You’ll have to get it under a microscope, stereo biological, or maybe 5.0+ reading glasses or whatnot. Super close ups, fine focus with a close up capable (macro) cell phone, maybe.
You are going to have to check the ultra fine wires that are exposed on the body. they are open to having problems from human handling.
While it is possible to check them with a resistance meter, it is strongly advised to not do this.
Checking the wires is only part of the litany of things to check. more information is required, do you use detachable head shell turntable arms, for example.
You imply, but don't say explicitly, that the cartridge functioned in both channels at some point after you purchased and installed it into this very same system. Is that the case? Or was it "dead on arrival" in the R channel?
Try reversing the leads from your turntable to your phono section. Does the dead channel follow the reversal? If not, you can be sure the problem is not the cartridge.
i bought it here(all positives on the seller) & it only had 10 hours on it.
Buying a used phono cartridge is always an iffy proposition.
Lewn, it was DOA. No just meant the person who sold it to me said he had 10hrs on it.
Tro, the head shell is part of the arm. it’s a Rega 200.
cleeds, the dead channel follows when I reverse the leads. That would mean it’s the cartridge?
... the dead channel follows when I reverse the leads. That would mean it’s the cartridge?It's either the cartridge, or the wiring between the cartridge and your phono section. That could mean the wiring in your pickup arm or the cable going from the arm to the phono section.
Now switch the connections at the rear of the cartridge itself. If the problem moves from one channel to the other when you do that, you will know that it is the cartridge that is defective. At that point, I would consider returning the cartridge to the seller for a full refund. Why should you have to fix or deal with this issue?
Lewn, do I switch straight across?
White with Red
Blue with Green
Even if the cartridge is returned, this is an education.
But, I would rather be playing my music.
Dear @tochsii: Other that what lewm posted: do you still have the cartridge you were using before this Sumiko?, if yes then mount it again and test if everything is fine .
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Only 10 hours and the seller didn’t have the original box? Sounds like BS to me!
Buying a used cartridge is a big mistake 10 hours could be 1000hours.Try getting your money back good luck with that one though.Your in a world of hurt NEVER buy a used cartridge. You got ripped off big time.Good luck though!!
+1 NEVER buy a used cartridge. Totally agree with you ebm.
Not EVERYONE here is out to rip fellow members off you know guys!
Do not tar them all with the same brush please!
I have bought several used cartridges, you just have to use that least used sense, you know the one called COMMON SENSE when looking and buying.
Usually if a deal seems too good to be true then it likely is.
I have also sold several cartridges and satisfied customers every time.
Just be honest and handle and pack very carefully if you do not have original box.
Sheesh... Off with their heads according to some here, give me a break!
Just as a final note, the seller is covering any repair at SoundSmith. He has an excellent rep here.
Lewm, I know you said I should just return it. I may regret it but, the seller has been really patient with my pre purchase questions, responded right away & just have a good feeling about him & the cartridge.
That's pretty heavy ebm, he just wants to listen to music,that might make him feel bad. Nobody knows if he got ripped off. It's X-mas time there a lot of boxes banging around FedEx, it could be anything. I buy used and still trust people. Buying from a reputable turntable dealer gives best odds, they can put a scope on it. I just call around the country. Used you can really save a lot money it's worth the gamble to me, I'm a fan of Soundsmith used.
Toksii you posted while I was typing. Glad your good now. I've been buying and selling here for over 10 years and always felt better buying here than anywhere else. Nice seller!
Toksii toksii there may be is a 2 to 3 month wait with Soundsmith, you may want to check.
Return it immediately and get your money back. Is my suggestion. If the seller refuses, take it up with Audiogon and PayPal. Do not wait!
If your Sumiko Blackbird is a High Output version (2.5mv) you can check it with volt meter to make sure.
If your Blackbird is a Low Output (0.7mv) version then you can send it for inspection to professionals.
You need another cartridge to check your phono system, mormally this problem is a lack of connection when you mount a new artridge. You can also check your tonearm wires with a tester (left and right) to make sure you didn't damaged one of the pin.
If you think your cartridge is broken then definitely return it for full refund, do not send it for refurbishing even if the seller cover the cost. Simply buy another cartridge, you can buy a much better cartridge, let me know if you need help.
In my experience with used cartridges only 1 out of 50 has a broken coil wire and it was the cheapest cartridge.
"Never buy a used cartridge" - this is the worst advice from people who knows nothing. More important is who is the seller!
If i were you, i would return the cartridge for full refund to buy perfectly working cartridge from another seller. Cartridge coil wire does not break in transit normally. Some sellers on here just re-sell stuff they never even tried, i’ve been cheated a few times by audiogon sellers with big score. Hope your seller is not from California?
It’s more safe when you buy a personal cartridge from a collection, tested and guaranteed to work as described.
Not sure why do you need an MC cartridge, they are the most problematic as you can see.
While everyone seems to fear for the state of the stylus my
worry is primary about coils. All second hand cartridges I check
first with an (digital) Voltmeter. The danger for the coils apply to
analog Voltmeters. By connecting the connectors for R or
L channel one can see if the coils are ok. This method prevents
irritation involved by discovering the damage after all the
needed adjustments are made.
