Pickering Cartridge (question for emaidel)
I recently purchased a used Pickering cartridge with its original D8E stylus. The cartridge has only the word "Pickering" on it.
Based on my various google research may I assumed that it is the Pickering Micro 4 series? (See attachment)
Secondly, I also purchased the LP gear XVS1800 as I was made to understand that it is interchangeable with the D8E. The former being a contact line profile and the later elliptical.
However, the sound of the D8E way surpassed the XVS1800 in all areas.
(The brush on the LP gear XVS1800 wasn't as good as the one on the D8E, it simply drops on the record whereas the one on the D8E could be turned up without touching the record surface)
In one of your responses to a thread (Stanton 881s stylus replacement or a new cartridge?) which I had reproduced below could well be true with the knock-offs:
- especially on the shiny appearance
- it may looked like the real thing, but few ever lived up to the quality.
The patented process of the "tie wire" could be where the originals Pickering or Stanton are very difficult to duplicate.
Now I dislike to say this, this modest cartridge had now replaced my beloved Shure V15VxMR on the main rig. Simply gorgeous in its presentation.
"An important note on non-original, or "knock-off" replacement styli for either Stanton or Pickering cartridges: knock-off styli were a major headache for major cartridge manufacturers, as most looked like the real thing, but few ever lived up to the quality of the real thing. In the replacement stylus for the 881-S, or the Pickering XSV-3000 from whence the 881-S came, there is an important element missing in all of the knock-offs, and that is an internal tie wire. The tie wire is affixed to the end of the cantilever, and is connected to the extreme end of the metal tube that fits into the cartridge body. Its purpose is to stabilize the movment of the cantilever, and to prolong the flexibility of the entire assembly, among other things. It is also a patented feature, that's time consuming to install during manufacturing, and has never been used in a knock off stylus.
In order to connect the tie wire to the end of the metal tube, a special clamp was used during assembly which did a few things: it held the assembly in place for accurate connection of the tie wire and did so by crimping the tube and leaving a characteristic "dimple." Since heat was applied to the tube, it also usually discolored slightly.. NO replacement was ever made in this manner, and the shiny appearance of the tube on the knockoffs is a dead giveaway it's not an original."
Your thread is entitled, "Question for emaidel," but I can't find a question anywhere! If you like the sound of this cartridge, then good for you. One thing for sure, it has a higher output than the Shure V/15VxMR, which may simply be a better "fit" for your preamp, providing a more suitable amount of gain.
The "Micro IV' series of cartridges was an attempt to provide similar sound quality to the superior "XV/15" series, but by using two, rather than four coils. In that respect, it failed. I also came with plastic "pre-mounts," which were tabs that you snapped onto the cartridge, and which then snapped into current model Garrard, Dual and BSR turntables, without the need for any screws.
Your turntable is clearly one of the better, newer models on the market today, and frankly, you can do a lot better than this old model Pickering, but if you like it, that's really all that matters.
That Rega arm deserves a better cartridge than the Pickering in question.
ARC SP9 MKIII preamp,VPI HW19jr, Rega RB300
Marcof PPA1 head amp, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts
Marantz CD63SE CD,Yamaha DVD-S1800, MSB DAC
Accuphase T101 tuner,Nakamichi LX-5, ZX-7 Teac V-7010
Lexicon MC8 surround processor
2 Adcom GFA-545,2 radically modified Dynaco MK3's,2 bridged Crown XLS-402, Paradigm X-30, Behringer CX2310, DSP1124P
2 12" Transmission Line Subs (PASS DIY El-Pipe-O), Acoustat Spectra 22 ESL's (fronts), Acoustat Model 1 ESL's/SPW-1 Woofer (rears)
I've done some more digging into my memory banks, especially in regard to the "D-8E" designation on your stylus assembly.
During the late 70's, the major thrust of most cartridge companies, led by Audio Technica, was "Private label" models. Most were run of the mill models, where dealers were allowed to place their own model numbers on them, and select from a variety of packaging, designed to give the basically cheap cartridge a better appearance, and the likelihood of being a superior product.
Pickering had no choice but to join the private label bandwagon, only we called it the "Exclusive Packaging" program. And, none of the cartridges available for selection were simply down and dirty junk, packaged to look good. All were Micro IV bodies, with XV/15 styli (a combination never available in the standard product lineup) and most performed admirably, though not as well as XV/15 models. Packaging was attractive, but dealers only had a choice in color, not in packaging design, so we never placed a $5 cartridge in a lovely jewel box and allowed a retailer to sell the product for $100 or more, with a pre-printed "list price" of $200 on the cartridge, a common practice of the "Stereo Village" chain in Atlanta, GA.
Still, none of the private label models were as good as standard product, and the replacement styli all had "D" designations, followed by a number indicating the shape of the stylus. So, what you have is one of those private label, or "exclusive packaged" cartridges. It'll be all but impossible to purchase a better Pickering cartridge today, as they haven't been made for decades, and N.O.S. models are likely to fail, as the elastomers within the cartridge bodies will quickly fail due to age.
And, as has been pointed out, your turntable deserves better.
Thanks for the info. By the way, the cartridge was fixed on my seldom used Rega Planar 3 and RB300 combo. The main rig is a Thorens TD321/SME3009R/Shure V15VxMR (Sound smith re-tipped) and Rega Planar 3/R200/Denon DL103R. The Pickering is surprisingly a good cartridge.
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