Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

the thin end of the wedge
Delta667
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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Delta667 » 26 Oct 2019 14:04

Erin1 wrote:
26 Oct 2019 13:32
billshurv wrote:
26 Oct 2019 13:22
. And if that, combined with the cheapest possible generator floats your boat all fine.
No it does not "float my boat"

But I'm not sure why you seem to personally take offence that I am pointing out that it really does not cost that much more to make the "better" bodies and stylus.

In fact I've not seen any proof that it does.
Other than social conditioning by seeing retail prices which makes people assume it "Costs a lot more" which is just speculation and inuendo.

Do you have hard proof "it costs a lot more"?
Bill, you won’t believe it, I bought them back in 1985)) I still have them, although they don’t work. :lol:
I believe that there is little logic in sound, there must be harmony in sound. If it is, no matter what means it is achieved, for $ 1 or 1000.
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Delta667
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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Delta667 » 26 Oct 2019 14:21

As for modern stylus replicas, my opinion is that the people who make them do not even understand what it is!? This is done as an object, without a clue about its purpose. It seems that everything is there, but it does not work, because the magnets abut the magnetic circuit.
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Erin1
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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Erin1 » 26 Oct 2019 14:46

billshurv wrote:
26 Oct 2019 13:58
I doubt any proof will convince you.
Well let me assure you- it would!

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Erin1 » 26 Oct 2019 14:48

Delta667 wrote:
26 Oct 2019 14:21
As for modern stylus replicas, my opinion is that the people who make them do not even understand what it is!? This is done as an object, without a clue about its purpose. It seems that everything is there, but it does not work, because the magnets abut the magnetic circuit.
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Interesting perspective. I've heard people say this before. It's almost like technology took a step backwards. But the prices go up....

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Delta667 » 26 Oct 2019 15:05

Erin1 wrote:
26 Oct 2019 14:48

Interesting perspective. I've heard people say this before. It's almost like technology took a step backwards. But the prices go up....
Where there is demand there will always be a seller. Yesterday he was selling “hand cream”, today “styluses”. But he wants to be a singer, or a stripper, but there is a lot of competition here :lol:

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by GuidoK » 26 Oct 2019 17:01

Erin1 wrote:
26 Oct 2019 12:37
GuidoK wrote:
26 Oct 2019 12:15
Collux wrote:
25 Oct 2019 23:25

With some examples the generator is almost thrown in; as replacement OEM needles often approach the 'full' product price.
That doesnt make it a rip off.
An advanced stylus&cantilever setup probably is the most expensive part of any cartridge by far.
We have been conditioned to believe this.
But is it true? Actual evidence?

Clearly winding some wire around a bobbin and mounting it into an injection moulded plastic body costs next to nothing as proven by the Chinese made AT3600 which sells on eBay for $11 (with stylus) and some people on vinylengine seem to love going by the hot thread at the moment...

So clearly making a stylus is not so difficult or expensive.

A reasonable guess is that the sellers buy the cartridge for half that, say $5.

This makes the cartridge cost about $2.50 and the stylus about the same....

So what evidence is there that it's difficult or expensive to do?
This just doesnt make any sense. Your reasoning states that any stylus costs the same in manufacturing and they're all equally easy to do. So a conical bonded stylus costs the same to make as a nude shibata or other exotic grinding?
Then why does ortofon say that they can manufacture the simple bonded stylus/cartridge assembly in house but they cant do the nude ones and they have to source that out? (because its too difficult and need a specialist firm to do that) see michael fremers video on youtube where it is said in the ortofon guided tour for affiliates. Mind you, it is the head of ortofon development who says that.
My guess is that he knows more of cartridge manufacturing than you do :lol:
Erin1 wrote:
26 Oct 2019 13:27

Yes. Ok. A tapered cantilever.
But much more to manufacture?🤔
I doubt it 😂
So a straight cantilever you can make from a continious line of aluminium pipe.
Just cut them off, bend/punch the end in the desired vta with the hole for the stylus and then crimp the stylus and presto!.

And a tapered cantilever?!?
There is no tapered continious tube. So yes, they have to be made individually, piece for piece and not just cut from an endless tube. Which is way more expensive. (the tapered cantilever isnt simply cut from a semi finished product like the straight stylus is)

You doubt things without analyzing how a production process for the part might work, so the doubt is based on nothing (at least, not on something objective)

And going into even more exotic cantilever assemblies like sapphire or diamond, that requires machines to make synthetic jewels in certain shapes. That can only be done cheaply if the production numbers are really high (like jewels for watches). But for exotic cantilevers, that production number is extremely low, which comes with high costs.

