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You know when it’s time “Styli”


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My basis signature, Vector 4 and Ace have been singing away for many months now ,, I have recently noticed a tiny tad of sibilance on some recordings but never in the same position on a record otherwise I would have said it needs resetting . In my experience when an arm and cartridge  is set it’s Set . there are no forces going to be generated on screws or weight that could change that and a  few miniscules of grams of loss on a diamond or bearing is incalculable. So it has to come down to the wear on the diamond as the only physical entity left ..I brought this cartridge knowing it’s life and for the money if I could get six months , I wasn’t far off “ I listen to a lot of vinyl in a week” And don’t get me wrong it’s got a long way to go for a retip, or new cartridge in most of the systems I’ve had .

But there’s just that very occasional ,niggle , an itch ,a zzzs as I like to describe it on some recordings very challenging material .

How do you guess when it’s ready ? It’s a very expensive component 

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Posted (edited)

Just to be certain - does this sibilance that you're hearing occur on LPs you are familiar with and have previously played without issue, or with LPs that you've not played? Just trying to establish if any of it could be due to the played medium rather than setup or wear of your cart

Edited by Jules_S
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Hate to say it but never noticing it in the same place on a lp suggests it may be a negative expectation bias i.e. you unconsciously expect it to be nearing the end and hence hear the odd oddity. 

Happens to me all the time. 

Likewise, hearing difference between any hi-fi is imo as often due to different source material as the kit itself. 

That said, it may well be due a replacement styli....

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1 hour ago, bigrod said:

My basis signature, Vector 4 and Ace have been singing away for many months now. ..........  So it has to come down to the wear on the diamond as the only physical entity left ...............   if I could get six months , I wasn’t far off “ I listen to a lot of vinyl in a week”

You must play a heck of a lot of vinyl to wear out the stylus in 6 months!  Other possibilities include deterioration of/damage to the suspension.

The Ace is not an expensive cartridge (by audiophile stabnards) but it's price has doubled over the last few years.  

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7 minutes ago, sktn77a said:

You must play a heck of a lot of vinyl to wear out the stylus in 6 months!  Other possibilities include deterioration of/damage to the suspension.

The Ace is not an expensive cartridge (by audiophile stabnards) but it's price has doubled over the last few years.  

I think the op mentioned they'd bought the cart "knowing it's life" i.e. it was second hand. Hence six months might be accurate....

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4 hours ago, Headcoat said:

I think the op mentioned they'd bought the cart "knowing it's life" i.e. it was second hand. Hence six months might be accurate....

Yes it was second hand

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6 hours ago, Jules_S said:

Just to be certain - does this sibilance that you're hearing occur on LPs you are familiar with and have previously played without issue, or with LPs that you've not played? Just trying to establish if any of it could be due to the played medium rather than setup or wear of your cart

I hear it on albums I know very well . Without previous problems

i probably listen to 30-40 albums a week .

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, bigrod said:

I hear it on albums I know very well . Without previous problems

i probably listen to 30-40 albums a week .

You'll never 'unhear' it now. And it may start to do some damage.

Personally, I wouldn't push it any further. Time for a new stylus.

Edited by lazycat
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5 hours ago, lazycat said:

You'll never 'unhea'r it now. And it may start to do some damage.

Personally, I wouldn't push it any further. Time for a new stylus.

“Unhear “ is absolutely true ...Once it’s there it’s there..You eventually start thinking you can hear something when there’s nothing wrong ..
Yep it’s time for this to be relegated to the mancave when it’s completed..

But what next ? Go for similar or go for different as the Ace is the only cart I’ve had on this table and arm . wood ?

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Posted (edited)

Julian if your looking for a replacement at around the £1k mark the same as the wood, then I really would look no further than the Hana ML. Not only is it beautifully judged but it's everything the reviews say and then some. It does detail, timbre and nuance coupled with weight, richness, and an expansive soundstage. As one review quite rightly said, "the best £3-4k cartridge you can buy for £995." 

Edited by Lurch
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The only reliable way is to record usage and change styli at over 500 hours and not in excess of 800 hours IMO.  The alternative buy a digital microscope for the computer that will do 500 x magnification with light all around (so that all edges of the stylus reflect the light) to see if there is any wear.

As to choosing a cartridge .. to me it is comparable with loudspeakers in that we all have our own idea of what sounds right ... for me when the reviewers all disagree then I want to have a listen (if they all agree then there is something wrong IMO) .. the variance of likes is to me real life (just as in here there are loads of people who like different things).

As to a £900 item sounding better than those up to £3k ,, if that was the case one would expect to see a massive price rise (as happened with Canary Valve amps where the integrated was £1400 and raved about and in a short space of time had gone up to £3k).  Mind you I do think that about my Decca Supergold (there is no cartridge I would change it for up £3k but I would like to have a transfiguration as an alternative sometimes).

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  • 3 weeks later...

The difference between Swiss and Japanese carts !!!!

I was running a Swiss made Benz Micro Ace SL and from previous post I thought it was “”time” for a new Styli/ Cart.. It was second hand and I’ve loved it ,, It would probably go a couple of hundred + more hours still’ for 99%+ of the population ,, But to a lover of quality reproduction and dare I say it an “audiophile” it wasn’t quite “up” there as it was a year ago ,Not a slouch by any means “but” for me it was time ..

After reading many reviews about the latest carts and re-tipping I’ve gone Japanese..Someone said try the AT ART9XI , he set up my table for the Benz and I trust his judgement on the knowledge of what he’s heard on the Basis signature with vector 4 arm and how to set it up perfectly.

From the off it was “up” there ... Personally you’ve got to spend a lot of money on a cartridge to better the synergy between the Vector and ART 9XI , there is a cohesion to a piano being played that just wasn’t there.. All the notes , nuances ,mids, depths ,timing , musicality and highs were all there in the Benz, but they didn’t link totally ..I thought they did but I was wrong .
 

With the Vector “ hand and a glove” comes to mind , And it’s just getting a tighter fit and synergy by the hour ..

It can show how an American deck and arm designers philosophy is in the mind of the Japanese cartridge designer and visa versa ...

Thrown every music genera at it over the last 10 hours or so ..it interprets everything even handedly ..

I was actually thinking I might try a Shelter  before the AT ,  about the same price ., At the moment that’s for another time

. The ART9XI is here to stay

And I was right it was “time”

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As a matter of interest how many hours were on the cartridge & how many did you put on it? Aside from the cheaper tip profiles I think people massively underestimate just how long they can get from their cartridge, assuming they keep their records clean & take care to set everything up correctly.

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I’ve had an ART9XI for a couple of months too - really pleaded with it

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