Lifespan of styli.

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by PastorTube, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. PastorTube

    PastorTube New Member

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    I have a Denon DL-130 and it still sound fine. But I do wonder what’s the life span on the stylus? I could not tell you how many hours I have on it. I know there are lots of variables to consider. Are we talking 1000 hours or 2000 hours.
    What would a re-tipping cost for a DL-130 when needed

    Thanks
     

     

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  2. vinyl1

    vinyl1 Super Member

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    The MC stylus has an extremely variable life. Some say the stylus lasts forever, but the suspension wears out. Users of different types of cartridge have had very different experiences.

    I have run carts pretty hard, but it's hard to tell when the sound starts to deteriorate. I have put between 2000 and 2500 hours on both a Benz and a Van Den Hul, but I probably should have pulled them earlier.
     
  3. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

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    Is it a typo - Denon DL-130 ? :idea:

    If it is a Denon DL-103, it is a nude conical 0.65 mil.

    It should last at least 600 hours - conservative estimate, in some literature. :thumbsup:
     
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  4. malden

    malden Addicted Member

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  5. dzkfraser

    dzkfraser Well-Known Member

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    Always find that question interesting, considering the tip is usually a diamond - the hardest substance on the planet, one would think that very soft vinyl would not produce any significant wear over a long period of time... one would think
     
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  6. restorer-john

    restorer-john Addicted Member

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    This question will polarize opinion. Having worked in the industry and having many hundreds of people, back in the day, bring me cartridges saying they needed a new 'needle' and having taken their old styli home (after they consigned it to the trash can in the shop), and putting them under high powered magnification after cleaning, made me realize, most if it was utter and complete BS. Marketing in it purest to sell replacements.

    People around here will wax lyrical about the enormous differences a new stylus makes. They will tell you how many hours before it 'must' be replaced. Most of them don't own a decent microscope, they haven't looked at their diamond under either digital or optical high powered magnification, illuminated effectively and/or made measurements using test records and proper test gear.

    Dragging the hardest substance known to man, through a piece of plastic, is a walk in the park for a diamond. It can happily do that indefinitely.

    And to anyone who wants to show some reflective light spots on a facet under a microscope- show me the actual before and after frequency response plot for that stylus. A shiny bit means absolutely nothing.
     

     

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  7. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    There we go thinking again... yes, a diamond is considered to be the hardest substance on earth, but then we have coefficients of friction, miles of travel through the grooves, and surface pressure to factor in. What other substances are encountered in those grooves (aka, crud on the vinyl surface)?

    Surface pressure on a diamond stylus is immense. Yes, tracking force and arm mass are measured in grams and tenths of grams, but what is the actual pressure at the point of contact surface area of the stylus with the record surface? I don't know the exact answer, and am too lazy to do the math, but it is immense. I do know that a 300 lb construction worker wearing size 13 work boots can safely walk across an EPDM rubber roof, but a 150 lb assistant wearing spike heels cannot.

    I have microscopes--both digital and conventional light--and you can definitely see signs of "wear" on a diamond stylus. At what rate that occurs involves far too many variables to consider, but I judge stylus lifespan by visible signs of wear--long before anything is likely to be audible. IME, most people that hear "audible wear" just need to clean their stylus.
     
  8. the_nines

    the_nines AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    As most don't have microscopes powerful enough (I doubt USB scopes for $50 qualify) or the means to visually inspect at that magnitude, provided you know factually that your stylus is clean and properly aligned, my rule of thumb is once it starts sounding like shit, time to replace. And, DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.

    OMMV (Others' mileage may vary).
     
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  9. bobins08

    bobins08 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    This ^

    I have a small scope. Good enough to see the diamond installed into the cantilever and the type of install, the polish, etc. Nothing fancy but I can tell if it’s clean.

    Most of the time when a hear any degradation (easily heard on high frequencies) it just needs a good cleaning. I have had stylus wear out and by that I mean they just don’t sound good anymore.

    Clean records, correct VTA/alignment, an arm in good repair, and good isolation are all critical to sound quality and stylus life.
     
  10. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    It merits more than a parenthetical mention. It's a major cause of stylus wear. Next time you're checking your stylus with a microscope, check some of that "crud" — it's not all light fluffy "dust".
     
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  11. tom67

    tom67 Active Member

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    Thank you....I share your thoughts. Always thought that the stylus suspension would fail long before the needle and that would be your notice to replace
     
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  12. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    I agree, only not quite so quickly with just replace. A thorough cleaning first (and not just dropping it into a "Magic Eraser" once or twice), and then re-evaluate. If it still sounds like shit--definitely replace--sooner, rather than later, lest you damage your prized vinyl.
     
