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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a late-’70s vintage Technics SL3200 turntable with a superb Shure V15 Type V-MR cartridge that I keep on hand for when I want to record an LP to digital using a Pioneer PDR-509 CD recorder. It’s actually the first and only turntable I’ve ever owned.

It’s been a few years since I used the turntable, and it worked fine the last time I used it. But the other day I fired it up to record an LP and noticed some obvious distortion. The first thing I suspected was that the phono pre-amp in the Yamaha pre-amp I have all the gear connected to had a problem. So I connected the ’table to another AVR I have lying around, and got the same thing.

So that narrows the problem down to the ’table or the cartridge. I would first suspect the ’table itself, but then thinking about it I realized I know virtually nothing about their “innards.” Specifically, do they have any kind of electronics of their own, or do they just pass the cartridge signal straight out to the phono pre-amp?

So I guess I’m thinking it’s the cartridge, although I can’t say I’ve ever heard of one failing. I would rule out the stylus, AFAIK the way you know they’re bad is that you get distortion towards the inner circumference of the disc (e.g. the last couple of songs). I was getting distortion on the first song.

Any ideas?

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Is the weight of the arm correct (assuming yours is adjustable) I found that on mine I had to make the arm "heavy" in order to get the best sound or it would sound distorted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great tip, Bill. :T I do have a microscope but thought I’d first take a look at the stylus with a magnifying glass. We’ll, it appears that the tiny tip on the end of the stylus (that actually sits in the grooves) has broken off! I only hope I didn’t ruin the record I was playing...

Can’t say I’ve ever heard of any such thing. It’s a pretty old cartridge, dating back to the mid ’80s, but it hasn’t really seen much use. Early on in my hi-fi “infancy” I noticed that no matter how carefully I handled my albums or “Discwashed” them before each use, every time I played them I noticed new pops and clicks. So by the time I bought the Shure I had developed a habit of recording albums straight to cassette after only a few plays.

The trick now will be to find a replacement stylus. I don’t think Shure makes this cartridge anymore. And if I recall, replacement styli were pretty expensive, typically nearly as much as a new cartridge.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
From what I can see at Ed Saunders’ site, the two appear to be different. This site claims their replacements are identical to the originals and the prices are reasonable. However, from what I’m finding on line Ed retired a few years ago and no longer associated with the company, and turntable buffs are currently recommending replacements from JICO.

BTW, at the rate it’s currently going, do you think you’ll live long enough to use both of those spares? :D

Regards,
Wayne
 

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In lieu of any TT misadjustments or visible physical defects in the cartridge, I would suspect an aged/dried out stylus suspension as a source of distortion. I owned an SL3200 back in the 1970s. There's nothing inside that would contribute to distortion. Its a straightforward direct drive motor with electronic speed control. The audio signal is passed straight from the cartridge to RCA jacks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I owned an SL3200 back in the 1970s. There's nothing inside that would contribute to distortion. Its a straightforward direct drive motor with electronic speed control. The audio signal is passed straight from the cartridge to RCA jacks.
I kind of figured that might be the case – thanks for confirming! :T

Regards,
Wayne
 
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