Sorry @rocky1313 , i mean if you want the best then look for Pickering XSV-3000 or higher models in the Pickering line. It’s not about how the looks like, but about the sound.
Your XV-15 is entry level Pickering, just the basics, nothing special. Any model from XSV-3000 and higher are much better (different generator, different cantilever, different stylus profile), the XSV-5000 and XSV-7500 are truly amazing cartridges.
Your statement is false and seems like you don’t know the Stanton/Pickering models very well. It might be fantastic cartridge for you, but it reality it’s not a fantastic cartridge at all. Just a mediocre entry level cartridge that you can buy for $50 today.
Stanton 881s mkII (Stereohedron nude stylus) has been used for mastering by people like Doug Sax, not the lower 681s EEE with bonded Elliptical stylus.
But even 881s mkII wasn’t the top model (today price is about $300-400), there was 980 ans 981 models above the 881s. These 3 models are great, but the 980 and 981 are High-End even today. The price for each of them is double compared to 881s. The main differense of those 3 models is Stereohedron Stylus tip.
The pickering equivalent to Stanton 881s, 980 and 981 are Pickering XSV-3000, XSV-5000, XSV-7500. Any of them are worth the investment today. The stylus on all of them is Nude Stereohedron.
More information about Pickering line:
And about XV-15 models:
About Stanton Pickering Cartridge-Stylus Compatibility:
@chakster, I do not know why I am wasting my time with you, (your rudeness does not really warrant a response), but I guess the internet is full of misinformation and we do not need more... Before any of the models you mention were around, the XV15 and Stanton 681 were an industry reference. Stanton 681eee MkII for instance had a stereohedron tip
The last iteration, the mkIII was elliptical. At that time, I believe that the 881 had replaced the 681 as the reference in the Stanton lineup.
The 681eee was hand-selected and carefully matched by Stanton. it was an upgrade from the otherwise similar 680 body. The XV15 was also similar (Pickering was a sister company) but had different styli. the XV15 625, 750, 1200 ( I believe there was also a 1800) were all top of the line at a given time. These are interchangeable between the 680s and the XV15, with the caveat that at some point Stanton and Pickering implemented a change in the angle of the bodies. This will result in the wrong VTA if one does not have the correct stylus. These are great sounding cartridges. Is there better? Yes, there always is...
The fact that these cartridges became linked to DJs for obvious marketing reasons late in the history of these glorious companies does not change the above statements.You are welcome to believe what you want to believe about the sound of these cartridges, I could care less. If you indeed think they are trash, please send me all your records that have been mastered with a 681... I will happily relieve you of that burden. The OP already has the cartridge. It is worth a try IMHO. He or she could easily make up his/her own mind. My answer to the original post is that it will take real money to better this cartridge if it has a top stylus (even the elliptical 625 is quite good).
Pickering XV15 originally is an entry level cartridge with entry level bonded stylus and huge heavy cantilever, yes you can upgrade the stylus, but not with the aftermarket bootleg from LP Gear. Elliptical stylus is not an upgrade, maybe over Spherical only.
I have posted a link about Stanton Pickering Cartridge-Stylus Compatibility, everyone can check which original stylus is compatible.
What have you posted here @stevecham any useful information exept that cheapest entry level cartridge in your opinion and for your ears is better than top of the line models from the same brand? Ok, it’s your opinion, but the manufacturer designed much better cartridges for much higher price, because they are better and because there was a demand for a better sounding cartridges back in the day.
The real upgrade is Stereohedron stylus.
There is a company in the UK manufactured styli for Stanton/Pickering, the company is Expert Stylus, they can retip any Stanton/Pickering cartridges with their new Paratrace stylus (very similar to Stereohedron).
Bonded Elliptical stylus can’t compete with Stereohedron or ANY LineContact type stylus. Spherical stylus is garbade.
When you got FACTS that you don’t like to face, you call other members snobs ?
