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Thread: Experiences re-tipping with alternative cantilever and/or stylus?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2019

    Location: Windsor, Ontario, canada

    Posts: 24
    I'm Bruce.

    Default Experiences re-tipping with alternative cantilever and/or stylus?

    In my early experience with MC cart re-tipping it was most often a matter of sending a cart in to the manufacturer and having it rebuilt as per original. There now seem to be many alternatives when it comes to re-tipping and the choices have multiplied as a result. From discussions with friends it seems like some combination of motor/body and cantilever/stylus work rather better than others.I thought it might be interesting to assemble a list of such pairings and impressions of the results.

    I'll start off the list. I have a Benz Gold which met with an unfortunate accident. As originally built it came with an aluminium cantilever and elliptical diamond and was nice if nothing astounding. I decided to see what potential was lurking in there and had it rebuilt with a boron cantilever and a micro-ridge diamond. The improvement was great enough it is hard to believe it is the same cart. Tracking is terrific, very quiet in the groove, detail is excellent and the tonal balance is spot on in my system and according to my ears. An adequate cart was turned into a star.

    Your turn!

  2. #2
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,137
    I'm Alan.

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    Who did the rebuild Bruce?

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2019

    Location: Windsor, Ontario, canada

    Posts: 24
    I'm Bruce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    Who did the rebuild Bruce?
    Andy at Needle Clinic out on the US "left" coast. He has done a few carts for me and they all turned out nicely. Next will be a couple of Audio Technica OC-9, the original model with the aluminium cantilever and elliptical diamond. I actually prefer the tonal balance on them to the later versions so it will be interesting to see if the same trick as with the Benz Gold works out as well. I'll also send him an Ortofon MC-10 Super (my first-ever MC cart, a sentimental fave, light and also fairly compliant) and a B&O LP-12 so I can install it on a Beogram 3000 I'd like to use in the system in my wife's art supply shop. Unflappable little table and easy for anyone to use.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: London, Canada

    Posts: 184
    I'm Blake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddlefye View Post
    Andy at Needle Clinic out on the US "left" coast. He has done a few carts for me and they all turned out nicely. Next will be a couple of Audio Technica OC-9, the original model with the aluminium cantilever and elliptical diamond. I actually prefer the tonal balance on them to the later versions so it will be interesting to see if the same trick as with the Benz Gold works out as well. I'll also send him an Ortofon MC-10 Super (my first-ever MC cart, a sentimental fave, light and also fairly compliant) and a B&O LP-12 so I can install it on a Beogram 3000 I'd like to use in the system in my wife's art supply shop. Unflappable little table and easy for anyone to use.

    Hello Bruce. Fancy running in to you here

    I've been running retipped cartridges with different than stock cantilevers and styli for about 7-8 years now with very good results. IMO, it is truly a great way to achieve biggest bang for the buck especially with escalating cartridge prices in higher end models in the past few years.

    My first forays were with Peter Ledermann at Soundsmith; he retipped a couple of Denon 103R's for me, both with ruby cantilevers, one with his standard line contact stylus and the other with his OCL (Optimised Contour Contact Line) stylus, which pretty closely resembles the Ortofon Replicant.

    Both of these cartridges were also rebodied, one in aluminum and the other in ebony, and they played well above what I had invested in them. They were grossly superior to stock 103R's. I had used the ebony bodied model with stock cantilever and stylus before retipping it-the body alone was a significant improvement and the retip with better cantilever and stylus also offered a major performance boost.

    After that I had Andy do a couple of Ortofon MC 20 Supers for me. The nice thing about Andy is that his charges as standard include rejuvenating/re-working the suspension which I do not believe is the case with Peter. He did one of my Ortofons with a boron/microridge and the 2nd with sapphire/microridge. They were also a huge step up from my MC 20 Super with standard aluminum cantilever and its stylus.

    The last cartridge I had Andy do (and which is currently in use) is an Accuphase AC2. This cartridge originally featured a sapphire tube cantilever but I never heard it stock as I bought the cartridge off Ebay without cantilever and stylus. After 7-8 years and a number of retips I've come to the conclusion that I prefer the sound of boron cantilevers. They just sound more natural to me, very smooth but also very dynamic and I think that boron also is the best in terms of reducing surface and extraneous noise in playback but that is just anecdotal. Boron is also, in my opinion, a bit more "mid hall" in presentation in my opinion; I think listeners that prefer a more front row presentation, and are possibly a bit more detail oriented in their listening preferences, might well prefer sapphire or ruby.

