fabulous Technics EPC-100 series re-tip

I'm pretty sure many of you guys own fabulous Technics MM EPC-100 (MM) in your rasenal, especially their top models like (P or C versions) MK3 and MK4.

The question is how to upgrade this cartridges with a new tip, cantilever, suspension:

-How can do the job properly and how much is it, how is the sound after upgrade compared to the original?

-How good is the motor of this cartridge?

-It's worth to invest more in new boron cantilever, new tip etc?

-No one can provide pressure fitted tip to the boron cantilever?

P.S. I know Axel can do the job, not sure if he can change the suspension, Soundsmith will not do that. VdH is not available in my area. Who else can treat that Technics MM right ?

Anyone on here did the same to their Technics EPC-100 mk3 or mk4 ?
I sent my EPC-100 mk4 to Van Den Hul when the stylus fell off the cantilever and asked them to bring it back to as close to stk as possible.

Why did I pick Van Den Hul? Raul recommended him as he had sent a mk4 and VDH has a Mk4 as one of his reference carts

I believe all they did was retip the cartridge as the cantilever is still slightly off parallel.

How does it sound - excellent however it has seemed to have lost a little of its magic - that is extreme neutrality and ultra clean top end.

Still a great sound cart thou.

I would trust Axel. He seems to have done a great job re-tipping my Ortofon MC2000, another "heirloom" cartridge. It's easily the finest sounding LOMC I have ever heard in my own system. But my advice would be to adhere as much as possible to the original cantilever material and stylus shape, if you really want to preserve the "sound" of the Technics. So, the choice of re-tipper might be governed by who can do that for you.
Thanks! Anyone tried Andy at Needle Clinic ?
Have tried Andy at Needle Clinic 3 - 4 times, perfect job every time and quick turnaround, highly recommended

Good Listening


I like this one from Andy's (Needle Clinic Website): http://www.phonocartridgeretipping.com/images/needle-big.jpg

everyone must have this machine, haha

It's a microscope that Andy probably is comfortable using and knows exactly how to. A trained eye in a old-fashioned microscope it many times better than a untrained eye in the fanciest new microscope.

Good Listening


Do doubt, Peter
I really like this old school design, never seen anything like that before. I respect the work of retippers, guess we need more documentaries about them and their work.
Think you'll find that is not the microscope he uses - check out the Olympus Trinocular in the other pics. I have visited the old Garrott Bros - you'd be surprised - Brian could drop in a new stylus in the blink of an eye using similar, and I never heard a Garrott retipped cartridge that did not sound better than the original, including dozens of Koetsu's of all types- Black through to Onyx. I wish I had the dexterity and steady eye for it.
Dover, what do you think about new people who run garrott company now and the quality of their work ?
A friend of mine had an Ortofon Rohmann retipped by the new Garrott Bros. recently after accidentally dropping the cartridge. They fitted a microscanner tip ( nearest to the original ortofon profile ) and the results were excellent. To my ears sounded better than the original which was only 18months old.
Is the cantilever broken? Does it have a collapsed suspension, or just need a new stylus?

I doubt if anyone can replace the original tapered boron tube cantilever with an equivalent. They are generally unavailable, so if that's intact, I suggest you get a new needle only.

On the MM/MI thread there's a link to a photo of a Technics boron tube/stylus. J Carr said the stylus was too tall - extended out too far and would tend to rotate. You might want to discuss this w/re-tipper.
No, Fleib
In the same thread i've mentioned my small bunch of technics cartridges: few samples of 205cmk3, at least 4 samples of 205cmk4 and one 100cmk3 later. All in good shape, but i realized the difference due suspension condition. One of the 205cmk4 was simply amazing like new, but i sold all of them, cos my one and only 100cmk3 was better (especially in bass register, also better soundstage). I still have this cartridge and it's still beat all other MMs i have tried.

But this month i realized it's retipped 100cmk3, probably too late! The plastic boby of 100ED3 stylus is the original, cantilever is original boron, but the tip is glued (not laser etched) and on the bottom the cantilever is telescopic (not like the original). Thanks to one of the fellow technics collector from audiogon who emailed me some nice high resolution images of technics original tip/cantilever made under his microscope.

When i bought this cartridge many years ago i have noticed a problem with suspension and decided to sent it back to seller to fix it. It was foxtan btw. It took a long time, but his vendor have fixed the damper/suspension and i received perfectly working cartridge, sound was just great (better then the original top condition 205cmk4). I have been using this cartridge from time to time and later decided to sell it, but i never noticed the glued tip, i thought it was just a damper problem fixed. I also thought that mk3 version might be different from mk2 or mk4, but now i know they are all looks the same (thanks to the fellow collector who provided me images of different samles).

