95P Paratrace Stylus

The ’95P’ is our own Stylus assembly designed to lift the AT95E into the super league of MM cartridges.  It is a standard AT replacement stylus assembly which has had a nude mounted Paratrace diamond stylus fitted.

To order one for £120 inc p&p please contact us using the contact page.

If you want to read the whole story; see below

 

The AT-95E MM Cartridge

Let’s start by saying that the standard AT-95E is a fantastic cartridge; for under £30, there is simply nothing to match it in terms of performance and musicality. And the better the turntable/arm combination you use it with, the better it performs!

Audio Technica have been making the AT-95E for several decades now. This has given them plenty of time to refine its manufacture and get the economies of scale that make it such phenomenal value today. Frankly, nothing else comes close to it for even twice the money.

The AT-95E is available in its standard form and recently, Audio Technica introduced the ‘Ex’ version to compliment the LP5 turntable.  It also has an elliptical Stylus but with a slightly different damper in the suspension.

How can the AT-95E be upgraded?

If you have an AT-95E, 95Ex, or any of the Linn branded derivatives (K5 or K9), the quickest and easiest way to upgrade it is to fit our 95P stylus assembly.

The standard stylus is inexpensive and does the job exceptionally well for the money.  But many compromises have necessarily been made to produce it at a low cost.  In common with all budget cartridges, the diamond itself is mounted on a tiny steel ‘shank’ to allow it to be easily mounted on the end of the cantilever. It is then retained by a large ‘blob’ of adhesive on the rear. This all adds unwanted weight to the stylus which needs the smallest possible mass to allow it to be accelerated as easily as possible by the undulations in the walls of the groove.  The better (though more expensive) way of mounting the diamond, used on all mid and high-end cartridges, is to have a ‘nude’ diamond.  Here, the steel shank, which was used to hold it while the stylus profile was being ground onto the piece of diamond stock, is removed, and the diamond is inserted and bonded directly into the end of the cantilever. This saves mass at this critical point in the system.

The standard AT-95E diamond has an elliptical profile. Again, this is economical to produce; but there are superior profiles which involve many more and precise grinding operations to give a profile which can retrieve more from the record’s groove wall. Of these, the complex or ‘line contact’ are undoubtedly the best.

In order to produce the 95Pstylus assembly, we take brand new stylus assemblies, straight from Audio Technica, and have the low cost shank diamond removed. The cantilever end is prepared to receive a brand new and very well made nude diamond stylus with the Paratrace profile.  This work is done for us in batches by the most competent and trusted company in the world for phono stylus work.  Much of their work is done by hand, by skilled craftsmen/women as compared to the automated machine built stylus of the standard assembly.

The new 95P stylus assembly is then repackaged in its original packaging which is identified and labelled to show that it has been reworked as a 95P.

How does it perform?

All the interesting technical details of construction, materials and stylus profile would be irrelevant unless the 95P performs significantly better than the standard stylus assembly.  We’re here to tell you, that it does!

Fitting is as straightforward as removing the old stylus assembly and clipping on the new one. A quick re-check of tracking force and setting initially at a nominal 2.0g.  Since the geometry is the same, no change in arm height or cartridge body position is necessary; however the stylus profile benefits from a little experimentation with precise tracking force  (0.1g increments) to find the ‘sweet spot’.   Set bias (antiskate to the same, or a very slightly lower figure).

The following is part of a review of a 95P equipped AT95 on an LP5 IPT  (Rega arm, Direct Drive, Audiophile Turntable):

Straightaway, it is clear that it tracks beautifully, and is kinder to surface noise. Musical crescendos are handled very well and there is more to be found going on in any given piece of music.

 Listening to Quincy Jones’ Ai no Corrida, a busy jazzy thing with lots going on, it is clear just how well the cartridge now handles complexity. And it just keeps getting better! As the suspension on the brand new stylus assembly beds in, it develops and even more ‘lush’ quality akin to a top MC cartridge.

 We will not claim that the 95P will turn the humble AT-95E into a Koetsu or Benz Micro in terms of performance, but if you want a taste of what a top stylus profile can deliver, without having to spend hundreds of pounds, dismount your arm and fit a new cartridge, fitting a 95P to your AT95E is a revelation.