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wagners 3rd February 2008 12:29 AM

Replacement for Sonus/Audio Tech AT30E
I have an old Yamaha YPD6 turntable. I've had a Sonus Blue and an Audio Technica AT30E(with pre-amp) in it. The Sonus stylus failed and the Audio Technical has a broken coil as the result of a recent move. Can anyone suggest an economical/decent replacement for these or is it possible to get parts to fix them? I only have about 100 albums. FYI I also have a Carver C-4000 preamp (the old sonic holography one) and M-400 magnetic field power amp. Thanks in advance for any help.:confused:

Nanook 3rd February 2008 02:43 AM

is the AT30E a MC?
If it is, Audio Technica had a couple of carts (similar model number, but off the top of my head) that had user replaceable styli.

And reasonable replacements are reasonable in what way? If you have a budget in mind that may help.


wagners 4th February 2008 04:22 PM

I'm not sure if the Audio Techica is an MC, it just says AT30E on the bottom. The stylus(with the coils) is removable from the rest of the cartridge. The reason I bought it was because a new stylus for the the Sonus blue was $75 at the time(1976) and I was a frugal college student. The complete Audio Technica AT30E was just a little more than that, but the replacement stylus section went for about $29 at the time and I was looking at continuing costs. If it's possible to just replace the AT stylus(with coils), could you point me to any possible sources? Also, would this be affected by the brittle elastomer problem I've seen mentioned in a few posts or does that get replaced with the stylus? Thanks in advance for any help.

PTSOUNDLAB 4th February 2008 06:58 PM


I think that actually, the best cartridge you can have is AT440MLA and AT33PTG.
For 100$, AT440 is a superb MM cartridge
I tried it and it's hard to have a better one

But if you have more money to spend and a prepre for MC cart, AT33PTG is simply marvelous ! Better than the OC9

And if you want the quality of a MC but with an MM, the 150MLX is the good choice

It's hard to find better than Audio Technica, in all price ranges.
For your YPD6 I think that AT440MLA will be a good choice for less than 100$.



MosfetOwner 6th February 2008 02:48 PM


Originally posted by PTSOUNDLAB

I think that actually, the best cartridge you can have is AT440MLA and AT33PTG.
For 100$, AT440 is a superb MM cartridge
I tried it and it's hard to have a better one

But if you have more money to spend and a prepre for MC cart, AT33PTG is simply marvelous ! Better than the OC9

And if you want the quality of a MC but with an MM, the 150MLX is the good choice

It's hard to find better than Audio Technica, in all price ranges.
For your YPD6 I think that AT440MLA will be a good choice for less than 100$.



I'm not sure how old you are, Pascal, but if you are as old as me (mid forties), then you should know that the Sonus Blue Label is in stratified air when it comes to moving magnet cartridges! Think Shure V15 Type V competitor, and you'll realise that no $100 MM cartridge can match it. In fact, since Shure took their V15VxMR off the market, and Stanton cynically took their 881S off the market soon after, I'm not sure that any MM cartridges exist now that are as good as the Sonus Blue was!

The AT 150MLX may be good, but as I haven't heard it, or seen any technical test of it, I can't comment on it. It certainly has the right ingredients, with the boron cantilever and microline stylus, to be pretty good, but based on a purely subjective review, with no measurements, it's hard to say that it's in the same class as the V15VxMR or V15VMR. The reviewer seems to base parts of his review on what others said of a different AT cartridge back in the 1980s, with no guarantee that they are similar cartridges. For instance, is boron as light and rigid as beryllium? I would guess that it probably isn't, based on the fact that AT used that until it was no longer available, and then switched to boron. As they don't give a tip mass for the cartridge, we can't be sure. And as he gives no measurements for tracking different test tracks, we can't be sure that he's right when he says that it "out tracks everything else I can get my hands on" - it sounds almost as if he's agreeing with the measurements made by the previous AT reviewers, when he's got a completely different cartridge. Did he actually test a Shure V15VxMR with a similar new stylus to the AT?

Unfortunately, like most cartridge reviewers these days, his review raises more questions than it answers, from those of us in electronics who saw cartridges measured properly back in the 1980's. You can't believe all you read in hi-fi reviews, unless objective measurements are made to back up the subjective opinion of the reviewer, who may be biased by the fact that he was sent an AT cartridge to test! Having said that, however, it seems to be an excellent price, if it IS comparable to a Shure V15VxMR. However, as boron may cost less than beryllium, and may be a lesser material for cantilevers, considering that AT didn't switch to boron until beryllium was no longer available, it also may be much cheaper to produce than one with a beryllium cantilever, like the Shure, which was more than double the AT150MLX price when it was last sold. Perhaps that doubling in price was purely due to the increased cost of the (possibly) best cantilever material available, beryllium! Can they be compared? We won't know until a hi-fi reviewer starts doing believable reviews of cartridges, with measurements included. I suspect that most reviewers in the 1980's threw their cartridge and turntable measuring equipment out, in the belief that it wouldn't be needed again, and as nobody manufactures it any more, it's unobtainable currently!