Before any of the models you mention were around, the XV15 and Stanton 681 were an industry reference.
You can remember what was a reference in 1960’s, but we’re in 2019 and the reference today is what i am talking about. Pickering 7500 is the reference even today, not 50 years ago. Or shall we compare an entry level stereo cartridge to gramophones era styli ? I don’t think so.
Stanton 681eee MkII for instance had a stereohedron tip
"E" is for Eliptical, "S" is for Stereohedron.
I believe that the 881 had replaced the 681 as the reference in the Stanton lineup. The 681eee was hand-selected and carefully matched by Stanton. it was an upgrade from the otherwise similar 680 body. The XV15 was also similar (Pickering was a sister company) but had different styli. the XV15 625, 750, 1200 ( I believe there was also a 1800) were all top of the line at a given time.
Not sure why you’re talking about Stanton when the OP is asking about his Pickering ? Pickering reference styli is D3000 and models with higher numbers styli with nude Stereohedron tip (such as D5000, D7500). Do you want the whole history? Ok:
Norman C. Pickering, an engineer, inventor and musician whose pursuit of audio clarity and beauty helped make phonograph records and musical instruments sound better. In 1945, Mr. Pickering, who enjoyed listening to records and was frustrated by the sound quality of recordings, developed an improved pickup — that is, the mechanism that includes the phonograph needle, or stylus, and translates the information in the groove of a record into an electrical signal that can be reproduced as sound. Originally His phono pickups were designed for use in broadcast and recording studios. 1947 the demand from high-fidelity fanatics was strong enough for what’s now called a ‘cartridge’ and Pickering & Company was formed to meet the new hobby’s demands. In 1948, Mr. Pickering was among the founders of the Audio Engineering Society, now an international organization that disseminates news and information about improvements in audio technology. By the mid 50’s, the Pickering company employed more than 150 people at its Plainview, Long Island headquarters.
Pickering’s factory manager was none other than Walter Stanton, who later went out on his own. By 1960, Mr.Stanton bought out Mr.Pickering. He later established Stanton Magnetics Inc in 1961. He was the chairman and president of both Pickering & Co and Stanton Magnetics Inc until 1998. Walter O. Stanton, the inventor of an easily replaceable phonograph stylus that was crucial to creating a consumer market for audio equipment. Stanton and Pickering carts are the same with interchangeable styli despite the very different looking plastic bits and brushes - the trick is figuring out the interchanging model numbers. Pickering XSV-3000 is equal to Stanton 881s, both comes with Nude Stereohedron diamonds on alluminum cantilevers. This is the most advanced stylus shape which is achieved by grinding four flat surface on the diamond at precise angles to each other and their intersection creates areas used to contact the groove. The advantage of the Stereohedron stylus is that because of it’s long and narrow contact surfaces it tracks high frequency modulation minimizing groove wear.
The OP already has the cartridge. It is worth a try IMHO. He or she could easily make up his/her own mind. My answer to the original post is that it will take real money to better this cartridge if it has a top stylus (even the elliptical 625 is quite good).
I could care lass if that was not on Audiogon where we have a higher standards of sound (cartridges, turntables) and i can’t admire an entry level cartridges as you do. I just trying to tell the truth, no matte how do you like it. Pickering XV-15 is an entry level cartridge in Pickering line, this is FACT, you may like the entry level cartridge with bonded elliptical styli, i have no problem with that (personally i prefer Nude Stereohedron).
Mr.Normal Pickering in his last interview said that Walter Stanton stole his company, in that audio interview Mr.Pickering called him a "b*stard" (i’ve heard it myself). Exclussive Interview was published by M.Fremer on Analog Planet before Mr.Pickering died of cancer. Sad story. He was not happy at all about that deal, he lost his company, but you calling Stanton a "Sister Company".
