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Do cartridges have shelf lives?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Mike42, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Mike42

    Mike42 Heard it all before...

    Just found my old Ortofon MC30 Supreme. I only used it for a year or two then put it back in its box and forgot about it over 10 years ago! I have no intension using it, but I remember it was perfect when I took it off. It still looks mint (not really relevant). Does the suspension degrade over time? Would it be worth selling?
  2. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    My Entre MC is 34 (!) years old. It is on its third stylus and Expert Pickups said the the suspension was perfect... As for selling it, I would say, "Yes".
  3. Alex M

    Alex M pfm Member

    Funnily enough, I have been having the same thoughts about my own MC30 Supreme! I can't help wondering how it compares with my Lyra Lydian Beta, even though I am very happy with the Lyra.

    I remember that one of the things Ortofon was advertising at the time was a reformulation of the synthetic rubber in the suspension so that it would last longer, so I would hope that our Supremes should have some advantage in that respect at least.

  4. GTM

    GTM Resitance is futile

    The wire that provides the suspension only ages with use. As in it eventually will suffer metal fatigue due to being under stress. When not being used this part will not age, (unless it happens to corrode but that will depend on the material I guess).

    Any rubber, (natural or synthetic), parts of the suspension probably will age and at best change their compliance at worst actually start falling apart.

    Suck it and see really. I'd try putting it on and try lowering it on to a non rotating record. If as you lower the cart down on to the record it sags badly then it's obviously shot. If it looks about the right angle, then give it a play and see how it sounds. Do it on an old record that you don't really care about initially just in case it should decide to collapse when being played.

    A couple of years ago I spun up my TT with a Lyra Clavis cart on it that hadn't been used for over 10 years. It sounded pretty much exactly as I remembered it. At least I couldn't detect that it was doing anything obviously wrong as it sounded great. It was about between 11 and 12 years old at the time.
  5. hifi_dave

    hifi_dave Hi-Fi Retailer

    Depends on the construction, materials and how it's been stored. So, yes, they can deteriorate with age.
  6. Mike42

    Mike42 Heard it all before...

    Thats a bit freaky, cos I stopped using my MC30S having replaced it with a Lyra. You dont happen to have a Gyrodec with an SME309 do you?
  7. Mike42

    Mike42 Heard it all before...

    Great, i'll give it a try then!
  8. Alex M

    Alex M pfm Member

    Vectored Pink Triangle with an SME IV, so almost but not quite! How did you find the Lyra after the Ortofon?

  9. mudlark

    mudlark nearly half a clue

    If it's old play it on some cheap records to see if the suspension sags. Some plastics/rubber might start to break down after years, but out of sunlight in a box I would guess you are likely to be OK. If you've got a test record try that.
  10. Mike42

    Mike42 Heard it all before...


    I find the Lyra fast and exciting. I loved the MC30S but always wanted a little more insight and urgency (before that I was using a Rohmann). My Lyra is only a baby (Dorian) so its a little rough round the edges, but good enough and full of beans!
  11. Nic P

    Nic P pfm Member

    Some cartridges are much more prone to suspension collapse than others. Early Koetsu Blacks are bad. Some of the Linn Karmas were also bad. There are probably others. Maybe some of the Trade Members can help tell you if the MC30S was prone to suspension collapse. I suspect those cartridges are more likely to deteriorate with age (I was once told by a dealer that it is the rubber used that is the problem).

    Nic P
  12. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    Yes, they age faster if you don't use them. Some of the plastic or rubber goes hard or something, and it has nothing to do with sunlight (had a MM cartridge stored in the dark - on the TT - for about 5-7 years and it went bad: started sounding all trebly).
  13. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    There seems to be a trend here. I have a lightly used Ortofon MC30 Super (not Supreme) that has been sitting in a box in a drawer for at least 15 years. It was replaced by a Lyra Lydian Beta. I should take the Ortofon out and mount it on my 'new' PL-71 ...
  14. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    As I mentioned, my Entre is over 30 years old, but perfect. So using it has probably extended its life. To whether it had a superior suspension, etc. when it was built is open to question... Martyn
  15. hifistan

    hifistan pfm Member

    I sold some Decca cartridges a couple of years ago from the 60s and the buyers were happy with them. No suspension to deteriorate? Sold an Accuphase I couldn't remember where I got but had for years also, haven't had any trouble with aging when not in use but that does not mean it couldn't happen.
  16. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Tie wires aren't 'wire' they tend to be plastic filament.

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