You are aware, of course, that an elliptical stylus makes less groove contact than a standard conical and will, broadly speaking, have greater groove wear, all other factors being the same.
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Lyra's Jonathan Carr has stated that extensive testing revealed that the best mono performance was derived from a line-contact stylus (if I understand his remarks correctly). I believe all Lyra mono cartridges now use a line-contact stylus.
All Lyra cartridges have always used line contact stylii and I have no doubt that they are superior, and certainly have a larger groove contact area. But a manufacturer is hardly an unbiased person to quote on such matters.
The dissing of conical stylii as being crude was misinformed. The Denon, EMT and Ortofon conicals being nude mounted, grain oriented and highly polished. Nothing crude about them.
Soundsmith does an excellent job rebuilding cartridges. I have had Peter do several for me and I am always satisfied with the result. But......
The cartridge will sound different versus a factory rebuild. With some thing like the Miyajima I think it would be a shame to change the character of the cartridge. The Miyajima sound is simply the most magical sound one will ever hear.
Conical stylus on mono LPs is exactly what the doctor ordered. The line contact will be no easier on the vinyl versus the conical. The vintage mono albums were pressed with the conical stylus profile in mind.
Do the right thing and send the cartridge back to the importer for a proper rebuild.
Yet a respected cartridge maker who presumably wants to make mono cartridges that sound as good possible and who chooses the mono stylus shape based on extensive listening comparisons is hardly someone to be summarily dismissed as a factor for consideration.
Bob is the implication here that those who use conical styli in their mono cartridges presumably don't want to make their cartridges sound as good as possible, such as Miyajima?
My guess is that there are differing aesthetics at work here here. Carr being in the maximum detail retrieval camp and Miyajima looking for maximum tone. There are no right or wrong approaches, IMHO.
Interestingly, Miyajima uses Shibata styli in their top stereo cartridges so they certainly have radical stylus cuts on hand should they find this to be a preferable shape for their mono cartridges.
"Dnath, not to sound snitty but have you considered at the time those "vintage mono LPs" were produced that only conical styli were common?"
Understandable, which is why I try to only buy very close to NM, seldom played. Groove wear and damage is all too common on those early Savoy, Blue Note and Prestige albums.
Kentaja, how many hours do you think the conical is good for? This is another thing I've read- conicals have significantly less life span than the others. All the records are wet cleaned with an RCM using AIVS fluid.
Viridian, I didn't mean to come off as inflammatory. I've done lots of searching and there isn't much information on high end conicals in the higher end cartridges; in fact the Miyajima mono stylus profile is almost never discussed. Most information is relayed about vintage or cheaper conical carts.
I can't see why a conical profile would have any difference in life span versus other profiles. But they are any number of variables involved. Poor set-up, improper cleaning and care, dirty records, cheap stylus, etc. Any of these things will greatly reduce stylus life from the ideal.
My experience with stylus life, no matter the profile, is they last far longer than is commonly reported. Things do wear and change but the most important factor is has the stylus worn enough to cause permanent damage to the record?
Some people will tell you a stylus is shot at 1,000 hours or less. I routinely run my cartridges well beyond 1,000 hours with no damage to my vinyl. I keep my records and stylus clean but I am not fanatical on this point.
The best person to ask is the importer for Miyajima. A great guy, a wealth of knowledge concerning all things analog and he will give you the straight story. He is far more interested in a satisfied customer than selling a cartridge, or re-tipping, before it is required.
"Bob is the implication here that those who use conical styli in their mono cartridges presumably don't want to make their cartridges sound as good as possible, such as Miyajima?"
Hi Veridian, No. Not at all. I just wanted to offer the OP a particular point of view (not necessarily my own). I didn't mean to imply that any approach was inherently superior to any other. Since the OP asked about line-contacts, I just thought the viewpoint of a respected manufacturer might be helpful as a consideration in the decision-making process. I agree that there are no right or wrong approaches.
Bob, thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated.
Dnath, Art Dudley, in Stereophile did a photographic comparison of the EMT and Ortofon conicals in concert with a column on the two cartridges.
I don't think that you seemed inflammatory at all. There is always room here for differing perspectives and aesthetics.
Very often, cartridge makers buy styli already mounted on cantilevers. Soundsmith shortens the existing cantilever and grafts their cantilever on. It may be possible to try the Soundsmith and still send the cartridge back to Miyajima if you are not pleased with the sound, however it would probably be best to have them confirm that before taking the plunge.
Although no one has responded to this thread, there are tons of folks that have had Soundsmith retip the conicals of their Denon 103s and I have never heard anything but praise.
One last thing to think about, Soundsmith uses the European styli, Geiger, Van Den Hul, etc. Andy Chong at Cartridge Clinic in Seattle retips with the Japanese line contact styli, Ogura, etc. So if you have developed a preference for one type of line contact over the other that may sway you as well. I certainly have a favorite.
Andy Chong of Cartridge Clinic is rather a contraversial decision to take your cart to. Although many have said good things I know for a fact he doesn't often repair the carts himself but rather ships them to China to one of his repairers.
How do I know this, I sent my Clearaudio Insider because the cantilever snapped off and he said he could fix it when even Clearaudio didnt want to do it. So 3 weeks later and no cart I pressed him for some details of when it was going to be done. He was stalling and couldnt say exactly when so I did a suprise visit to the shop and demanded to see my cart, guess what... he couldn't because it was in China!!!! He didn't tell me until I wore him out asking where it was. Unbelieveable!!
So two weeks later I get it and install it on my table, the cart was totally unbalanced in volume and grainy sounding. Tries and tried slight changes but it was obvious the cart was just F$%^&*d. So I call him up and explain how it is, he says a lot of BS and offers me $100 off the $900 bill and to take go elsewhere if I don't like it!
Stay away from that shop!!!!