I've fallen in love with the Stanton 500AL

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by action pact, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore Thread Starter

    Ladies and gentlemen, I have fallen in love with the Stanton 500AL.

    On a whim, a few weeks ago I bought a NOS Stanton (Florida) D5100AL-II stylus and fitted it to the Pickering NP/AC body that I had been using exclusively for 78 duty since the '90s. The NP/AC generator is pretty much a Stanton 500 with a different label.

    The D5100AL-II is a .7mil conical rated for 2-5g VTF, so I set it for 4.5g - not for the faint of heart, and making sure your records are spotlessly clean before playing with such a heavy-tracker is a must.

    I had already wrapped the cartridge pins with thin copper strands, summing it to mono. Listening to vintage mono records with this combo on my modded SL-1200MK2 sounds, well, amazing. Bass is powerful and weighty, the top end is clean and precise, and the mids are spot-on as well. From top to bottom, it sounds balanced and neutral, and has wonderful body and dynamic slam.

    If my understanding is correct, true-mono records are cut with horizontal movement only, so the heavy downforce helps keep the stylus locked in the groove, and the conical tip is a better fit for the U-shaped mono groove than elliptical or fine-line tips.

    Is the 500AL refined? Of course not, but the overall presentation is wonderfully huge and round and propulsive.


    After years of decline, Stanton sadly stopped producing styli a number of years ago, although NOS Stanton/Pickering stylus replacements are still out there. I decided to stock up while I could, and I found a seller on eBay offering several '90s(?) NOS blister-packs with a Stanton (NY) gold body 500 and two additional styli, so I bought one. I figure that two bodies and four styli are enough to last me the rest of my life. The same seller still has a bunch more for sale, if anyone's interested.

    A word of advice to anyone curious about trying out a 500. The cartridge comes with a couple of plastic screw-mounts that fit over the wings - I suggest using them. I found that it sounded much better with the mounts - with richer bass and no top-end harshness - vs. using without.

    I'm curious how the 500AL will fare with stereo records, especially those from the '50s and '60s. Since my NP/AC is set-up for mono, I might crack open the 500 and mount it on another headshell.


    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
    timind and Tim S like this.

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