Tochsi, yes, swap red with white, then blue with green, then hook it up and listen, and don’t let anyone make you anxious. Sounds like you are dealing with a responsible seller and it’s still possible that the fault lies in your system. (I have purchased many used cartridges in my life with no issues.)
The dropped channel followed the change in leads.
I have loaner from a friend. It’s Sumiko Pearl he got this yr, never did a second setup for the teens. So, he never used it. And, both channels work.
Several people said just return it & get something else here. I looked for a while here (consensus this is a very trusted site-but still check the seller) & on other sites. I found this for $550 barely used & the seller has an excellent rep. It’s a chance to safely jump 1 or 2 levels. I tend to trust people & he just seems like someone it’s worth working with. Since I have a loaner, I’m lucky enough to be able to wait 6 wks to get it back. If the SS repair assessment says it’s something bigger, I’ll return it.
You’ll all laugh but, I had sooo many recd brands & models that I setup a small spreadsheet: Brand, Model, Price, New Price, Sound Characteristics, Review Consensus, Misc. And, I don’t “relish the idea” of going back to it. lol
There are better cartridges even for $500, i paid same price for my Dynavector KARAT 23RS MR Ruby in NOS condition for example. There are many options for MC or decent MM for the same price.
SoundSmith will have to open your cartridge, sometimes it means to break the cartridge and glue it back (not sure about Sumiko). Not sure why do you need all these damage if you’re not even sure he can fix it? Fixing coil is not cheap at all. Reparing coil wire is actually very expensive. Are you sure he can do that in 6 weeks? I think your cartridge will be inspected in 6 weeks. But It can take 3-5 month to fix the problem.
Well, now that you know it is defective, why not send it back and get either a refund or purchase something comparable?
I inquired to a fellow on A'gon a few years back on getting a certain price on a used cartridge he was selling. He verbally agreed on my lower price, but that same day I went on the forums about cartridges and low and behold, there he was talking to another audiophile about the same cartridge he was going to sell me. He told the other guy the cart. had a serious channel imbalance. This ended my pursuit of his cartridge. Yes, I got lucky on that one....
@tochsii I hope you understand that defective MC cartridge (with one channel off) cost no more than $50. And even fully refurbished cartridge can't cost as much as the original.
One thing: it is sometimes the case that pin orientation is different from cartridge to cartridge. Maybe it’s just miswired.
Chakster, is there a website where defective cartridges are sold exclusively?
i just wonder how you know so definitely the value.
tochsi, my own opinion of the sumiko is not high, even with 2 good channels. Do what you like, but I’d take the opportunity to get out of the deal, if I were you. You seem like a good guy, so good luck either way.
@lewm yes, this site is ebay and you can monitor the prices by checking expired listings for anything you want.
tochsii This is Steve from VAS. Send your cartridge over to me. I can do the inspection quickly and give you an estimate ASAP. Just email me a few pictures of the connectors on the cartridge and the coil.
@tochsii I bought a new Sumiko Blackbird from my dealer this past summer. A HO one, if that matters. They mounted it on a new tt I had also purchased. I had it for 2 months then one night the right channel went out. It was playing, I was home alone in the kitchen when it went out. The next day I bought the turntable and cartridge back to my dealer. They troubleshot it but couldn’t fix it. It was a short in a thread of wire on one of the connections. They sent it back to Sumiko and told me they would let me know if it was covered in the warranty. It was and they sent me a new one. That one was DOA. It couldn’t be balanced properly. It would always skate across the album. There was no deflection or reflection on the needle. The amount of weight that would need to be applied would break it. I’m waiting for the new one to come in this week. Good luck.
They mounted it on a new tt I had also purchased. I had it for 2 months then one night the right channel went out.
Wow, that's bad. I haven't anything like that even with my 30 years old vintage MM or MC cartridges, except the one in a bunch over the years.
But i've had a miss-tracking problem with a brand new Ortofon cartridge once, luckily the seller accepted return for a full refund.
This is something about a quality control of the brand new cartridges.
tochsii, It's going to cost money if you initiate any action with SS or VAS, so be sure in advance that the seller will cover those costs. After all, you are doing him a favor as well; he needs to know what's wrong, so he can make an informed decision about whether to repair it, either for your sake or for his. I would include him in the decision making all along the way, if you prefer to get the repairs done on your own initiative. Most of us have been down this road before, if not with a defective cartridge, then with some other piece of used gear purchased on-line.
If your Blackbird has a short in the coil wire, a la the story related by djf, then it's likely to be toast, unless the disjuncture can be visualized and re-soldered.
When this occurred with my Blackbird cartridge my thought when at the dealer was that if it wasn’t covered by the warranty I was going to cut my losses. At the time I was told that if Sumiko wouldn’t cover it that what they’ve seen in the past is that Sumiko would “repair” it (replace it) for 3 or $400. For me that would put that cartridge at $1400-1500 with no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again in a couple months. I was willing to cut my loss and get a different cartridge from another manufacturer. I don’t know if it is a quality control problem, though I think it it is, or a design problem with the naked or nude design but the cartridge is at best a $1000 cartridge new. Not worth being $1400+ in the hole for 2 months in.
