Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

the thin end of the wedge
jdjohn
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Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by jdjohn » 24 May 2016 03:59

Ugh. I think I know the answer to this, but is this too crooked to use now?
AT150MLX front.jpg
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It looks like this would damage a record. I have used it on occasion (before looking at it like this), and it sounds really good, but I finally looked at the tip under a microscope and was very sad when I saw this.

Alec124c41
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by Alec124c41 » 24 May 2016 04:58

Check if the ears inside are straight. If not, straighten them.
If only the stylus is twisted, use a pair of tweezers to rotate it. It is worth a try to save it.

Cheers,
Alec

needlewhine

Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by needlewhine » 24 May 2016 05:04

Adjust cartridge azimuth so tha the stylus is once again perpendicular to groove. Cart may look funny, but whatever. I think twisting it with pliers is risky.

spunkerboybr
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by spunkerboybr » 24 May 2016 14:08

If the whole cantilever is twisted/rotated, one way of correcting that on AT styli from the Dual Magnet family (including AT100E/AT120E/AT440MLb/AT150Sa/AT150MLX) is based on using a wooden toothpick to rotate the cantilever by touching the magnets.
If you remove the stylus from the cartridge, you will notice two small magnets on the back of the cantilever base (one in each side), near the so-called 'compliance screw'. You can use the wooden toothpick on the magnet and carefully rotate the entire cantilever until the stylus looks perpendicular to the horizontal plane. You should not mess with the 'compliance screw', as this would change the compliance of the stylus, nor use anything metallic to touch the magnets, once this is likely to mess up with their magnetic characteristics and hence magnetically damage the stylus.
I have followed these instructions once to correct a similar problem I had with my ATN120E stylus (which I now use as a spare stylus for my ATN440MLa). The original topic for that subject is viewtopic.php?f=19&t=69338. Check if your problem is similar to that one.
It was fairly easy to correct the problem I had (you just have to do it carefully) and the results were great. I would say the chances for success are much higher than if you use tweezers for realigning the cantilever - the odds for braking the cantilever on such approach are meaningfully higher.

jdjohn
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by jdjohn » 24 May 2016 17:10

Thanks for the replies. I will have to inspect the orientation of the magnets. Going from my visual memory, I *think* the magnets were aligned correctly. If they are, then I may be SOL since I don't want to rotate them outside of their 'zone' within the coils(?). Of course the adjustment should be VERY minor, so maybe it will come out okay.

Being made of boron (gold plated), I imagine the cantilever is rather brittle and should not be subject to direct twisting or clamping with a tool. Of course it is hair-thin as well. I'd rather not shim the cartridge within the headshell in order to get alignment; it seems that might put undue pressure on one side of the cantilever and magnets, keeping it under constant twisted weight...if that makes sense.

Roberto C2H3
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by Roberto C2H3 » 24 May 2016 20:28

jdjohn wrote:I'd rather not shim the cartridge within the headshell in order to get alignment; it seems that might put undue pressure on one side of the cantilever and magnets, keeping it under constant twisted weight...if that makes sense.
That is exactly what I was going to suggest you do :) (if the magnets are properly aligned).

IMO (again, if the magnets are properly aligned) the important aspect in your situation is that the needle attacks the record surface at the angle it should. You will achieve this with a shim as you wrote. The cantilever is a lot more resilient than one would imagine by simply looking at it :)

Best from the Pampas,
roberto

needlewhine

Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by needlewhine » 24 May 2016 20:59

I would shim it or adjust azimuth accordingly and leave it at that. That cantilever, as you observed, is thin as a hair and ought to be brittle. That's enough info to keep me from fiddling with it and I have a great success record with repairing things like this.

Roberto C2H3
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by Roberto C2H3 » 24 May 2016 21:23

needlewhine wrote:I would shim it or adjust azimuth accordingly and leave it at that. That cantilever, as you observed, is thin as a hair and ought to be brittle. That's enough info to keep me from fiddling with it and I have a great success record with repairing things like this.
+1 :D Sorry needlewhine, I failed to note, earlier in the thread, you had in essence already suggested the same course as I did later on.

