The advantage of modern styluses is that you can get them with truncated
tips, which you definitely want, especially for restoration purposes. They
generally play a 78 much cleaner than an original issue pointy tip that is
hitting all the wear in the very bottom of the groove, which it seems can
often be the most worn part of the groove. You can also get elliptical
ones, which sometimes play better than conical. It's definitely a trial
and error thing, as the history of the individual record matters a lot.
Nauck sells all of these (see prior link that I posted), which is where I
bought my array of styluses for restoration work. While I have not
compared to styluses available elsewhere, these have worked really well for
me. You can generally tell which of several styluses is "right" by which
gives the strongest and least noisy result. Sometimes I play little
samples using different styluses and record them all to .wav files, then
take my time comparing by playing back the .wav files and comparing this
against that. It is much easier to compare four or five samples this way,
where the results are not obvious upon first playing. For regular
commercial 78's, especially after the acoustic era, the starting point is
usually a 2.75 TE (truncated elliptical). This is often the best one. For
transcription discs, there is no standard.
Thanks for the tip about the different kinds of Stanton 500 cartridges. I
didn't know about the plastic-case ones. I just looked at mine, which I
have had forever, and it has a gold metal case.
Finding the best stylus is just the first step. Actually getting the 78
record centered perfectly comes first. Next it is imperative, really
imperative, to work with phono-equalization curves at the preamp level to
find the "right" match. It makes a huge difference. That's a whole
On Sun, Mar 1, 2015 at 9:08 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
> Hi John:
> I agree with you that the Stanton 500 makes a good chasis for 78RPM
> playback, but we should clarify that there are Stanton 500's with
> metal-colored (I think actual stainless or aluminum) bodies and then there
> are white-colored plastic versions sold in the late years of China-based
> "Stanton." I have both kinds, and the metal-colored one sounds much better,
> to my ears. I think the plastic one resonates or makes some other frequency
> anomoly due to its body design.
> Since "Stanton" no longer makes a model 500, the choice today is the Shure
> M78, which is based on the M44 and fitted with a conical wide-groove
> stylus. I don't know this for fact but I'm pretty sure that the guys at
> Expert Stylus in the UK would fit generic M44 stylus assemblies with
> whatever tips a 78 collector desired. It's non-ideal, not as good as when
> Shure itself made a high-quality 78 playback system with many needle
> options (and real-deal Stanton did at the same time). But for 90+% of
> wide-groove playing, it'll do the trick.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "John Haley" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2015 3:56 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Busy Bee records
> You can also buy styluses in various sizes from Nauck, here:
>> and see the good advice toward the bottom of that page. Most people I
>> use a Stanton 500 cartridge to play 78's (as I do).
>> John H. Haley
>> On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 11:00 PM, Mark Hendrix <[log in to unmask]
>> Ben Roth wrote, "Does anyone know what type of stylus or cartridge should
>>> used for Busy Bee records?"
>>> Hello, Ben,
>>> Here is some information that I hope will help.
>>> Cartridges: Shure M-44 (still manufactured) with the N44-C stylus (I
>>> know if this is still manufactured; the N 44/7 stylus is the LP version)
>>> the Stanton 500 series (no longer manufactured) with the Stanton stylus
>>> made for playing 78s (D5127 stylus, blue plastic stylus holder, also no
>>> longer manufactured; the D5110, white plastic stylus holder, is the LP
>>> Busy Bee disc records were lateral cut records designed to be played
>>> with a
>>> steel needle. These needles had a tip radius of approximately 3 mil,
>>> 'mil' means 'one thousandth of an inch.' You will get the best sound by
>>> choosing a stylus that plays the portion of the groove that was NOT
>>> by the original playback equipment, so depending on how worn your records
>>> are, you need a variety of styli to ride above or below where the steel
>>> needle traveled to get the best reproduction.
>>> So, for styli: short answer: 2.3 mil, 2.7 mil, and 3.5 mil -sized styli
>>> handle the majority of "78's" you will encounter.
>>> For general playback info from a collector's (and professional
>>> engineer's) point of view, try the late Roger Beardsley's article at:
>>> He recommends - a set of 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 mil (or alternatively 2.0,
>>> 2.8 and 3.2 mil) truncated elliptical styli should do for a start; you
>>> rarely come across a record that does not sound acceptable with one of
>>> these, although in some cases an 1.5 mil or a 4.0 mil improves the
>>> reproduction noticeably.
>>> Here is where you can find Expert Stylus' recommendations:
>>> I hope this is helpful. Best wishes, Mark Hendrix