Stylus Evaluation Imaging

the thin end of the wedge
BlazingArrow74
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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 03:47

ripblade wrote:
15 Jan 2019 00:48
I'd hesitate to use it on new records, but it may still offer better than average performance on damaged discs where you wouldn't risk a new stylus.

How did it sound when you replaced it? Was the decision to replace it a precautionary measure or was the sound noticeably degraded?
Do you mean "better than average performance" for a dangerously-worn styli, haha ? Or are you suggesting it may not be damaging discs at all ?

Well, for stylus "2", I remember hearing a real or perceived loss of higher frequencies; I was never sure if this was just the 'break in' that many reviewers mentioned "taming the out-of-box brightness" or not, but having a backup stylus around, I didn't want to take any chances. It actually still sounds good, just a bit less treble-centric: there was no distortion I could hear, and peak levels read even for L & R channels playing a 1khz stereo tone using Analogue Productions' Test Disc. I say peak levels because I use the "Rec. In" of a cassette deck to check levels (no fozgometer, etc.). Also, if I'm remembering correctly, stylus "2" came, new, out-of-box, with the cantilever slightly skewed. I cannot recall if the skew grew with time or not. Interestingly, it sounds better than "Q".

With stylus "Q" there is not only a buzzing distortion in one channel (Left, if I remember correctly) using the above test track, but also an imbalance with the Left channel being softer than the right, again, using the meters on the cassette deck as reference. This cantilever seems straight, however.

I'd heard stories surrounding AT's implementation of Nakimi's setup that led me to believe there were definitely some production inconsistencies, quite possible leading to the discontinuation of this product altogether. However, I assumed it was still within spec, and didn't worry about it. Some folks in various forums suggest always returning skewed or rotated cantilevers --- other folks say it's no big deal, and just align the cart to compensate. Couple that with my "good enough" attitude toward setup, and here we are, heh.

One of the biggest questions I have is this: for those who cannot or will not invest in the tools required to see their stylus up-close in high resolution (probably the average buyer of, even these, advanced stylus profiles), how does one gauge, other than hours, wear on their stylus? The gradual changing of the sound quality, outside of channel imbalance and slight loss of high frequency really went unnoticed. Maybe it didn't Help that I am not a regular listener of vinyl. I have gone months without spinning a record before. The thought that, under ideal conditions, these styli can last well beyond 1,000 hours is staggering. To hear that there are those with many-thousands of hours on a stylus from the 80s, (less advanced shape, mind you) that "still sounds like it did when new" is downright unbelievable. Maybe I'm being unreasonable, considering the forces at play here ?

Anyway, to return to the topic of this thread --- I look forward to learning more about these advanced shapes, how they work, and the pros and cons of using them. I hope others are able to learn, as well, from my experiences.

Concerning the 'design doing what it's supposed to do', is anyone able to elaborate? Where is the "line of contact" on a flat surface that once had a MicroRidge ?

BlazingArrow74
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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 03:53

ripblade wrote:
15 Jan 2019 03:45
Thanks for these excellent stylus portraits, Ray. This is very illuminating. :D
Agreed.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 04:23

ray_parkhurst wrote:
28 Jan 2017 22:51
Along with the N110HE NEO SAS/S, I bought a standard N110HE from JICO. Here it is, using a slightly different configuration. Rather than showing both contact surfaces simultaneously by reflecting light off both sides, I have placed the cartridge in a jig that holds it at 45-deg. This puts one contact surface planar to the camera sensor. By using a ring light, the light "encircles" the contact surface, which appears as a dark area encircled by the reflected ringlight.

Unfortunately, this technique requires two images rather than one. I have spliced the two images together in the composite below.

The new stylus is showing unequal contact areas Left/Right, but I expect that as the stylus begins to wear, the actual contact areas will grow slightly to encompass the whole polished area of the tip and will become more equal.

http://i943.photobucket.com/albums/ad27 ... 20LR_A.jpg
Are these contact areas convex or concave ?

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2019 05:38

They are convex, similar to what is shown in the diagram for the MicroRidge, but with a smaller bearing radius.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 05:41

I'm not sure the circled areas are dust in this case. Looks like it could be damage --- tiny gouges, perhaps ? Might explain why I hear buzzing distortion despite being less worn than stylus "2", overall ?
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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2019 05:44

I think they are both pieces of dust, but neither of them would contact the groove anyway.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 06:03

Do I understand this correctly ?
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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 06:09

ray_parkhurst wrote:
15 Jan 2019 05:38
They are convex, similar to what is shown in the diagram for the MicroRidge, but with a smaller bearing radius.
Light Bulb moment. Thanks, Ray.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2019 06:18

BlazingArrow74 wrote:
15 Jan 2019 06:03
Do I understand this correctly ?
Not quite. Biggest isue is the yellow circle. That is way up on the stylus, outside the contact/bearing region. The original radius is more where your pink circle shows. The wear has flattened the radius to "infinity".

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 06:50

So ... I came across this article. I only understand 20% or so of what's here, but shoot me if there isn't applicable information. Cantilevers are even mentioned !

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep36972

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2019 18:12

I shot Stylus 2 with the Shure technique, using a deep focus stack (114 images at 4um step) which shows the whole stylus, epoxy attach, and end of cantilever very nicely. It also confirms this stylus/cantilever is significantly rotated and thi is what is causing the asymmetric wear pattern.

http://i943.photobucket.com/albums/ad27 ... us-2AA.jpg

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by fscl » 15 Jan 2019 19:08

=D> =D> =D> Beautiful

Thank you Ray and image contributors to this topic.

Diamond p**n...... :oops: :wink: :)

Have accumulated staging, microscope(s), lighting, etc via 2nd hand sources. Topic has inspired me to get better shots up...... [-o<

Fred

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by BlazingArrow74 » 15 Jan 2019 19:29

Wow. Looks like it's rotated toward the inner part of the groove (left channel). This is the one (of the two) with the skewed cantilever ! I wonder if the skew intensified over time due to this wear pattern. Seems like maybe an azimuth adjustment could possibly compensate for this.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ripblade » 15 Jan 2019 19:52

I wonder, are the V magnets rotated as well? This would be easier to see than the actual tip.

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Re: Stylus Evaluation Imaging

Post by ray_parkhurst » 15 Jan 2019 19:58

ripblade wrote:
15 Jan 2019 19:52
I wonder, are the V magnets rotated as well? This would be easier to see than the actual tip.
Yes, they are. Seems the entire cantilever assembly might have been built properly, but improperly assembled into the stylus body.

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