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Thread: Expert stylus - any good?

  1. #31
    Join Date: Nov 2018

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 36
    I'm Paul.

    Default Denon 103SA

    Having had various incarnations of the Denon 103 over many years amongst other favoured cartridges I would always eventually move them on as none really cut it in my set up.

    Alas, yet again a 103SA came my way and supposedly the best incarnation of the breed, but again it fell short and back in the box until I decided to get the Paratrace treatment as the last stand in owning one as a keeper.

    The service was good and I had my cartridge back in approx' one month and upon auditioning I was shocked wondering what Mr Hodgson had done to it.

    This was no minor shift in sound or balance but a fantastic leap in clarity and imaging.... No longer is it the bridesmaid against other cartridges in my arsenal but can hold its own in all departments....

    Well Mr Hodgson currently has my Ortofon Cadenza Bronze for the Paratrace treatment and I await its return even more so now.... Especially after having a conversation with him informing of BendBound's delight in getting his Black sounding so great.

  2. #32
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 6,076
    I'm Justin.


    Actually that's a good point.

    You're gonna get a Paratrace so why not send in a cheaper MC cart for a Paratrace. Chances are it'll be a significant upgrade I reckon but whether it is worth the charge rate is the question.
    Last edited by User211; 21-06-2019 at 10:45.

  3. #33
    Join Date: Jul 2010

    Location: Cheltenham

    Posts: 899
    I'm Charlie.


    ESCo rebuilt two 103s (103C-1 and standard 103) for me earlier this year - both with their sapphire cantilever and ultra low mass paratrace. The 103C-1 is playing in my second system and it is stunning. I chatted to Wyndham for 15 minutes discussing the best options for this cartridges and a vintage Ortofon SL15Ell (I had a paratrace retip for this) - so helpful and brilliant service for very reasonable money.
    R2R: Studer A820 1/2 inch 2 track; Otari MTR-12 1/4 inch 2 track; Sony APR 5003; Sony APR 5002; Studer A807/II. Vinyl: Platine Verdier Allaerts MC1B/Schroeder Reference & Model 2 Decca C4E/Hadcock 228 TRON Seven Reference phono. Keith Monks MkII RCM Other analogue source: Nakamichi Dragon with ANT4066 mods. Amplification: TRON Meteor preamp TRON Voyager 20B SET power. Speakers: Avantgarde Duo. Digital: does not compute

  4. #34
    Join Date: Mar 2015

    Location: Finland

    Posts: 229
    I'm Kai.


    I *might* be looking into retipping my Ortofon MC10 Supreme ... What is the approximate cost for a sapphire/paratrace retip these days? Do they offer other tip options on sapphire cantilever? I guess I could email them but I'm not really even in the kicking the tires phase yet

  5. #35
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,751
    I'm Russell.


    Quote Originally Posted by BendBound View Post
    I've just had my Ortofon Cadenza Black MC phonograph cartridge retipped by Expert Stylus. On the original cartridge, I had 800 hours of use, clocked with a hand counter, all played on VPI or ultrasonic cleaned records. At about 700 hours I noticed distortion, sibilance, and others who knew my system did too. Based on a recommendation from James Henriot of Whest Audio, I inquired with Expert Stylus and a few days later I sent my cartridge from the US to them in the UK.

    Once they examined my cartridge, they issued a written report, stating that the tip was "badly worn". They recommended a retipping with their Paratrace design, among a few other options. I went with their Paratrace option. This required shortening the cantilever by 0.5mm, which served also to reduce its mass.

    Ms. Julia Thompson handled most communication. She was timely, informative, and keep me up to date. It took, in my case, about 8 weeks, more of less to get the cartridge back. And some of that delay was because I asked lots of questions on the front end. Also, Mr. Wyndham Hodgson is a busy man, and I sent my cartridge to him prior to Easter when he had scheduled some leave.

    I got the cartridge back a few days ago and played straight away—once I got the alignment dialed in—a few of my favorite records. I was blown away by the sound. Okay, I admit, I don't have great of auditory memory from two months ago. Straight up, I don't. I had installed during the retip, an Ortofon 2M Black, which is honestly quite good. What stood out most to me on the retipped Cadenza Black was the detail as in decay of notes, and in the soundstage as in soundspace of the room. Just wonderful. I am really pleased with every aspect of service from Expert Stylus and I recommend them without reservation.

    If my experience is normal, I give Expert Stylus retipping services an A+, a 10 on a 1-10 scale. Ms. Thompson and Mr. Hodgson were polite, accommodating of my questions, and most professional.

    A job very well done.
    Just my personal curiosity, but how long did it take to clock up 800 hours of playing time? That is a lot of music!!


  6. #36
    Join Date: Nov 2018

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 36
    I'm Paul.

    Default Re-tip cost

    A healthcheck report if you do not go ahead is approx' £45.00 and if you give the go ahead then approx' £320.00 to £360.00 inclusive depending on the configuration with the Paratrace (aluminium/sapphire/boron).

    This is all depedent on the healthchech not reporting issues like coil damage etc.

    Jah guide
    Last edited by Miller; 01-07-2019 at 12:20.
    EMT 930ST
    Garrard 301/3009 MK1
    Nagra BPS
    47 Labs RJM PhonoClone
    Hashimoto HM-3
    Ortofon Spu Synergy/Cadenza Bronze/Kontrapunkt B/Rondo Bronze
    Audioquest B200/AQ404
    Denon 103SA (Paratrace)
    Audio Technica AT33 Mono
    PYE HF12 Valve Monoblocks
    Pass Labs Aleph 0s
    Turner B302
    IFI Pro Linestage
    Marantz 1060 Integrated Amp
    47 Labs Stratos wired Bourns Passive
    Western Electric CD Line Transformer
    Yamaha CDR-HD1500
    Tannoy 15" custom

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