What about diamond cantilever/stylus combo

In the so called 'MM thread' J. Carr explained the differences between cantilever materials.The advantage of aluminum cantilever being that the stylus can be pressure
fitted while by the so called 'exotic cantilevers' the stylus need to be glued in the cantilevers. There are different conditions which the cantilever need to satisfy
in order to ,uh, satisfy the preferences of an designer. J. Carr also explained why he prefers boron cantilevers. Now I own the Sony XL 88 as well as the Sony XL 88 D.
'D' referring to the cantilever and stylus made from one piece of diamond. But here is my confusion. Both carts have the same 'generator' and also the same technical specs. But 'soundwise' they are as different as an Lada and an Ferrari (by way of speaking or by exaggeration). The comparisson between French wines as well between the French chief cooks come to mind.BTW the pudding will also do. Without any technical pretenitons I would think that the only explantion for the mentioned difference should be the diamond cantilever/stylus combo. If it was possible I would gladly retip my chosen MC carts with such cantilever/ stylus combo and pay, say, $1500 for the jewel. Now if there is demand then there should be supply? The question is if there is 'interesting demand' for the possible producer(s)?

48f03962 30db 4aad a0a9 eab5c5d5ce40nandric
Hello Nandric.

I have a Koetsu with the diamond cantilever / diamond stylus ground from one piece of diamond. The sound is superb - yes, like a Grand Cru Burgundy, as opposed to a new world pinot noir. I would think that this is, in part, due to the lack of an intervening layer of adhesive between stylus and cantilever.

Anyway, it is a $4000 option, and worth it.
Hi Terry9, The same conclusion can be deduced from Carr's
explanation. Regarding the wine comparison I have seen some
for 10 K for a single bottle. In this context your Koetsu
may look 'modest' or even 'cheap' but what I had in mind
should cost, say, max. $1500. But because of such a 'huge
interest' in this thread I am very sceptical about my own
'demand assumption'.
Different cantilevers have different resonant frequencies. Almost all create a resonance in the upper treble that affects the audible frequency response of the cartridge, especially MM carts. The lighter the cantilever, the higher the resonance (usually), and tracking is better.
If you two oenophiles want to compare a stylus to a fine wine you should give Thunderbird vintage 1992 a taste!
Yogiboy, Such wines are not meant for drink but to show
off with and talk about. Our diamond on the other side is
supposed to earn its money by hard and complex work.
Nandric,if those fine wines are not tasted then how can a comparison be made? Just curious.
Dear Yogiboy, Think about human imagination to get your
Nandric, Thanks much I'll give it a try!
Yogiboy, To get some idea how imagination works you need only to look at whatever thread in our forum. There are always members who talk and judge about components they have never heard nor even seen. There are even members who can imagine distortions in a system in Australia all the way from Mexico.
It is with deep regret that I must announce the departure of a true giant. Yoshihisa Mori passed away on Dec. 26, at the age of 77. His numerous accomplishments at Grace, and subsequently Sony (SACD as well as phono cartridges) are a testament to his capabilities.
Earlier this year we spent a most delightful and stimulating afternoon together... Hard to believe that he is no longer with us. Au revoir, Mori-san!
Harry W (VPI) says that the aluminum cantilever is much easier to work with and can get the diamond exactly mounted.  He says that it is possible to get a properly mounted stylus but that he's seen many more glued styli to be off...even the most expensive brands when using exotic materials.

While we all know that dead is unavoidable the grieve for those

we love or admire is also unavoidable. We just lost Ikeda and

now (the younger) Mori san. In his Sony time he invented this

8 form coil former as well  ''potting'' the inside of the cart body

to ''tame'' resonances. His XL series MC carts was meant to

give Sony some kind of leadership in this domain of analog

designs. His XL 88 D was the most expensive cart in the 80is

in Germany : 5000 DM. Back than one could get an Volkswagen

for less. According to some the best MC ever made.

We in Europe force people to retire at 65 . Probably in order to

''make place'' for the younger and because our pension funds

make ''decente life'' after 65 possible. The curious situation in

Japan seems to be  that people there work till they ''drop dead''.

From my comrade Don (Griffiths) who was/is very fond of those

JICO SAS styli I heard that Mori san made those SAS styli

for Jico.

I was curious how this ''tension wire'' in SAS styli was possible

to ''install'' with just one adjustment screw? Anyway the other

Japanese curiosity is the ''other combo''; being genius designer

AND master craftsman. To name few there are Ikeda, Takeda ,

Sugano , Mori , e.a.

