Shure N97xE Stylus
The very low mass M97xE cartridge shares several important features with the V15VxMR audiophile cartridge. Shure's exclusive viscous-damped Dynamic Stabilizer, which maintains a uniform distance between the cartridge and the record under difficult playing conditions, such as those caused by warped records, or mismatched tonearm mass. When such stabilization is not required, the stabilizer brush can be locked up into its detent position, which, under ideal playing conditions, can provide even better sound quality.
A die cast aluminum mounting block for secure, vibration-free attachment to the tonearm. The SIDE-GUARD stylus protection system that helps prevent stylus damage if the cartridge accidentally slides across a record. This unique feature responds to side thrusts on the stylus by withdrawing the entire stylus cantilever and tip safely into the stylus housing before the cantilever can be damaged.
Audiogon ReviewThe Shure M97xE may or may not be a baby V15. I’ll leave it to those who have heard both recently to answer that. Taken on its own terms, the M97 offers way above average detail retrieval, good imaging, decent soundstaging, excellent tracking and dynamics, and terrific build quality. More importantly, and harder to adequately describe, is its remarkable listenability and marked lack of harshness. I can easily imagine someone living happily with this cartridge for a decade or more, instead of ceaselessly clamoring for something better. (There’s a word for people like that: “sane.”) I’ve stayed up late on numerous occasions with this cartridge because it ‘gets out of the way’ (as they say in the magazines) and allows the music to shine. I suspect the few affectations it exhibits are more the doing of my turntable than the cartridge itself. True, surface noise can be slightly intrusive if you’re used to moving coils or more expensive moving magnets. I also wish the Shure had slightly tighter-sounding lows on some recordings, and improved soundstaging on others. Maybe you’ll find those qualities in the V15. Then again, maybe not. One thing’s for sure: the M97xE needn’t stand in its big brother’s shadow. It’s a wonderful little cartridge that deserves an audition in nearly any sub-$1000 analog playback system.
Ratings & Reviews
I'm sorry. This is one rolled off, dull sounding little turd. It sounds that way; it measures that way. Anyone who says this cartridge is even close to the V15VxMR has clearly never heard one properly set up, especially not with a JICO SAS stylus, which turns that cartridge into a very refined performer. I gavethe 97xE 3 stars because at least it isn't offensive sounding, and won't damage your LP's. Faint praise indeed! You'll do better with another make, now that Shure has discontinued their V15 series. Either that, or get a JICO stylus for this cartridge, which turns it into a totally different animal. And good luck with JICO's backlog, and their QC, which unfortunately seems to be slipping lately.
I have this mounted on my Marantz 6200. I just love it. The music comes alive. I can hear individual instruments and background vocals like I've never heard before. Sounds far better than any CD.
It is an Stylus with style
Produce an excellent deep sound
Great, but no V15
by Guy who likes records
The M97 is a great cartridge for the money. It's not (in my opinion) for critical listening but gets everything "mostly" right.
My issue with it was the sibilance in the higher frequencies and in complex musical passages.
I keep one around for the times when I won't be sitting down to listen critically, or to play older records that I don't want to play with the new styli on either of my V15's.
That being said, if you aren't using very revealing, high resolution equipment downstream, the minor issues with it may not be terribly obvious.
Let there be no mistake. The M97 is no replacement for a V15. I have a V15 III and a V15 V which I use on different turntables.
The V15's can handle far more complex musical passages than the M97, but they'd darned well better sound good for the prices of the Shibata styli they "like".