PHONO STYLUS SIZE
All phonograph pickup cartridges are manufactured with and installed LP stylus. That is 99.9% of the what the average customer is looking to buy. There are a handful of specialty cartridges that are made with a 78 stylus. So when we advertise a cartridge with both an LP and 78 stylus as a combo, we are selling a cartridge as manufactured along with an extra stylus that you may desire.
Phono styli come in basically two sizes and two configurations. Microgroove records, such as, LPs and 45s require a stylus that have a tip radius of approximately 0.7 to1.0 mil. The 1.0 mil was the old standard for mono records. These are normally referred to as "Conical" or "Spherical" in shape, that is, a cone shaped point with a round tip. Older records, such as, 78 rpm shellac records require a stylus with a radius of approximately 3.0 mils. Broadcast transcriptions typically required 2.3 mils. For most applications there was little practical difference, especially in regard to 78 rpm records. Beginning in the 1950s, most stylus and cartridge manufacturers began producing 2.7 mil "compromise" styli for such coarse groove records. Caution: a common misconception in the press for such styli are "3 mil styli." True only when they round off 2.5 or 2.7 to 3. So, you can become confused.
In later years, LP styli manufacturers began manufacturing styli that more closely approximated the shape of the actual cutting stylus. These were known under various names and shapes: elliptical, Shibata, Pyramid Point, or line contact. Their main benefit was that they could reproduce highs with more efficiency and less audio distortion. The latter produce that and often less surfaced noise, but they are not commonly found. The most common and popular and moderate cost is the elliptical shape.
The Shure 78 rpm stylus has a 2.5 mil radius, making them more fine tuned for later 78s and radio transcriptions. On the other hand, Grado's standard 78 rpm stylus has a radius of 3.0 mils, making them ideal for most 78s. Stanton's 78 rpm stylus is specified as 2.7 mils and is a decent compromise. However, 2.3 and 2.0 often produce better results with transcriptions.
CHOOSING PHONO CARTRIDGES AND STYLI
In general, elliptical styli produce better high frequencies and with less distortion than do conical shapes. So, if your main interest is in audiophile LP production, a cartridge that comes with an elliptical LP stylus should be strongly considered. On the other hand, if you main interest is in 78 rpm and similar discs, a cartridge, whose basic LP stylus is conical, could be considered.
For instance, if you will normally be playing vintage 78s, a Stanton 500 series, Grado DJ100 or Shure SC35C would be logical choices. On the other hand, if your primary interest would be in playing LP records, and audiophile records, then a Stanton 681 series, Grado Gold or Shure M97 would be the better choice. Ditto Shure M92E, Grado Green/Black.
With vintage records you have the choice of either conical or elliptical with some cartridges. Conical might be considered for more worn records, while vintage records in better condition will deliver enhanced sound with an elliptical stylus. In the case of vintage records, what ever works is the best regardless of any general rules of thumb. There are no magic bullet styli. That can only be determined by trial and error. Yes, even using an LP stylus on a beat-up 78 rpm record may produce the best results. Hence our 1.25, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.3 sizes. When in doubt and on a limited budget, consider either a 2.7 or 3.0 mil for most 78s, and either a 2.3 or 2.5 mil for most transcriptions.
All styli will eventually wear out. Dust on records acts as an abrasive. Both records and styli are worn by such abrasion. Keeping your records clean with some of the devices sold by us will help reduce both noise and damage to records and styli.
Almost all styli are now made of diamond and previously had been expected to last from 600 to 1000 hours of use. That can be a very long time. We have examined many styli, that are decades old, under powerful microscopes and they still in appear in excellent condition. However, more recently, audiophile styli manufacturers have trimmed that back, and considered the increase in audio distortion and not record wear as the major criteria. They are now talking about 250 hours.
When purchasing a cartridge, thought should be given as to whether you will be exchanging styli casually, as going back and forth between LP and 78 rpm records. Most styli are easy to replace and exchange. Others, such as Grado, require a bit of force and a supplied tool to prevent damaging the stylus. The best solution is to purchase two headshells and two cartridges, one for each basic stylus.
