Everybody knows Shure.
Whenever you mention the likes of Ortofon and Audio Technica, Shure is most likely to top the list.
But regardless of the manufacturer’s reliability and popularity for quality products, it’s still important to do a background check on your target musical instrument model.
So to speak, if you’re considering Shure’s M95ED phono cartridge for your vinyl player, you are in the right place.
In this Shure M95ED review, I’ll explain everything you need to know for a blameless purchase decision.
Shure M95ED; The Overview
The M95ED is one of Shure’s first lines of moving magnet cartridges that got Shure a big stride into the market of vinyl recorder accessories. It is a nude elliptical cartridge mostly found as a good replacement on the likes of Yamaha YP-511 and Pioneer PL12D. Most happy users are the late ’70s and early 80′ listeners who use their turntable at home or in the club. These users love the M95ED especially for its high compliance, extensive frequency range response, and how effective the dynamicity of its tracking force is. But for the general Shure M95ED fans, it’s the best vintage needle at the middle price.
Down below, I have zoomed in on the complete details of the M95ED to give you all the needed information for deciding whether it’s a no-no or yay for you.
First thing first…
- Sound Quality
Whether you’re looking for a clear real-time reproduction of the late ’80s pop or an accurate tracking needle for your club’s turntable to play rock with, this is for you. Starting with the treble, just like every other Shure moving magnets, the M95ED is rather soft in its upper treble sound production whilst being airy and detailed in the lower treble without picking distortion from an inconsistent groove body.
On the flip side, this cartridge handles the sibilance of midrange frequencies well, while being particularly open, dynamic, and clear on the same. For the midrange vocals, the sound produced is honest and warm just as expected. Finally, M95ED shells out stable punchy bass, textured and taut, almost a darkish richness.
Overall, the sound quality is great. This cartridge is designed to maintain good balance between highs, lows, and mids, without being too detailed (as opposed to what an audiophile will be looking for) whilst still being open and clear enough for a real vinyl listening.
Though this needle is given a high compliance representation on the description, and while a significant population of users attests to this claim, the M95ED has a rather average compliance rating from its largest group of users. As previously hinted in my preview, it is more compatible with the medium-mass tonearm turntables, say something like the Pioneer PL12D or the low-mass tonearm of a Yamaha YP-511.
- Tracking Force And Accuracy
The tracking precision of a needle plays a major role in the transparency and purity of the sound quality bounced off of the groove body. Here’s what I mean. Too much force can bring about distortion in the vinyl reproduction from an old cracked-up groove body.
Likewise, a seriously low tracking force will let you miss out on the audio depth as prefered by every vinyl lover. And as this Shure M95ED offers a tracking force range of 0.75-1.5g, it’s a quite versatile needle that establishes just the right tracking force aligned with your turntable depending on how expertly you set it up. Needless to say, while this is true for your new M95ED, setting the right tracking force for an aftermarket replacement vinyl for this cartridge can be quite daunting. You may just want to get an audiophile friend in to set it up for you.
- Frequency Response Range
Bouncing the ideal headroom off of your player as a turntablist is more about being skeptical about the cartridge model you exchange your money for. And the M95ED as such with a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz, you’ll be more satisfied with it for a turntable to be used at home than you would if you’d buy it for your heavy-duty gigging as a DJ. More later on why you wouldn’t scratch with this needle. In the meantime, thanks to the 5m/sec peak velocity and the highest output of 4.7mV per channel when setu up to 1, 000Hz, this cartridge is still a good fit for a turntable in the studio.
- Needle strength
While nude elliptical stylus offer the advantage of deep and detailed tracking, they all share the same drawback of breaking off too easily. So if you’re an aggressive DJ looking for a scratching cartridge for your turntable, you may just have to keep looking or replace the stylus that comes with this one with an N78S needle or something stronger and shorter.
When by an audiophile in the studio, however, filling this M95ED catridge’s needle size of 0.0007inch × 0.0002inch to something between 0.0005inch × 0.0001inch and 0.0006inch × 0.0002inch will give you the attention to detail that you need. Note that the filling process should be done by an expert with the use of a Dremel dril or a file.
- Channel Separation
You want to avoid disturbance at all costs. But since this is a dual-magnet cartridge, what first comes to mind is the annoying self-talk that the majority of dual-magnet cartridges are known for. Well, the reverse is the case with the M95ED. While still boasting that purity and punchy bass, the integrated two magnets are separated in a V-shape system with a channel separation of +25dB at 1, 000Hz.
- Capacitive Load
How dynamic the capacitive load of your cartridge stands will determine how much control you have over the sonic variation of your music. Thanks to the recommended capacitive load range of 400-500pF of the M95ED, you can always craft the right capacitance setting for your phono preamp and get the sonic you want. But I must warn, anything beyond 300-450pF capacitance with this cartridge can end your music up with a lot of roll-off.
With all that said, I have highlighted why and why not to like the Shure M95ED down below.
- A wide range of frequency response for adaptability and heightened headroom
- Nude elliptical needles are known to be accurate in their tracking without sitting too much on the groove
- Reasonable tracking force range for versatility and deep tracking
- Mid-range price, quite affordable for your low budget
- A sturdy cartridge built with a rugged casing made to last
- It can be used in a night setting where external illumination is limited
- The best moving magnet cartridge for your home turntable and club vinyl player
- Replacement needle is readily available
- Needle mileage is short
- Not ideal for scratching
Shure is one of the leading musical instrument and accessories manufacturers. Their lines of moving coil cartridges, moving magnet cartridges, and microphones are mostly found on the closest shelf in all stores. But regardless, having complete information on a cartridge before buying it is important. So far, in this Shure M95ED review, I have explained everything you need to decide whether the Shure M95ED is a compatible cartridge for your turntable. I hope this helps.