Vinyl records have made a massive comeback in recent years. Many people find that listening to music on vinyl is a more authentic and immersive experience than streaming or downloading. However, the quality of the sound you hear depends heavily on the cartridge that you use. A cartridge is the small device that is attached to the turntable’s tonearm and reads the grooves on the record. The Shure company has been making high-quality cartridges since the 1930s, and they continue to be popular among audiophiles today. In this article, we’ll look at four of the best vintage Shure cartridges that you can still buy today.
1. Shure M91ED Cartridge
The Shure M91ED cartridge is a classic cartridge that was first introduced in the 1970s. It’s known for its warm and detailed sound, making it an excellent option for audiophiles who want to hear every nuance in their music. The M91ED has a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and a low mass, which makes it compatible with a wide range of tonearms.
The M91ED uses a elliptical stylus, which provides greater accuracy than the spherical stylus used in the M44-7. The elliptical stylus allows for precise tracking and reduces distortion during playback. The M91ED also has a unique feature called the “Shure Viscous-Damped Dynamic Stabilizer,” which helps to keep the stylus stable during playback. This feature reduces record wear and improves tracking ability.
One downside of the M91ED is that it’s no longer in production, so finding a new cartridge can be challenging. However, there are still plenty of used cartridges available on the market, and they can be a great option for people who want to experience the classic sound of a vintage Shure cartridge. You can buy a used Shure M91ED on Amazon for around $120.00.
2. Shure V15 Type III Cartridge
The Shure V15 Type III cartridge is a legendary cartridge that was first introduced in the 1970s. It’s known for its incredible tracking ability and low distortion. The V15 Type III has a frequency response of 20Hz-22kHz and a low mass, which makes it perfect for use with lightweight tonearms. This cartridge is ideal for audiophiles who want to hear every detail in their music.
The V15 Type III uses a hyperelliptical stylus, which is similar to the elliptical stylus used in the M97xE. The hyperelliptical stylus allows for even greater accuracy and reduced distortion. The V15 Type III also has a unique feature called the “Dynamic Stabilizer,” which helps to keep the stylus stable during playback. This feature reduces record wear and improves tracking ability.
One downside of the V15 Type III is that it requires a specific type of stylus guard. If you lose the guard or need a replacement, it can be challenging to find. However, if you take care of your stylus and guard, the V15 Type III can last for many years.
3. Shure M97xE Cartridge
The Shure M97xE cartridge is a classic cartridge that was first introduced in 1997. It’s known for its excellent tracking ability, which means that it can read even the most intricate grooves on a record. This cartridge has a frequency response of 20Hz-22kHz, which is the standard range for most cartridges. It also has a low mass, which makes it perfect for use with lightweight tonearms. The M97xE is a great all-around cartridge that can handle a variety of music genres.
One of the things that sets the M97xE apart from other cartridges is its elliptical stylus. The stylus is the needle that sits in the record’s grooves, and the elliptical shape allows it to read the grooves more accurately than a conical stylus. The elliptical stylus also helps to reduce distortion, which is essential for accurate playback. The M97xE is a great cartridge for people who want high-quality sound without breaking the bank.
4. Shure M44-7 Cartridge
The Shure M44-7 cartridge is a cartridge that was designed specifically for DJs. It’s known for its excellent tracking ability and durability. The M44-7 has a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz and a high output, which makes it perfect for use in noisy club environments. This cartridge is ideal for DJs who want to scratch and mix vinyl records.
The M44-7 uses a spherical stylus, which is different from the elliptical and hyperelliptical styluses used in the other cartridges on this list. The spherical stylus is more durable than the other styluses, which is important for DJs who use their equipment heavily. The M44-7 also has a low tracking force, which reduces wear on records and allows for more precise tracking during scratching.
Another unique feature of the M44-7 is its ability to handle high input levels without distortion. This feature is essential for DJs who use mixers and amplifiers that can output high levels of signal. The M44-7 also has a rugged design that can withstand the rigors of DJing, making it a reliable and long-lasting option.
While the M44-7 is primarily designed for DJs, it can also be used by audiophiles who want a cartridge that can handle a wide range of music genres. However, its spherical stylus may not provide the same level of detail as the elliptical or hyperelliptical styluses used in other cartridges.
Vintage Shure cartridges are still highly sought after by audiophiles and music lovers today. If you’re interested in getting the best vintage Shure cartridge for your turntable, any of the above options are excellent choices. Whether you prefer a warm and natural sound or highly detailed and accurate sound, there’s a vintage Shure cartridge out there that will suit your needs.
It’s important to note that when purchasing a vintage cartridge, it’s important to ensure that it’s in good working condition. If you’re purchasing a used cartridge, it’s a good idea to test it with a cartridge tester or multimeter to ensure that it’s functioning properly. You can also consult with a reputable audio technician or specialist to get their advice on purchasing a vintage cartridge.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a high-quality vintage cartridge for your turntable, Shure is definitely a brand to consider. Their vintage cartridges are still highly regarded for their sound quality and durability, and they remain a popular choice among audiophiles and music lovers today. You can find these cartridges and many more on Amazon, so take some time to explore your options and find the best vintage Shure cartridge for your needs.