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While the least expensive and simplest phono stylus is the spherical or UniRadial, and the most popular is the elliptical or BiRadial, both have limitations in most systems. The spherical tip can't accurately resolve the highest overtones, and the reduced contact area of the elliptical can put higher pressure on the groove, hastening record and stylus wear.
The Linear Contact Design
At Audio-Technica we pioneered in the introduction of new stylus shapes to overcome these problems. Our current Linear Contact stylus design is a development from our original Shibata stylus of almost a decade ago. Instead of the simple shapes of the past, the Linear Contact stylus features complex multi-radius contours dimensioned to the nearest micron (a micron is just 0.0000393")!
Long and Narrow
The net result is a stylus which contacts each groove wall with a "footprint" which is unusually long and narrow. Narrow to be able to respond accurately to the smallest groove modulations. Long to support the stylus over more of the groove wall surface, which reduces stylus pressure. and thus wear on stylus and record alike.
Facing Up to Wear
Because our best Linear Contact styli start as whole, natural octahedral diamonds, the grain structure of the diamond can be identified before grinding begins. Which permits us to shape the stylus so that the longest wearing facets of the diamond contact the groove walls, to provide even longer useful life than diamonds ground from random orientation chips or fragments.
More to Come
While the stylus tip shape is the most dramatic difference between models, other stylus characteristics are also important to overall cartridge performance. And in our next column, we'll discuss the rest of the stylus...and the difference it can make in your stereo system.
Jon R. Kelly, President
1221 Commerce Dr., Stow, OH 44224.
The World's Favorite Phono Cartridge
(Source: Audio magazine, Jun. 1984)
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