    There was a group buy of Namiki boron cantilevers with microridge styli that was organized by Warren Jarrett at the Hoffman forum and I participated in this and picked up a couple of those (and then an extra one after that as well from someone who ended up not needing it), one of which was used to do the Accuphase, which I sent to Andy along with the Namiki cantilever/stylus. The Namiki boron/microridge is extremely high quality; I'd guess that it is stock on some very exotic & pricey cartridges these days.

    Within the context of my system, anyway, the Accuphase is a destination cartridge, so much better than the other cartridges I've used that I have no desire to upgrade at this stage. Also an almost perfect match with my phono stage.

    But I do have a couple of the Namiki cantilevers sitting here and am giving serious thought to sending my AT 33 Mono (which probably only has 50-60 hours on it) off to have one of those attached to it. My guess is that it would totally supercharge that cartridge, which is already very good even with a relatively modest aluminum cantilever and nude conical on it. There's only one way to find out and I'll probably go for it at some time. The AT certainly won't need any suspension work so I may send off to someone else. There seem to be quite a few retippers surfacing globally now, many of whom have very good reputations.

    Say hi to Adrian for me and if you're ever in London stop in!

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,720
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blake View Post
    Hello Bruce. Fancy running in to you here

    I've been running retipped cartridges with different than stock cantilevers and styli for about 7-8 years now with very good results. IMO, it is truly a great way to achieve biggest bang for the buck especially with escalating cartridge prices in higher end models in the past few years.

    My first forays were with Peter Ledermann at Soundsmith; he retipped a couple of Denon 103R's for me, both with ruby cantilevers, one with his standard line contact stylus and the other with his OCL (Optimised Contour Contact Line) stylus, which pretty closely resembles the Ortofon Replicant.

    Both of these cartridges were also rebodied, one in aluminum and the other in ebony, and they played well above what I had invested in them. They were grossly superior to stock 103R's. I had used the ebony bodied model with stock cantilever and stylus before retipping it-the body alone was a significant improvement and the retip with better cantilever and stylus also offered a major performance boost.

    After that I had Andy do a couple of Ortofon MC 20 Supers for me. The nice thing about Andy is that his charges as standard include rejuvenating/re-working the suspension which I do not believe is the case with Peter. He did one of my Ortofons with a boron/microridge and the 2nd with sapphire/microridge. They were also a huge step up from my MC 20 Super with standard aluminum cantilever and its stylus.

    The last cartridge I had Andy do (and which is currently in use) is an Accuphase AC2. This cartridge originally featured a sapphire tube cantilever but I never heard it stock as I bought the cartridge off Ebay without cantilever and stylus. After 7-8 years and a number of retips I've come to the conclusion that I prefer the sound of boron cantilevers. They just sound more natural to me, very smooth but also very dynamic and I think that boron also is the best in terms of reducing surface and extraneous noise in playback but that is just anecdotal. Boron is also, in my opinion, a bit more "mid hall" in presentation in my opinion; I think listeners that prefer a more front row presentation, and are possibly a bit more detail oriented in their listening preferences, might well prefer sapphire or ruby.

    There was a group buy of Namiki boron cantilevers with microridge styli that was organized by Warren Jarrett at the Hoffman forum and I participated in this and picked up a couple of those (and then an extra one after that as well from someone who ended up not needing it), one of which was used to do the Accuphase, which I sent to Andy along with the Namiki cantilever/stylus. The Namiki boron/microridge is extremely high quality; I'd guess that it is stock on some very exotic & pricey cartridges these days.

    Within the context of my system, anyway, the Accuphase is a destination cartridge, so much better than the other cartridges I've used that I have no desire to upgrade at this stage. Also an almost perfect match with my phono stage.

    But I do have a couple of the Namiki cantilevers sitting here and am giving serious thought to sending my AT 33 Mono (which probably only has 50-60 hours on it) off to have one of those attached to it. My guess is that it would totally supercharge that cartridge, which is already very good even with a relatively modest aluminum cantilever and nude conical on it. There's only one way to find out and I'll probably go for it at some time. The AT certainly won't need any suspension work so I may send off to someone else. There seem to be quite a few retippers surfacing globally now, many of whom have very good reputations.