@nandric ,

I love the idea of a one-piece diamond cantilever/stylus. The benefits seem obvious. Then there is the cost. At $4k, that will never be an option for me.

Just wondering how these are manufactured...a laser? It would seem that there needs to be a way that brings vibration in the manufacturing process to zero for it to be a viable option?
Nandric Quote:   "There are even members who can imagine distortions in a system in Australia all the way from Mexico  "  

You make me smile my dear brother.  (grin)

Hi slaws, I am not sure if in the 80is laser technology existed.

Well of course diamond , say, polisher. There are many ''old

diamonds'' which we the mortal souls can't afford. The old rich

could not show off with expensive cars or yachts but well with

jewels. The most talented diamond polisher were used for such

jobs like Michelangelo for church paintings. They were regarded

as simple workman then but become ''artist'' later.

My dear brother Griffithds, I am even more impressed with ''our''

economist who can predict economic development in 10 years

time but have no idea what will happen tomorrow.

@nandric ,

I was speaking of new technology my friend.
@griffithds is that your fist post in a while or am i missed something ? Glad you returned to the message board.

Dear slow, Social differences have nothing to do with technology.

By thinking about rich and poor I remembered this curious

''deviation of  Greek religion''. This religion somehow connected

Eastern with eggs. The eggs needed to be painted by Eastern and

 I remember my desperate mom  because she was not able to buy

any paint. I had no problem at all with unpainted eggs considering

our poor situation. The eggs in their natural form , my dear friend,

were considered as a luxury. But look at those rich Russians. Their

most luxurious jewel designer Faberge made more than 40 for

the king. You have no idea what those eggs cost by Christie

auctions. Ergo ; there is no hope for the poor because even the

eggs are not allowed to them.

@chakster  Your  are correct.  It has been a while.  Our friend Nadric's comment sparked such a large smile from me I just had to reply.  It is those never ending magical  observations made from Mexico that has kept me away!  (grin)

I was involved in a group buy of boron/microridge stylus/cantilever assemblies that a dealer on another forum organized earlier this year from Namiki.

His initial thought was to pursue a diamond cantilever/stylus option but the volume price was pretty excessive (at least compared to the boron which IMO came in quite reasonably priced) and somewhere around the $650 U.S. mark so that idea was abandoned. To be perfectly clear I am not sure what kind of volume would need to be ordered to obtain that price, so a single might be considerably more expensive.

In any event, I just wanted to let you know, on the off chance that you did not, that this combination is available through Namiki. I have no idea whether this is a one piece assembly or not-I would expect that it probably is not-but you may want to inquire either directly with Namiki or through your preferred rebuilder on this option if it still holds interest for you.

@hdm , Probably ''small world'' because I was informed by one

of my Polish friends about this adventure. He proudly informed

me that ''they'' can get boron cantilevers with ''glued in'' micro

ridge styli for an ''reasonable price '' . My question was if they

want to try to install them by them self in the so called ''joint

pipe''? For the retippers this job is the most attractive one:

gluing the whole combo in the ''aluminum tube'' behind and

charge 500 euro for the job. Even my old friend Axel Schurholz

refused to do the more difficult job of gluing only the stylus in

the original cantilever for 250 euro. He got so many orders from

''everywhere'' that he could afford such attitude. Thanks to

me among other because I made P&R for him in our forum.

Cost me 500 euro instead of 250 + 6 months waiting time instead

of 2 weeks (grin).

@nandric ,

I'm sorry you are not able to understand my post. Maybe it's best if I end my inquiry now.
BTW, I hope you're not having a stroke.

Dear slaw, I learned from Frege, the German logician&

mathematician that if one has an clear thought he can express his

thought clearly. Those who say to lack words to express whatever

confuse dictionary with thinking.  That I am not able to understand 

your post may mean that I am not sufficient intelligent to ''grasp''

your thought or that you are not able to express your though

clearly. You obviously considered only the first mentioned possibility.

@nandric ,

I almost bought in to your logic except for the fact that all I'm wondering about is how a one-piece diamond cantilever/stylus is manufactured? That's all.

Dear slaw, there are diamond cutters and polisher for ages.

You probably have no rich members in you family (grin)

Alas I am neither of those two. Anyway this is may suggestion

for your search.

