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Old 26th April 2003, 05:35 AM   #1
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Default I think my cartridge is toast...

It's been a while since I have done any serious vinyl listening (due mainly to laziness on my part). I have a VPI turntable with an ET-II tonearm and a Benz Micro Gold cartridge. I run the benz through a pair of Jensen step-up transformers to a counterpoint pre-amp.

The Benz used to be a refined almost polite (ok, nearly boring) cartridge. But now it sound very bright and shrill. I checked my cartridge alignment, table leveling, arm leveling, took out the jensens, tried another pre-amp, and it's always shrill. The cartridge is probably 5-7 years old.

I put in an ortofon X1-MC which is even older than the Benz in and it's much better. Comparing well recorded CD's and LP's shows very little tonal balance change with the ortofon, and brightness with the benz.

I've never had a cartridge suspension wear out, I usually wear the stylus out. But I now live in the southwest where everything dries out and blows away. So does it sound like my suspension is shot?

Both of my cartridges are long in the tooth to say the least. So if I stick with vinyl, I'm going to need a new one, any recommendations? I've always liked moving coil cartridges, and I have provisions for both high and low output. I'm also an ESL sort of guy...

Sheldon
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Old 26th April 2003, 05:39 AM   #2
Philo is offline Philo  United States
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Sheldon,
You might want to send Jonathan Carr an email directly asking his advice. I would venture to say he is the authority on cartridges here in the forum.
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Old 26th April 2003, 07:04 AM   #3
SY is offline SY  United States
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Suspension and/or damping, no doubt about it. Even just sitting around, elastomers deteriorate, especially if you've got a lot of sulfur in the air (quite common in the Southwest).

I'm in the same boat, having used the last of my replacement styli for my beloved Technics MM and having been orphaned by Linn for getting my Troika retipped. I'm looking at Grado as a replacement.
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Old 26th April 2003, 07:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
orphaned by Linn for getting my Troika retipped
What about Garrott Bros... and i have a friend who had a very good experience with an outfit in the UK that does retipping.

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Old 27th April 2003, 01:32 AM   #5
EC8010 is offline EC8010  United Kingdom
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I have heard (I cannot remember where) that most cartridges die from suspension failure. I am now very careful to keep the dustguard (almost a hermetic seal) on my Ortofon Rohmann when I'm not using it, and my turntable has a close-fitting dustcover. You just can't be too careful. I would say you have done very well, lasting six years. Get into the habit of dropping coins into a large whisky jar each time you play an LP - that way, you have a "stylus fund."
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Old 27th April 2003, 02:15 AM   #6
SY is offline SY  United States
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IIRC, the Garrotts died some years back. Does the company still exist? I looked into van den Hul, but the prices were high enough that I'd just go get another cartridge.

If I could find someone who does cartridge restorations on MMs, the Technics would still be my choice over the Troika.
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Old 27th April 2003, 02:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
IIRC, the Garrotts died some years back. Does the company still exist? I looked into van den Hul, but the prices were high enough that I'd just go get another cartridge.
Both brothers committed suicide together, but they had some well-trained apprentises that have reopened the firm -- i have a friend his is planning on sending a couple Deccas for retipping.

Quote:
If I could find someone who does cartridge restorations on MMs, the Technics would still be my choice over the Troika.
The UK firm was not one i'd heard of -- and quite resonable from the story i heard. I can dig up info if you'd like.

dave
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Old 27th April 2003, 03:24 AM   #8
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Yes, I would like. Many thanks!
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Old 28th April 2003, 04:44 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the feedback, I was afraid that my cartridge was toast.

I now have a decision to make...

1) I haven't been listening to much vinyl lately, so I could sell my turntable and sell or give away my 10 feet of records. Talk me into or out of this...


2) I can buy a new cartridge. Which brings up the question, which cartridge should I buy? I am not listening to vinyl as much as I should, so I don't want to spend a fortune. I'd like to find a smooth, musical and revealing cartridge at or below the $250 mark. Does such a beast exist?

BTW, thanks guys for all the input. This may be corny, but I really get a lot from this group and the help of all you guys.


Sheldon
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Old 28th April 2003, 05:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by stokessd
1) I haven't been listening to much vinyl lately, so I could sell my turntable and sell or give away my 10 feet of records. Talk me into or out of this...
Get rid of your TT? That would be crazy. Especially with 10 ft of albums. Can you actually live with just CDs? I don't think i could... they just don't sound as good.

Quote:
2) I can buy a new cartridge. Which brings up the question, which cartridge should I buy? I am not listening to vinyl as much as I should, so I don't want to spend a fortune. I'd like to find a smooth, musical and revealing cartridge at or below the $250 mark. Does such a beast exist?
The baby wooden body Grado is $300 -- that is what i'm angling for.

dave
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