  13. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

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    I have no familiarity with your cartridge model, and yes there are lots of variables, which is why the studies I've seen give a range of useful stylus life, typically 500 to 1000 hours. Time, distance, and traffic frustrations to get to my nearest dealer with a stylus microscope have led me to take the simple way out these past several years, and I now just replace my stylus at the more conservative 500 hour mark. With my current listening habits, that means every 9 months. I may be giving up some hours of life on each stylus, but I'd rather err on the side of caution to protect my albums. I don't use expensive styli, and mine are user replaceable, so music listening remains a low-cost, convenient, and most enjoyable past-time.
     
  14. the_nines

    the_nines AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    ==== ===== ===== ======> As I said ....... [​IMG]
    ;)
     
  15. DavidTT

    DavidTT Active Member

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    Regarding detritus and funk in the grooves, excepting records that live in houses of smokers or very frequent heavy cooking, I don't understand the sticky gunk discussion. I own a few hundred records now, many bought used, and I clean them usually just with a rinse in the sink before playing them.

    I'm lucky enough these days to play records for several hours most days and own a 10x/20x/30x loupe. I frequently look at the styli in use. They pick up little hairs and dust but I never see sticky substances or deal with stubborn funk that I struggle to remove. A couple of dabs in magic eraser and/or a quick brush with one of those little Shure-type brushes and they look clean.

    I cannot get a good enough view to see the facets or to see when wear occurs, so I'm not entering that part of the conversation here. How is it that my experience has been so positive regarding record cleanliness, "gunk" and stylus care, when others' have been otherwise?
     
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  16. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

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    I haven't had that issue, either. I clean my stylus with a soft brush that came included with a Sumiko cartridge, and that's all I've needed. A friend of mine did, however, have an issue with a gummed up stylus after playing a used record, and he used LAST stylus cleaner to take care of the problem.

    I did buy a Nitty Gritty record cleaner some years ago when the majority of my record purchases became bargain-bin finds, many of which are visibly dirty and or have a strong static charge to them. The Nitty Gritty's wet cleaning method takes care of both issues. Once cleaned, I use them in the way Rega and Linn have long advocated, and that's to simply take the record out of its sleeve, play it, then return it to its sleeve--no carbon fiber brushing or anything before or after each play.
     
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  17. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    I live in Los Angeles. The air is filled with petrol and diesel exhaust. These petrocarbons are sticky, and remain sticky. They also contain tiny particles of super-heated carbon (the same process that hardens carbon into diamonds) and even tiny particles of metal from engine wear. So the stylus is not simply stroking soft vinyl, but colliding with very hard grit. I've read (FWIW) that such collisions can create a momentary temperature of 400°C, more than enough to melt a pit into the vinyl — and some of that briefly molten vinyl sticks to the stone. As for the record, even if the contaminants are removed, the pit remains as a permanent click or pop.

    But I've had very good luck with stylus life. Clean records help for sure, but manufacturers understate stylus durability to sell replacements or re-tips. One who doesn't is Van den Hul, who claims 3,500 hours for his.

    And as we all know, "Diamonds are Forever!" — and we also know, advertising never lies.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  18. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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  19. restorer-john

    restorer-john Addicted Member

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    I'm sure there's someone on AK who has worked in the drilling industry who can comment on diamond wear. I once knew a driller who had been doing it his entire life and ran a large business. He showed me some bits which had been through combined hundreds of km of solid rock showing no wear whatsoever. Essentially the diamonds were fine as long as they remained attached to the bit.

    Recently, there were some dudes boring horizontally near us and I chatted to them. Same story, the bits are fine until they break them (the metal part) pushing too hard. I asked about the diamonds wearing out and they laughed. The one they were using was six months old and had done solid rock most days.

    The fact that enormous ships vacuum the ocean floor picking up diamonds that were washed down huge ancient rivers with rocks and gravel, thousands of years ago, tells you something about how resilient these little suckers are.

    https://thejewelerblog.wordpress.co...ms-gem-quality-diamonds-from-the-ocean-floor/

    We all know the suspensions fail- that's a sad fact of elastomers, but diamonds damaging grooves because they have a shiny bit on them? BS. IF an aggressive cut diamond profile stylus did 'wear', it would become smoother and more 'groove shaped' and actually cause less wear.

    Anyway, run a FR and THD plot on a brand new cartridge and then again in 2000 hrs and tell me what you see.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  20. restorer-john

    restorer-john Addicted Member

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