The rip off part is there as that profit margins tend to be much higher on complicated products.
But is that a rip off? making more profit on something that is much more difficult and which takes more time and more skills? Usually quality control is also much higher on those products, which adds in the costs.
And as profit from trades ususally is calculated in margins and not a set amount, the price difference grows exponentially as it goes down the trading line from manufacturer to importer to wholesale to end sale in the hifishop on the corner. Your topicstart considers only the end prices, so your topicstart basically says that trading is a rip off.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by wolfie62 » 26 Oct 2019 18:26

I will have to say this:

The cart makers that survived the vinyl death, such as AT and Ortofon, invested long ago in the manufacturing technology and tooling for mass producing carts and styli. So, there’s that.

Modern pick and place methods for electronics manufacturing lends itself to manufacturing the bodies and internals. But not so much for the styli and components.

For basic carts/styli such as the 3600, mass manufacturing methods apply. For high tier units, styli, not so much.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Erin1 » 27 Oct 2019 01:59

Yes, the two posts above do get the gist of my opinion.

A tapered cantilever may be more time consuming to make, (but where is the actual proof to back this up?)

Sapphire and Ruby are cheap as chips.

Proof: a 3mm ruby bearing is USD $3
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3924793265


Here is a ruby Rod (much bigger than a cantilever)

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 0965290306

If ruby is lazer cut or manufactued into a cantilever shape it will also be cheap. Ruby, saphire, diamond is cheap and easy to make.

If modern automated techniques were employed (we are still assuming they aren't) the time and cost to manufacture these things would come down to peanuts.
(imagine a computer controlled pick and place machine lining up a stylus perfectly on a cantilever with 100% precision in a matter of seconds)

If the cartridge and stylus manufacturers don't automate (still assuming they haven't) , the consumer will forever be subjected to ever higher costs.

I will come back to the fact that aftermarket elliptical stylus are sold for AUD $29 (approximately USD $16)
Which as far as I can tell still require someone (or an automated machine) to line up the stylus correctly, and glue it to the cantilever.
This one point does prove that mounting and aligning a stylus is not the thing that is costly or difficult.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Erin1 » 27 Oct 2019 01:16

GuidoK wrote:
26 Oct 2019 17:01



And a tapered cantilever?!?
There is no tapered continious tube. So yes, they have to be made individually, piece for piece and not just cut from an endless tube. Which is way more expensive. (the tapered cantilever isnt simply cut from a semi finished product like the straight stylus is)
How do you think cartridge clips are made? They are all made in machines that cut bend, and shape the brass clip with a little curl on the end. It's really no different at all to make a tapered cantilever.

You seem to be suggesting that the tapered cantilever involves a person folding a piece of foil by hand.
This is a preposterous suggestion.

They are 100% made by a machine.
A person may load foil into the machine. But the machine does the folding and stamping.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by wolfie62 » 27 Oct 2019 01:35

Erin1 wrote:
27 Oct 2019 01:16
GuidoK wrote:
26 Oct 2019 17:01



And a tapered cantilever?!?
There is no tapered continious tube. So yes, they have to be made individually, piece for piece and not just cut from an endless tube. Which is way more expensive. (the tapered cantilever isnt simply cut from a semi finished product like the straight stylus is)
How do you think cartridge clips are made? They are all made in machines that cut bend, and shape the brass clip with a little curl on the end. It's really no different at all to make a tapered cantilever.

You seem to be suggesting that the tapered cantilever involves a person folding a piece of foil by hand.
This is a preposterous suggestion.

They are 100% made by a machine.
A person may load foil into the machine. But the machine does the folding and stamping.
Most likely, a tapered cantilever starts from a small tube, then is shaped on a mandrel to expand the straight tube onto a taper. But this is done in a full soft condition, then tempered by heat and quenched for hardness/stiffness. Then it’s trimmed to length. Of course, it’s also possible the mandrel causes work hardening, so no tempering is needed.

I doubt the aluminum tubes are made from foil. Most likely extruded, and wound into coils and shipped.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by Erin1 » 27 Oct 2019 03:03

wolfie62 wrote:
27 Oct 2019 01:35

Most likely, a tapered cantilever starts from a small tube, then is shaped on a mandrel to expand the straight tube onto a taper. But this is done in a full soft condition, then tempered by heat and quenched for hardness/stiffness. Then it’s trimmed to length. Of course, it’s also possible the mandrel causes work hardening, so no tempering is needed.

