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Stylus lifespan

Discussion in 'audio' started by Frankiesays, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I have 100% faith in Expert.
    They have worked on many of my cartridges.
    Wyndham Hodgson once rewound a coil on my Entre.
    They also rebuilt a Denon, which I currently use.
     
    Seanm likes this.
  2. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    That must have been quite the interjection, Martyn.
     
    James and Seanm like this.
  3. Bairnstorm

    Bairnstorm pfm Member

    I have a Benz so expect at least 1,500 hours and keep it 5 to 10 years. Not a fan of retipping or that blue stuff after two tips came off (Koetsu and another Benz).
     
  4. I.D.C.

    I.D.C. pfm Member

    I let my ears tell me when it's time to change. Thought a few month ago it was time to change hearing a detonation in sound quality. Thankfully changed the valves first which sorted the sound quality. Cleaning your records on a regular basis helps as does cleaning the stylus before each album is played extends the stylus life. Suppose if the stylus is a budget cost then changing regular would not be a problem. Mine was a large outlay as such will let the ears determine when it needs changed.
     
  5. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I've heard the resolving effect of a micro-line stylus on my newly acquired Hana ML. It's doubly pleasing that I can expect a longer life from the tip.

    I have also started to track the number of records I've played, so can better gauge its mileage, as it wears.
     
    Craig B likes this.
  6. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    OK, Craig.
    The coil was inside my Entre.
     
    Craig B likes this.
  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Likewise, though I've never had a cart. re-tipped. I no longer use that cleaning gel stuff (?Vinyl Passion?) as although it works well, I don't like the idea of the cantilever (and other bits?) being stressed in the wrong direction. I can understand a Benz tip coming off (glued only) but surprised at a Koetsu one (slotted and glued).

    Neither is necessary if you wet-vac the records. There's no static and simply the removal of any stray hairs or whatever is occasionally required. The fine dust which accumulates after time on the stylus can simply be brushed off or removed with an electronic cleaner (AT ???).

    As someone who's always logged play time (at least from Karma days in the early eighties), I can't understand anyone 'guessing' both the number of hours and the reducing longevity of their cart. Maybe for cheap magnets it's a bit of a faff, but for anything around a grand and up, surely it's essential ongoing info. It's amazing how those hours mount up. It also helps in maintaining a cleaning or inspection routines. That Hana deserves it, James !:)
     
  8. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Just had a brainwave. Having just installed a new cartridge I'm going to record an LP digitally now, and then after a few hundred hours.

    Presumably I'm not the first to have thought of this. What pitfalls am I not seeing?
     
    Amber Audio likes this.
  9. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    None, as long as you only play that record the two times. Otherwise you'll end up recording the combined stylus and record wear on the later recording.

    I like it, a smart idea.
     
    Seanm likes this.
  10. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    That is a great idea, Sean. I attempted to do something similar decades ago when I landed my very own dual-capstan Nakamichi. Trouble is, after recording my then new replacement Grace F9E stylus, I forgot all about later comparing it back to its younger self. I think I was just too into listening to the vinyl, as well as being on a quest to discover the sounds of every turntable, tonearm, and phono cartridge I could get my hands on. I still have all of those old cassettes and they sound lovely.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
    Seanm likes this.
  11. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Well, a new stylus will need a bit of running in, so maybe record it after 30+ hours. Will everything and all set-up parameters etcetera be identical in a few hundred hours' time? Will your ears have the same acuity?

    When I used to transfer newly bought records (played on 401/3012/V15) to my Revox R2R in the early seventies, the resultant transfer nearly always sounded better. Silly me, though, as I sold the records afterwards !!!
     
    Seanm likes this.
  12. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Yes, this will be the major obstacle: chances of me not tinkering with something over the course of a couple of years are pretty low. But it ought to be possible to identify the kind of changes associated with stylus wear, especially if I choose the right recording.
     
  13. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Mike Reed says a new stylus will need a bit of running in.
    Not according to Expert Stylus Co.
    And they should know...
     
  14. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I've always relied on visual inspection, because the expected life can vary. So even with logged usage, I'll be inspecting for wear annually. Whilst I love playing records, it's really a weekend luxury as I'm generally too knackered after work to do it justice. So, I estimate I'd clock up around 3-400 hours a year. About the right interval for a visual exam, I reckon.
     
  15. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    Perhaps not for a re-tipped cartridge. New ones certainly change in character after a few hours/days of use.
     
  16. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Curious. Whatchagot?
     
  17. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    Art9 :).
     
  18. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I also know, and my friends likewise, as I've run in many higher end cart's over the decades. My K Urushi, which already had a few hours on it, stopped changing character when I'd clocked up over 70 hours. My other cart's ran in at many fewer hours.

    ESCo use Paratrace tips; their own (OEM?) design. I've read many times that the lifespan of these isn't generally up to the original styli, but that is received wisdom. My Proteus, 2 mid Lyras, 1 Roksan Shraz, 1 K and 1 Karma (all bought new); all needed bedding in, though the Lyras did so pretty quickly and the Proteus wasn't far behind, though sounded awful for the first 10 (thought it was faulty!)

    However, it's the cart. which runs in as well as the stylus etc., and ESCo's re-tips are on already run in cart's, so there are two truisms here!
     
  19. Bairnstorm

    Bairnstorm pfm Member

    Agree with Mike Reed. My new Benz sounded fantastic day 1 and then gradually sounded worse until at one stage I put my Ortofon back in to give my ears a rest.

    Refreshed, refitted the Benz and after about 50 hours it was hitting form. It is now about 20-30 hours on and sounds superb. I have to say it is the quietest cartridge I have ever had.
     
  20. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    Oooh, great stuff. Very interested to hear your impressions. When I had an AT50ANV it did take some time to bed in so it should mellow out after a few weeks.

    If you can do recordings of new and at 40 hours that would be a really useful resource. My much more vague way of tracking the changes was to do some detailed analogue vs digital comparisons and make notes, then do the same comparisons 30-40 hours later.
     
    Seanm likes this.

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