A number of you warned me & you were right. Smoothy told me Pete at SS turns around in a couple days for him. Before I trusted his word I called, I just got a vm from SS essentially saying “Who? Don’t know him & we don’t do that... 10-12 wks”. I thought I could trust someone with his great reviews & I had really hoped I’d be able to keep that cartridge. Some things aren’t meant to be & a lot of you were right. You naturally want to trust people & Smoothy must be being honest with some people he’s got ~100 positive reviews but, not this transaction.
now I go back to my spreadsheet of models, sound characteristics, price etc. any thoughts on the 2 Dynavectors for sale on the site? The DV Karat at $850 would be my kinda stretching it max.
If you got your money back, or if you eventually get it back, I wouldn’t condemn the seller. It is very plausible that the cartridge worked fine in his hands, both channels.
I did say several places that he has a great rep here & that he must be treating plenty of people right. But, the whole... SS knows me & Pete will do it for me was a lie. Now, he’s not responding on Audiogon & emails saying... just send it-I’ll call him & he’ll do it. Once I found out about that being a lie... I knew-in this particular transaction-he wasn’t acting in good faith.
If you paid with pay pal get your money back, pay pal is made for the buyer not the seller.
It’s probably a good idea to get your money back before you insult the seller via the Internet. I’m sure he can read, too.
lewm, I think you’re misunderstanding. I never mentioned the seller previously to the last post because he has a great reputation here. I started this post even before he responded about the problem the first time. I wanted to figure out what was wrong & if I could fix it & work with him. I think you’ll remember from my posts that I wanted to trust & work with this person... even after so many people said something doesn’t seem right, send it back. I’ve still said he must be making many people happy bc of his rep. But, in this particular (just mine) transaction I found out he wasnt acting in good faith. And, I only found this out bc I decided to call SS (at people’s advice-since I really wanted to stick with him) & check out his promised quick turnaround because he knows Pete. Well Pete @ SS didnt know him & said so he didn’t give preferential treatment. Noting a transaction that went bad isn’t trashing someone. It’s simply giving out the information for other prospective purchasers to use or not use. I hope you understand now.
My point is that I do not think you can blame the seller for the malfunction of the cartridge, fairly. Because something may have happened to it in shipment or during set up. So after you found the problem, the seller seems to have acted honorably by offering to refund your purchase price and accepting the cartridge in return. At least that is my understanding based on your previous posts. Now it seems you are angry with him or disillusioned with him, because he told you that soundSmith could fix the cartridge in very short order. That is quite a different issue, and I don’t think it’s quite fair to be upset with him because Peter at SoundSmith does not confirm his statement. This is all assuming that he is still willing to take the cartridge back from you and refund your money. That is the basic issue, in my view. That’s why I say you would be better off not to say anything negative about him while this exchange is still pending. This is in your own best interests. Of course it is also in the best interest of the seller to keep you happy.
This is a very frail cartridge. Easily damaged as attested to by some reviewers on Amazon.
lewm, he never wanted the cart back. He didn’t want to give me a refund. This is probably just too nuanced for a post. But, he wouldn’t let me return it & blames me. He would only let me send it to SS for his supposed great relationship & fast turnaround for him personally.
I never wanted to air all the details. I put this up as a “help me fix it” post... I only wanted the cart. It was only after warnings that I knew to ask questions. It’s a lesson learned for me.
As I was counseled here, I opened a case & just sent it back to Smoothy anyway, insured it for new retail with proof of delivery.
Now I just need a few suggestions about carts on this site at $850 or below. I like things just a tad bright... if you’d (or anyone) give me suggestions I’d appreciate it
As always, thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge.
Audio Technica, Dynavector, Ortofon. Those are all excellent old-line brands with high reliability and known for their no-nonsense presentation of music. I own at least one of each of the above, so I am speaking from personal listening experience, which is the only way I ever give advice. You can't go wrong with any of those. I would not have recommended a Sumiko cartridge, for whatever that's worth.
Good Luck to the op. Sorry about it all, and hope you find the 'cartridge of your dreams'....
My Dynavector 17D3, and Benz Glider both are getting to the end of life. And I will have to look around since the Glider is out of production, and the 17D3 almost doubled in price with updates...
Oh well, the search for the perfect cartridge.....
Perfect cartridge only exists in ones mind.
What may be perfect for one person and their system may be downright awful to another and their system.
It’s all down to personal taste imho and advice can help but you just have to try in your own system.
Yes it can get spendy that way I agree.
But the ones I have tried and did not like I just resold again.
the Hana SH or SL; $750 new from many sources. Rave reviews all around.
I just installed one and am loving its crispness and clarity aling with its ability to dig out a bottom end.
Check the resistance on the right channel take your ohm meter and touch the positive probe to the positive pin on the cartridge and the negative probe and touch the negative pin on the right channel. If it doesn't show a resistance measurement then there is a broken wire on the right side. If you do get a resistance measurement then there is continuity on the right.
I do this before I install any cartridge new or used.