Author Topic: rebuilding cartridge suspensions  (Read 1112 times)

Offline Nick B

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rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« on: June 19, 2020, 06:41:11 PM »
Itís been my intent to revive my analog system after years of inactivity, but I no longer have much interest in doing it. Iíve owned 4-5 cartridges over the years, but theyíve all been moving magnet. Iíve heard of re tipping, suspension rebuilds, but am not very knowledgeable in these areas. 

I just contacted a cartridge repair expert and asked him some questions, but I didnít get enough of a detailed response and will contact him again later. I wonder if you guys could chime in and give me your thoughts regarding these two mm cartridges I have. They are:

1) a never used AT-ML150/OCC that is at least 20 years old
2) a damaged Shure Ultra 500 that is also 20+ years old

My first question is on the AT. After all this time, how likely is it that it would play properly for a buyer? If not, would a suspension rebuild be necessary/appropriate? I did an online search including HIFI Shark, but could find only one ad on Canuck Audio Mart. But it was sold and no longer listed a price. So I have no idea what these sell for or if itís worth it to have work done on it or sell as is. I know Agon has a blue book subscription, but Iíve never signed up for it.

Regarding my Shure Ultra 500, when it was installed years ago...and maybe Iím the one who installed it...one of the mounting screws was too long and it pushed apart the main body from the shell. I havenít tried to glue it together. The stylus tip was also broken, so I would need to buy a replacement. Iíve priced them, but donít know where would be best to source that. Iíve found some ads on the Ultra 500, so I have an idea on pricing.

Lastly, can anyone recommend where I could replace a belt for my Basis Ovation table? Iíve never replaced it and the Basis prices are quite high. Itís flat and a 38Ē circumference iirc.

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Offline S Clark

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 09:44:03 PM »
These guys are about as cheap as you'll find, and they carry a big stock.  You should have no trouble finding a belt.  Your old AT cartridge is simply a crap shoot.  Rubber does lose compliance, but not always.  There are fans of that cartridge, so it still has value.   Apparently the Shure Ultra 500 will accept a V15 type V-MR stylus.  These also still have a following. 
As far as pushing a cartridge body apart using the wrong screw- you can super glue it back together, taking care not to get glue in the wrong places.  I've done it.
ďIn the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.Ē Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline Nick B

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 09:59:10 PM »
These guys are about as cheap as you'll find, and they carry a big stock.  You should have no trouble finding a belt.  Your old AT cartridge is simply a crap shoot.  Rubber does lose compliance, but not always.  There are fans of that cartridge, so it still has value.   Apparently the Shure Ultra 500 will accept a V15 type V-MR stylus.  These also still have a following. 
As far as pushing a cartridge body apart using the wrong screw- you can super glue it back together, taking care not to get glue in the wrong places.  I've done it.

OK, Scott, thx. Yes, I can scrape off the old glue and fix it. Seems like selling as is might be the way to go. One of the members here had expressed an interest in the Ultra 500.
Selling that 70 lb Basis will be a pain as I wonít ship it.
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Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
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Border Patrol SEi dac
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Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Nick B

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2020, 10:03:04 PM »
These guys are about as cheap as you'll find, and they carry a big stock.  You should have no trouble finding a belt.  Your old AT cartridge is simply a crap shoot.  Rubber does lose compliance, but not always.  There are fans of that cartridge, so it still has value.   Apparently the Shure Ultra 500 will accept a V15 type V-MR stylus.  These also still have a following. 
As far as pushing a cartridge body apart using the wrong screw- you can super glue it back together, taking care not to get glue in the wrong places.  I've done it.

OK, Scott, thx. Yes, I can scrape off the old glue and fix it. Seems like selling as is might be the way to go. One of the members here had expressed an interest in the Ultra 500.
Selling that 70 lb Basis will be a pain as I wonít ship it.

