Decca London Cartridge?

I recently discovered a Decca London Cartridge in my collection of audio detritus. It was made on Feb. 2, 1973. Does anyone have any experience with this cartridge? Is it worth having it retipped, or re-built? And, if so, where would one send it for revision?
While i've never heard this cartridge, IAR stated that it was pretty good sounding. I have a hard time understanding this statement as Moncrieff is usually a tough critic and the frequency response of this cartridge as he measured it was pretty horrible. Then again, i've read / seen / experienced more than a few things that didn't make sense : )

As far as re-tipping goes, you can send it to Van Den Hul. I think that there is also another place in England that does this, but i can't recall the name. I'm sure that some of the other "vinylheads" can help you out in that respect.

As far as "is it worth re-tipping" ? That would be up to you. I guess i would contact the people that do this work and find out what it costs. Once you have a ballpark price, you'll have a better idea of whether or not you want to spend the money or not. Sean
Sean, you are right on with your comments. As to the cartridge, this was one of the "great" cartridges at that time. This, along with the Shure and ADC xlm were tops on peoples list. The version I had was the Decca Gold. Not a great tracker but did it ever pound out the music and cut away all the glare! I guess todays Lyra Helikon would be considered today's Decca Gold (IMHO).
The Decca cartridges are still available, and they have been improved to track at about 1.8 grams. They still use the "Decca Principle" of using no cantilever and have a very revealing sound. Some people consider these cartridges to be a little "too forward", but there is no doubt that they have a very unique sound that is highly regarded by some audiophiles. For the cost of a VDH retip, you could buy one of the newer models brand new. If you want the top of the line Jublilee, then you'll have to pay more.
My Decca London was perhaps the twin of yours, and made about the same time. Blue case or grey? The latter was the Export model, selected for response from the regular run. Very different technology, quite interesting: no cantilever, stylus assembly kept under tension by a string, conical stylus... ) I ran mine in a Decca International arm, a damped unipivot. Since the cartridge has no internal damping, the arm has to supply it. Very lively and dynamic sound, tracking not great but OK for most cuts. IMO worth retipping if the price is right, but I doubt that I would use it in my main system (LP12 Lingo, rewired RB300, Cardas Heart, Klyne SK-5A) today.
It may interest you that the very earliest Decca stereo pickups (long before 1973) had Horizontal and Vertical groove modulation outputs (Left + Right and Left - Right), and required a mixing network to come up with the Left and Right signals of the 45 degree stereo LP format. In spite of this inconvenience, the pickups were regarded as something special.
I heard one of these many years ago and recall being very impressed. I understand that one can get them re-tipped by Garrot (sic) Brothers.
Hi guys - I have been a Deccahead since they first released the Mark I (1958!) Never had any tracking problems (but always used their arms) managed quarter gram tracking on flat non warped test disc once with the SC4E cartridge issued early 1970's (bass tracks from Shure obstacle course I remember?) This latter was high compliance and discontinued. Theory with NO DAMPING in stylus assembly needs only 15 C units for 1.5g VTF. Current models ( 3 are still available) and new design on way I hear, all have around 15 compliance unit armature design but vary in internal damping and stylus profile.
Frequency response up to 30kHz and above. Original design started life for a multiplex stereo where the 30KHz carrier was switched for each channel (as for FM stereo) Discontinued when they realised Alan Blumlein (EMI)had patented two groove wall method back in the 1930's and everyone else was going this way.

Is it worth using? I wouldn't use anything else - but it must have a damped arm and unipivots preferred (less reflections back down arm tubing). I believe all "mistracking" comments due to using in undamped arms - a fault of the combination not of the cartridge design which clearly states its need for damping. If you want holographic stereo images and mind blowing music please try this cartridge. I was once told it was "too theatrical" - therefore not to everyone's tastes.
Worth fooling with this cartridge? I'll save words here:
This cartridge arouses deep and violent opinions. I've had friends bring their "lousy mistracking Decca London" round to my rig and plug it straight in and be astounded. Then there was absolutely no mistracking at all. (Both arm and pre amp can screw things up big time). Former must be suitable. A damped unipivot great. Many highly regarded knife edge or ball bearing "classics" are rubbish with this cartridge. (highly regarded for other softer cartridges without the energy output). Also headroom in preamp can cause overload. be brave but remeber it may now require rebuild. Find a friend with a damped unipivot and good preamp.
I fondly remember my many London Decca and even spending hours in a Chicago dealers backroom picking out which I wanted. Never have I had such transparent sound. I do not even know how I ended up with none, but I did.

This may result in my trying one again, but my Schroeder arm may not be appropriate.
Forgot to mention that with the london set up properly, old classic retro turntables will sound even better (!!!) such as garrard 301 or 401 - or of course new version 501 now being made in UK. One could find some music detail gets lost with belt drives. I have Linn lp12 using london arm as well as 301 with london arm - latter is better. Surprises continue in vinylfi land. (I listen with latest QUAD ESL 989 which is also super revealing - sorry folks!)
I have a Garrard 501 coming with the Schroeder arm. I might once again have to try the London. I well remember its magic. I guess I sold them because of tracking problems.
Thank you all for your responses. My old Decca -- which certainly dates me! -- has a more or less "purple" case. It only has three pins, so I guess the ground leads from each channel must be connected to it. When I first got my Decca, I thought it was simply wonderful, then I wandered off and tried Denon, Koetsu, Spectral, and now Myabi, not much similarity there is there?!. I have been very tempted by a Schroeder arm, which I have been told should sing with my Myabi, but I am sorely tempted to try the Decca again. At present I have a Graham 1.5, and based on the above comments, it should be OK. The problem is simply that to reconfigure everything is a big hassle, and one spends more time tweaking than listening. Plus, I must admit, the Myabi is something special.
Thank you for reawakening my interest in the Londons. Although I have a J. Aleraet Finish, I will probably retry the Londons.
Rebuilds in UK at J S Wright (Originally at Decca and manufacturer of all new ones as well as rebuilder and repairer for all from the MkI onwards). Costs excluding postage he tells me are Elliptical tip (identical to one you possibly have is £150 but recommend the newer extended line contact ("better thaan van den Hul") this is about £50 more but I don't have his quoted price. Credit cards may be a problem - check at
There are other rebuilders of course - see web sites. Being in uk, I only have used John Wright.
I have had a Decca SC4E rebuilt by The Cartridge man, all I can say is SUPERB!!!
Mounted in a Hadcock with VTF of 1.78 grms it tracs everything thrown at it. An extremely neutral performer. I think that we must try vintage carts in the type of arms they were designed for, although there are exceptios to the rule...............
Neilr, does John Wright sell Decca headshells? I now have a Shindo Labs Garrard 301 turntable and a Jubilee which I will only be able to use with a headshell as the Shindo uses the Ortofon 12" arm with a headshell mount.