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pixpop 16th February 2006 05:43 PM

Cartridge rubber decomposed: Useless?

I just removed the stylus from an old Grado cart that I've been testing.

A whole mess of sticky decomposed rubber came out with it. Is this material supposed to be part of the stylus, or the cartridge? Is there any point in fitting a new stylus?

EC8010 16th February 2006 05:51 PM

Hard to tell. Usually, the "cartridge" is simply a box with some coils and laminations in it - the clever bit is the stylus assembly. I suppose the goo wasn't damping material between the stylus carrier and the cartridge?

pixpop 16th February 2006 05:58 PM

I think there is some left inside the cartridge body that I would have to clean out.

I've read in other threads that there is usually some rubber, and that it degrades over many years. I didn't get a clear idea of whether the degradation would be fixed by installing a new stylus.

It looks to me as though the bulk of the sticky mess is attached to the stylus assembly, but I can't be sure. I found this just as I was leaving for work, so will have to take a better look tonight.

EC8010 16th February 2006 06:10 PM

Oh dear, that sounds like the stylus "bearing" (which is rubber) has gone horrible and oozed. To be honest, although you could clean up the cartridge body, it's probably not worth it. Cartridge design has moved on and if you're going to have to spend almost as much as a new cartridge, you might as well get a new cartridge that's a more modern design. Unless, of course, you're especially fond of that particular cartridge?

pixpop 16th February 2006 06:22 PM

No, the cartridge is not valuable to me. I've just been using it as a junker, before mounting my better (Shure) cartridge.

So, now I'm in the market for a cartridge to use on my experimental TTs. Currently, I'm using a Rega RB250, unmodified. I already have a Shure M97Xe, that's my main cart. I want to get at least one more cartridge for comparison.

I don't need something that sounds similar to the Shure.. I want to get a feel for some different cartridge sounds.

I'm wondering about Audio Technica AT440ML, or Grado Red, or Sumiko Pearl. Would any of these be a particularly good (or bad) choice?

Or some other cartridge?

At the moment, I want to stay away from MC cartridges.

EC8010 16th February 2006 06:42 PM

I'm afraid I can't comment on MM cartridges - the only MM I have is an Ortofon OM30 on my (mono) record player, and that's twenty years old.

My MC is an Ortofon Rohmann and I'm not convinced it was worth the money I paid for it. I liked its predecessor better (Ortofon Quattro with body removed).

valveitude 16th February 2006 07:33 PM

WOAH...I don't think what your looking at is decomp rubber!!

I sold many a Grado back in the early eighties, and replaced quite a few styluses (styli ?), and ALL of them had a thick black viscous "stuff" in the gap the stylus came out of.

Think ferro-fluid dampning...don't clean it out !!!


pixpop 16th February 2006 07:51 PM

Should it be stuck to the stylus when I pull the stylus out?

valveitude 16th February 2006 08:50 PM


Should it be stuck to the stylus when I pull the stylus out?
A little always seemed to, I wouldn't worry about it. The amount left in the cartridge body never seemed to be critical, a little goes a long ways. Naturally, if your replacing the stylus, the new one wont have any on it, so the amount gets less and less with each stylus change.

calvert73 16th February 2006 09:24 PM

Grado Black Stuff
Hi, the black gunge is a mechanical fixant/damper its not the damper and its not Ferro Fluidy stuff, and rumour has it Grados never sound quite the same after the stylus has been removed and then re-fitted.


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