Seller never mentioned anything about re-tip, he told me the vendor just fixed suspension, he also told me he paid a lot for his work. I've bought many cartridges and not only cartridges from foxtan, never had any issues. But still i feel not so good about this particular 100cmk3.

At the same time Raul and other always fixed their technics with VdH or other retippers. The original tip is just an elliptical, but today we can use a better profile. And finally this sample of 100cmk3 sounds great and works perfect. The only problem i don't know which tip i have now, who does the job and maybe someone can do it better. Also to sell the cartridge i have to know everything about it to be honest with buyer.

Since it sounds so good maybe you could send it to someone for evaluation - look at the tip, tell you what it is and amount of wear. Seems like they did a good job on the suspension and cantilever repair, and someone with skill and an experienced eye can evaluate the situation and give you options. The question is who?

You can't go to VdH? Last I read Axel is backed up for a long time. Maybe you should check. I don't know who else in Europe. I have a Genesis 1000, also w/boron tube cantilever and Soundsmith replaced the tip with a micro. He wouldn't replace the cantilever as long as it was functional.
I believe he will give you an evaluation for a nominal fee. A tip replacement (micro) on an existing cantilever is $450, but if you request an evaluation he will discuss it with you first.

Other than that, maybe Garrott? I strongly suggest not replacing the cantilever if at all possible.

I think VdH is the most expensive option and impossible to contact directly. SoundSmith service can take too much time. Still waiting for Axel's reply, almost one week with no luck.

Some other options:

Dominic @ http://www.northwestanalogue.com/cartridge-repairs.html

Expert Stylus:

Yet another re-tipper i have never heard before:
Torlai Roberto in Italy: http://www.torlai.it/
any thoughts?
I sent Andy two P100CMK4 and a P205CMK4 for suspension repair. I was very clear to him, and stated twice, that only suspension repair was to be performed, and the original cantilevers had to remain intact. The two P100CMK4 were NOS, and the P205CMK4 was used but didn’t show any wear.

To make a very long story short, the next I heard from him he was billing me for two new cantilevers and one repair. He didn’t stop after destroying one of the P100CMK4 cantilevers, but also destroyed the P205CMK4 cantilever. No remorse, no apology; all he cared about was the money he was losing because I wouldn’t pay for the new cantilevers I expressly forbid before I even sent him the cartridges.

I had to pay for the repair to get my valuable cartridges back, and was further disappointed when the "repaired" unit was near complete collapse after only half a side. Further, under my microscope, I could see no signs of repair. This ended in a PayPal dispute I won, as there was simply no way I was sending the stylus back for ’further evaluation’ after what he did to the other two.

The downside of the PayPal dispute is he now won’t return the broken stylus and case until I pay a newly made-up "evaluation" charge and 3x actual shipping costs, which equal to what he lost in the dispute.

I know a lot of people have been happy with his work, but when the chips are down he won’t even offer an apology for his mistakes, let alone make the slightest attempt at making it right. He’s a no-integrity player in my book.

Glad you have finally posted this horrible story, John. More people should know about this case and think twice before sending stuff to Andy at Needle Clinic! 
I have shipped two cartridges to Axel few month ago. One of them was my old Technics 100c mk3 (just for inspection) that i've bought from foxtan (full story about this cartridge described above). 

It's funny but after inspection Axel told me it was his own job that he has done few years ago with this cartridge for seller! The bad thing is that i've bought it from the seller as "original" (Foxtan didn't mentioned re-tipping and re-cantilevering work, he also told me it was not serviced by Axel in Germany when i asked him). I've learned alot since that days.

Strange story, but Imagine my feeling when Axel told me it was him who serviced this cartridge before. 

The good thing is that after inspection Axel told me the stylus is in perfect condition, same with suspension. The boron cantilever is made by Nagaoka and the tip is elliptical (suspension repaired). 

I've noticed long time ago how good is this cartridge (Compared to others included 4 samples of original 204cmk4). I can vote for Axel's service! 
There was really no doubt in my mind that he would, but I wanted to afford him a reasonable amount of time to reconsider.  

I wanted the broken bits back so I could open them up to see how they're assembled, as I've it in my mind to see if I can repair the suspensions.  I'm fairly good at precision work, so I figure it's worth at least a little investigation.  I also happen to know a materials scientists who specializes in polymers. 

