Excellent!! Buying a used cartridge is a crapshoot. Look up the stylus and into the cartridge and check for schmutz
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Well, I have my current cartridge for a little over 3 years. It didn't get mounted until 6 months after I bought it. I was too busy with work and other priorities, and my backup cart was mounted already. So I let it sit on the sideline. After it was finally mounted, I was traveling every week Monday through Friday for over a year, so the system basically sat and collected dust.
The traveling was killing me, so I switched job about 18 months ago. Although I work from home just about every day and have cut back my traveling down to 25%. My system still does not get as much use as I would like. Most of the time, I pop in a CD so I can listen while doing other stuff.
Yeah, it's laughable when you think about it. But I think there are many people out there with decent systems but not enough time to enjoy them.
It has become a "luxury" for me to be able to actually sit down and put on an LP to listen. If I get to do that once a week, I would be happy.
So yeah, I would be surprised that my cartridge has more than 100 hours on it. And, I've been thinking about a new cartridge already. Why? Since I can't enjoy my system while traveling, I guess buying new stuff and browsing various boards has become my temporary fixes while traveling. ;-) Can't wait to get home tonight from my trip!
I bought a Koetsu Rosewood Signature several years ago from a very helpful Swiss lawyer living in the US. He said 30 hours and I believed him. Have anyone been to Switzerland, even the bus's run exactly to timetable, to the minute. Seriously, it was a great purchase, I used for 3 years and sold at about the same price, with an honest report of useage. Buying used cartridges is a lottery, that is why they are so cheap. If you feel lucky, you can make a great saving.
I've also found that most sellers are honest. I've bought a few "low hours" cartridges from respected A'goners and have been very satisfied. I also bought a few "high hours" cartridges just so I could try them out at a very low price.
As for the "low hours" claim, many people try different cartridges before settling down. I've done it myself, selling carts with only 50 or 100 hours on them because they simply didn't appeal to me.
My criteria for trusting a seller is (a) positive feedback, (b) length of time on A'gon and (c) their experience with analog. If A, B and C are all met, chances are very good that the cartridge really does have low hours as claimed and the seller just got a case of upgrade-itis.
Amazing huh? Kind of like all of those ten year old cars at the used car lot with 30,000 miles on them.
With cartridges, we can't even see an odometer. It's no fun if you have nothing to roll back.
All you have to do is check the "disputes" section to see a guy that had the chutzpah to buy a Koetsu Black, on this site, that was sold as being shot, and resold it, here, as being low hours. How many don't get caught?
LOL, I'm waiting to see an ad for a low hours cartridge with a high hours stylus.
I am completely in line with Ekobesky's comments. Over the alst 4 years, I have sold a Kontra A with about 100 hours, a Benz Ace with about 50 hours and ZYX R50 with about 20-30. In each case, I really wanted to try for example a well known combination that was recommended to me (Ace on VPI Scout) or just know the flavor of the ZYX cartridge line.
I would trust a person for a used cartridge as well if the three things are fulfilled:
(a) positive feedback, (b) length of time on A'gon and (c) their experience with analog
Also take a look at the forums here and on Asylum - several people are active in both places and I would trust most of the active members more than someone how just comes here to the classifieds section to turn over goods.
So it appears that many of you buy & sell cartridges to hear them. This means that buying & selling components here has basically replaced auditioning at the local dealer.
Has anyone ever had a shop set up a specific cartridge in a table for you to audition? Not one shop ever did that for me(I've been buying audio since 1969....AR table). And I've asked!
I managed an audio shop in LA in the 80's. I regularly set up tables & cartridges for auditions, but was never asked for a specific combination. However, I often mounted various cartridges just to hear them myself.
One interesting thing I found was that various examples of the same cartridge can sound completely different. I auditioned 3 Audioquest 404's, & they all were unique. One sounded particularly better than the others, so I bought it!
I wonder if some of these high end cartridges that you audition are lemons, & so they get passed around until they find an owner who is happy with it!
As far as feedback, I have fb from just 2 purchases here. The last 4 sellers didn't post fb. However, I have over 10000 fb on ebay, where I make my living selling musical equipment. So I look new here, but I have 9 years of selling experience on the internet! Am I trustworthy??
Regarding measuring hours on a cartridge, I learned a trick here on Audiogon some years back: I have "click" counters for each of my (currently) four cartriges. After each side of a record, I religiously click the counter. If I ever decide to sell a cartrdige, I can honestly state how many sides the cartridge has played, and leave it to the purchaser to do the math.
Most audiophile listeners like me have more than one system. There were times I owned more than a dozen of absolute top systems like Koetsu, Benz, Lyra, Transfiguration, Zyx, Clearaudio,...
I've not much time to enjoy music so most cartridges have less than 50hrs after 2 years. Seems to be incredible but think there are many people acting in same way. So it's not always a swindle if systems with low hrs are offered.