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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:16 pm
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Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
I've lived with the stock M97xE cartridge for 5 years.

It's only an hour after the unboxing of the stylus upgrade but I can state it's definitely a very good product at a fair price. It's the equivalent of a one level phono-stage upgrade over the stock stylus:

Wider, deeper sound-stage with more accurate positioning of instruments
Piano sounds more like a piano (Bill Evans - Portrait in Jazz (OJC)
Voice is excellent (Janis Ian - Between the Lines)
Bass is a little lighter - but in a good way - and much better focused. My guess is this will fill out a little as the suspension breaks in.
Low level detail is much more apparent.
Background is darker and there's less groove noise.

Edit: I can listen to complex orchestral pieces again w/o wanting to stick an icepick through my head. It separates the instruments and instrument sections very well. No nails on chalkboard cringing to violin driven crescendos any longer (DVORAK Symphony No.2 / Monteaux / London Symphony Orchestra - Classic Records)

It's a $150 CAD upgrade that I can, without hesitation, say is worth every penny.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:31 pm
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Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Thanks for the review, very timely for me. I have a 97XE on it's way, should be arriving tomorrow.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:28 am
Posts: 3438
Location: Kamloops, BC, CA
shawnwes wrote:
I've lived with the stock M97xE cartridge for 5 years.

It's only an hour after the unboxing of the stylus upgrade but I can state it's definitely a very good product at a fair price. It's the equivalent of a one level phono-stage upgrade over the stock stylus:

Wider, deeper sound-stage with more accurate positioning of instruments
Piano sounds more like a piano (Bill Evans - Portrait in Jazz (OJC)
Voice is excellent (Janis Ian - Between the Lines)
Bass is a little lighter - but in a good way - and much better focused. My guess is this will fill out a little as the suspension breaks in.
Low level detail is much more apparent.
Background is darker and there's less groove noise.

Edit: I can listen to complex orchestral pieces again w/o wanting to stick an icepick through my head. It separates the instruments and instrument sections very well. No nails on chalkboard cringing to violin driven crescendos any longer (DVORAK Symphony No.2 / Monteaux / London Symphony Orchestra - Classic Records)

It's a $150 CAD upgrade that I can, without hesitation, say is worth every penny.


I hear ya. Awhile back I bought the LP Gear Shibata stylus for the Audio Technica AT95:
https://www.lpgear.com/product/LPGATN95SA.html
The difference in performance was incredible, to say the least. Fortunately I got mine for $100, but then the price jumped to $200. And when this stylus wears out I will most likely buy another. For $200...
:(


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:17 am
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
The Vivid is a very nice needle. I'm not sure what the tip geometry is as LPGear states conflicting info. Supposedly a Shibata equivalent, the one listed in their new Vessel lineup is only .2 x .8 elliptical. Whatever it is, I have one on a Pickering 7500XLZ, and I agree it's a very good performer.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:16 pm
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Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
The Vivid Line stylus has about 40 hours on it now and sounds great! Might be the best value $150 I've spent on gear.

Also, I've just pulled the trigger tonight on a Lounge Audio LCR MkIII phono stage that is listed for sale on CAM so am looking forward to receiving that shortly to increase my listening pleasure quotient. :D

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Last edited by shawnwes on Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:28 am
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Location: Kamloops, BC, CA
shawnwes wrote:
The Vivid Line stylus has about 40 hours on it now and sounds great! Might be the best value $150 I've spent on gear.


I hear ya dude! Even though the price on my LP Gear stylus went up, I will definitely buy another. Just got back in The Loops from a Love-Rally at City Hall in Vangroovy on the weekend & I cannot believe how great my LPs sound.
8)


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