All the examples I have here have a good deal of live left in the styli save one.  And, it would've been nice to have the chance to make something of the $1K in bits Andy destroyed. 

Andy Kim has done a terrific job for me on several occasions


Trust is not sufficient reason for believe. Knowledge is much more,

uh, trustworthy. Those who know about the construction of tension

wire in the stylus holder also (?) know that exchanging the suspension

 (aka the ''rubber ring'') is only possible when this tension

wire is removed. But the problem then will be how to get this tension

wire back in its place? The re-tip is totally different question. The

problem of this Technics series is the suspension which can't be

fixed. Except, of course, for those who don't believe that low riders

exist . For them then there is no problem at all. They are able to use

the not recommended VTF of 0,25-0,5 g. 

@nandric you’re right, it’s an old thread and i already sold my re-tipped and re-cantilevered (by Axel) Technics EPC-100Cmk3. This is the backside of the replacement stylus essembly with (i guess) removed tension wire.

And for example this is original tension wire on my Technics 205Cmk4.

I have posted these images before in another thread, but it’s better to leave it here.

Dear chackster, ''re-tiped and recantilevered'' is different animal

than fixed suspension. My experiece is similar but less drastic than

jpjones experience. Neither Axel nor Andy were able to fix my

two 205 C, mk 3 styli.  However I was not charged by Axel but

well by Andy. As a curious person I disassembled one of them

to see the inside construction of the whole thing. Behind the

cantilever there is a small round magnet on which both the

 cantilever and the tension wire are fastened. Tension wire is

 then centered with one screw and tighten with one other. At

the end of the tube the wire end is glued to the tube end.

Behind the mentioned magnet a small rubber ring is positioned

 for the suspension. This rubber ring can  only be removed and

changed by removing the cantilever with the tension wire at the

 front side of the stylus holder. There is no way one can put this together in the reverse. My conslusion was: never mess with 

those Technics  again. Despite the lyrical comment of the Mexican.

You didn't tell us from the start about your bad experience in details. 

It would be nice if someone can report here about successful experience of suspension repair on original Technics 100 or 205 series of cartridges with SoundSmith, Van Den Hul, Dominic etc. 

Now i’m curios about sapphire or ruby NEO SAS for Technics 205C mk4. I want to hear it, but i don’t have 205c mk4 anymore, at least my friend has it, i’m looking forward to check when this Neo Sas will be available. I didn't liked ex generation of SAS on my 205 mk4, but new generation Neo Sas could be better and totally different. 

Dear chaksster, ''You didn't tell us from the start about your bad

experience in details''. I assume that your intention was to address

me without mentioning my name? Well there are two problems with

your statement. ''from the start'' in the MM thread is a curious reproach

while ''details'' my imply the parallel universe added to

the known one. But I wrote actually the same story earlier with

the basic statement that those Technics have suspension problems

which can't be fixed. I understand your inclination for disbelief

because that is how ''infantuation'' works. For ''my'' Silvia I was

convinced that not she but her parent were against me (grin).

BTW this is your third desperate attempt to find anyone who was

succesful with his Technics suspension repair. You are as succesful

 in your search as those who are searching for the right person

who can fix Technics suspension.  Anyway everyone who

participated in the MM thread should know that there are many

''carts of the month'' so you should be able to find some other


I got on hands Technics 205C MK4 re-cantilevered and retipped by Axel. A friend of mine decided to sell one of his two samples, both were fine-tuned by Axel in the past. It’s a good news because i can show high quality pictures here to all a’goners who would like to khow how it looks after Axel’s treatment (and it sounds great of course) with Nagaoka Boron Cantilever (new damper/suspension) and Nude Elliptical diamond tip. BTW This precise operation cost 359 euro alone according to Axel's current pricelist. 

P.S. He also sell his NOS Jico SAS if anyone interested (i got it here).

Dear chakster, seen and assuming are two different mental

processes. One can't see the suspension on the picture you

provided. But one can assume that Axel would not glue a new

cantilever/stylus combo on an defective suspension. I can see

because I know the stylus construction of the 205 seriers carts

that an small aluminum tube is glued on the rest of the original

cantilever on  the back side and the new cantilever glued

in the front side of the mentiond aluminum tube. Everyone who

owned or own any of the 205 series styli knows that by the

original there is no such aluminum tube. The new boron cantilever

is solid and can't be put as such on the (rest) of the original cantilever.

 I am not sure if this cart belongs to your friend or you but

only the former owner knows if this cart was an low rider.

