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Thread: Shure Thang!

  1. #1
    Pac67
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    Shure Thang!

    Been messing about with cartridges for the Hadcock and came across a minty Shure M95HE which judging by the stylus (viewed under a loup) had minimal use, so took a punt on it. The Denon DL110 was fine but the resonant frequency was around 13Hz in the Hadcock (a tiny bit high) and whilst it delivered bass in spades when used with the 3009, was less dynamic with the Hadcock. In fact I've had one or two carts in the Hadcock in the past week and don't know if it's my imagination but the bass seems a teeny weeny bit recessed....not sure if this is typical, but perhaps it's just more fussy on cartridge choice....enter the M95HE!

    There's been a large number of Shure models and it's easy to get confused between all the various models. I was originally after a V15III, but when the M95HE came along for the right money, I figured it would be a very close match with the V15. In fact, the HE has the better hyper-elliptical stylus to the VN35E fitted to many V15's. Specs are fairly impressive:

    Output is a healthy 4.7mV with channel separation 25dB at 1KHz and channel balance guaranteed within 2dB (nothing special but as good as many MM's I've owned);

    Tracking force is a featherweight 0.75 to 1.25g as per many of the higher compliance Shure cartridges;

    Trackability seems impressive on paper anyway (24cm/s @ 400Hz, 33cm/s @ 1kHz and 19cm/s @ 10KHz);

    The one draw to the 95HE is the stylus. With enhanced contact area over the elliptical versions, intermodulation distorion is a claimed 1.7% cpmpared with 2.3% for the elliptical versions and 2nd order distorion measuring 3.5% compared with nearly double that for the ellipticals.

    For 75, this seemed a good (if not great) buy compared with the V15/VN35HE.

    OK...enough with the figures...how easy was it to set up and what did it sound like?

    Out of the box, it was evident that the supplied screws wouldn't fit, as the body is surprisingly deep. Luckily they did sort of tap into the cart body and grip with light pressure but to be on the safe side (no room to add nuts) I squeezed a small amount of Blue Tac into the ends of the mounting holes so that they compacted over the ends of the screws (a bodge until I get longer screws).

    Setting up on the Hadcock was a doddle, but there didn't seem to be much room for adjustment on the GH242 as the headshell was all the way to the end. the DL110 had been the same . Still, it was spot on for the 69/122 home made protractor and also about smack on using a GH242 protractor sent on by Phil (Kingspan) who I bought the cart from. Stewartwen also kindly sent me a complete set up guide for the tonearm, so thanks a million Stewart, that was very kind!



    Cart on arm, I used the latest version of the Hifi News test LP to set everything up. The main tracks on this which seem tricky to get the best from cartridges are the bias check tracks. There's 4, each one rising in output (modulation). My Shelter/309 combo can track the first 3 clean as a whistle but goes to pieces on the final one, so some checking of bias and alignment to look at on that. The M95HE managed the first two well, with slight right channel distorion on track 2 and distortion from both channels on the rest. Fiddle as I tried with the Hadcocks pretty dodgy bias compensation (weight hanging over a pulley onto a bias arm) I could only get a slight improvement, but it managed better than the DL110 surprisingly (or unsurprisingly as the HE stylus should in theory be a better tracker).

    1st test LP was some light classical just to get to grips with tracking/tone:



    Seemed to be super smooth and with better separation and detail than the Denon which came as quite a surprise. I switched over to Bob Marley's 1st Exodus Pressing and was rewarded with some superb bass with great drive and texture (ie not too one notey and I could pick out the bass guitar very clearly).

    Some Vocals next and for this I used Joan Armatrading (1976collection). The Shure seemed to be setting a pattern for better than average (superb in fact) separation and detail and what impressed was the lack of edginess which I remember clearly from the slightly rougher (and darker) sounding M75ED. The M95HE reminded me of the M75 in it's lovely midrange although not quite as dark sounding but it was light years ahead for refinement and has better bass definition if not response. In fact, I'd say that the M95HE comes as close to the V15 as its possible to get and I'm not sure....hang on, no I AM sure that I wouldn't be able to tell it apart from a V15. I'm not sure if it is the same stylus as the VN35HE or the same generator assembly used with the V15, as there seems to be argument about this on various forums. Whatever, it doesn't matter, as to get a mint V15 and VN35HE I'd have been looking possibly at twice the cost. The good news too is that Jico SAS do a replacement for the M95 so when this stylus goes, I'll have a replacement for less money than a Goldring 1022gx stylus.

