Should I retip a Shinon red, or replace it? $350

Basically I am getting a shinon red with a turntable that I purchased.

I need a new cartridge.

Simple question, in your opinion should I try a soundsmith retip for $350 or the same amount of cash on a new MC cartridge?

This also brings about the question old MC's vs. new. Is it true that the newer ones perform better at lower price points then the older units?

I know its an odd question, but I have no real area to audition carts. so I am just trying to figure out what to do.

Thanks - Evan
Evan, I've owned a Shinon Red Boron since new. My first one was replaced under warranty when the cantilever collapsed after about six months. The second one has lasted all these years. It has not been in continuous use so it is impossible to estimate the hours but it still sounds great with no indication of high frequency distortion from wear, even to much younger ears than my own.

Through these years of ownership and enjoyment, I've described the Shinon as a bargain Koetsu. It has a similar warm, organic sound while still offering very good detail, soundstaging, and extension. Bass information is limited mainly by source material. I had not priced the Soundsmith rebuild but already decided I should send it to them soon for a check out. Seeing the price you quote (new tip and cantilever?) this will be a no brainer! I can't imagine another cartridge anywhere near this performance for this amount of money
Thanks, I think I have read some of your feedback of it on audioasylum archive material. Not the same user but a very simaler description!

Thank you for your input, yes it says 350 for cantilever and diamond. This is the website price, so who knows if it would end up costing extra by the time it was done.

I have not read a ton about it on the web, but it sure seems that the people that have it like it.

Thank you for your input - Evan
If it were mine, I'd retip it. Soundsmith does an excellent job.
Why do you think that it needs a retip, why not just have the stylus examined for wear? Pretty simple. If you do go the Soundsmith route, most seem to go for the $250.00 cantilever/stylus combination.
Viridian, the cantilever is missing!

I should send it to them to check the diamond, that would be pretty funny.

I am unsure of the differences in stylus profile from soundsmith. I will wait until I have the funds to do the deed, then call them for a consult.

Thanks guys - Evan
A friend used to have a Shinon Red with a SOTA vacuum. For a $350 retip it's a bargain. You live only once...
Ya, you can really damage your records when you play them without a cantilever, LOL. If Soundsmith can do it, it is a great idea. If the generator is compromised from whatever tore off the cantilever, I do not believe that Peter can fix it. A friend just sent a Koetsu and it could not be fixed. Best to send it to him and wait for an answer. You really can't get much of a cartridge for $250.00 to $350.00 these days.
I would describe the sound as "lacking in resolution" LOL.

If its trashed, Ill just stick it in a curio cabinet. I am a sucker for busted carts.

Thanks - Evan
Hello Evan,

I was wondering - I have the same wonderful cartridge which I managed to snap its cantilever in one second of distraction (and consequent destruction) and since I love its sound I was wondering if you actually went ahead with the cantilever replacement and tipping?
If you did, who did you use for the repair and how did it compare to how it was before the repair?

Thank you kindly!

Doron, I know this is an old post but yes I did have soundsmith do the work. I am very pleased with this cartridge! I never heard it before the damage so it's hard for me to say. I did the highest tier repair!

Hi Evan, You can also post your cart to Axel in Germany
( and ask for boron cantilever +
stylus of your choice. The price including VAT tax (20%)
is about 160 Euro. But those outside EU don't need to
pay VAT tax. You can email him first to investigate.
You will get his answer in 3-4 days ( 'one man company').
However he is much faster than anybody else.

Evan, remember a few months ago you were scratching your head about what to do with the rebuilt cartridge because the sound was bad. No more. Glad I fixed that :-)

Thank, Evan,
I sent two Shinon Red Boron carts to Soundsmith. One is the one I manage to kill and another one with a broken cantilever I found on ebay.
I tried one so far and it sounds beautiful.
The repair was done with a Ruby cantilever (instead of the original Boron).
No regrets. This cartridge has one of the best tone colors I have ever encountered.
Doron, glad to hear you had such a good experience and are pleased with it.

Essential; Thanks for the detailed setup job :)
Pryso, Is the Shinon Red your best cart today ? Thanks
Hi Harold,

You must be optimistic, inquiring about a post nearly six years old! ;^)

In fact, I still have my beloved Shinon. However it has not been in my system in over two years. Some time ago I became distracted by Raul's post on MM cartridges and began buying some of the recommended models. I've seen your name there so know you are somewhat familiar. Then a friend gave up his analog system due to health reasons and made me a good deal on his collection of cartridges, both MC and Mi. The result of all this is a stockpile of at least a dozen cartridges I've not auditioned. On top of that I'm selling my Kuzma and building a couple of tables with multiple cartridge accommodations, but that keeps being delayed by non-audio reasons.

So, bottom line is I've not heard my Shinon for some time, and I now have many alternatives to compare with, so I can't answer your question. Sorry.
Hi Pryso,
Yes very optimistic. Twenty years ago the Shinon Red was one of the very best MC carts combining the best virtues of MM´s trackability and MC´s detail and dynamics. It was Peter Forsell´s fav performing very well on the Forsell´s Airborne linear tracker/TT. IMO the one that could match both the SHURE Ultra 500 and the Koetsus.
Today's Shinon with Soundsmith retip is even better and rivals the best modern MC´s I think.

I have also bought a few vintage MM´s adviced by Raul and Vic the Magician. Very interesting that you have those new carts to audition and turntables to built. I will watch your work and am particularly interested in your MI´s performance. And of course your Shinon´s.
I own a Shinon Red Boron and am interested in any recent comments on how it currently compares to current technology...would appreciate any comments.