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Re: Stylus Inspection [message #89578 is a reply to message #89577] Sun, 13 January 2019 19:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17391
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

The original stylus I'm comparing with looks like this:

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2305&private=0
Original Audio Technical AT20 stylus

Side by side comparison:

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2307&private=0
Left: ATN20 "Bliss" Stylus, Right Original Audio Technica AT20 Stylus

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2308&private=0
Left: ATN20 "Bliss" Stylus, Right Original Audio Technica AT20 Stylus
Re: Stylus Inspection [message #89579 is a reply to message #89578] Sun, 13 January 2019 19:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17391
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

Comparison of the two styli at 100x magnification:


/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2309&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Tip (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2314&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Tip (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2310&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Suspension (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2315&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Suspension (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2311&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Suspension, Magnet side (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2316&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Stylus Suspension, Magnet side (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2312&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Magnets (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2317&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Magnets (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2313&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Magnets (at 100x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2318&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Magnets (at 100x magnification)

One thing I learned was the focal point of the microscope was so tight that it could either focus on the cantilever suspension or the tip of the magnets, but not both. This is really apparent at higher magnification levels, as you'll see next.

Subjectively, the Audio Note stylus tip looks "dirty" at this magnification level. The Bliss tip looks better at 100x. But as we zoom in closer, the Audio Note looks pretty good. And at higher magnification levels, you can see the Shibata shape.

Re: Stylus Inspection [message #89580 is a reply to message #89579] Sun, 13 January 2019 19:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17391
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

As I said, the focal point of the microscope is so tight that it could either focus on the cantilever shaft or the tip of the stylus, but not both. At higher magnification levels, it would even focus only on a section of the tip. So I rolled the focus knob up and down to focus first on the base, then the middle and finally the tip.

I've seen photos of highly magnified views that had good clarity through a range of distances, so I wonder if they are using imaging equipment that is capable of that, or if they are gathering multiple images and splicing them together. Perhaps better imaging equipment is capable of doing that automatically. I don't know, but I do know that with what I'm working with, you have to choose a single focal point.

So I've attached both static photos of the styli tip, and also animations showing me "roll through" focal points from base to tip.

Comparison of the two styli at 1000x magnification:


/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2319&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Tip (1000x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2320&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Tip (1000x, rolling focal point)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2321&private=0
Bliss ATN20 Stylus Tip (1000x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2322&private=0
Bliss ATN20 Stylus Tip (1000x, rolling focal point)

Re: Stylus Inspection [message #89581 is a reply to message #89580] Sun, 13 January 2019 20:32 Go to previous message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17391
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

Comparison of the two styli at 2000x magnification:


/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2323&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Tip (2000x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2324&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Tip (2000x, rolling focus)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2325&private=0
Audio Technica AT20 Stylus Tip (2000x, rolling focus with extra contrast)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2326&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Tip (2000x magnification)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2327&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Tip (2000x, rolling focus)

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=2328&private=0
"Bliss" ATN20 Stylus Tip (2000x, rolling focus with extra contrast)


I think the 1000x microscope lens worked best for me. The 2000x was a little too much and the 100x was a little too little.

The USB microscopes were definitely not the highest-quality units available. I think probably some really good images could be captured with a better quality 1000x 'scope. With a high-quality digital microscope, one could possibly capture images good enough to be used to render 3D models of styli from each manufacturer, and catalog them all for comparison. But that's beyond the scope of this discussion. The goal of this thread was to be able to identify worn stylus with an inexpensive microscope and I think we've been able to do that.

The Audio Technical stylus is used, but doesn't appear to be worn. I still plan to view both styli with side-mounted lighting and to look for the "hot spots" on either side as prescribed by Shure. But for now, just viewing the styli with the built-in camera lighting, I could still see the tips well enough to draw the conclusion that neither were excessively worn.

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