Boltless and decapitated.

this is bit a bit of a theme, take a perfect good cart and remove it from its body and tape it to a stripped back headshell.

why? well, I’m a fan of simplicity. less is more and all that. I was impressed by the improvements yielded from decapitating my Shure v15iii, and curiosity got the better of me.

todays subject was a Zepher C100 (which is an at95e with a shibata stylus). Simple enough, undo the body screw. Two straight cuts to the stylus body then its just a matter of fixing it to the headshell.

As the last time was such a success I figured i’d replicate the same fixing method. As follows:

  1. is two pieces of ”Gorilla Patch & Seal waterproof tape” this is a thick rubber tape which works as a good damper.
  2. is a wedge of WhiteTack, again a good damper and easily formed. stays put.
  3. 3m micropore surgical tape.

thats really all there is to it, tools were a sharp craft knife, a small screwdriver & tweezers.

This process does however reduce the mass by a significant amount, in the case of this one I needed to add some additional mass (more whitetac) to the inner back of the headshell to get it balanced properly.

For all of these experiments I’m using my JVC QL-Y5F as it has a fully servo damped tonearm. It’s a phenomenal piece of technology and a real shame that the audio industry have ignored that development instead choosing to focus on cheaper inferior designs, because hey, more margin!

Anyway, if you’re thinking of doing this and you have a conventional tonearm you’ll need to take the effective mass into consideration.

Does it sound any better? Yes it does, it certainly sounds more open and alive. In stock form it sounded lacking and sluggish compared with my other cartridges. It’s still not as revealing as the Shure, but the low end is solid and fun.

Would I recommend doing this? If you have time, patience, steady hands and cartridge & stylus that you’re willing to accept that you might well break.

Then yes, why not. It does improve it.

Oh another thing, my JVC has removable headshells with a needle to collar distance of 48mm which makes affixing these according to the specified overhang simple. You need to make sure you get that spot on too.

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