Retipping Cartridges - How Much of the Original Sound Signature Do You Lose?


Sorry in advance for the long post but I wanted to provide some background.

I have a Fidelity Research FR1 MK3F which I bought used but had some life left in it. It was absolutely wonderful, so smooth and detailed, the tone of everything was just right. This joy lasted a few months until the cantilever gave up on me. To be fair I did know that it had been bent and straightened before I bought it but then I bent and straightened it one extra time so I guess the aluminum cantilever got stressed to the point of fracture.

I was always going to have it retipped I just wasn't sure which cantilever or diamond I wanted. In the end I opted to replicate as close as possible to the original materials and profile, that is aluminum cantilever with nude line contact stylus.

While it was away getting retipped I fitted my LOMC Audio Technica AT 32e II and forgot the sound signature of the Fidelity Research.

When I got it back a few weeks ago I had a chance to fit it and my very very first impression with a Nancy Wilson album was that it sounded markedly better than the Audio Technica. Whilst it sounded better than the Audio Technica, I am not sure if it has retained the same sonic signature. Also it may be that the new suspension needs time to “run in”, I’m just not sure.

Therefore my question is, HOW much does a retip change the sonic signature IF you are keeping the materials and stylus profile the same.

I have previously experienced changes when using exotic cantilevers like ruby, sapphire, beryllium etc and / or change the diamond profile to Gyger or microline. For example I retipped my aluminum/conical Denon 103 with a Soundsmith ruby cantilever line contact and the sonic signature definitely changed.

Therefore I am looking for feedback from anyone who has had a retip with the same materials, did the sonic signature change?

Also it would be great to get input from any cartridge experts who understand the science and can give their opinion on whether there should be a sonic change after a same material retip.

Many thanks in advance for any input provided. 

ateal
If its just a retip...chances are that it will sound very similar....however, it sounds like you need a rebuild...may very well sound different.
Hi stringreen, I did only get a retip. There was no need for a rebuild. Thanks
ateal
If you fractured the cantilever then the cartridge cannot possibly have had just a retip. Either the cantilever has been repaired or it has been replaced. In both instances the sound is likely to change.
If the cantilever has been repaired - it has probably degraded the sound. Cartridges are designed with stylus tip and cantilever resonances taken into account and therefore if the cantilever has been damaged or repaired then the cartridge is now out of spec from the original design.
If the cantilever has been replaced and new stylus tip fitted there should be an improvement but the sound may be different.

Just spotted my mistake which has caused the confusion. Yes I did have the cantilever replaced. It was a new cantilever and diamond assembly.

Sorry for the confusion.
When our cleaning lady broke my cantilever on my LYRA Argo cartridge, I had it Retipped with new Boron cantilever and a Microridge diamond stylus and sounded even better than before mabe because it didn't have the Microridge style stylus before. For $400, it was way worth it.
I have had many retips and have always been pleased. The problem with comparison, is being able to remember back 3 to 6 weeks, what the original cartridge sounded like. I have to say it is beyond me.
Mike and David, thanks for the info on your experiences.

I think I need to give the cart more of a break in period to see if I can determine if it sounds the same. I only listened to 20 hours on it before swapping out tables so need to put it back in rotation.

My hope was that by using the same materials and diamond profile I would get as close to the original sound as I could. I actually did not want it better, only the same.

Thanks again.