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When to replace phone cartridge?


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Sorry technical problem above - answer by Shure (on thier website Q and A) to question re which components in cartridge age:

"Only the stylus ages. The diamond tip wears down and the elastic bushing breaks down, mostly due to ozone in the atmosphere. A new stylus in an old body is the equivalent of a complete new phono cartridge."

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a replacment stylus for my old V15III, so I ordered a new Shure M97xE. I got it for $57 so I don't fee to bad about the outlay when I upgrade TT later.

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I really don't get it. How in the hell can anyone use a phono pickup that's decades old?


Over the decades, I've found that on most modern high-compliance pickups, the stylus suspension (grommet) fatigues and wears out long before the stylus itself shows any substantial signs of wear. This occurs not only because of mechanical fatigue due to the millions(?+) of undulating movements that the cantilever suspension must endure, but also to everyday contanminents present in the air which eventually cause the suspension to "harden up" and therefore change compliance. When the compliance changes, the entire pickup "system" (arm, pickup, pickup cantilever, etc) also changes, resonances change, tracking ability changes, etc.

On the other hand, if you like the way it sounds & its all satifactory to you, then by all means keep it. Just beware that by the time you can "hear" the damage, its too late (for both pickup and record). Just to save $50-$100 on a new pickup or stylus assmebly replacement, its not worth it IMHO. Get a new one.

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