Signs of cartidge demise

the thin end of the wedge
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butterfield
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Signs of cartidge demise

Post by butterfield » 16 Oct 2019 18:25

Just thought I would ask how do most people tell if there cartridge is going bad has seen its day however to put it. time to get a new one like that. I ask this bc after getting ready to set up a few dif tables some of my carts are very old. That said do some notice a decline od sound? A mistrack here and there. Or maybe the way some of us go thru carts we do not even let them play out that long.
thanks,

circularvibes
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Re: Signs of cartidge demise

Post by circularvibes » 16 Oct 2019 18:36

You have left out relevant information. If you are talking about ceramic/crystal/strain gauge cartridges, then yes, generally you can hear a decline in sound quality and output. If you are talking about moving magnet, moving iron or variable reluctance cartridges, the cartridges that have removeable styli are very unlikely to degrade, only the styli suspension. If you mean moving coil or any magnetic cartridge with non-removeable styli can also degrade do to failed suspension due solely to age, not wear. Wear is a separate issue and can only be evaluated individually.

butterfield
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Re: Signs of cartidge demise

Post by butterfield » 17 Oct 2019 15:17

Thanks yes that is why I posted the question to get a better idea of how others view there carts as time goes on. IF you notice a certain slippage in performance and so on with time and usage.? So far people have spoken of generally that with time you may loose suspension but without abuse to your carts they will last a very long time. Generally speaking. That got me to thinking what a great investment buying carts can be. If they do not have a life span like say tubes well hope you follow my thought there.
Thanks,

pivot
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Re: Signs of cartidge demise

Post by pivot » 17 Oct 2019 17:02

Cartridge, assuming moving magnet OR moving iron OR moving coil, seldom wears out. The stylus, cantilever, and suspension wears and/or ages. If you have a cartridge that has a user replaceable stylus assemble, replacing the stylus will win you like new performance. Most moving coil cartridges need to go to a specialized re-tipper/re-builder like Sound Smith to be restored.

How long a stylus/suspension last depends on clean records and the environment the system is used/stored in.

With clean records and careful use a stylus assembly can last between 500 and 1,200 hours of playback. Dirty records and mishandling can grossly shorten the lifespan.

When a stylus goes "bad" there is an increase in inner groove distortion, increased surface noise, and lack of tracking ability. Replacement should be done as soon as the degradation is the least bit audible. A worn stylus can damage records.

62vauxhall
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Re: Signs of cartidge demise

Post by 62vauxhall » 19 Oct 2019 06:30

Assuming it is a magnetic;

For me, a dead channel - as in no continuity through the coil - is the deciding factor as to whether a cartridge has gone bad or not. If both coils measure close, it's good to go.

PioneerFan
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Re: Signs of cartidge demise

Post by PioneerFan » 22 Oct 2019 15:06

A magnetic cartridge is basically a box of coils. Either it works, or, it does not.

EdAInWestOC
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Re: Signs of cartidge demise

Post by EdAInWestOC » 23 Oct 2019 16:00

The parts of a cartridge that do age are the elastomer parts. The bits of rubber like pieces that make up the cartridge's suspension. Some of these parts age well while others don't.

It also depends on how the cartridge/stylus is stored. The ageing is dependent on the temperature and humidity of the storage location.

Some cartridges have styli that are almost impossible to find replacements while others are abundant. The replacement styli are also all over the map on quality. Some styli were made with some really esoteric parts. Panasonic/Technics were famous for their really different styli but they are very difficult to find replacements for.

Substitute replacement styli can be disappointing and some are just fine. The care taken to manufacture the styli, the type of materials used and the cut and polish of the stone are all items that make up a really good quality stylus.

Ask around before you stick with certain cartridges. Make sure there are decent styli replacements around before you invest your time in mounting and aligning the cartridge.

I have been a long time LOMC cartridge fan but I have owned some good quality MM/MI cartridges. I had a very nice ADC XLM II Improved with an original ADC stylus. It sounded great with the original stylus but I ordered a replacement and the replacement was not the equal of the ADC original stylus.

There are few manufacturers around who make really high quality replacement styli. The market has grown over the past 10 years but it still isn't big enough to justify a lot of quality styli manufacturers. Some people report on some good quality replacements and I would take note on these replacements.

I own a Shure Ultra 500 cartridge with an original NOS stylus plus a JICO SAS replacement. The JICO stylus is excellent and replacements from that source are superb. There are few top quality styli manufacturers around and getting to know who these are is worth your time.

You did not say which cartridges you were trying to use. If you post that information the members can recommend specific stylus replacement sources. The cartridge itself seldom wears out but as I already stated there are parts of a cartridge that can age badly. It depends on the specific cartridge. The stylus is a critical issue and so is the suspension, which is usually part of the stylus replacement but there are exceptions.

Good luck with your old cartridges. I would look at the JICO replacement styli. They are not cheap but they are very high quality.

Ed

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