My other assumption is that if Axel was/is able to fix the (defective)

suspension he would also fix my (two) 205, mk 3 styli. But he

deed not. Neither deed Andy.

@nandric I’m not in contadiction with your point of view. This cartridge was rebuilded by Axel and you’re correct when you said the collar (alluminum tube) made from a different material compared to the original (which looks like a brass). To make sure how the original looks like anyone can visit this link to check the pictures and compare the original structure to axel’s materials used in rebuilded version. They are totally different, even the cantilever is longer on the original. But in fact rebuilded cartridge sounds amazing even in comparison with previously sold original "lowrider" (which is better). Anyway, this is a compliment to Axel’s work and seems like it’s better than Jico SAS replacement (which also comes with aluminum collar on the back and no tension wire) and Axel's version is closer to the original technics sound.

In fact even dead 205c MK4 can be rebuilded like this by Axel. He did that for foxtan many years ago.

Dear chackster, there are many seductions we need to fight

against in order to (financialy) survive. I think that Raul is to blame

for either the 205,MK4 or Technics 100 because he declared

those to be the best ever MM carts. Because either was impossible

to get I bought the 205,mk3 in need of ''re-tip'' which I knew how

to fix because Axel was/is my good friend. Back then I had no

idea about suspension problems by this 205 series carts. The

curious thing is this. Despite the fact that I own +40 carts I can't

stand the waiting time for any repair. In this case I needed to

add Andy's  to Axel's waiting time. Alas we are also confronted

with suffering for our hobby. My idea was to prevent this suffering

to my co-members by warning about the suspension problem.

I think turnarround time was about half year when Axel fixed my old EPC-100c mk3, he used slightly different method, because he doesn't change the original 100c mk3  housing (brass) to alluminum part like on those 205 mk4 (glued to original 205ED4 plastic holder).   


Dear chakster, You need to  be exact in description of what Axel

deed. As I described elsewhere the (boron) cantilever in the

original cart is glued in the round magnet on the front side and

the tension wire on the back side of the same magnet. Behind

this magnet an round rubber ring is fastened as suspension.

To put a new cantilever in this construction either this new

cantilever must be glued in the magnet or  an  aluminum tube

must be put on the rest of the original cantilever and new cantilever

(solid kind) glued in the front side of this aluminum tube. Many

MC carts have such aluminum tube in front of the so called ''joint

pipe'' on which the coils , the suspension and the tension wire are

fastened .  There is no way to change the suspension (aka the

rubber ring) without removing the whole cantilever and tension

wire from this construction. The problem is to do this in reverse.

To get the tension wire back in the stylus tube, to adjust and

tighten the (tension) wire.

BTW those SAS styli do have tension wire. The old Mori who

invented the 8 form coils (XL series Sony's) and was the first

to use the ''potting method''' inside the carts  to prevent

resonaces is the guy who  made (make) those SAS styli.

Andy is the BEST!!!!! 
@antslappy i assume you have tried all retippers in the world to say who's the best? If you chose Andy please read jpjones story above in this thread, maybe you will change your mind. 

BTW those SAS styli do have tension wire.
You’re right, my mistake. I took a picture of JICO SAS recently, before i sold it. This is the backside of the JICO’s replacement stylus assembly. Here is the structure of the jico sas from the manual. And this is a side the view of Jico SAS cantilever.

The original Technics looks way different than Jico. The side view of the original is completely different from jico.

But the Axel’s rebuilded Technics is another story. The backside of the replacement stylus assembly is way different from jico and from the original. The side view on cantilever is close to jico (same metal collar around the boron cantilever), probablly the same boron cantilever, but the diamond is bigger (higher). For some reason preffer Axel’s elliptical stylus compared to Jico SAS. Axel’s rebuilded version of replacement stylus it’s closer to the original sound of 205ED4 (mk4). The original i've recently sold, even with aged suspension, is much better than everything (jico sas or axel) !

Dear chakster, I missed somehow the picture by your contribution

from 09-14-2016. This picture shows the back side of the tube

in which tension wire is centered and tightened. You assumed

that the tension wire is removed but the little  ''tail'' at the end of

the tube IS the end of the tension wire. With this end or ''tail'' the

wire is tightened and after that glued to the tube end. What both

Axel and Andy try to do is further tightening of the ''tail''.

However tension wire is not the suspension we are talking about.

That is the rubber ring as by each other cart. I already explained

that removing and exchanging this rubber ring is not possible

without removal of the tesnison wire , magnet and cantilever.

But the real problem is to put all those parts back in the tube as

well tightend the tension wire thereafter.