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 Post subject: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 6:31 am 
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About all I know about the Astatic 13T is that it's the stereo version of the mono 89T power point cartridge and the 13T puts out around half the voltage as an 89T. And, I know the 89T mono cartridges can be rather destructive.

I have a '59-'60 Motorola stereo portable that came with a 13T from the factory. The cartridge is bad and I'm debating on rather to replace it with another 13T or upgrade to a current production Pfanstiehl P-226/Varco TN4. In terms of fidelity and record wear, do you think I'd be safe in sticking with the original 13T or would I do better to upgrade to something else? I like the concept of the plug-in needle/cartridge; but, I don't like the idea of possibly seeing the grooves of the record changing color as it plays.

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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 7:18 am 
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
radiotvnut wrote:
About all I know about the Astatic 13T is that it's the stereo version of the mono 89T power point cartridge and the 13T puts out around half the voltage as an 89T. And, I know the 89T mono cartridges can be rather destructive.

I have a '59-'60 Motorola stereo portable that came with a 13T from the factory. The cartridge is bad and I'm debating on rather to replace it with another 13T or upgrade to a current production Pfanstiehl P-226/Varco TN4. In terms of fidelity and record wear, do you think I'd be safe in sticking with the original 13T or would I do better to upgrade to something else? I like the concept of the plug-in needle/cartridge; but, I don't like the idea of possibly seeing the grooves of the record changing color as it plays.


I used the 13T in my RCA SHP-8 and it works and sounds great. The 226 is going to be the same thing. it tracks at the same weight and has same output. The sound quality is basically identical. The nice thing about the 226 is it is a modern cart and you just replace the needle when it wears out, the 13T is no longer in production so they are old stock and when they wear you toss em out and have to find another.

I don't know what you mean about the 13T being destructive, they are just as gentle as any other cart that tracks at the same weight. What I see often is folks don't check their tracking weight on their players and I have seen 10-12 grams all the time on `50s era RCAs. Run a sapphire needle at 10-12gr TW and all is fine but then swap in a diamond needle and WHAM it starts to eat grooves up. The sapphire is very soft and is forgiving with higher then normal tracking weight but when you switch to a diamond tip, it is much stronger and more aggressive and will eat your records up. With a diamond needle one needs to get the tracking weight down to the cart's factory specs which is usually 6-8 grams for these ceramics and you will be fine and dandy. You won't have anymore wear then a normal with a 6-8 gram ceramic stereo cart.

My vote is for the 226, it is a good modern cart. Easy as pie to install and upkeep as well and will sound every bit as good as the 13T. You can go the magnetic route with a pre-amp as well but tracking weight is going to be about the same anyhow.

T

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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 7:28 am 
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My experience with the 89T's has been in school record players. In the '90's and early 2000's, I was buying gold colored cartridges from the local parts house for around $6/each. These were dual LP tipped cartridges and I assume they were both sapphire. Often, I've seen these needles cause the grooves of the record to change color as it played. And, I've ruined a few polystyrene 45's with only a single playing. The tracking force seemed to be correct; so, maybe I was using an inferior cartridge. I've read that some of the newer 89T's, especially the red ones, are not worth a darn.

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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 3:22 pm 
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The 13TX is the diamond version.

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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 3:24 pm 
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The 226 is a good general-purpose replacement, and I'd much rather use it than those power-point chewers.

Better compliance translates to better tracking and less wear.

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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 6:00 pm 
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Location: Toledo, Ohio
radiotvnut wrote:
My experience with the 89T's has been in school record players. In the '90's and early 2000's, I was buying gold colored cartridges from the local parts house for around $6/each. These were dual LP tipped cartridges and I assume they were both sapphire. Often, I've seen these needles cause the grooves of the record to change color as it played. And, I've ruined a few polystyrene 45's with only a single playing. The tracking force seemed to be correct; so, maybe I was using an inferior cartridge. I've read that some of the newer 89T's, especially the red ones, are not worth a darn.


There you go...you said the tracking seemed to be correct. You must check it and see especially with those crude manual play school players. We are talking grams and you can't really "feel" if it is correct. Most of my RCA players seemed correct as well but when I finally checked with a reliable digital scale they were all 10-14 grams! That is almost double the correct TW for a 89T.