Best,
roberto

TA

Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by TA » 24 May 2016 21:28

I would never use that stylus. By rotating the cartridge you will misalign the coils to the grooves and seriously affect sound quality. Correct azimuth equals symmetry of coils to the grooves. If the coils are correct the stylus is correct, unless there is a damaged or a faulty stylus.

lini
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by lini » 25 May 2016 00:14

jdj: I'd send that back for exchange, as it's obviously faulty - the stone should be glued straight on the bevelled area at the front of the boron cantilever, whereas yours looks like the tip has slipped whilst glueing, so that it points roundabout 15° sideways instead.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

jdjohn
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by jdjohn » 25 May 2016 00:31

I wish I could send it back, lini, but it was a used eBay purchase many months ago. I didn't have a microscope at the time. Nicht so gut!

jdjohn
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by jdjohn » 25 May 2016 02:12

Okay, a few more images for consideration.

From the bottom with added lighting from the front. It actually looks perpendicular (coming right at you) from this viewpoint, although the gem could use a slight counter-clockwise rotation.
ATN150LX bottom.jpg
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Now zooming out to bring more parts into focus for positional reference. You can still see how the diamond is crooked, but if carefully examined, the magnets are a ever-so-slightly askew, needing a slight clockwise rotation. Agreed?
ATN150MLX zoom out.jpg
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EDIT: Or...maybe Audio Technica has built in compensation for anti-skate effects??? I think an argument could be made that the underside gem rotation correction and slightly altered cantilever twisting effect might be offset when anti-skate force is applied.

lini
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by lini » 25 May 2016 04:54

jdj: To me the magnet orientation already looks nearly perfect - whereas that would seem to change to a good bit off, if you'd rotate the cantilever assembly till the tip would point straight down. Did the seller mention the age? Maybe it's still under warranty, as this would definitely seem to be a manufacturing fault rather than a problem that could have been caused on user side...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini

spunkerboybr
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Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by spunkerboybr » 25 May 2016 15:49

From this picture, it really seems to me that the cantilever is is fairly straight and that the problem is indeed with the diamond orientation (whose skew is much more significative than the 1-2-degree skew of the cantilever/magnets). This was not entirely clear to me when I messaged you yesterday.
Consequently, what I said before regarding cantilever rotation is likely to not be the best approach for solving this issue. Many other members, including Roberto and Manfred / lini (both are members whose help and opinions I have already considered several times here in the forum :D), have already said that - and I thoroughly agree with them.
In that case, I second lini's recommendation on trying to get a replacement stylus for your AT150MLX. As far as I can remember, AT provides a 1-year warranty. If you can confirm with the eBay seller when he got that cartridge/stylus - and, more importantly, if you can get a receipt / ticket with the date when the AT150MLX cartidge was bought - you are on your way to get a new stylus for your cartridge if warranty is still applicable. And, still, if warranty is already due, maybe you can even get a discount on a new stylus, as it is clear that the problem was caused by bad manufacturing rather than by mishandling. That would be my marketing strategy if I didn't want to lost a potential customer, at least - and especially with an expensive, top-of-the-line product like the AT150MLX.
Here in Brazil, at least, I had an issue with an AT440MLb stylus last year (the diamond cracked while playing a record) and the AT local representative promptly sent me a new stylus in less than a week. As the stylus was already under warranty, all I had to do was to pay a small fee (< $3) for shipping purposes.

EDIT: Quoted picture link.
Last edited by spunkerboybr on 25 May 2016 15:56, edited 4 times in total.

needlewhine

Re: Ruined AT150MLX Stylus?

Post by needlewhine » 25 May 2016 15:52

Even if AT only had a one-year warranty, this defective assembly in my opinion speaks for itself. This doesn't appear to have been caused by any damage whatsoever. Perhaps I should invest in a microscope as well. My OC9ML/II has always been very unforgiving of groove imperfections and to my ears, I always imagined that the diamond would look like this based on what I'm hearing. Surface noise in the left channel is quite exaggerated.

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