Does anyone know what the difference is between an Audio Technica 20SL and a 20SLa?
I know that the AT20SS had a beryllium cantilever while the AT20SL was aluminum. But I don't know what difference there was between the AT20SL and the AT20SLa.
I have both. I have owned an AT20SL for almost 40 years. It was the cartridge I used throughout my young adult life. But many years ago I needed a replacement needle for it and while looking for a replacement came across a great deal on an AT20SLa that cost little more than the replacement stylus. So of course, I purchased it.
I like my original AT20SL for sentimental reasons. I like the little wooden box it came in too. So I ended up making it the one I keep on the shelf, perefering to use the AT20SLa for day-to-day use. But I always wondered if there was any difference between the two cartridges.
AT20SL was the original in the series. The SLa had a slightly different body for the newly adopted 20 degree tracking angle. The SS had a beryllium cantilever in place of the original aluminum. All 20 series were merely hand-selected from the best of AT15 production (in other words, no real difference, just closest to spec).
In the real world, I doubt you'd find much audible difference between any of the series. I've owned quite a few (running an AT15E these days), and all are superb.
After reading that, I searched for the VTA of the original AT20 and couldn't find it, but I'm assuming it must've been 15° since that was more common when the cartridge was originally manufactured. So that might make it a better choice for older albums.