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Old 2nd October 2008, 04:34 AM   #11
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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My Monster Alpha II, and Sumiko Blue Point, both died of tired suspension components - no evidence of damage to the tip of either cartridge. IIRC both were well beyond 2000 hrs by the time all magic ceased - neither collapsed, but were basically sounding terrible. "Why does my TT sound so bad?"
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Old 2nd October 2008, 04:56 AM   #12
SY is offline SY  United States
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d2g, I have yet to actually see any of my styli look worn at the point when they're sounding terrible (I have a nice little microscope for this). And knowing what I know about suspension/damping materials (I'm a polymer guy by trade), it's far and away the most likely explanation.

Stylus wear is, IME, analogous to heater failure in tubes- much discussed, rarely seen.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 09:20 AM   #13
h_a is offline h_a  Europe
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Maybe some facts help this topic:

There are two different beasts of styli:

-the nude ones: means it consists of many diamond rods, fitted optimally oriented onto the cantilever (so hardest crystal orientation is used for longest lifetime). These are the good ones, which can be found on lots of qualitative cartridges like the Shure V15, Nagaoka MP50, better Audio-Technicas and many others.

Shure stated a lifetime for nude styli of about 1000h.

-the mounted ones: are small fragments of diamond where it's not possible to mount them optimally oriented onto the cantilever, as the crystal is inhomogenously grown. Are the cheap pieces for budget cartridges, some manufacturers however also use them for expensive ones (easy to hide as such details are regularly omitted in the technical description)

Lifetime is of course much reduced, depends also a bit on the individual cartridge. Since it's in principle low-budget gear manufacturers usually didn't give an estimate on lifetime.

On lifetime and exotic styli shapes: if the manufacturer is serious, he has also to keep an eye on record wear which increases if the contact area is too small. So either the contact area stays the same (compared to spherical shapes) or the tracking force is reduced so that the pressure remains the same. Lifetime should not be affected in these cases.

The aging of the suspension plays for some cartridges also an important role, however more for 10 years and older cartridges. E.g AKG cartriges from the 80ies are well known for dead suspensions, as are the Studio-cartridges of Technics.

Have fun, Hannes

EDIT: to check wear you need a microscope, look for shiny spots on the sides.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 10:07 AM   #14
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Thanks for your enlightening contribution. Do you think that if we don't hear mistracking we should not start to worry? Many things to know about, for this set up demanding, prone to deterioration, sensitive mechanical ancient transcription technology...THAT EATS digital home media for breakfast, sonic wise anytime.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 11:08 AM   #15
h_a is offline h_a  Europe
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Well, if it's sounds ok, why worry

Mistracking usually distorts high frequency sound, so easily spotted. Or if you have a tracking test record you can use it to see how well it tracks. However don't forget that at least some mistracking can be caused by wrong anti-skate settings (appears then on one channel only).

Have fun, Hannes
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Old 2nd October 2008, 01:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by salas
I am not Sreten neither SY is,
Wow, don't I feel silly. I need to work on that reading comprehension bit.

I have experimental evidence of plasticity in diamond, and there are numerous examples of plasticity in other hard/brittle materials such as sapphire. I recently co-authored a paper on examples of extreme plasticity in silicon, albeit at small scales. I've always wondered how exactly a tip wore, and I've really been meaning to run some serious simulations. Maybe I can get some impetus from this conversation.

The strange thing about diamond is that it's modulus can increase dramatically under pressure, i.e. the higher the triaxial compression, the stiffer it gets.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 06:30 PM   #17
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Quote:
Originally posted by h_a
Well, if it's sounds ok, why worry
Not to start eating away some precious old vinyl before we know that the tip is to be replaced is the ''worry''. But as I gather, it will sound it.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 06:32 PM   #18
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Quote:
Originally posted by d to the g
Maybe I can get some impetus from this conversation.
Can you show some wear VS new photos or check with your microscope and give us some tell tale clues about tip and suspension early signs?
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Old 2nd October 2008, 06:50 PM   #19
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by salas
Resurrecting this 2 year old short thread, I wanna ask:

1. What is your experience of average life time for elliptical or exotic shape
true diamond styli on well set up systems playing cared for record discs?

2. What to look for as early wear signs? Is a normal magnifying glass enough? I mean the size and grade of the one we could burn bugs by focusing sun rays on them when kids. ...Well not all of us, I was doing that. Older I focused on voice coils.

Hi,

A good quality tip will have minimal tracing loss and distortion.

Well before it gets to the point of being so worn it causes
mistracking the treble performance will deteriorate badly.

As vinyl speed is much slower at the centre the groove
is compressed and far harder to trace accurately.

So you compare the 1st and last tracks on a side, when
the quality loss is unacceptable, time for a new stylus.

When your super duper line contact starts sounding like
an elliptical or your quality elliptical starts sounding like a
spherical your not damaging anything but it is worn out.

Cheap ellipticals are often near spherical, and sphericals
it is harder to ascertain this but the same principles apply.
The end of side quality deteriorates rapidly when too worn.
By the time it starts mistracking the end of sides is very poor.

1) ~ 1K to 1.5Khours fine elliptical, ~ 2K - 3Khours line contact IMO.

2) You need > ~ x 150 to see any tip wear, and its not easy :
http://www.micrographia.com/projec/p...y/viny0300.htm

/sreten.
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Old 2nd October 2008, 06:58 PM   #20
Salas is offline Salas  Greece
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Sreten! Welcome! You have been summoned by lapse, but your contribution is essential!
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