    Say hi to Adrian for me and if you're ever in London stop in!
    Can only agree.

    There are a few guys / companies out there that specailise in this thing, re-tipping etc.

    Let them know you're after an 'upgrade' over what you've got / had and in my experience thats what you'll get back.

    In my case a cart that is better than the high end original for a fraction of what I'd have had to pay for an equivalent upgrade cartridge - a no brainer that has resulted in BIG and a cart of the quality and standard I couldnt have otherwise been able to afford / obtain
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Technics SP10 MK2, Technics EPA-250 Tonearm, Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge with Fritz Gyger S re-tip, Panzerholz plinth,
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7 on Soundcare SuperSpikes
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable - airloc banana plugs
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  6. #6
    Join Date: Mar 2019

    Location: Windsor, Ontario, canada

    Posts: 24
    I'm Bruce.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blake View Post
    Hello Bruce. Fancy running in to you here

    I've been running retipped cartridges with different than stock cantilevers and styli for about 7-8 years now with very good results. IMO, it is truly a great way to achieve biggest bang for the buck especially with escalating cartridge prices in higher end models in the past few years.

    My first forays were with Peter Ledermann at Soundsmith; he retipped a couple of Denon 103R's for me, both with ruby cantilevers, one with his standard line contact stylus and the other with his OCL (Optimised Contour Contact Line) stylus, which pretty closely resembles the Ortofon Replicant.

    Both of these cartridges were also rebodied, one in aluminum and the other in ebony, and they played well above what I had invested in them. They were grossly superior to stock 103R's. I had used the ebony bodied model with stock cantilever and stylus before retipping it-the body alone was a significant improvement and the retip with better cantilever and stylus also offered a major performance boost.

    After that I had Andy do a couple of Ortofon MC 20 Supers for me. The nice thing about Andy is that his charges as standard include rejuvenating/re-working the suspension which I do not believe is the case with Peter. He did one of my Ortofons with a boron/microridge and the 2nd with sapphire/microridge. They were also a huge step up from my MC 20 Super with standard aluminum cantilever and its stylus.

    The last cartridge I had Andy do (and which is currently in use) is an Accuphase AC2. This cartridge originally featured a sapphire tube cantilever but I never heard it stock as I bought the cartridge off Ebay without cantilever and stylus. After 7-8 years and a number of retips I've come to the conclusion that I prefer the sound of boron cantilevers. They just sound more natural to me, very smooth but also very dynamic and I think that boron also is the best in terms of reducing surface and extraneous noise in playback but that is just anecdotal. Boron is also, in my opinion, a bit more "mid hall" in presentation in my opinion; I think listeners that prefer a more front row presentation, and are possibly a bit more detail oriented in their listening preferences, might well prefer sapphire or ruby.

    There was a group buy of Namiki boron cantilevers with microridge styli that was organized by Warren Jarrett at the Hoffman forum and I participated in this and picked up a couple of those (and then an extra one after that as well from someone who ended up not needing it), one of which was used to do the Accuphase, which I sent to Andy along with the Namiki cantilever/stylus. The Namiki boron/microridge is extremely high quality; I'd guess that it is stock on some very exotic & pricey cartridges these days.

    Within the context of my system, anyway, the Accuphase is a destination cartridge, so much better than the other cartridges I've used that I have no desire to upgrade at this stage. Also an almost perfect match with my phono stage.

    But I do have a couple of the Namiki cantilevers sitting here and am giving serious thought to sending my AT 33 Mono (which probably only has 50-60 hours on it) off to have one of those attached to it. My guess is that it would totally supercharge that cartridge, which is already very good even with a relatively modest aluminum cantilever and nude conical on it. There's only one way to find out and I'll probably go for it at some time. The AT certainly won't need any suspension work so I may send off to someone else. There seem to be quite a few retippers surfacing globally now, many of whom have very good reputations.

    Say hi to Adrian for me and if you're ever in London stop in!
    By golly, it is indeed a small audio world!