Pickering XV and Stanton 680 series are Moving Iron cartridges. The ones you keep mentioning are MM. The styli are not interchangeable between the two. Really Chakster, it is OK to acknowledge that you have not heard these cartridges with their top styli, nobody will think less of you (maybe). Anyway, like I said, I am wasting my time. Hopefully the OP or anyone else will be adventurous enough to try this cartridge, they will be pleasantly surprised. Maybe you should give it a try too...
Dear @fsellet @stevecham @rocky1313 : Of course you are rigth, the XV 15 and the 681 were not entry level cartridges but ignorance is what makes some one to open his mouth with no single idea about.
Even the XV15 has two models with Stereohedron stylus tip and the 681 you named is really good been a moving iron design when the XV15 is a moving magnet but both are really good.
@orpheus10 " It must be the economy; not long ago cartridges of that nature would not even be discussed in this forum. "
not exactly, in reality because our ignorance levels about ( mine included. ). Years go discovered for me the MM/MI lterntive and started tht today so long MM thred in this forum.
Exist truly humble MM/MI/IM vintage cartridges that puts on shame many today designs including some LOMC designs. I know you are not interested in analog/LP but anyway read the ADC 26/27 tread/review:
Btw, I enjoy both mediums: digital and analog.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
V15 was the entry level cartridge for Pickering, not the XV15. None of the styli I mentioned was a bonded elliptical. I suggest Google: it is a useful source of information for people who do not know the facts.
Your source for information is full of errors and i have no idea why do you trust it.
Stanton "EEE" styli are Elliptical as i said, all entry level cartridges have Bonded (not Nude) styli, there are better styli available from Stanton/Pickering as an upgdade, but those carts are MI and not all styli are compatible.
Stereohedron styly market with "S" in the model number, not with "E". I would recommend you to look at the diamond under macro lens.
Go to this page and download original manual for Pickering XV15 and Brochure for XV-15 and try to find ANY Stereohedron stylus in the list of different styli for this model of Pickering XV15. You will find Conical and Elliptical ONLY. Cheap styli are all BONDED.
I have posted a link for ALL Stanton Pickering Cartridge-Stylus Compatibility in my FIRST post here, so what are you trying to say to me? Here is a link again: https://www.kabusa.com/STANTONX.HTM
I’ve heard this cartridge 15-20 years ago along with many other entry level Stanton cartridges (MM or MI). The only difference between me and you is that i have upgraded to the top Stanton / Pickering over the years.
Dear @fsellet : As you said don’t waste your time. Ignorance levels always speaks for any one of us:
and every day is a learning one if we are willing to learn.
Even the XV15 has two models with Stereohedron stylus tip
The STEREOHEDRON stylus is always marked "S" - this is what i said. While the other poster pointed me to the "EEE" styli and claimed they are Stereohedron, but "E" is for Elliptical only. If the OP has XV-15 with rare Stereohedron tip (which i doubt) then it's better for him that any Spherical or Elliptical.
Now you both are better to talk to each other, because your opinions are contradict to each other regarding XV-15 being MM or MI , pretty funny, one of you pretedning to be an expert.
@rauliruegas ... and the 681 you named is really good been a moving iron design when the XV15 is a moving magnet but both are really good.
@fsellet ... Pickering XV and Stanton 680 series are Moving Iron cartridges. The ones you keep mentioning are MM.
Maybe eventually you will buy a XV 750 or 1200 and listen to it. Then you will know...
Stanton was my first cartridge i’ve bought myself many decades ago, so i’m very well experienced with products of this brand. In 2019 i’m not gonna buy any cartridge that was the highest stanrard in the 60’s or ently level models from the 70’s when many superior cartridges from the 80’s available from the same brand.
Why do you think i need any of the inferior models now if i have signature Stanton SC-100 WOS with Sapphire coated cantilever and Stereohedron II nude diamond ? This is my favorite Stanton cartridge by far. I also had Stanton 980 low impedance version. These are the best cartridges made by Stanton if you don’t know. Those cartridges never had anything, but nude Stereohedron or Stereohedron II diamonds.