Anyone can post a picture of so called "one piece diamond stylus combo" ? I know that SONY announced them as one piece, indeed, back in the day. I'd like to see it 

This is the only Diamond cantilever that i have. Is it one piece or two pieces ? 

Dear chakster, We all can see what  we call ''styli  shapes'' but

can one see the difference between, say, Van den Hul shape and

Shibata shape? Both got patents for their design. This means that

they are different otherwise patent would be not granted. What we

call ''shapes''  the diamond industrie calls ''facets'' . The more facets

the more expensive (jewel) diamond the color included.

So only some diamond grinder or polisher can explain how those

''one piece diamond styli combo's'' can be made. We have very

similar ''picture'' about MC generators. Those looks like our Eastern

eggs which you in Russia also know. The ordinary eggs look

like twins but painted kinds look all different (grin). Faberge kinds

are the most exclusive and only meant for the kings and the very


I to have heard rumors of the one piece sony diamond stylus / cantilever combo but have never seen a picture. Namiki currently makes a diamond assembly but it is two piece where the diamond is set in a laser drilled hole.

 @jcarr So sorry to hear of the loss of a dear friend 
grace and peace
This is the only Diamond cantilever that i have. Is it one piece or two pieces ?
2 pieces plus glue

Dear dover, I do know that you in New Zeeland have holy water

but ''obviously'' also some ''mean poisons''. You are a kind of

master in putting the poison in your post. But the known saying

''Diamonds are for ever'' is misleading because one of those 2

pieces need to be ''retipped'' after , say 1000 hour of use. In

this case the owners of ''one piece diamond + stylus'' are

probably the dupe. Consider , say, Coral stone with one piece

diamond + for 15 K and worn out  stylus.  Should such person

take ''your poison'' to kill himself?  While with some disadvantage

in terms of ''sound reproduction'' the two pieces diamond has

at least 14 K advantage. So, obviously, the glue is not a bad thing

at all (grin). However , except in terms of luxury, there would be

not much difference between boron and diamond cantilever.

I to have heard rumors of the one piece sony diamond stylus / cantilever combo but have never seen a picture. Namiki currently makes a diamond assembly but it is two piece where the diamond is set in a laser drilled hole.

www.intactaudio.com/forum/files/screen_shot_2019_01_01_at_110035_am_295.png @intactaudio

Thanks for the link, well this is conventional method. However, i can’t see a glue on Dynavector, Diamond or even Ruby have almost no glue in comparison to the SoundSmith Ruby for example (which has a big drop of glue to fix the tip). The old method of Dynavector is to make a hole in the gemstone to fit in the stylus tip throght the hole with minimum glue @dover

As i can see the SoundSmith method is completely different, there is no hole, just a drop of glue around the tip, here is another one after re-tipping.

Anyway, i hope to see a picture of one piece diamond cantilever/stylus combination
I'm not bothered by cantilever material, the final arbiter is the overall performance in your TT/arm/system. FWIW the previous owner of my Final Audio Parthenon had both the Sony XL88D ( one piece diamond cantilever ) and Dynavector Nova 13D ( 2 piece diamond cantilever ). He kept the Dynavector, returned the Sony XL88D. Final Audio also offered 1 piece diamond cantilevered MC's designed by Yoshihisa Mori based on the Sony design - 1 with full 1 piece diamond cantilever/stylus, another with 1 piece diamond cantilever/stylus but the cantilever in the latter sample was half length with aluminium sleeve.
Over the years diamond cantilevers have been used by several lesser known ( in the west ) boutique cartridge manufacturers, but it is only one component in many that produce the final result.
As regards value, the incremental cost of the diamond cantilever on the Koetsu is $5k - even a cheap car would lose that value in 1 year, but you should get 3-4 years use out of the Koetsu, so it's all relative.    

Dear chakster, you seem to suggest that ''little bit glue'' is no

glue at all. This remind me of this young man who by way of

comforting the parents stated: ''your daughter is little bit pregnant''.

Dear dover, I somehow always expect scientific arguments from

you. The (single) case of the previous owner of your TT is

not very convincing argument for whatever. I already mentioned

that according to ''some'' the Sony XL 88 D is regarded as the best

MC ever made. ''Some'' may mean more than one person. But

neither argument is convincing.