Although Audio Technica are still in the cartridge business, I'm not sure that you can still buy the replacement MC styli, which were the only user replaceable MC styli made, I think. However, something like a Denon MC cartridge should be a more than acceptable replacement - a DL-304 is a really superb cartrdige, and sounds better than just about any MM cartridge ever produced! It does need a MC preamp, or a MC stepup tranformer, to be able to use it, as like all the best MC cartridges, it's a low output design.

The Denon DL-160 or DL-110 are high output MC cartridges, and apparently sound pretty good, if you don't want to spend DL-304 money. They can be plugged into most MM phono preamps. The Denon cartridges should also work quite well with the YP-D6 tonearm, which is probably slightly heavier than ideal for many MM cartridges. And no, I'm not a Denon seller - my recommendation is purely on the fact that they are one of the few really good MC cartridge manufacturers around, who still ask reasonable money for their cartridges, not as if they are plated in gold, as others do! The DL-304 has got gold coloured paint, though!


wagners 6th February 2008 05:44 PM

Thanks for the input. Sorry I didn't get that MC meant "moving coil" in Pascal's post right away. Hoped I could just find a stylus for the Sonus Blue but I think Sonic Research went out of business. I even looked pretty extensively for a used stylus for the blue, but no such luck. I'll look into all of the options you've given me. Thanks again for all the advice.

PTSOUNDLAB 6th February 2008 07:20 PM

Hello Don,

I understand your point of view. If I consider the fact that it's impossible to get parts to fix the issue of our friend wagners, we could sugest a new cart.

All depend of the budget.
For 100$, there is not a big lot of choice, Grado Green (boring), Shure M97 (too much medium) or AT440 (not deap bass but good bass). For me the winner is the AT440 (i tried all)

But for 150/200$ you have a lot of choice, AT, Denon, Grado.....
Denon DL110 or DL160, Grado Gold, are very good, very cool carts, but they dont have te "definition" of a AT150MLX
I tried all these carts on 3 different arms.

I love Denon, I tried DL110, DL160, DL103, DL304, DL301. After tests I decided to keep DL301 because of the sound of Denon and the "vintage" sound of this model.
But only because it's not my only system.
The sound of an AT33PTG is more open, more dynamic and the definition is more than all Denon models. The only problem with AT33 is that you have to forget classic transformers and use an active prepreamp or some specific transformers (load 100 and more). I use the AT33 with an old Kenwood Prepre or N. Pass ONO MC section only, and a DIY tube RCA phono preamplifier.
Of course, the budget is more between 300$ and 400$ for DL301/DL304 or AT33PTG.
A Yamaha YPD6 is a good turntable, but If I don't make mistake, it's not a 500$ turntable, and I'm not sure that it's a good thing to put a 400$ cart on a 150$ turntable (perhaps I'm wrong).

To be honest, for me, if you want a cart with a lot of emotions, Denon is a good choice, but if you want a dynamic and open cart, the AT is more a good choice.

I know Stanton 881S and V15 (I sell actually a 881S with a new stylus on ebay), good carts. In europe V15 are well know but not 881, and it's an error because 881S is a very good cart (I sell mine only because I don't use it and it is better to let live a cart at another home, that to let it die in a wall cupboard at home).

Don, I don't know if sometimes you have the possibility to come in France, but if one day it will be the case, it would be a pleasure for me, of inviting you to take a glass and to listen an AT33 at home, and speak with you to share your experience (if you understand my bad english ;-) )


Pascal (40 years old ;-) )

MosfetOwner 7th February 2008 04:48 AM

Hi Pascal,

Yes, it's unfortunate that Stanton no longer make the 881S - the best cartridge they make now is the 681EEE, which is still a good cartridge, and much better than the Shure M97xE for example, but not in the same class as the 881S or its Pickering equivalent, the XSV-3000.

The Yamaha YP-D6 was not quite as good as their top end turntables, the YP-D8 and YP-D10, but it is most definitely better than anything available now in the $500 turntable stakes, and was near the top of their range. Much better. Think of the high end Denon or Technics turntables and you get the idea - Yamaha have always made excellent hi-fi equipment, which may be related to their excellent musical instrument history. If you put a good YP-D6 up against a Technics SL-1400, for instance (a semi-automatic version of the SL-1200), the Yamaha would give slightly better wow and flutter and rumble figures in an objective test, and their YP-D8 and YP-D10 turntables were in the same ballpark as the excellent Technics SP-10. How do I know that? Well, I've seen the results from an Australian testing lab who are still reviewing hi-fi equipment now, thirty years later, and produce quite believable reviews, backed up with comprehensive objective testing.

I know that the AT cartridges are well liked - I just prefer the Denon sound myself, owning a DL-103D and a DL-304, along with several matching Denon transformers. I own plenty of other cartridges, too, including Stanton 681EEE and 881S, Shure M97xE and V15VMR (and M91ED!! one of my first from about thirty years ago!), and a Garrott Brothers modified Grado G+ (roughly equivalent to a Silver these days, apart from a much superior Garrott Bros stylus), among the ones I can remember.


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