Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

the thin end of the wedge
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pegul
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Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by pegul » 21 Apr 2016 19:40

Bought a usb-microscope today just to take a closer look at my stylus.
Looks like a collar of gunk is sitting around it.
Or is it supposed to look like that?

I've never cleaned it with any chemicals. Just regular brushing with a stylus cleaning brush and, for the last couple of weeks, a few careful needle drops on a peace of magic eraser before each record. Ok, almost every record - lazy me.

But these pictures made me think I may need something stronger to loosen up that dirt.
If so, what do i need?

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spittenkittens
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by spittenkittens » 21 Apr 2016 19:45

Too me it looks just fine. There are always going to be a few specs of dust. As long as the needle is not covered in it or in grime you are probably ok. Use it to check for wear. If the records are keep oil free(as in fingers and food) a little dust is normal.

lini
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by lini » 21 Apr 2016 19:54

pegul: It's supposed to look like that. I.e., what you see is pretty normal for a nude diamond that's glue-fixed to a non-pierced rod type "exotic material" cantilever with bevelled front. That requires that "volcano" of epoxy glue around it to properly fix the diamond on the bevelled area. Whereas a pierced variant would instead have (most of) the glueing on the other side, fixing the shank of the diamond at(/from) the rear end. So don't try to remove that glue - it's there for a good reason.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: Btw, how pleased are you with the MP200?
Last edited by lini on 21 Apr 2016 19:58, edited 1 time in total.

pegul
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by pegul » 21 Apr 2016 19:55

OK, so it's meant to look that way. I am thinking of all the stuff sitting around the base of the stylus.

Took a picture of a AT-95 and it looks pretty clean.

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lini
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by lini » 21 Apr 2016 20:07

pegul: Yup, that's because this is a bonded diamond on a pierced alu cantilever with flattened and angled front. If you'd have have a look at the upper side of the cantilever, you'd see the glue around the back end of the bonding socket/bushing.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

pegul
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by pegul » 21 Apr 2016 21:16

Ok, so it wasn't big heap of dirt around the tip, just the way it's mounted there.
That's both good news and in a way bad.
P.S.: Btw, how pleased are you with the MP200?


Well, I'm pleased with it and the overall sound of it but I have a patch of hifi-neurosis right now. Did I hear any one say sibillance?
Would have been sort of good if someone had responded with a "Clean that s**t of right now!". So, on to other steps.

Got a new headshell a few weeks ago, Jelco HS-25, and have not got the alignment quite right yet. Will have another go with the arc protractor and try some more. Now, I'm armed with a microscope to check alignment.

Or it may be another issue also.
I'm running it on a Kenwood KD-550 with stock tonearm. The Jelco HS-25 is in every way a much nicer headshell than the stock one, but also a little heavier.
I suspect that the MP200 might be a little too compliant for the arm.
I have read somewhere (here on VE?) that sibillance and distorsion can be caused by a mismatch of compliant cart and heavy arm.
Tested resonance with Hifi-News test record and got a low 6-7Hz! Not so good I believe.

So, next step is to have another go with the alignment.
After that? Swap the headshell? I really like the Jelco. Maybe another cart? Perhaps a Denon DL-103 that so many seems to like? I have never tried a MC so it's maybe about time?

Pikey
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by Pikey » 21 Apr 2016 22:09

Nice photos there pegul!

Can you tell us what USB microscope you were using?

pegul
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by pegul » 21 Apr 2016 23:04

It's a fairly cheap Plexgear. Paid 400 SEK for it which is about 50 dollar or 40-45 euro.
The box only says Plexgear USB Microscope.
2 megapixel, magnification 20x to 200x.
Works fine so far.

DeepEnd
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by DeepEnd » 22 Apr 2016 16:23

THe picture reminds me of one I have seen of the Jico SAS/Boron assembly where the epoxy looks like its full of bubbles.

I suspect that different manufacturers use different glue/methods. Here a few to have a quick look at.
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A&R P78 re-tipped via Northwest Analogue with Gyger 2 tip on boron cantilever with "bubbly" glue
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Cart-000009.jpg
A&R P78 (Weinz) "Paroc" on boron cantilever very little adhesive
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Cart-000004-3.jpg
A&R P77 (Expert Stylus) Nude parabolic on ali cantilever very little glue.
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Cart-000000-2.jpg
Philips bonded elliptical on ali cantilever using red glue
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lini
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by lini » 22 Apr 2016 21:25

DeepEnd: One really needs to look at both sides, as explained above. For example, one can see it in your third picture (with your comment "A&R P77 (Expert Stylus) Nude parabolic on ali cantilever very little glue."): There's only very little glue on the side with the tippy end of the diamond - but one can also see the layer of glue between the curved walls of the flattened end of the cantilever on its upper side. So there's in fact not very little glue on the whole, but just very little glue on one side, while the major part is on the other side, because that's an example with pierced cantilever.

