Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

the thin end of the wedge
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UsableThought
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Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by UsableThought » 19 Nov 2019 13:24

Seeking informed opinions on a very minor dilemma. I know nothing about cartridges. I've read through a few threads about crooked cantilevers here & on AudioKarma, but each case seems unique & thus can't be generalized from.

Cartridge is an Ortofon FF 15 XE, Mk II. It's roughly 36 years old - same age as the turntable it's on, which is a Dual CS 530 that I just got working again. Attached photo (taken as head-on as I could manage) shows what I noticed upon checking the cartridge after getting the turntable operational again: a slightly crooked cantilever. I don't remember any accidents to the stylus way back when - no drops or anything. My memory tells me I boxed the turntable in working condition all those years ago, & that was that. Upon unboxing I discovered that the lube had seized on the cam wheel. A complete cleaning & re-lubing has done wonders.

I've run a few test plays with this cartridge & everything sounds normal (and good) to me. On the other hand, my audio gear is low-end (on par with the turntable) and my ears are aging. For that matter, I don't even remember how much I used this cartridge back when I was still actively playing vinyl (pre-CD days). So I have no idea how much wear is on the stylus.

I won't be using the turntable much - just long enough to transfer roughly 20 albums to digital, via a separate USB sound card and VinylStudio software. Again, I'm not seeking high fidelity - just reasonable fidelity on par with CDs, streaming, iTunes, and so on.

So my choice is to either 1) save $$ and go with this cartridge, given I can't hear any problems, or 2) spend a modest amount of $$ to either replace the stylus on this cartridge ($62) or buy an entirely new cartridge. The latter option would give me an excuse to learn how to use a paper protractor.

In terms of choices for a new cartridge, the Audio-Technica AT95E ($45) gets decent reviews for a budget cartridge; and so does the Ortofon Omega ($37).

Anyway - not a big deal - but would welcome thoughtful input.
Attachments
19-11-19_crooked_ortofon_ff_15xe_mkii.png
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Alec124c41
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by Alec124c41 » 19 Nov 2019 13:58

If it sounds good, there is no big problem.

Cheers,
Alec

wolfie62
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by wolfie62 » 20 Nov 2019 20:28

Yea, that’s not much of a bend, relatively speaking.

Last week I bought an AcuTex cart+Stylus, with a bad bend. I used needle nose pliers to CAREFULLY and gradually bend it back straight. Too much squeeze, and you collapse the aluminum tube. It went well, and the cartridge plays fine.

Edit: I already had 2 spare styli on hand before I tried this straightening thing out. That’s how “confident” I was about being able to bend it back straight.

This cantilever had a bow in it, plus a lateral bend in it.
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kalaur
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by kalaur » 21 Nov 2019 07:37

Its 36 years old. At least replace the stylus. There's a ton of great inexpensive cartridges out there if you want to just replace it.
Anyway you go, do check the alignment.

UsableThought
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by UsableThought » 21 Nov 2019 09:43

Thanks for all the replies.
kalaur wrote:
21 Nov 2019 07:37
Its 36 years old. At least replace the stylus.
This seems a good point - I did a search for "aging"/'age" etc. and found similar comments in previous threads, e.g.
viewtopic.php?t=90843#p759879
kalaur wrote:
21 Nov 2019 07:37
There's a ton of great inexpensive cartridges out there if you want to just replace it.
That's one thing I was wondering about. As I mention above, a replacement stylus for this Ortofon FF 15 XE MkII runs about $62 on Amazon w/ free shipping, or $45 on LP Gear. An entirely new budget cartridge like the Audio-Technica AT95E would run around $45 too (on Amazon). Back when it was new the Ortofon apparently went for about $80 or so, or so some people say in threads elsewhere. I don't know if manufacturing and/or design of cartridges has undergone a sea change of any sorts to the extent that a less expensive cartridge today would out-perform a more expensive cartridge of yesterday. All things considered I guess I will just spring for a new stylus for the Ortofon; I find comments on various forums that people still like its sound these days once the stylus is replaced.

While I'm at it I'll also check & if necessary re-set the alignment. Relevant to this thread's title, from what I read alignment should be to the cantilever . . . which may not necessarily match up w/ the cartridge sides.

lenjack
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by lenjack » 21 Nov 2019 14:05

If it's gotten much use, it really needs to be replaced. If not, leave it alone.

wolfie62
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by wolfie62 » 21 Nov 2019 17:48

Back when it was new the Ortofon apparently went for about $80 or so, or so some people say in threads elsewhere. I don't know if manufacturing and/or design of cartridges has undergone a sea change of any sorts to the extent that a less expensive cartridge today would out-perform a more expensive cartridge of yesterday. All things considered I guess I will just spring for a new stylus for the Ortofon; I find comments on various forums that people still like its sound these days once the stylus is replaced.
I've got quite a few vintage cartridges, and have run a decent number of late model cartridges to compare them with. I no longer have any of the Ortofons. I have several vintage AT carts I like. But I've found that the vintage cartridges more than hold their own against new offerings. Yes, original styli are harder to find, but when found, cost less than most all the new carts and their new styli. Now, there are starting to be aftermarket styli that rival originals.

So I run with Empires, Shures, Pickering/Stanton, AcuTex, ADC, Nagatron, Azden, AT, and a few others now.

kalaur
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Re: Yet another 'crooked cantilever' question

Post by kalaur » 21 Nov 2019 21:07

UsableThought wrote:
21 Nov 2019 09:43
While I'm at it I'll also check & if necessary re-set the alignment. Relevant to this thread's title, from what I read alignment should be to the cantilever . . . which may not necessarily match up w/ the cartridge sides.
+1

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