You are right to question providence, as there are many "unsubstantiated claims" in these forums, but unlike "some" the previous owner of my TT wrote for "The Absolute Sound", "Australian Hifi" and other audio magazines in the 80's. Resident in Japan for 8 years during that time, a proficient Harpsichord & Piano player, you can actually read his review of the Sony XL88D in "The Absolute Sound" magazine volume 8, #30, June 1983, along with may other arms/cartridges that represented the high end in Japan at that time. The writer had personal access to both Mori ( Sony Soundtech ), Tominari ( Dynavector ) & Kitamura ( Final Audio ) and their respective reference systems in addition to his own substantive collection of high end of the day.
However you seem to have missed the point of my post which is "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" - but the "best pudding" is ultimately a matter of personal taste.

Dear Dover, We obviously agree in the sense of your first sentence.

But we have some problem with  the quantifier ''some''. This is

not an referring expression (aka ''name'') as can be grasped by:

''someone has stolen my car''. But when '''some'' is substituted

with an name like a number for a variable then at least one can

know what is stated. There was a time when many confused

''veritas'' (truth) with ''auctoritas'' (authority). In our Western

civilisation Aristoteles ''ruled'' for 2000 years with his authority.

Till Galileo refuted his physics and Frege his logic. I used to

have about 5 different HIFI Magazine  till I become A'gon

member in 2007 . I preferred our discussions above all

the praising in the magazine and terminated all my  subscriptions.

While we all (?) like our own pudding the most we like to see

that others have the same opinion. A kind of confirmation of

our own (good) taste (grin).

Chakster, your pics clearly tell that those Soundsmith styli are just glued. What a huge drop of glue ! I´ll stay out of their retip and cheaper models that´s for sure. Thanks for revelation. Keep them coming...  
There´s one Highphonic cartridge for sale on eBay:


I see a neat fit to cantilever similar as seen in one of Chakster´s pics above.

What would you say about and has anyone done business with that seller, he seems to be  well trusted according to the feedback ?
Please explain how these photos and the amount of glue translate to inferior performance
@trytone Think about mass, rigidity and hardness 

The reason why some of the best cantilevers are extremely stiff and not made out of glue. They are stiff and very light like vintage Boron Pipe later replaced with Boron Rod. It's pretty easy to use a drop of glue instead of some very expensive laser etching techniques in mounting diamonds on the cantilevers made of boron, ruby or diamond. 

A diamond mounted with a drop of glue can fell off easily, especially when people using liquid stylus cleaning. 

The best cartridges designed in the golden age of vinyl are all have super rigid cantilevers with diamonds mounted without or with minimum (hardly visible) amount of glue, depends on the cantilever type. 

Re-tippers can't do that, they can only drop some glue on the cantilever (if it's Boron, Beryllium, Sapphire, Diamond etc, except the Aluminum). 

While some serious cartridge manufacturers back in the day applied laser micro sudgery to attach the diamong on such cantilevers throguht the micro hole made in the cantilever for superb rigidity of this construction and lower possible moving mass.  
I finally went for a Blue Lace w/ Diamond cantilever. I have experience with boron CoralStone, Onyx, Jade, RSP. Also with alnico vs. Platinum magnets on the Onyx. I am very impressed so far. Right out of the box it beats the burned-in (in its prime) boron CoralStone in detail, dynamics, presence, soundstaging. Musical flow is even better. It doesn’t make the Koetsu sound more analytical; it just gives you better speed, clarity, and detail.

I’ve found sonic differences between stones to be very, very subtle - not worth stressing over. The difference from RSP to Onyx Platinum is a bit more than that - yes, maybe stress over this, but only a little bit. The difference between alnico vs. platinum magnets is significantly more than these, but not all differences fall in the favor of one type vs. the other. The diamond cantilever difference is significant in magnitude, much like the magnet difference - except that in this case it all seems all in favor of the diamond. So - just extrapolating - I’d expect an RSP or Onyx/Jade with diamond cantilever upgrade to handily beat the performance of the similarly priced CoralStone boron and Blue Lace boron. @terry9 has been singing the praises of his RSP DC and now I have to say - well, rightfully so. Unfortunately the much higher rebuild cost for a DC (almost twice the cost) brings this "value" proposition a little more down to earth. But a Koetsu should last a very long time with proper care.

The Koetsu diamond stylus/cantilever is clearly two pieces. The cantilever is thicker but slightly shorter than the boron rods, so these are best used on tables with a vacuum hold down or ring clamping to flatten warps (you bought this much cartridge, so...). It is very hard to see well enough to align!! But Koetsu does a great job precisely aligning the stylus to the squared body. The cantilever has a slightly smokey, green-tinged coloration, unlike the stylus. If there is any glue used in the DC assembly, it is so minimal that it’s impossible to see. Even their boron assemblies use less glue than other tippers - they use a metal mounting plate to aid in this, and the end result usually looks exceptionally clean compared to massive blobs of glue seen elsewhere.