And another thing one has to keep in mind in that context are the absolute dimensions. For example, on high class MCs miniaturised nude diamonds can have a shank base area of just 0.07 x 0.07 to 0.06 x 0.06 mm - compared to these a regular bonded diamond looks pretty huge. Pretty much the same goes for typical "exotic material" rod type cantilevers compared to the majority of regular, tubular alu cantilevers. So whilst comparing pics one should also consider, that the same amount of glue would of course look much bigger on such a thin cantilever with miniaturised diamond.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

DeepEnd
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by DeepEnd » 23 Apr 2016 13:42

Hi Lini,

Your comment is noted but for info:-

The magnification of the P77 and FG2 tips is exactly the same as this is max of the microscope so as you say you can easily see the size comparison of the Ali vs boron cantilevers but if you check the radii of the tips they are as close as you would expect from the specs (40 vs 50).

The boron cantilever is the same one between the Paroc and FG2 (before and after re/tipping) so even with different magnifications you can compare the adhesives.

The key point I was trying to show is that each supplier may use different glues which can look different under examination.

Soundsmith Ruby with tip (FG?) verses Jico Boron SAS.
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lini
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by lini » 23 Apr 2016 23:24

DeepEnd: Oh, no worries, the comment on abslute dimensions wasn't referring to your pics - I rather meant that in general, when one is looking for example at random close-ups via Google picture search or whatever...

And yup, the glue can look somewhat different. And while we're at it, for completeness sake I might just as well mention another slight variant: nude diamonds, on which the tip/tip profile is tilted relative to the shank. One doesn't see these all too often, but there are a few examples. These are the kind of diamonds one would use to either glue to the very front of a non-bevelled rod type cantilever or glue (in)to the hole of a rod type cantilever that's pierced straight through (instead of slightly angled), in order to achieve the correct relation of SRA to VTA.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

pegul
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by pegul » 24 Apr 2016 11:43

Hi, had another go at the alignment and now used the microscope to get a better look at the needle and protractor lines.

I use a printed arc protractor with Baerwald nullpoints.
Mounting distance is 222mm (taken from the specs hera at VE for the Kenwood KD-550).
I have tried to measure the distance myself and though my measuring methods are not that exact, 222mm seems to be correct.

Using the microscope helped a lot to get a better look at the different alignments, especially the first steps when adjusting the length.
Then comes the angle part and here I have aligned the cartridge body to the protractor, twisting it slightly inwards. And this check is done from above with good-ol-eyes.
Then re-check the length over the arc and repeat the steps until satisfied (= when I think what the heck, how exact does it have to be?).

As I said, the microscope helped but it's a little fiddly to position and point in line with the null-points. The microscope is plastic and light, the focus wheel has some resistance and it's easy to accidentily nudge it out of focus or angle at same time you are looking at the laptop screen while setting focus and pointing it. It's light enough to get pulled a little by the usb-cable even.

But I still feel that quite a few records have a little distorsion in strong s-es and sometimes cymbals.
Rechecked the resonance again and got a slightly better value, between the 9hz and 7hz marks. Guess it means 8hz then. Still a bit on the low side of good?

Looking at the cantilever through the scope head on while lowering the cart, I observed the cart making a side-to-side motion from needle contacting the surface to all the way down. It makes a motion like a "Z", if that explains anything. Normal or a indication of something not right?

Still wondering if the arm might be to heavy for this cart?
And i feel the problems are greater at end of record, perhaps time for Stevenson to enter the stage?

Any input appreciated!

pegul
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by pegul » 24 Apr 2016 12:25

Managed to get a closer shot at the stylus. Lighted from left side with small flashlite.
Does it look worn to You or OK?

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lini
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Re: Stylus looking dirty in close up with usb-microscope

Post by lini » 25 Apr 2016 01:59

Pegul: It's not possible to judge wear from that picture - the flat spots one would have to look for are much too small for that...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

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