UNLESS NOTED, ALL CARTRIDGES ARE SUPPLIED WITH AN LP STYLUS
In USA, shipping & ins. $7.80. IL residents add 8.25% IST
Non-USA shipping: 1st Class costs $13.00 (Canada - $9.00) and has no advertised delivery time, no insurance, no tracking available. Flat Rate Priority Mail costs $24.00 (Canada - $20.00) has been very reliable for us. The USPO advertise, but does not promise, 6 - 10 days delivery time, but with no insurance and limited tracking available. If one wants insurance and tracking, one must ship via Priority (note: not Flat Rate Priority). Cost and go to $51.00 (Canada- $45.00).
Questions? Call or email us for a total
REK-O-KUT ARCHIVAL REPRODUCER KIT
(Cartridges With Styli)
Using styli of various sizes to overcome noise in records caused by wear and abuse is a common technique. There is no optimum size stylus. Often a larger size works best, sometimes a smaller size works best. The one that produces the best sound is the correct stylus to use. Older records often require larger tips for standard play.
Up until now, such styli have cost up to $150.00 each. To prevent damage, it is often desirable to mount such delicate styli in their own cartridges. If you had 5 custom styli made for you and purchased five Grado cartridges the cost would be approximately $1,500.00!
Esoteric Sound has put together a kit of five Grado DJ-100, 2 - 5 Gram tracking cartridges, each equipped with a different radius, custom-made stylus suited for vintage records. Each stylus is conical/spherical in shape and can be used for archival or casual play of records without concern for undue wear on the record. The kit consists of the following cartridge/stylus radii:
Here are some typical starting points:
When purchased with the kit, a set of five standard headshells is available for: $65.00.
Price (ROKARK): $800.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)+ $12.75 Shipping
REK-O-KUT ARCHIVAL STYLI FOR GRADO PICKUPS (Stylus Alone)
The following diameter sizes are available:
In USA, please include Shipping & Insurance of $7.90
Non-USA shipping: 1st Class costs $13.00 (The Canada - $8.00) and has no advertised delivery time, no insurance, no tracking available. Flat Rate Priority Mail costs $24.00 (Canada - $20.00) has been very reliable for us. The USPO advertise, but does not promise, 6 - 10 days delivery time, but with no insurance and limited tracking available. If one wants insurance and tracking, one must ship via Priority (note: not Flat Rate Priority). Cost is $34.00.
ARCHIVAL ELLIPTICAL STYLUS KIT FOR STANTON 500 & PICKERING V-15
A conical tipped stylus will have a difficult time following wide side-to-side motions of the groove with high frequencies. The groove narrows at transitions and tends to “pinch” at the stylus, especially at the inner diameter, near the end. This is a cause of distortion. An elliptical stylus easily follows these side-to-side motions.
"There is only one thing to say about it; FANTASTIC – THANK YOU! The improvements with this 3.0 stylus was much better than expected, lesser noise overall and better sound all in all"
Most vintage recordings do not have to be played with any particular stylus,
but they were made to be played with certain standard styli. 78s and radio
transcriptions require a coarse groove stylus of approximately 3 mil. You should
choose the stylus that provides the best overall sound regardless of size.
We have even gotten best results on some 78s with LP styli! Here are some
recommendations to start with:
Price (ROKAESK): $649.00. (IL residents add 8.25% IST)
USA Shipping - $12.75
Non-USA shipping: 1st Class costs $13.00 (Canada - $8.00) and has no advertised delivery time, no insurance, no tracking available. Flat Rate Priority Mail costs $24.00 (Canada - $20.00) has been very reliable for us. The USPO advertise, but does not promise, 6 - 10 days delivery time, but with no insurance and limited tracking available. If one wants insurance and tracking, one must ship via Priority (note: not Flat Rate Priority). Cost is $51.00 (Canada - $37.00).
HALF THE PRICE OF COMPETITORS - BUT THERE ARE NONE!
REK-O-KUT Low-Cost Styli are 78 RPM styli for use in popular cartridges.
They feature precision ground and highly polished
diamonds with mounts compatible with several cartridges. Their diamonds
are made to the same specs as our premium D5130E, but by non-US producers.
They look the same under a microscope.
