Vinyl/TT Gurus Chime in! Cartridge Decision: Rework My old Sumiko or get a new cartridge?


My Quandary: I have an old Gyrodec MkI(I think) with a Zeta Tonearm and a Sumiko Talisman Virtuoso B cartridge (HOMC). I've been getting bilateral distortion usually about  the 1/3 mark way through my records. The cartridge is really old and either needs re-tipped and possibly a new cantilever or do I consider a new cartridge altogether. I've heard these carts are very highly regarded.

Get the Sumiko reworked at what I imagine is a pretty penny penny?

or

Get a new cartridge which will work with a MM phono preamp (suggestions please)

Associated Gear:
Lounge Audio LCR MKIII phono stage (MM only.. Not looking to change this)
Gyrodec Mk I
Zeta tonearm w/ a mass of 16g


Budget $500-$600 tops.

Thanks in Advance!!
Previewbirdfan
I use to be a dealer for both Zeta & Sumiko and know those products well.

The first thing you should check is the arm. Some Zeta's had or developed sticky bearings - try a cheap new cartridge and verify that the the cartridge is the problem.

Secondly, if the arm is ok then what you should know is that the Talisman Virtuoso B is the only high output MC I would consider - I dont believe there are any cartidges for $500-600 retail that will better it. Therefore if you can get it rebuilt for up to $800 I would go for that option.

Otherwise I would look at a MI cartridge - Soundsmith cartridges are great vaue and good sounding across the board price wise. I prefer them to say the Ortofon Blue/Black MM range.

I would not recommend vintage cartridges - you cant get replacement styli in many instances and furthermore the damping rubber is unlikely to be in as new condition on a vintage cartridge.
I see your cart budget stops at 600 $ but why not add say 1400 $ ?
For me Talisman B is a mediocre performer but the Talisman TDi is the only HOMC I honestly could recommend and is worth of retipping.
Let Soundsmith do the job or get their new FC like Aida w/ very low 1.0-1.2 g VTF (high compliant alternative).
Gyrodeck is a mediocre performer, it just smears the sound so get rid of it.

Why not take a leap to today´s technology and go for an entirely new audio life with analog´s most ridiculous bargain, the new Trans-Fi Audio linear tracking airbearing tonearm. With its new very light & rigid carbon fiber wand this unique design is better than ever.

Best of luck.

Regards,
Great tip 😉 from Dover re the possibility of sticky bearings; definitely worth looking into.   Re the Virtuoso: if memory serves the only difference between the Virtuoso B and the Virtuoso DTI was the cantilever material.  B (boron), DTI (diamond coated titanium).  Sumiko had earlier “Talisman” models (Talisman S, Talisman Alchemist)  that were entirely different cartridges and which were indeed mediocre as Harold points out.  Harold, coincidentally, I pm’ed you yesterday re an unrelated subject.  If you have a moment, I would appreciate your thoughts.  Best to all.
Peter at SoundSmith is not recommending not only a HOMC, but even a LOMC because of the high moving mass, his lecture is here. He clearly prefer an MI cartridges. You can imagine how many different cartridges have been cracked and fixed at SoundSmith. But Peter vote for MI technology. 
Thanks to one and all. I truly appreciate your feedback. I've decided to retip/rebuild the cart with Soundsmith. 

Just one thing I've noted as a general trend in responses to this and many other threads here on this forum(and others): There are many of you who have the pocket books for highly regarded and expensive gear, which is fantastic. BUT when your responses are dismissive, and rude it drives drives people new to the world of hifi away. It's this type attitude that gives hifi a bad name and reputation. Most people new to the love of hifi are turned off by this and may feel alienated. No one likes snobbery and dismissive sarcastic attitudes. The entire field of hifi is dying as enthusiasts become and older with fewer and fewer younger folks interested, in part because of the attitudes so evident in forums like this. To the rest of you with thoughtful helpful responses THANK YOU for a spirit of collaboration and support.  

Best

Bird