Scott, the link didnít post.
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline Jack

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 10:18:47 PM »
Nick

If the AT has always been in a climate controlled environment then it is fine.  I have old stock cartridge bodies and styli from Grado, Shure, Stanton, Pickering, Empire and others that are older than your AT and they are all fine.  As to the Shure Ultra the body has value on places like AudioKarma and the only styli available of note are from JICO in Japan and not cheap. For the belt for the Basis check Turntableneedles.com and see if he stocks them.
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Offline Nick B

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2020, 10:45:34 PM »
Nick

If the AT has always been in a climate controlled environment then it is fine.  I have old stock cartridge bodies and styli from Grado, Shure, Stanton, Pickering, Empire and others that are older than your AT and they are all fine.  As to the Shure Ultra the body has value on places like AudioKarma and the only styli available of note are from JICO in Japan and not cheap. For the belt for the Basis check Turntableneedles.com and see if he stocks them.

Jack,
Yes, the AT and Shure as well have always been stored inside, not the garage. Will check out the sites you listed.
My digital system is sounding better all the time, so it makes it much easier to part with vinyl....
Nick
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Offline toobluvr

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2020, 11:00:30 AM »
For the belt, you also need to get the correct thickness and width.

If you are sure about the 39 inches, then there are a few at top of this list that probably qualify.  I have purchased belts from this site and in my experience they are about as cheap as you will find.

http://turntablebasics.com/beltmodels.html#flat

To insure buying the right one, it's a good idea to measure the original belt as instructed here:

https://www.turntableneedles.com/How_to_measure_find_right_turntable_tape_player_rubber_drive_belt

http://www.turntablebelts.com/TTbelts.htm

Use a calipher to measure width and thickness.

You pay quite a bit more here but guaranteed to get the correct one:

https://lptunes.com/collections/basis-turntable-belts

« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 11:07:57 AM by toobluvr »
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TT2: OL Aurora/OL Encounter Mk3C/Dyna xx2-Mk2
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complete: see Sunnydaze system on AC

Offline S Clark

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2020, 11:33:04 AM »


Scott, the link didnít post.
Oops.  Toobluvr posted it.
ďIn the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.Ē Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline Nick B

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2020, 12:47:38 PM »
For the belt, you also need to get the correct thickness and width.

If you are sure about the 39 inches, then there are a few at top of this list that probably qualify.  I have purchased belts from this site and in my experience they are about as cheap as you will find.

http://turntablebasics.com/beltmodels.html#flat

To insure buying the right one, it's a good idea to measure the original belt as instructed here:

https://www.turntableneedles.com/How_to_measure_find_right_turntable_tape_player_rubber_drive_belt

http://www.turntablebelts.com/TTbelts.htm

Use a calipher to measure width and thickness.

You pay quite a bit more here but guaranteed to get the correct one:

https://lptunes.com/collections/basis-turntable-belts

Very helpful websites. It took me a little while to get back to thinking metric...mmís and cmís 🤔 but all is well. The lp tunes site has nice pricing for the Ovation belt at $30. As to stylus replacement on the Shure, itís a bit pricey.
Nick
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Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
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Offline toobluvr

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2020, 06:07:55 AM »
That's almost 3X the Turntable Basics price.  Impossible to know if they are identical or "perform" equally well.

For the cartridge I'd either:

(1)  buy a worn stylus / busted cantilever "retip candidate" on the used markets (typically about $200) and send it off to Soundsmith for a $300 re-tip.   Total cost will be about $500.

or, (2)  buy a low hours / good condition used cart from a trusted seller.

I have employed both options several times and have always been happy.   Option (1) is less risky as you effectively get a new cartridge.
It will also be cheaper if the cartridge MSRP climbs over $850 (I'm assuming 60% price for a VGC used one).