    How did you like the boron/microridge vs. the sapphire on the MC 20 Super? Speaking of Adrian - I lent him my MC-20 Super and it will undoubtedly need re-tipping when I get it back. I liked the boron/microridge combination on the Benz Gold - talk about elevating a cart above its station!

    I'm juts in the process of mounting a Technics EPA 250 on the rear board on the DP-80 and so I will have to ponder what to run there. I have an Audiocraft AC-400C out front.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 328
    I'm John.

    Default

    There is the period of uncertainty, while awaiting the return of a Cartridge that is being turned into a
    Unknown Model.
    No reviews or Demo's to make a assessment.
    Trust in the proposal to rebuild beyond the Manufacturers Design, is growing, and as a result there are Cart's being produced by specialists, that are a near total satisfaction for their owners.
    Especially when the alternatives are assessed to get to this point in having a High Quality Cart' in a system.
    I had no idea how my Holistic Audio rebuilt Ortofon K'b would sound, I took a wild punt, following a advice from another AoS member, and then about turned on this advice, taking the advice of Kilian Bakker who owns Holistic Audio.
    I was in the fortunate position to compare my unused, '0 run in hours' rebuilt Ortofon K'b, to a Highly Regarded Cartridge from the Ortofon Family, the Vienna Model, which had undergone a rebuild itself and has had many hour of use .
    It is fair to say the four individuals in the room, listening to the comparison of the two Cart's, were unaminous in agreement that the two Cart's were very complimentary to each other and were deemed as money very well spent.
    I will do it all again, comparing to a Original K,b and the Vienna, when the rebuilt K'b has a period of usage.
    I am keen to offer encouragement to follow this method. It will be best backed up from comparison assessment, against models from the same family.
    There is a growing number of unique builds being produced, so each will have a its own signature, if these get compared to a Manufacturers original following a rebuild, I do not know, much of the info supplied seems to come from recollection of the previous model vs the audition of the rebuilt Cart' .
    I can not recall any one assessment that makes a claim, that the rebuilt Cart' was not a worthy replacement to the Original Model.
    I will post more on my comparisons, as they evolve.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2016

    Location: Shenfield

    Posts: 521
    I'm Slav.

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    Just out of curiosity , I am on the sceptical side when comes to buying 2nd hand cartridges as well as re-tipping done outside of manufactures , any of you have compared original cartridge in it's prime with re-tipped one?
    Some guys seems to be singing paeans in the glory of... and say about how many steps ahead re-tip was in sq but have you been provided with frequency response graph. , tracking ability , channel separation figures , advised about tracking force as Ortofon for example does?
    How do you know azimuth or SRA hasn't changed and what you perceive is just an reproduction inaccuracy?
    Another point to make is why would any of "fresh" re-tippers complain , it would be like cutting off the branch you're sitting on and minimizing re-sale value to ZERO .
    Interesting observation , look on E-Bay and audio forums how many re-tipped carts people sell claiming ZERO hours , my understanding is they tried it and didn't like , but it just me .
    Let the discussion begin....

  9. #9
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 41,613
    I'm Geoff.

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    There's a thread here that may help, headed by a list compiled by me a few years ago. No doubt most of the listed suppliers are likely to still be doing business.

    https://theartofsound.net/forum/show...ppliers-A-list!
    "when common sense, logic and plausibility are excluded. All that remain are foolishness and lies"

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 328
    I'm John.

    Default

    The Original K,b I will do a comparison with, is at present got about 150Hrs usage.
    I would suspect no more than 200Hrs when I get to doing the comparison.
    That will be a fair assessment, with more than one set of ears present.
    I am assessing a 'rebuilt' cartridge with a skilled engineers input to the process.
    This can not be classed as a 'retip'
    A retipped cartridge that has had a tough 1000ish hours running up to a retip, may have a variety unseen internal issues that are not being resolved, so 'maybe' the retip is fine, but other failings in the unseen parts are a cause of the a dislike and a prompt for a resale.
    My K'b had a pre works assessment inspection from the engineer. It was reported back as being internally contaminated with a excess of dirt. As well as the damping having a need to be worked with.
    I had already chose to have the internal damping upgraded, so learning my choice of damping could be mounted correctly and used was a bonus in my mind for the rebuild.
    Last edited by JohnG; 10-03-2019 at 11:13.

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