I've had an experience but only avoiding mail orders -- only local pickups. I've bought Benz Glider and I checked the diamond head and cantilever with pocket microscope. The cartridge appeared to be in superb condition and it sounded as it was new having 450hrs+ on it. I guess that diamond stylus isn't getting affected by even 5000hrs of using -- only the cantilever from getting on and off the record + loading current that flows throug it. If the cartridge is well maintained, it could last for 5000 hrs+ having no problem. If you'll ever see that there is black dust on the magnet instead of gray or white -- that is the time to retip it or change it, also that means that the cartridge had it's vast time used even if well maintained.
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