Break-In Unused Cartridge with Old Stylus? New Stylus in Old Body? Problems Encountered?

Break-In of Old Unused Cartridge???? Old Stylus? New Stylus in Old Body??? Problems Encountered???

The 2 separate considerations seem to be old stylus suspension, and body internals.

I found this from 2015

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    Re: Clearaudio MM -- AT-95E and beyond« Reply #1133 on: 26 Jun 2015, 03:31 am »Hi Neo.

    I completely agree with your comment in regards to this required ’mini’ break-in after a cartridge has sat for a while . Some of you may be asking yourself, just how long is this
    ’for a while’. Well, I had cartridges that don’t sound quite as I remember them sounding only after a couple of days of this sitting. Others take several weeks before this same effect takes place. To me, the cartridges sound is a bit thin until it ’re’ settles in. I can not say for sure that it is the suspension that is making the change from sitting, or if it is the coil wire being energized when placed back into use. I do know of some audiophiles that will not even move their speaker wire for fear of having to ’re’ break them in. A lot of Voodoo in this hobby of ours but I do know what I hear. Something does definitely change in the sound of a cartridge when it sits.
    Regards, "

    What have you experienced resurrecting un-used cartridges? original un-used stylus? new stylus in old body?

    Regrets getting new Stylus for Old Cartridge?

    Just get a new cartridge with new Stylus?

    I ordered new Shibata Stylus for my Shure V15VxMR body which has been unused for a very long time. It’s not about the stylus rubber, but the body internals in this case.

    I probably will get a new Shibata for Old Victor Z1S body after it get’s here, same internals only issue.

    Both issues: I’m using my Old Unused AT440ML with it’s original Stylus, so it’s about stylus suspension and internals in it’s case. Note: dried crud on diamond and cantilever, it took repeated cleanings, finally electrical contact cleaner rinsed with alcohol worked, looks like original now.

    Sounds great on clean LP’s, I was not aware of this ’mini-break-in' idea, so haven’t been paying attention. Only around 20 hours since resurrected. I will move it to my new Lustre GST-801 arm when assembled. I will pay more attention then.

    I'll pay attention to the Shure when new stylus arrives.


    So many layers involved using great but weathered stuff.

    Not sue what what is the question, any great cartridge i have bought and mounted was great from the start or it was bad from the start.

    I pay attention to all the settings when i mount any cartridge. However, we need a few days or even a week to listen and compare one cartridge to another. We must be in a certain mood. So raving about a cartridge sound in the first 10 hrs of listening is probably too early anyway. We're always biased by new toys and we want to believe it is great. 

    Cardas LP can be used for burn-in, you can leave your new cartridge on that record for a night to speed up things.

    I can’t recall any cartridge that wasn’t good from the start and became superior just because of the burn-in process. There might be some minor changes for previously unused cartridges, but the cartridge will not change it’s character (sound signature) that much (from bad to good).

    The best vintage cartridges made with LC-OFC or PC-OCC coil wires and pins does not oxidize even after 30 years. I have compared regular Grace and Grace LEVEL II LC-OFC (and F14 LC-OFC) the cartridge pins on regular version are always oxidized while the LC-OFC are always clean and not oxidized. The Audio-Technica PC-OCC is more advanced technology. If you’re worry about cartridge generator just look for the models made with LC-OFC or PC-OCC wire.

    Some third-party styli for vintage cartridges are just 100% junk compared to the originals, except for the Jico SAS, but even JICO does not sound right on many cartridges and easily can be surpassed by the original stylus (if it’s Beryllium, Ruby or Boron Pipe with profiles like MicroLine or MicroRidge).

    My Koetsu Black Goldline goes through this every night. The first few minutes or so is a fairly big change, but it continues to improve clear across the first side and probably even longer, it just gets harder/less obvious as the rate of improvement slows.

    This same thing has happened with every cartridge ever, the last two being Benz Ruby H and Benz Glider. I view it as similar to warm-up. 

    This is NOT to say they have to be run and run to sound great. When chakster says they are great (or not) right from the start he is totally correct. If its crap out of the box its crap, period. But this is more like its great right out of the box, then it goes to stellar. But even a star, you know, twinkles.
    I am asking about UN-USED Old Stock, being used after many idle years.

    Stylus: perhaps stylus suspension stiffening, rotting, dissolving? 

    Body: cartridge internals changing?
    chakster wrote:
    Not sure what what is the question,

    Indeed. What is the question?
    Break-In of Old Unused Cartridge???? Old Stylus? New Stylus in Old Body??? Problems Encountered???

    The 2 separate considerations seem to be old stylus suspension, and body internals.


    problems encountered?

    anything relevant to say?
    Stylus is DIAMOND - the hardest material and since it’s NEW (NOS) you’re fine even if it’s 100 years old.

    Suspension damper is rubber, some old cartridges are notorious for suspension problems (for example Technics cartridges). Some cartridges are just fine, because the formula is different, depends on the manufacturer.

    Normally a cartridge body with bad suspension will fall down on your record after you will play one side of the LP. The suspension damper normally softened over the years, not getting stiffer. Well, maybe some high compliance cartridges getting a bit stiffer, but it is not as bad as the softened suspension damper.

    Softened suspension/damper can not resist even 1.2g of the tracking force, those cartridges getting lower and lower until almost fall down on the records surface. You can’t do anything about it, such cartridges must be avoided, just don’t buy them, ask seller to check and confirm the condition of the damper. This is one of the reason why tested cartridges are better than sealed/unused samples. But again, we have learned over the years which cartridges must be ignored, because most of them have softened dampers (Technics cartridges are the worst in this aspect, for example).

    Some clever design such as Audio-Technica allow a vendor to tune the tension wire with a little screw right inside the stylus assembly. 

    Some sellers have no idea what they are selling, what is a suspension or damper, why it is softened etc. Many sellers just play fools and can’t answer the simple questions. Don’t buy vintage cartridges from them.

    How is Victor's old suspension

    I've seen many Victor samples, maybe i was lucky but X-1II with that curved beryllium cantilever was fine, some of the X-1IIe with titanium cantilever were bent (when a cantilever is slightly off centered, so you have to twist a cartridge in the headshell to solve the issue). 

    The most problematic cartridge in my experience was X-1, maybe it is just a bad luck, but almost every used sample of this model was a low rider (softened damper), too close to the record surface even with reduced tracking force. I think this is one of the reason why the next (upgraded model) X-1II is better! 

    And i never seen an X-1IIe with bad suspension. 

    P.S. Samples i bought NOS were all just fine: X-1, X-1II, X1IIe but NOS samples are very expensive. 

    I do not recommend to buy an elliptical stylus (used) if you're not sure about the usage time, simply because the life span of elliptical is short, better to look for unused or very low hrs samples.