Cartridge retip stylus options/Opinions please


Hi guys,

I have two cartridges that I want to have retipped: Shelter 901 and Monster AG2000. The Shelter comes stock with an elliptical stylus and the Monster with micro ridge. Andy @ Needle Clinic will put a microridge on either for $450 ea. (line contact for $350, elliptical for $250). Soundsmith will put their best stylus (optimized nude contact line) on a sapphire cantilever for $399 ea. Both carts (esp the Monster) is very good in stock form based on my tastes; but, if I had a magic wand, I would say that I would prefer a little more openness and refinement in the highs with somewhat less emphasis on the mid bass from the Shelter; and a little more fullness from the Monster.

Any thoughts on the general quality of work to be expected from each retipper and/or the merits of each choice of stylus would be most appreciated.

Thanks!
frogman
Both perform high quality work. Soundsmith usually does not retip. They replace the stock cantilever and stylus with a new assembly including a ruby cantilever.

Based on the price from Andy I think he is quoting you a price for a retip, that is only the stylus is being replaced, and the stock cantilever is remaining.

Retipping (stylus replacement) with the same stylus configuration will give you the stock sound when returned. The replacement of the cantilever as well with a different material will give a different sound than stock, which you may prefer, or not, to the stock sound.
Any thoughts on the general quality of work to be expected from each retipper and/or the merits of each choice of stylus would be most appreciated.

Frogman
Peter at Soundsmith has retipped two cartridges for me. Both came back in good shape. One of the cartridges I considered "nuding". They were adamant against doing this due to the microscopic metal particles floating around during vinyl play which would be attracted to the cartridge. With that said if I send him another one - one day, it will be with instructions - "as close as possible to stock." Re-tip only.

I figure if you like the cartridge get it retipped as this keeps it as close to stock as possible - assuming the cantilever is good. If there is something you would like improved you can gamble with a different cantilever. I would call Peter or the other providers and ask how the sound and general operation (.i.e, less or more VTA changes) will be affected with the different materials/diamonds. Remembering that this will be based on "their system/s" not yours.

Soundsmith usually does not retip. They replace the stock cantilever and stylus with a new assembly including a ruby cantilever.

They do retip only - but it does need to be requested in advance. A number of cantilever materials available. There is more info here.

Soundsmith FAQ

I would also recommend Axle in Germany but from last word on the forums he has become very busy, and there is more complicated logistics with the big pond between him and yourself.

my two cents. Good luck

Cheers
Thank you both for your thoughts. I think I will be sending them to Andy for retips only.

Chris, another cartridge that I will be sending to Andy for repair is a Vandenhul MC1 that I "nuded", mounted on my ET and used nude (on and off) for years (mounting nuded transducers is a favorite activity ;-) ) Anyway, attracted ferrous particles was never a problem; however, once during mounting the magnets attracted a mounting screw (won't touch that one) that I thought was non-ferrous and it severed one of the thin wires going to the back of one of the cartridge pins. Btw, the improvement in sound from nuding was not subtle.
By far Van Den Hul does the best Cartrudge rebuild in the industry.Nobody can even renotely do what this 78 year old master can. Turmaround time is 5-6 weeks
Frogman - don't forget to ask Andy or whoever does the work for you to take a little extra time to inspect the old stylus before discarding. The wear pattern tells an intimate story of the person's vinyl setup. :^)
Very good tip (no pun), Chris. Will do, and thanks!