    Meantime, I'm pretty impressed with the match on the Hadcock. Natural resonance of the pairing is quite low at 8Hz, but it does seem to track remarkably well, and the use of the Ref orbiter stabiliser I use helps to flatten the warped LPs which are likely to be what upsets tracking at this frequency.

    All in all, this seems to be a great find, a great listen and a very revealing and clean sounding cart with very few vices. It doesn't have the ultimate dynamics of my Shelter or is as detailed, but it gives the 5000 a really hard time and all for a fraction of the cost. Very Impressed with it.
    Last edited by Pac67; 04-07-2012 at 06:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Super Wammer bmtell's Avatar
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    I quite like my Hadcock/Shure combination.

  3. #3
    Super Leeds united birstallcalling's Avatar
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    Thanks for the write up. I can add another vfm cart to the long list off things i need to listen to.
    The plinth and 401 look fantastic, nice job
    Can i ask how the the record clamp/weight is attached to the spindle, and how heavy it is
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Pac67
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmtell View Post


    I quite like my Hadcock/Shure combination.
    Seems that Hadcocks and Shures work well together!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by birstallcalling View Post
    Thanks for the write up. I can add another vfm cart to the long list off things i need to listen to.
    The plinth and 401 look fantastic, nice job
    Can i ask how the the record clamp/weight is attached to the spindle, and how heavy it is
    Thanks
    Thanks Mark

    The weight is 880g and has a 7.5mm hole on the underside (chamfered near the surface for ease of locating it). It simply sits snugly over the top of the spindle.

  5. #5
    Super Wammer stewartwen's Avatar
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    I cant resist this.............................................. ....told ya so!
    You should now try some of the new London carts to be totally astounded!
    S
    Last edited by stewartwen; 04-07-2012 at 09:30 PM.
    I am just a soul boy at heart.

  6. #6
    Pac67
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    I am very tempted Stewart! When funds allow, the Decca Gold is next on my list

  7. #7
    Super Wammer stewartwen's Avatar
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    I would try the "Jubilee" first and then the Super Gold...................ask you friendly distributor!
    I am just a soul boy at heart.

  8. #8
    Pac67
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    May be a while Stewart. I have the brochures which is always a dangerous thing....

  9. #9
    Super Wammer bmtell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pac67 View Post
    I am very tempted Stewart! When funds allow, the Decca Gold is next on my list

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/decca-lond...item3a76aa0698


    Can you hear it calling out to you?

  10. #10
    Super Wammer stewartwen's Avatar
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    Just took a look Mark........................................very tempting.
    S
    I am just a soul boy at heart.

  11. #11
    Founding Wammer kingsxfan's Avatar
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    Nice!

    Glad to see you got it into your plinth ok, Paul. It all looks very nice, and I'm glad to find you have it singing. It took me a fair bit of fettling when I first got it onto my deck, but its a very, very fine sounding arm indeed.

    If you can set-up a Hadcock, you can set-up anything....

  12. #12
    Super Wammer bmtell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartwen View Post
    Just took a look Mark........................................very tempting.
    S
    I know. If my company was dicking me about with my bonus I'd be very tempted. I'm really happy with my VST V but I'd like to give a Decca a go one day.

  13. #13
    Pac67
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsxfan View Post
    Nice!

    Glad to see you got it into your plinth ok, Paul. It all looks very nice, and I'm glad to find you have it singing. It took me a fair bit of fettling when I first got it onto my deck, but its a very, very fine sounding arm indeed.


    If you can set-up a Hadcock, you can set-up anything....
    Thanks Phil. Its getting there and must admit that it does sound very good indeed. Very smooth and detailed and yes annoyingly fiddly to get the fine tuning done!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by bmtell View Post
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/decca-lond...item3a76aa0698


    Can you hear it calling out to you?
    Luckily I'm wearing my ear defenders Mark otherwise I'd be reaching for the wallet

  14. #14
    Pac67
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    Update:

    Our very own Jerry called round this morning for a listen to the new Harbs and he'd brought a very nice Trichord Dino with NCPS with him.

    We were playing around with a few LPs using the 401 and put on a very clean recording (Island Records) of Bob Marley's Legend album (1984 pressing). It sounded very good indeed using the little Gram Amp2, and the way the rhythm was driven had toes tapping pretty quickly. The Garrard/GH242/M95HE combo in the new plinth was certainly sounding punchy, smooth and open with great mid presence and it wasn't long before we were pretty much absorbed in the music (not the hifi). We tried swapping to the Dino and spun the same few tracks up and things got even better. Smoother and more open sound stage with greater detail and better clarity in the vocals.

