Stylus / Cart Life ????

In theory guys, if a cart is well taken care off, cleaned, etc... how long does one need to replace it ?

I know the diamond in the stylus wears out, but has anyone actually worn out the cart ? Or are the carts changed due to upgradetitis before its time is up ?

How many here have used their carts to say 3-5 years and still no need of replacement due to wearing out of the stylus ?

I heard from a friend, granting all holds up, that it should last a lifetime ?

comments ? replies ? fire away!!
Do a search at Audioasylum in the Vinyl Asylum. Depends on the stylus profile. You're looking at anywhere from 500-800 hours on a conical/spherical to 3,000-4,000 hours for the more exotic stylus profiles such as the Fritz Geiger. Also will depend (makes sense) on your "vinyl hygiene" (don't you just love that expression?). There are also suspension issues to consider beyond stylus life; the suspension may give way before the stylus does. A lifetime? Possibly, but highly unlikely, unless you're never using it.
Think of what a cartridge is. You have a small block of plastic, wood, metal, etc. that is held in place on the tonearm by screws. There is nothing to wear out here. However, it is possible that the body of the cartridge could become deformed by environmental conditions over time or damaged during installation.

Inside the cartridge, there is a small magnet and a coil of wire. In a MM cartridge, the magnet is on the end of the cantilever. In an MC cartridge, the wire is on the end of the cantilever. Again, in the absence of physical damage, there is nothing to wear out. It is possible that that the magnet will weaken with time or that the wire coil will become corroded. To what extent this occurs, I don't know. There is another thing to consider here. The magnet or coil in the cartridge is often held in place by adhesives which could dry out and fail in time.

Next, a wire carries the signal to the pins at the end of the cartridge. Again, this wire could become corroded, but I don't know if this occurs, and to what extent it may affect the signal.

At this point, I do not see anything that could cause a properly constructed cartridge to fail. It should have a long and happy life measured in decades.

The cantilever/stylus assembly is another issue. The suspension for the cantilever is often a rubbery material which will dry out with time and affect the movement of the cantilever. But this is a stylus/cantilever issue, not a cartridge issue. And of course, the cantilever can become twisted and the stylus worn out. But again, this is not a cartridge issue.

In conclusion, I do not see how a cartridge will wear out or deteriorate other than over a very long period of time, unless there is shoddy manufacture or poor construction material, particularly regarding any adhesives. The cantilever/stylus is another matter entirely of course.

If somebody tells you that the cartridge is worn out, then that may be true for a particular cartridge. However, ask them what it is that is worn out, and why.
Suspension is an important aspect and just time without use can cause it to have more give than it will when stylus is new.Not sure how much cantaliever material makes but cement use to attach has to differ between manufactures.Different folks say difering things but above factors like how csrtached your Lp's are,"hygiene" etc.One thing that interests me is the types of care folks give their cartidges.Rega for expample suggests absolutely no cleaning at all saying that "dust"is pushed out of the way and that means a cartidge is slef maintianing.Rediculous!Think about how much force a gram and half is exerted (and heat generated)on a litle point in a soft material that can contain all kinds of contaminants be they gritty or gummy etc.

But the debate I find most interesting is the wet verus dry type of cleaning.Some folks feel that fluids which can loosen and remove contaminants could also be strong enough over time to weaken the glue bond between needle and cataliever.Some folks are cautious and use a gum or silicone type gel to dorp the stylus into to prevent this possiblilty but this may not reove as much as the fluids.Perhaps using these gum products would be good for each play and fluids used after a number of set plays (according to maufatcurer though one might be concerend tghet their desire to sell more product may reccomend more cleaning than necessary).But one thing is a good idea and it is to get a stiff small art brush and cut it at a 45 drgree angle and use the applictaor from the bottle to wipe onto the brush so you don't slop to much fluid on the stylus since you don't want it to creep up into the motor asembly thus attracting dust and grit up into the magent and coils.Not sure about it but last method I heard about but it was to use very find sand paper on the tip.Diamond or other synthetic gems are pretty hard and the the fine paper will (according to some)clean best without the afore mentioned risks of fluid.Heard that a while back Linn used to sell it's own sandpaper.

I agree that if nothing is damaged their is no reason that a cartridge cannot be re-tipped many times.As far as play time I have always just tried to follow the manufacturers guidelines (as Hdm say's the Cart's material and profile) and factor that into my choice when comparing cartidges and their cost of not only purchase but long term use.One might be more moddest if they realized that the styulus won't last forever or pay more for one that will hold up longer.Glad this was posted because I think I might take my cartidge in for a microscope inspection from the dealer where I got it.