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Old 10th September 2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default Can you still get ceramic pick ups ?

I used to run a record disco in the 1980's.
I started off using magnetic pick ups and these sounded fine but I found that they jumped relatively easy with people dancing nearby.

So I bought a couple of ceramic pick ups and these tracked a lot better in poor conditions.

Can you still buy ceramic pick ups ?
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Old 11th September 2011, 10:17 AM   #2
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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I suspect that was because of tracking forces measured in ounces rather than grams. Or because the compliance matched the pickup arm mass better.

Some of the not-so-cheap USB turntables come with cr@ptastic ceramic cartridges. The Needle Doctor site may stock them; if not, there's bound to be a ton of old stock on eBay. Search for needledaddy1
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Old 11th September 2011, 02:18 PM   #3
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If you care at all about your records avoid a ceramic cartridge at all cost. Ortofon and Stanton, plus others, offer quite a range of magnetic pickup cartridges for DJ applications. If your still having skipping problems using one of them then your table is just not up to the task of DJing or you have setup something wrong.

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Old 11th September 2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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Ceramic cartridges used typically in mass produced stereo consoles and cheap all in one stereo systems in the 1960s and 1970s were made by companies like Sonotone and Astatic. Many were sold OEM to console manufacturers. You can probaby pull one out of any old console. They used high mass low compliance tonearms in record changers made by manufacurers like Collaro and Glazier Steers, even Garrard. There may still be some available from Parts Express among others.

The output is much too high for a magnetic cartridge input and should not be equalized. It is also too low for typical high level preamp input by a factor of about 5 to 10 and may need additional preamplification depending on how much gain you have. An old preamp with ceramic cartridge inputs should work just fine. You can use its tape outputs or main outputs to feed your existing preamp.

A very good turntable that is relatively immune to external jarring is the original AR Turntable. The models include XA and I think XB. AR was the first to use a subchassis suspended by springs from the main deck plate or plinth. They were susprisingly good although the tonearm was less than impressive. They were also cheap costing only $78 list when they were first introduced. You can probably find them easily on e-bay.
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Old 11th September 2011, 05:48 PM   #5
h_a is offline h_a  Europe
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Quote:
The output is much too high for a magnetic cartridge input and should not be equalized.
How come? The equalization is cut into the record - maybe you mean capacitive loading of the pickup?

Hannes
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Old 11th September 2011, 06:09 PM   #6
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Typical ceramic cartridge response just happens to be the exact compliment of the RIAA recording equalization curve. How convenient!
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Old 12th September 2011, 06:21 AM   #7
h_a is offline h_a  Europe
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Hi,

thanks for clearing this up to me! Haven't heard about that before!

Hannes
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:22 AM   #8
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundminded View Post
<snip>

A very good turntable that is relatively immune to external jarring is the original AR Turntable. The models include XA and I think XB. AR was the first to use a subchassis suspended by springs from the main deck plate or plinth. They were susprisingly good although the tonearm was less than impressive. They were also cheap costing only $78 list when they were first introduced. You can probably find them easily on e-bay.
BSR was possibly the most common maker of cheap changers with ceramic cartridges used in US products.
Everyone from Radio Shack to Magnavox and a lot of unmentionables used them..

$58 in the very early 1960's when the AR-XA was first introduced was not really not all that cheap - roughly equivalent to $420 today.. Note also that in the same time frame the Thorens TD-124 was $99 or about $700 today.. The AR of course came sans cartridge but was otherwise ready to go, the TD-124 came sans plinth, arm and cartridge.. The AR-XA arm while ugly was actually quite a decent performer and my first AR-XA rather convincingly clobbered what was a much better looking Japanese DD table with integral arm that I owned at the time.

Today there are plenty of low compliance MM DJ cartridges that track in the 4gm range, any of these should provide the same sort of security in tracking that the old ceramics offered with significantly better overall performance.

Note that there were "crystal" and "ceramic" cartridges and while their electrical characteristics were similar, ceramic types used a man made piezoelectric material lead-zirconium titanate that was stable long term, crystal types used Rochelle salt and their performance deteriorated quite quickly due to atmospheric exposure.. I had both types prior to my first MM types. My recollection is quite limited as I have not used either type since I was in my early teens.. They weren't that good sounding, but I am fortunate they did no serious damage to my records - many of which I still have and play..

Here is an interesting link to some history of the Sonotone ceramic phonograph cartridges: Sonotone Phonograph Cartridge History
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Old 13th September 2011, 12:26 AM   #9
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Vaco Ceramic Cartridge | 5126D | Distributed By MCM
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Old 26th September 2011, 01:01 AM   #10
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Actually a ceramic cartridge is not as bad as we think. If a cartridge tracks decently with a clunky stylus that will not work on an MC or MM, imagine what a decent compliance and decent stylus does when married to a ceramic cartridge.
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