I have no idea of the condition or worth of your current carts, but worst case maybe sell them cheap as-is (or as retip candidates) to help cover the cost?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2020, 06:19:50 AM by toobluvr »
Sunny Cable H2W10, JMR Twins, Gallo subs
TT1: Townshend Rock 3/OL Silver Mk3A/Soundsmith Zephyr
TT2: OL Aurora/OL Encounter Mk3C/Dyna xx2-Mk2
Carts: Music Maker 3,  Shelter 501
amps, peamps, phono stages, digital gear
complete: see Sunnydaze system on AC

Offline Nick B

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2020, 08:51:38 AM »
That's almost 3X the Turntable Basics price.  Impossible to know if they are identical or "perform" equally well.

For the cartridge I'd either:

(1)  buy a worn stylus / busted cantilever "retip candidate" on the used markets (typically about $200) and send it off to Soundsmith for a $300 re-tip.   Total cost will be about $500.

or, (2)  buy a low hours / good condition used cart from a trusted seller.

I have employed both options several times and have always been happy.   Option (1) is less risky as you effectively get a new cartridge.
It will also be cheaper if the cartridge MSRP climbs over $850 (I'm assuming 60% price for a VGC used one).

I have no idea of the condition or worth of your current carts, but worst case maybe sell them cheap as-is (or as retip candidates) to help cover the cost?

Iím ok paying a bit more for the belt. The difficult part is trying to figure out the belt thickness as I donít have calipers. I was originally contemplating having the cartridge  work done primarily to get a bit more money when I sell. I did more searches regarding value using Google this time and found a lot more information.

Both cartridges have been stored in optimal conditions. The replacement stylus cost for the Shure varies from $150 - $250, which seems reasonable based on all the glowing comments Iíve read.

Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
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Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline toobluvr

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2020, 09:15:03 AM »
Since you are selling the whole package , I wouldn't fret over getting the carts 100% fixed.  IMO just not worth the time / effort / expense.  Yes you may get more with a perfect cart, but will your higher sell price cover repair costs?  I think we are talking small differences.  Not worth agonizing over.  Plus, the buyer may not desire that cart and he will put small value on it, making it hard for you to recover your repair costs.

I would just offer them as part of the package -- "as-is" with complete honesty in your ad description.  Or alternatively,  sell it without carts and sell the carts separately as re-tip candidates.  Maybe offer both options in your ad.  Adjust your prices accordingly.  Gives flexibility to buyer.

I really don't think absent or questionable condition carts will negatively impact the "saleabilty"  (is that a word?)  of your  table / arm setup.  At least it wouldn't for me.  The main selling point is the table / arm, not the carts.  Let the buyer do whatever he wants on the cartridge end.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2020, 09:28:33 AM by toobluvr »
Sunny Cable H2W10, JMR Twins, Gallo subs
TT1: Townshend Rock 3/OL Silver Mk3A/Soundsmith Zephyr
TT2: OL Aurora/OL Encounter Mk3C/Dyna xx2-Mk2
Carts: Music Maker 3,  Shelter 501
amps, peamps, phono stages, digital gear
complete: see Sunnydaze system on AC

Offline toobluvr

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2020, 09:31:56 AM »
PS:  Bring your original belt to Home Depot and measure it with a caliper.    :thumb:
Sunny Cable H2W10, JMR Twins, Gallo subs
TT1: Townshend Rock 3/OL Silver Mk3A/Soundsmith Zephyr
TT2: OL Aurora/OL Encounter Mk3C/Dyna xx2-Mk2
Carts: Music Maker 3,  Shelter 501
amps, peamps, phono stages, digital gear
complete: see Sunnydaze system on AC

Offline Nick B

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Re: rebuilding cartridge suspensions
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2020, 09:55:09 AM »
PS:  Bring your original belt to Home Depot and measure it with a caliper.    :thumb:

Ah, good idea :)
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
Fritz Carrera 7 BE speakers
Border Patrol SEi dac
Auralic Aries Mini & Mojo Audio lps
Audio Envy cables
Roon, Tidal, Qobuz
PI Audio UberBUSS