As for the Pickering i like low impedance XLZ/4500S right now.
And from a bunch of cheaper models i enjoyed Stanton 881 mkIIs and Pickering XSV-3000 and they are best buy in my opinion of the budget is tight.
Not sure where you came from on this forum, but in the other threads you will find many pictures of my personal cartridges with some nice images of the diamonds on my macro lens.
Personally, i have MI cartridges (Grado Signature XTZ and ADC TRX-2), but i prefer my MM over MI, because i like the sound, not a type of cartridge.
So when you’re trying to educate me with your old garbage, do yourself a favor and buy a better cartridges first, there are much better Stanton and Pickering available today on used market for reasonable prices. Even the mid prices 881s mkII is a better one and if the disk mastering standard is important for you read this article about 881s mkII (Doung Sax’s choice was an MM 881s until his dead in 2015). Then maybe you will understand why the XV15 is inferior cartridge and why it was lower and cheaper in the Pickering line back in the day and still today.
Or simply tell us what is your own reference in MI or MM design.
You made only 19 posts on audiogon and already stated that XV15 is "Fantastic cartridge!", i think this statement is overreacted. In my opinion an entry level cartridge does not mean a "bad one" too.
But in your opinion everyone who said it’s not a "fantastic cartridge" (but a mediorce one) is a snob and you’re suspicious that a snob never tried such wonderful cartridge like XV15 or its Stanton equivalent. But what about better Pickering/Stanton cars, do you ever tried them yourself?
I’m glad there are a Stereohedron stylus available even for entry level cartridge as an upgrade, but do you know what the OP has on his Pickerings (which stylus) ? Normally there are coming with cheapest Spherical stylus or Elliptical, i’ve never seen this model for sale with Stereohedron stylus.
Our Mexican (Raul) started a thread about MM and there were "a cartridge of the month" he raved about, a decade later he said they are all inferior compared to his new ADC 26/27, but before he said the same about another 10 cartridges and each time it was the best of the best cartridge ever. What a BS!?
My philosophy is "If it's not better than digital, why bother". That's not snobbery but just my fact of life; who needs the problems of records when the convenience of CD's is at their fingertips; especially when it sounds better.
My analog, that I went through great trouble and expense, sounds better than my digital; it compels me to listen, I finally discovered what the fuss was about.
Since Pickering, Stanton, and Shure, plus Empire, were fantastic cartridges before CD, I'm quite familiar with all of them, but they don't exceed good digital, and that's my point; the analog must exceed the digital, otherwise, why bother?
After a moderator removed some of my posts i will leave this thread.
Especially when Mexican start posting his BS again, vinylengine is not a good source and full of mistakes when it comes to cartridge specs, styli types and some other information. This is the last source i will take seriously if i can’t see the scan of the original manual with correct data.
I believe the Mexican doesn’t understand which type of cartridge the XV-15 really is (MM like stated on your vinylengine or MI? This is a first thing to start with). The information on vinyl engine (except for the real scans of the actual manuals) is wrong for many cartridges, people have no idea what they are posting on vinyl engine database, it’s an open source and no one cares to correct the mistakes in techical data coming from other members.
What is more important is that you have no idea which stylus profile the OP has on his XV15, if this profile is conical this is a bad news, it it’s bonded elliptical this is a bad news, if for some reason someone already purchased a better stylus with better profile to add on mediorce cartridge body then it can be Stereohedron, only with this profile this entry level cartridge can benefit and will be able to reproduce records in a good way with less record wear and much wider frequency response.
But most likely the profile by default is the cheapest conical or bonded elliptical. It will be very hard to find a NOS Stereohedron stylus replacement.
I just got a vintage Empire 598 turntable with a Pickering XV-15/750E cart. I run into a McIntosh c2700 tube pre that will only let me set the loading to 250pf or 300pf but not the 275pf in the cart specs. Not sure how to set this? I can also go even higher 350/400 and up. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.