A Story about a Defective Signature Platinum

Last week I was listening to music at a healthy volume while sitting at my computer. I have an auto lifter (Little Fwend) and after the arm lifted I noticed a static noise with occasional popping coming out of the left channel about 40 dB down. At first I thought it was a bad tube but it disappeared when I turned the volume down. It is in front of the Preamp. None of the other sources had the noise. Swapping tonearm cables did not seem to change the sound but then I noticed that the sound was also in the right channel just farther down. Disconnecting the tonearm stopped the noise. I change over to an MC Diamond, no noise. Same with the Atlas, no noise. Swapped back to the MSL, noise is back.

The cartridge is exactly one year old but it rotates with two other cartridges and might have 75 hours on it. I called the dealer who told me to contact MoFi distribution, the US agent for MSL. Turns out the cartridge only has a 90 day warranty and I was told I would have to send it in for a rebuild for $6000! Can't they just fix the problem for maybe $500, No. Can't I just send it in for evaluation?  The stylus and cantilever are brand new. No, a rebuild is the only option and you have to do that through the dealer, click!  Most very expensive cartridges have a 2 year warranty on them not to mention that most companies would cover such a defect even off warranty as in the absence of physical damage it is obviously a manufacturing defect, a bad solder joint or maybe just two wires rubbing together. This is very disappointing and as far as customer service goes Home Depot is better than MoFi, Sears is better than MoFi! MoFI is right up there with Anthem Blue Cross! The service rep could have offered to look into it. Maybe communicate with MSL and get their opinion. I am sure if MSL knew about it they would gladly fix it and actually be embarrassed. The Japanese are like that. There is no way I can find to get directly in touch with MSL.   

$6000 is not an option. I am not going to throw good money after bad. I am also not going to off a defective cartridge on someone else. I am going to take the cartridge apart and reflow the solder joints and make sure the wires are separated. If that doesn't fix it, it goes in the trash.

Mistakes and defects happen, it is what you do about them that counts. MoFi failed dismally in this regard. MSL makes a fine cartridge but I would only get another one if they changed agents and increased their warranty. Obviously, I will avoid buying any other MoFi products myself and warn others about their customer service. I have no further use for the dealer who did nothing to help. I have had superb service from Musical Surroundings, Soundsmith, B+H Photo and the Cable Company. All handled issues with ease. Has anyone else had trouble with MoFi? What companies have provided you with excellent service when the sh-t hit the fan?




Dear @mijostyn  : Following on your Talisman S  I can confirm thatwas made by Excel.

Characteristics similares to my Excel ES 10 Direct Sound, this is the cartridge denomination . This was for Japan domestic market only. This one is the cartridge that we ( Etsuro Gold owner. ) listenined in that session at my place where as a whole the ES 10 beated the Etsuro that today it's made by Excel too but a way different design than in the old times. Originally the ES 10 came with aluminum cantilever and seems to me that near the time the model dissapeared cantilever was berylium as my sample and with Vital PH ( I don't know what it means. ) stylus shape. As with some of my vintage LOMC cartridges I was lucky to got it and the diagram sheet that comes  with shows an impressive flat FR and 32db of separation with both channel output exactly at the same level: 0.21mv. This is a picture of the ES 10 where you can see its 3mm sapphire solid cartridge top plate that it's just unique:


Raúl (canva.com)


Yes, it's almost new  and along the MM Audio Technica AT ML160 LC/OCC ( when you listen for the first time this AT you can't know it's a MM design ) are the cartridges that I'm enjoying in this times.



Btw, LOMC Sumiko LMX in those linked pictures is the original top of the line Coral MC-8 that means Sumiko was a Coral OEM sample.



@rauliruegas , @mijostyn, et al: What equipment / phone apparatus? do you use to take these magnified stylus photos? Might be good to help monitor my own stylus wear?


Sorry Raul. I tossed the cartridge when the left channel went dead. It was a sapphire cantilever and I believe it was a rod not a tube but I can not be sure. Peter Ledermann uses a ruby cantilever, a pretty red one. He makes a special version of the Sussurro called the Sussurro Gold. Some say it is his best cartridge. You should try it!


I use a custom mounted Amscope laboratory USB microscope with a special PC program. A similar set up would cost you around $2500. The closest thing you could get to it ready made would be the WallyScope. 

Dear @mijostyn : Thank’s. Normally I prefer boron over ruby.


Now somewhere it’s a mistake did it for you or MSL. You posted here that your Signature Platinum measured both channels 1.8 ohms however in its site MSL spec says: 1.4 ohm so that difference is nottttt 5% but over 28% higher what you measured.