Just anecdotally and from what I’ve observed, glue is the big weak point in a stylus/boron assembly. It is the most likely failure point. So in my mind, an over dependence on glue bonds can’t have good implications for longevity AND sound quality.
Dear @trytone  @mulveling  : The main difference between cartridges from the same manufacturer or between manufacturers is the design of the CARTRIDGE MOTOR and after that comes the cantilever build material and length and shape of that cantilever.

Same cartridge motor cartridges but with different cantilever will performs different and in your Koetsus and as a cantilever build material Boron is only second to Diamond and that's one reason to performs better in its quality performance.

Glue is not exactly an " enemy " on a cartridge design because the cartridge as a system along the LP grooves modulations and its relations ship with the TT and tonearm can help to damps a little vibrations/resonances developed down there.

Cartridge at that top levels use a very especial type of glue and at minimum to not affect really the dynamic mass down there.

Btw @mulveling  you can't know ( because no one cartridge manufacturer says. ) if the diamond sample is exactly the same cartridge motor design and I mean it: a clone.

The cantilever issue is not only about build material but as I said: its length, shape and even its " raw " characteristics on each manufacturer. Along all those parameters and other than the stylus shape that makes a differences is the cartridge suspension type where the cantilever is and how attached.

Things are more complicated that what we can think, nothing is simple with a cartridge.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Perhaps this is an issue more about customer perception than glue. Do you really believe Soundsmith customers are ignorant of what they are buying? For a bit less than 500$, their clients are able to enjoy an experience that to many may be indistinguishable from what they remember before the service. One assumes that this might be hard to measure(what with variability in samples of what is usually a hand built product) and perhaps even harder to distinguish by listening(since a few months have usually passed between the end of the life of the original and the installation of the retipped cart). The service recently allowed me to buy an Air Tight cartridge(the 15000$ Model) on an Audiogon auction for close to 2000$ and have it retipped. This allows me some(hopefully close) version of the airtight for a third of the best price that my industry connection could allow. I do not believe Soundsmith make any claims to install the exact cantilever and diamond but rather to offer some version that owners may enjoy(or that will allow a worn or damaged cartridge to be sold for an attractive price to those that may not be able to afford a new or barely used high dollar item). Whether they are so popular due to how the retips perform or the professionalism of the repair work is up for debate. Anyone that may have dealt with them(and I have been a customer 4 times over last few years) receives an instruction sheet that explicitly warns against using a liquid cleaner that might damage the glue(they prefer a soft brush for dust and something  akin to Blu-Tak to remove the film that builds up. I am still new to this pursuit and respect those who believe they can hear the difference between what they remember and a retip but comments about the service being some how unworthy due to use of glue or not producing an identical performer seem unfounded. As always am eager to be shown the error of my ways. LS (PS The next Austin Record Convention starts about May 18th, will be there selling mostly classical recordings as I have been for over 30 years, hope to meet some of you there).
I am not making any claims against SS’s value proposition; obviously their very modest prices combined with stellar user reviews makes it a hard-to-pass choice. Especially when revamping top-class generators resold without tip for a song.

I am saying that I personally will not spend near Koetsu-level money on a cartridge terminated in a sloppy blob of glue. And I stand by my assertions of the various Koetsu variants’ sounds, because I’m not relying on memory for the comparisons I’ve done. Though I partially agree with Raul that cartridges are very indeed complex beasts, and unit-to-unit variation is the elephant in the room. However, my experience with a # of Koetsus gives me the impression that they are more consistent than most manufacturers. The VTA/SRA, channel balance (this is always ABSOLUTELY perfect, which is a big deal to me), azimuth, and alignment vs. cartridge body are literally almost dead-on, every time. If you DO plop down big money for a new Koetsu or a Koetsu rebuild, you can be sure you will get a good one. 


Hey, this is one-piece diamond stylus-cantilever, right ?
So for @trytone  this is the best example, no glue at all 


Thank you for the detailed comparison. It certainly confirms the wife's intuitions!

As to longevity - well, that's the reason I suspect that UltraSonic record cleaning pays for itself. In spades in my case.