How can I tell if my stylus is damaged ??


hey folks,
I recently started using a TT, so I am new to the ins-n-outs of this specialized equipment. Unfortunately, I first placed my TT in an area where I accidentally kept hitting the headshell and knocking it to the left, where it would skip/slide over the vinyl itself, like skipping rocks on a pond (doh!)

Just wondering if y'all can help me figure out if I damaged the stylus or not (its a Shibata diamond on an Ortolan 2M Black MM).

Since I have started investing in some nice vinyl (Box Sets, Limited Editions, Beatles Mono, etc), the last thing I want to do is damage the expensive vinyl!!
Any suggestions to help me figure this out? Will I have to send it to a dealer to get confirmation one way or the other?
thanks!
gary
1graber2
You would probably hear some audible distortion if the stylus is damaged.

You can always inspect it it under a magnifying glass to look for any signs of wear or damage otherwise but if it sounds clean and not distorted or with sibilence in the high frequencies I would just enjoy and not worry about it.
1. do visual if cantilever is straight
2. worn stylus would usually distort inner grooves first so play last track on several randomly picked records and see if there's a problem
When properly set-up and used, phono cartridges wear fairly linearly. Think of the way that a set of tires wear.

But that's not what you are asking about. Line contact stylii have sharp edges and in the case of shock the diamond, which is a crystaline structurem, can cleave or break. I have also seen entire stylii come off the cantilever probably due to the adhesive not holding up.

As stated previously the damage would likely be catastrophic and you would know it pretty quickly. If the cantilever is straight, and the cartridge sounds good it is good.

If you are an anal type you can buy a USB microscope for not too much money and have a look yourself or take it to a dealer.
viridian comment right on point. usually the actions you did may damage the record (ie scratch them because diamonds are hard) but usually doesn't harm the stylus unless really whacked it. We all have done exactly what you describe at some point (well atleast most of us).
You KEPT "accidentally" hitting the headshell and knocking the tonearm to the left and the tonearm moved over the record like skipping rocks on a pond? Maybe a TT is not for you. It's a pretty delicate affair. I know this is harsh but I've been playing records for 50 years and I've never done what you describe as a regular occurance.
Distortion
Thx guys,
A close look at the cantilever with a magnifier shows that it is straight.
Next, I will test how it sounds with the needle in the inner grooves
Gary
Got to agree, Lindisfarne!
You'd better send your cartridge to Soundsmith or other expect to check the stylus properly. I remember my flat mate's Sony XL55 MC cartridge, there was nothing wrong with it and the sound was good compared to other cartriges we have, no distortion at all, pretty much treble (details etc) One year later it was shipped to Soundsmith to fix some internal wiring (channel missing). Peter told him the stylus is worn and need re-tip. After this issue i can tell you it would be hard to make sure by yourself that your stylus is worn or not. Better send it to experts.
I have also listened critically when the cartridge moves to the inner rings of the record, and I did not hear increased distortion, thx for the tip Czarivey.

I think the cartridge is ok, but since this is the cartridge that I will be using for The next several years, the suggestion of sending to a pro such as Soundsmith to make sure the cartridge is okay, is a good idea.

Better to find out if there is a problem with the cartridge now, as opposed to years down the road after spinning hundreds of records (which I may have thus damaged inadvertently )
Thx
Gary
If it sounds like crap with no stage depth its history.