I've had Steve work on an Ortofon Quintet Mono and he did a very nice job. He also repaired my VAS Nova Signature that had a cantilever when I found that its cantilever was askew. And he built me a wonderful Nova Mono cartridge. I've no reservations recommending using him to repair or retip a cartridge.
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Yes - I sent him a Linn Kandid and he did a kick-ass job. The Kandid is tricky - it has to have just the right suspension work to align the coils and magnets at the exactly specified tracking force, and also uses a 3-point mounting scheme, where the stylus overhang must also be exactly right. His experience with Lyra cartridges suggested he might be a fine choice.
Well, Steven got it as perfect as my eyes and Feickert protractor can determine. He made sure to send detailed before, during, and after photos in order to prove the necessity, thoroughness, and precision of the work. And he did all that at a very reasonable price - in fact, he held to his original repair cost estimate even after he found an entire cantilever replacement was required in addition to the quoted work. Personally, I won't hesitate to use him again - which is great since I have a customized, medium compliance, low output Van den Hul Frog that has a worn stylus. I believe you can use his service with confidence. I certainly will again.
Before Christmas, I was referred to Steve from Vinh Vu, Gingko audio, I came into a Dynavector XV-1s with little history and a bent cantilever. Wasn't sure what I was in for. Steve promptly looked at it and emailed the following day "its fixed, and ready to go." He fixed the suspension, inspected everything, polished it up and mailed it back well packaged. His price was extremely reasonable. Now I have him building me a mono MC.
Steve did an amazing job fixing my VPI Traveler's arm bearings that were defective, and even VPI could not repair it. He replaced the damaged Sapphire bearings with Ruby bearings and it works like new. His charges were surprisingly low given what he did.
As part of this repair package Steve also crafted a VAS cartridge for me, which was an open-bodied Denon DL-103 but with a Micro Ridge Stylus. This cartridge, even without breaking in, sounds incredible. I couldn't recommend Steve any higher, and would encourage you to try his repair services, or the open-bodied DL-103 conversion.
I just got a cartridge from Steve this week as a stopgap- my go to has been Airtight, and i'm curious about stone-bodied Koetsus in my arm, but i reached out to Steve to supply me with a rebuilt Monster Genesis 1000- very different cartridge in tonality from the Airtights- but thing arrived fast with all the necessary mounting hardware and though my arm wasn't conducive to an older style nut and bolt set up given the additional mounting plate to add mass to this Monster (4 grams without the additional plate), I finally got it mounted, dialed in and singing. (Still in break in mode but this thing tracks like a Motha and is very resolving though a bit lean). Steve was readily available to address my mounting issues, and easy to work with. Trust.
I don't need another cartridge right now but I have to admit that I was watching that one that Steve had online for sale LOL. The price was pretty attractive I thought ;)
I believe Steve retipped that with a FG stylus but I am curious: do you know what the original cantilever material (info online is somewhat sketchy) was and if Steve changed the cantilever? It looked like aluminum in the photos when he had it online.
Regardless of what has been done with it, I would expect it to be a very high value cartridge in terms of performance vs. current cartridge offerings at todays' prices.
Original cantilever was boron, maybe diamond dusted or something, new cantilever is aluminum. Don’t remember the stylus profile offhand.
I suspect Steve will build you whatever you want- the materials cost of boron may be higher but it’s still within the range of a few hundred bucks, which is not a vast difference in price when you are talking about high end cartridges today, where the norm is around 10k dollars and the uber cartridges are offered at 15k plus retail (I know, nobody pays full boat, but still).
Absolutely. I'm currently running an Accuphase AC2 which I purchased without a stylus on it off ebay. I had another re-tipper re-work that cartridge about 4-5 months ago with a Namiki boron cantilever/microridge stylus combination and it is a beautiful cartridge. Similar pedigree to your Monster-from the same (Zyx) designer.
Have a little bit more into it than your Monster but not much. About $650, which is chump change for cartridges any more it seems. I don't feel any need to move further with cartridges on the stereo front but I may do some modifications to an AT 33 Mono that I have here in terms of putting a slightly more exotic stylus profile (and possibly cantilever) on it to try and supercharge it.
Steve seems to have a stellar reputation; it is great for all of us that might want to have cartridge work done to have an option to go to him.
Thanks all for your responses and for sharing your experiences with Steve.
Steve, we spoke briefly on the phone and I was left with the impression that you are knowledgeable and would be a terrific person to deal with. A couple of things were still not clear to me from our conversation, so perhaps all here would be interested in further clarification:
One of the cartridges that we discussed in our conversation is my Monster SG2000 which needs a new stylus. The original boron cantilever and suspension seem fine to me. Would you be able to keep the original cantilever and attach a new micro-ridge profile stylus? This would be my preference. If a new cantilever is necessary, can you replace with a boron cantilever? Same scenario for my Shelter 901 (different tip profile).
You’ll need to send me a few pictures of your cartridge. I usually do not like to glue styli onto cantilevers because it will not last as long.
However, I can still install a new boron line contact based on the info you provided about your cartridges.
Or I can repair each one like I did for whart, using a microridge with aluminum cantilever.
If anyone needs more info or feedback on my service, I originally started out on audiomart or you can look at my facebook page for more of my recent repairs (vasnyinc).
Yep, as Frogman sez, @slaw these things are monsters in the tracking department, not just in name. And even though the re-do I bought from Steve isn’t using the original cantilever, its compliance is more ’medium’ than ’high’ which also inspires confidence in handling. Still breaking in, but it is a very impressive cartridge--I will be surprised if it delivers the texture and tone of the Airtight in the midrange- it still sounds a little ’light’ in tone to my ears (this is personal take, given my preference and system) but in other respects, it is a better performer: tracking, as mentioned, and in the unraveling of detail without sounding bright. Hell of a cartridge, and in this day and age of 15k dollar top tier cartridges, an insane bargain. (Disregard Crazy Eddie selling style). :)