Compatible cartridges: Stanton 500/720, Shure M44,
M55, CN1000, Sanyo/Fisher/Rondine Jr
"I am amazed at the quality I'm getting
from these beat up old 78s, using your D5130EJ stylus and the Stanton 500
cartridge -- it has made all the difference in the world...the cartridge and
stylus ... really knocked my ears off"
" this needle... plays very well...so just send me another"
CN1000-3E: $39.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
For Rondine Jr, later RA-6, and many ION, Gemini Sound, Sanyo, Audio Technica, Pioneer, Numark and Sony turntables
In USA, please include Shipping of $5.35
Non-USA shipping: 1st Class costs $13.00 (The Americas - $9.00) and has no advertised delivery time, no insurance, no tracking available. Flat Rate Priority Mail costs $24.00 (The Americas - $20.00) has been very reliable for us. The USPO advertise, but does not promise, 6 - 10 days delivery time, but with no insurance and limited tracking available. If one wants insurance and tracking, one must ship via Priority (note: not Flat Rate Priority). Cost is $51.00 (Canada - $37.00, Mexico and below - $46.00).
As with audiophile LPs, the sound of 78 RPM records can be improved by the use
of elliptical styli. Elliptical styli can reproduce the highs of old records
with much more accuracy while reducing the distortion.
Compatible cartridges: Stanton 500/720,
"78...records have never sounded this good! Even the green label Columbia
"I've bought the 3.0 and 3.5 mil 78 styli from you... and they worked miraculously well"
Price: $150.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
USA Shipping & Ins: $7.80 (non-USA as above)
CUSTOM STYLI FROM OUR ARCHIVAL KIT FITS STANTON 500 & PICKERING
Owing to your demand we are now making available individual styli from our Archival Elliptical Stylus Kit. For more details on them consult our listing for the Rek-O-Kut Archival Elliptical Stylus Kit above. Pricing is as follows.
SOME WORN LPS AND MANY TRANSCRIPTIONS
D5120EJ: $125.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
WORN OR NON-COATED ALUMINUM RECORDS
D5140EJ: $200.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
PATHE' AND RCA PRE-GROOVED RECORDS
D5180J: $250.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
USA Shipping & Ins: $7.80 (non-USA as above)
SHURE N75-3 78 RPM STYLI
These are Shure 2.5 mil diamond styli made for specifically for the ME75
cartridge, but which also fit the M91, M92 cartridges, possibly some others.
Price: $29.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST) +$5.15 Shipping
STANTON EASY REPLACE LP STYLI FOR "500" CARTS
Price: $45.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST) +$5.15
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-3600 78 RPM STYLUS BY REK-O-KUT
These are 78 RPM diamond styli made specifically for the Audio Technica
cartridge, but which also may fit some others in their lineup. The ATN-3600-78
radius is 2.5 mils, and recommended tracking force is 2 to 4 grams.
Price: $26.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST) +$5.15 Shipping
D5127J 78 RPM STYLUS
We had this made to exact Stanton specifications, but at lower cost to you. So, it
has a slightly larger than average, spherical tipped, 2.7 mil diamond stylus as
opposed to the more common 2.5 mil of other manufacturers. Tracks at 2 - 7 grams.
Shipping & Ins: $5.35 Shipping (non-USA as above)
A 1.0 MIL STYLUS FOR GOOD CONDITION MONO LPS & 45S -D5110J
"thank you for the stylus. What a difference on my treasured mono LPs!"
A 1.2 MIL STYLUS FOR WORN MONO LPS & 45S - D5112EJ
THE ONLY GENUINE MONO STYLI IN PRODUCTION!
Mono LP and 45 RPM records when introduced in 1948 & 49 were made to be played with "microgroove styli" of 1.0 mils in radius. While modern stereo styli will play these records fairly well, their size varies from 0.5 to 0.7 mil in radius, thus placing them lower in the groove, in the area of most wear.
You will usually hear an improvement in noise and distortion when older mono records are played with their intended stylus the D5110J. For more worn records we offer the larger D5112J, a 1.2 mil stylus. Because it is larger we have made it elliptical to better trace the highs. It does wonders on beater 45s. On some occasions, these styli can even help some 78s and broadcast transcriptions.
Compatible cartridges: Stanton 500/720,
The following examples are of a severely worn record:
D5110J: $55.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
D5112EJ: $65.00 (IL Residents add 8.25% IST)
Shipping & Ins: $5.35 Shipping (non-USA as above)