You are also right about inferior or old carts causing problems as well. When I first started with the record players I would buy new carts where ever I could. I came across many new 89T style carts off eBay that changed the color of the record grooves as well. I would re-install the old original Astatic back in and no issues. So, I am assuming that the suspension rubber had hardened up and was causing the issue as well as the heavy tracking my players had. I now buy my carts only from reliable sources like Gary at VM and don't have problems and if I do Gary ALWAYS takes care of the problem.

I also heard about the bad reputation of the Red Made in China 89T copies and have always avoided them. I asked Gary about the rumor and he said these were sold by Pfanstiehl and there was issues early on. He said the issues have been corrected now but myself I have never had bought and tested that theory out. I have only been using nos genuine Astatics.

As far as the 13T remember it IS a stereo cart and fully stereo compatible, it is not a 89T. I currently use one in my SHP-8 so I speak from actual experience and I have had NO issues with them. The 226 is a great cart as well and easy install so you are good to go with either cart as long as you keep that tracking weight correct.

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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Location: Haledon NJ USA
It seems that they don't polish new styli like they used to. When I install a new stylus I break it in by playing a few dusty scratched up records, this will often remove any burrs left on the tip due to sloppy manufacturing.

Ken D.


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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Mon 17, 2011 5:52 am 
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Location: Woodinville, WA 98072
bastardbus wrote:
...We are talking grams and you can't really "feel" if it is correct. Most of my RCA players seemed correct as well but when I finally checked with a reliable digital scale they were all 10-14 grams! That is almost double the correct TW for a 89T.<snip>

These little vintage tracking force measurement gauges pop up for sale now and then at reasonable prices. I think I paid 9 bucks for this one. Granted, they are not as accurate as a modern digital scale, but this one reads within 1/2 gram of my digital scales measurement! Plus, it is a neat little conversation piece. Uh oh... looks like I need to "zero it out" again :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Mon 17, 2011 8:14 am 
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Steve, I had one of these scales (wasn't a Clarkstan, forgot the brand) that you had to move something while you were weighing the tonearm to determine the grams, and it wasn't accurate at all. Once I got my digital scale, I threw that thing in the wastebasket. It was a piece of junk.

Todd is right, most of the RCAs I have measured lately (and I measure the weight of every changer I service now), measure 10-15 grams. I measured one about a month ago that weighed 18 grams!!!!!

I have had considerable experience using Astatic 89Ts. I bought 60 NOS 89T cartridges from one seller on eBay a year and a half ago, and I only have about 5 of them left right now. They will NOT discolor a record or wear it out like some one here have indicated in the past. I have one Cars LP that I have played through about 200 times, and it still looks and plays like new. The key is getting the tonearm weight right. For an 89T it needs to be slightly over 7 grams for it to track right without hangups or skips.

The Astatic 89Ts are now in short supply and they'll soon be gone. The cartridge holders for them are also in short supply. Because of this, lately I have just been installing new .7 mil LP needles in the original Sonotone 2T cartridges, and they track stereo records just fine. The 1 mil needles skip on stereo records but are fine on mono LPs. It's a lot cheaper too to just replace the needle in the original cartridge than to install a new 89T and holder. And it's a lot easier installation too. :D

Don't buy any of the Chinese red knockoffs as they are worthless. I bought three of them a couple years ago and I only use them for one purpose. I install a red one in an 89T cart holder so the pins will be good and solid when I solder tonearm wire to the tiny little pins. Then, I remove the red one and install a geniune Astatic in its place.


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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Mon 17, 2011 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1898
Location: Haledon NJ USA
The Clarkston scale is very useful for older phonographs. I've used one for decades.

The Sonotone 2T cartridge is a pretty darn good cartridge for mono records ONLY. It has no vertical complaince whatsoever and using a .7 mil tip in it will only accelerate record wear. Why they even made a .7 mil tip makes no sense, outside of marketing of course.

Ken D.


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 Post subject: Re: Astatic 13T Vs. Pfanstiehl P-226
PostPosted: Oct Mon 17, 2011 11:42 pm 
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Ken Doyle wrote:
Why they even made a .7 mil tip makes no sense, outside of marketing of course.


It is cheaper to just put a .7 mil tip on everything, rather than having to stock 1 mil tips, and perhaps mixing them up, too. I have worked in a manufacturing situation where similar parts got put in the wrong place in the stockroom.

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