I doubt the aluminum tubes are made from foil. Most likely extruded, and wound into coils and shipped.
Thanks. That process seems reasonable to me.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by GuidoK » 27 Oct 2019 04:27

Erin1 wrote:
27 Oct 2019 03:03


Thanks. That process seems reasonable to me.
So then you finally understand it takes more time, more steps and thus more money to make a tapered cantilever.
Erin1 wrote:
27 Oct 2019 01:59

Sapphire and Ruby are cheap as chips.

Proof: a 3mm ruby bearing is USD $3
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3924793265


Here is a ruby Rod (much bigger than a cantilever)

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 0965290306
since when are ruby bearings made in the same low quantity as ruby cantilevers?
And since when is something bigger also cheaper to make?

Because thats what you're saying in your posts.
Somehow you don't understand 2 things:
1. that making something in low quantities is relatively more expensive than making something in high quantities
2. that the cost of the raw materials are not necessarily the main costs when making small, precision parts.

Why don't you understand these 2 concepts.
billshurv wrote:
26 Oct 2019 12:47
Clearly you have not worked in manufacturing.
My guess too =D>

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by willboy » 27 Oct 2019 06:27

I have little knowledge about manufacturing, but it seems obvious to me that costs are higher for making something in low quantities. However, that does not mean the manufacturer will end up charging just for the extra production cost of a said item and many will charge as much as they think the consumer is willing to pay, or can get away with to put it another way, which in the case of expensive hi-fi products is often OTT!

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by wolfie62 » 27 Oct 2019 07:01

Erin1 wrote:
27 Oct 2019 01:59
Yes, the two posts above do get the gist of my opinion.

A tapered cantilever may be more time consuming to make, (but where is the actual proof to back this up?)

Sapphire and Ruby are cheap as chips.

Proof: a 3mm ruby bearing is USD $3
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 3924793265


Here is a ruby Rod (much bigger than a cantilever)

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 0965290306

If ruby is lazer cut or manufactued into a cantilever shape it will also be cheap. Ruby, saphire, diamond is cheap and easy to make.

If modern automated techniques were employed (we are still assuming they aren't) the time and cost to manufacture these things would come down to peanuts.
(imagine a computer controlled pick and place machine lining up a stylus perfectly on a cantilever with 100% precision in a matter of seconds)

If the cartridge and stylus manufacturers don't automate (still assuming they haven't) , the consumer will forever be subjected to ever higher costs.

I will come back to the fact that aftermarket elliptical stylus are sold for AUD $29 (approximately USD $16)
Which as far as I can tell still require someone (or an automated machine) to line up the stylus correctly, and glue it to the cantilever.
This one point does prove that mounting and aligning a stylus is not the thing that is costly or difficult.
A MAJOR point you failed to understand, and a major detail you overlooked in your “research” about the ruby rods you gave a link to, is the following (from your own example!)


“Brand new fine 3000 grit round rod ruby it measures approximately 3mm diameter and 100mm length. Ruby abrasive stones are made from sintered crystals of synthetic ruby. They are extremely hard; maintain their shape well and are resistant to wear. Because they are so hard they can sharpen and finish extremely hard metals such as carbide gravers, but also work on non-metal like glass, porcelain and quartz.”

These rods have NOTHING to do with SINGLE CRYSTAL RUBY CANTILEVERS!

You make an argument without bothering to arm yourself with relevant facts!

You say ruby is as cheap as chips. Well in your example, it’s true, because they are literally made from dirt. Do you know what sintering is? Do you know what a single crystal is? Do you know what single crystal sapphire or ruby is?

And since you’re way off base on individual parts, you are also way off base on the entire assemblies.

Do your homework before you start mouthing off about what you don’t know. It’s not a good look.

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Re: Opinion: stylus prices are a rip off

Post by wolfie62 » 27 Oct 2019 07:38

Delta667 wrote:
26 Oct 2019 14:21
As for modern stylus replicas, my opinion is that the people who make them do not even understand what it is!? This is done as an object, without a clue about its purpose. It seems that everything is there, but it does not work, because the magnets abut the magnetic circuit.
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IMGP3405.JPG
I covered the aftermarket styli in an earlier comment. I completely agree with you! Making look-alike styli that physically fit the cart body doesn’t mean it will perform anything like an original stylus.

And THAT is the crux of this entire thread! If making great performing styli were so easy and cheap as the aftermarket copies, then ALL of the aftermarket copies would perform EXACTLY like original styli!

But we know they don’t, don’t we?