the right viscous damping in the movement of the dynamic stabilizer. Even on old Shure styli, the viscous damping eventually would dry out and the stabilizers would become loose. This cartridge was tested at 1.5 grams tonearm counterweight setting for a 1 gram stylus tip weight. The metal dynamic stabilizer appears connected to metal hinges, for a complete static drain from the carbon fiber brush to the cartridge ground wire, as was in the original.
To test the replacement stylus, I used three discs; 1) Shure's own test disc called "Era IV" 2) Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture on the Telarc label, a disc that as I recall was recommended by audio equipment testers Len Feldman and Julian Hirsch of 'Audio' and 'Stereo Review' magazines for its digitally recorded canon fire to test cartridge transient response performance and trackability, and 3) a copy of Eric Clapton's "Backless" that is a rock LP in my collection that has a warped surface.
The turntable used was a fixed-base direct driven Stanton STR8-60, of the type made popular by Asian corporations a few years back and typified by the Technics SL1200, here with a straight tone arm. In contrast, the turntable I actually own in my system is a Thorens TD145 Mk II, which has a suspended subchassis base and is belt driven, where the chassis was designed to mechanically filter out room vibrations in the infrasound and low frequency range, whether from footfalls or from loudspeakers, keeping them from reaching the phono cartridge-needle interface and was perfected in Europe.
In my Thorens 'table, I have two head shells, one with a Shure M97HE and one with a Grado Sonata-Platinum. The Shure's stylus is a full nude diamond, attached to the cantilever. The Grado's stylus is a diamond tip glued to a brass bushing. The Grado cartridge design internally has many fewer wraps of wire within and thus the signal travels through much less resistance, altering the signal less. On the "Backless" LP, the Grado will skip where the Shure M97HE will not. The Grado's sound is perhaps, more beautiful though and the bass is tighter and better defined.
I took the same disc and tested on the other 'table, using the Shure V15 with the Saunders replacement stylus. It sounded very beautiful, free of distortion. It did not skip on the warped record, at all.
The Telarc disc, was made in Germany and is free of any warp. The cannon fire, as well as the instruments of the orchestra were reproduced flawlessly by the V15 cartridge with its new made in Switzerland replacement stylus.
On the Shure test disc, again, excellent results were obtained. Although some test tracks containing the full ensemble and infrasonic warp frequencies together, did bring out a slight sourness to music frequencies in the loudest amplitude tests, this result was the same as the original stylus that I had played on the record when new in the 1980's.
A word of caution: a few years ago I purchased a reissue replacement stylus for my M97HE directly from Shure. It fit the cartridge body, but other than that appeared to lack the HE tip or the telescoped cantilever, and the metal stabilizer of the original appeared instead to be made of nonconducting plastic. I found it's warp trackability inferior to the original, as it also would skip on the same disc mentioned above. I instead found a NOS originally manufactured elliptical version Shure stylus to purchase, which is real and works flawlessly. It's nude stylus has about the same footprint as the much revered V15 Type III, .2 X .7 milliinch elliptical, and the only difference to the hyperelliptical is that the HE footprint was approximately the same width, but slightly longer profile than the E. Considering that some people prefer the sound of the elliptical on instruments to either the HE or the MR microridge, it made an acceptable addition to my cartridge and I now have both, which came from the original US manufacturing plant. The plant was eventually closed down due to competition from the compact disc and digital audio's impact to the analog phonograph industry (as far as I could tell from afar).
I contacted Ms. Trisha Horn by email, but received no response. However, I gave the benefit of the doubt and assumed they operate with low overhead and pass the savings on to customers. Instead of cancelling the order through PayPal, I waited and in about 3-4 weeks I received the product as described here.
I am also a musical composer and recordist, and I hope you found this free review elucidating, and helpful.