A pitch too High!

Recently, I damaged the V2 MM cartridge of Clearaudio Concept Wood turntable, so had it changed with a Grado Prestige Blue. The VTF for V2 is 2.2g while Grado blue stands at 1.5g. I took someone’s help to fix this. He even made azimuth adjustments and it sounded fine. But I soon realised that the sound had become thinner, voice being the primary indicator and just before the stylus landed on the record, it skipped back a bit then hit the record. Sometimes the tonearm would skip all the way out of the record, backwards. I called the guy back, and he felt the VTF should be fixed to around 2g to avoid the backward skip. He did so and that problem was licked and it seemed the voice thinning issue had also vanished. But last night, I put on the first pressing of Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace, and all along I found her pitch way higher, it was all too high pitched and uncomfortable. Seemed the bass had gone missing a little. On my Boulder 866, I could immediately hear the difference when the track was played through Roon. It was not as high pitched, thin as it sounded on analogue. I intend to call the guy again but wanted to know from experts here as to what the issue could be.

Spending $150.00 to retip a $250.00 cartridge seems a little nutty to me. Why not just wait and upgrade to a better cartridge? I had the $600.00 Grado and on certain records, it performed well above what one might expect for that price range. I started out with a Prestige and while it was free of listening fatigue, to me it sounded bloated. Audio Technica might be another good option.


It’s not a re-tip! Leave your re-tip for MC. Re-tip is a drop of glue around new stylus tip on old cantilever (if the origina stylus tip is worn or damaged). 


I'm talking about original replacement stylus.

With MI/MM cartridges the stylus alone cost more than a cartridge body without stylus. Grado Black with the most expensive Grado XTZ stylus ($450 just for the stylus) will perform not like Grado Black anymore, it’s huge upgrade.

There are $70 styli from Grado too, but 8MZ, TLZ and XTZ are the best styli for Grado Glack,Blue,Green... series.

chakster, so your saying that replacing the stylus with XTZ on a $200.00 Prestige cartridge will out perform a $600.00 Sonata? Anyway, isn’t this the same service Soundsmith offers with there stylus and cantilever replacement?

chakster, so your saying that replacing the stylus with XTZ on a $200.00 Prestige cartridge will out perform a $600.00 Sonata?


I am not familiar with Sonata, but I have the original Grado XTZ, it was Joseph Grado signature model, his best cartridge in the 80's (the price tag on the box is $750, not cheap in the 80's). 


Anyway, isn’t this the same service Soundsmith offers with there stylus and cantilever replacement?

Genuine replacement styli are always different from those parts assembled together by re-tippers, you can't get Grado cantilever/stylus from SoundSmith. It's not the same "service" because replacement stylus for Grado is user replaceable, anyone can buy instal (very easy).



chakster, the XTZ is a cartridge from the 80's, are you certain that Grado will have the XTZ stylus and cantilever in 2021? I had a Grace F12 and they are now defunct, so having the stylus replaced by Grace was impossible. But if you know Grado still has XTZ parts, then it's still an option. It just seems odd that Grado would still have XTZ cartridges or parts from nearly forty years ago.

That being said, I have dealt with Grado where it pertains to repair and they honored a warranty that had expired by about a month. They are top notch when it comes to customer service.

Once I got the HiFi News test record, I did everything all over again before I played the Hifi news record. Please do let me know what you guys feel.

Turntable Balance:


Test done with the paper disc that comes with the HiFi news record. To get this right, I had to unscrew the cartridge a little and adjust.

https://imgur.com/hZt0lwi. (Shows alignment with the tonearm)

Test done with Mofi Geo Disc:

https://imgur.com/mmaSH43  (Shows alignment with the tonearm)  

@chakster I am pasting YouTube links of the results of the test record, let me know what you feel as this came highly recommended by you:

Side 1 | Band 6: https://youtu.be/3xVdC9zIHhA

Side 1 | Band 7: https://youtu.be/sG-SQGZz44w

Side 1 | Band 8: https://youtu.be/n0pXWX43gZA

Side 1 | Band 9: https://youtu.be/XyP5DFrpREo

Side 2 | Band 2: https://youtu.be/655x0JJvnII

Side 2 | Band 3: https://youtu.be/P5Yh89r5Yjc

Side 2 | Band 4: https://youtu.be/-8A6YkmBT_E

I felt everything was kosher, but then you are the experts.