    For curiosity I decided to try a few comparisons, using around 4.5K's worth of source components in my Gyro SE/309/Shelter5000/Ear 834P signature phono stage in a mini bake off. I've been consistently impressed by the Michell set up from day one and perhaps putting up the Garrard with much more modest cart, arm and phono stage was unfair, but we tried it anyway with the same recording.

    The needle hit the grooves and......oh!...had we both not just heard what the fettled 401 could do, I don't think that either of us could have expected the outcome! There was no doubting the pedegree of the Gyro set up and up until now, I've been generally happy with it, but to my consternation and to Jerry's amusement I can say with all honesty that the Garrard/Dino combination blew the Gyro into the weeds...convincingly. Better drive and rhythm to the music. a more natural and balanced soundstage....bugger. Up until that point I'd never really thought of the Gyro being surplus to requirements, but thanks to Jerry, that seed has been sown! In some ways it shouldn't come as a surprise as a great deal of effort had gone into the 401 refurbishment and the plinth design and together with the Hadcock and M95, I had expected to 401 to be good....just not this good. Vinyl may well return to being the primary source again and the classified ads may have the "other" front end up for grabs. I'll be evaluating on some more recordings before I jump to hasty conclusions though as the story may be very different with some classical or more demanding music...we'll see.
    Last edited by Pac67; 06-07-2012 at 11:16 AM.

  15. #15
    User211
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    Yeah - don't go jumping to conclusions too quickly - component evaluation takes me ages - two weeks minimum really.

    Did Jerry like the Harbys?

  16. #16
    Pac67
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    Quote Originally Posted by User211 View Post
    Yeah - don't go jumping to conclusions too quickly - component evaluation takes me ages - two weeks minimum really.

    Did Jerry like the Harbys?
    surely two hours with the parasound?

    I think Jerry very much liked the Harbys. Very different in character from the MBLs or the Agathons. Hugely musical and with Mahler's 5th transcribed for Organ playing, the scale was pretty immense, demonstrating that they do justice to large scale music as well as acoustic.

  17. #17
    User211
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    Hey I've had the Para two weeks. Top solid state amp... it is just that I definately prefer the 211s - they emit a better glow

  18. #18
    Super Wammer JANDL100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by User211 View Post
    Did Jerry like the Harbys?
    yep. I liked them a lot. More my sort of speaker than Paul's old Agathons.
    Open, lucid, detailed, neutral, great imaging. Excellent sense of dynamic scale. Good bass, although I suspect there's a fair bit more to be had from them bass-wise with better stands and a bit of system tweaking ... I've heard the smaller Harbeth 3 go deeper, tauter and more powerful, suitably fed, so I think it's worth Paul playing around a bit with things .... try some of your RFC fancy powercords with the Croft power amp, Paul!

    I generally find Harbies a bit dynamically bland over the longer haul - but I didn't find any such issues in Paul's setup over an hour or so's listening. I suspect the Croft amps are nice and lively!
    Last edited by JANDL100; 07-07-2012 at 02:11 PM.
    Life's too short for boring hifi!

  19. #19
    Pac67
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    That they are Jerry!

    Had another visitor in today who initially popped over for a coffee and ended up staying the afternoon sat riveted to the music. The combo seems to work well. I'd guess on good heavy stands being just the ticket for squeezing more performance out of the Harbys, so will be chasing those up (no word yet to an ETA although they were ordered 2 months ago).

  20. #20
    Wammer MrSammy's Avatar
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    My experience with Shure Catridges is that they really sing when mounted on a Uni-Pivot. I had a Shure V15 mk ii on a Transcriptors Fluid arm ( went on to be the Michell Fluid when they took over the manufacture ) mounted on a Hydraulic Reference. It worked really well in that arm and wasn't that far from the Goldring 2500 that replaced it. It wasn't as good but then it was a lot older with a needle in unknown state.

    I've since put the Shure onto a Origin Live modded RB250 on a Gyro and it sounds no where near as good. Even though the Gyro is a "better" deck than the Hydraulic the arm cartridge pairing just isn't anywhere near as good.

    It would be very interesting to compare the Hadcock/Shure mounted on the Gyro so you could isolate the character of the 401.

    I'm intending to put a Goldring 2500 on my Gyrodec and so people will be able to compare the Transcriptor and Michell on a level playing field.
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