Andy Kim - Needle Clinic

I wanted to put this post out there about Andy Kim of Needle Clinic, located in Bellevue, Washington. As many may know, Andy is a cartridge re-tipper. I tried to find some older posts to add my comments but couldn't find them. So I'll start another OP. I just got my Lyra Kleos back from Andy today. Here's my comments.

My Kleos sounded a little off lately, so I thought it should be checked out. I sent it to Andy Kim. It turns out all that was needed was the stylus required a cleaning and polishing. Andy reported back that the stylus only has about 10 percent wear; IOW plenty of life left.

So I remounted the Kleos today and have been playing all types of music: rock and roll, classical, and so forth. The Kleos sounds wonderful; just great. Kudos to Andy Kim.

Fyi -- some may ask why I didn't send it to Peter Ledermann at Sound-Smith. I seem to recall reading somewhere that he's been unusually busy lately -- and with good reason -- and turn around might be a bit delayed. Also, I'm not sure Peter uses replacement cantilever/stylus assemblies that match (or at least come close to) the original. Andy does.
Anyway, that is a bridge I don't have to cross today.

Bottom line: Andy turned my cartridge within a week of receipt and I am pleased.
thanks solypsa.   Wasnt aware there were different Stylus versions on the GFS.

My GFS was bought new in 2016.  Was the Gyger S in production then?

I will ask CA if you don't know. 
You will have to ask CA. Gyger S is not newer per se, so unless I am mis-remembering the bit about Micro HD, it would just be a supplier change for whatever reasons...
After speaking with Soundsmith, it doesnt matter what CA put on my GF, as CA won't make it available to any other third parties for repair.  

Soundsmith designed their own Boron cantilever to match as closely as possible to CA and other top end Boron Cantilever cartridges.

As most probably know, CA won't repair themselves, but simply give you  $6k credit towards a $15k retail price.   

  Th $9k cost for trade in is out of my budget, so I'm going with the $450 Soundsmith Boron option.
It was the best explanation what is a third party re-tip and what's going on then you put a different cantilever instead of the original: 

  When a Lyra cartridge that doesn't play or sound right is returned to us, and it can be brought back to appropriate performance levels without replacing components (other than the washi paper dust cover), we typically don't charge anything.

This includes suspension readjustments, trackabiity adjustments, low-rider adjustments, replacement of the washi paper, stylus / cantilever / magnet cleaning, etc.

Such work is a routine occurance, and I believe that this would have covered Bruce's Kleos, had he returned it to us.

OTOH, Lyra does not retip its phono cartridges - we only do rebuilds (and adjustments as mentioned in the first paragraph). If a Lyra cartridge is worn to an extensive degree and/or damaged, it will be fully rebuilt to the latest (most advanced) production specification for that particular model, or replaced with a brand-new cartridge.

Regarding Sound-Smith, the styli that they use are several times larger (heavier) than what Lyra uses, and Sound-Smith's preferred ruby/sapphire cantilevers also have nearly two times the mass of the boron that Lyra uses, also Sound-Smith uses a different, simpler bonding method to secure the stylus to the cantilever (that requires the cantilever to be prepared differently).

To provide some numbers that you can compare to, the Kleos uses a diamond stylus that measures 0.08w x 0.12l x 0.5h (mm), with the playing surface comprised of a minor radius of 3um and a major radius of 70um. The Delos stylus is smaller (shorter), but has similarly-dimensioned playing surfaces (2.5um x 75um).

hth, jonathan carr

I know this thread is a little old, but wanted to share a recent experience with Andy Kim.  Some time back I bought a Technics SL 1200 MK2 that came with a Zu Denon DL-103.  To put it bluntly, it sounded like crap, lots of distortion in the left channel.  I tried another cartridge and the table sounded great.  The Zu Denon went in a box in the closet and sat there for a few months.  I ran across it one day and decided to send it to Andy to see if he could bring it back to life.

He received it on a Saturday.  I received an email Sunday saying it was almost done, and an explanation that there was a bunch of junk inside the body that he had to spend hours carefully digging out.  He outfitted it with a new micro ridge nude stylus and sapphire cantilever.  He shipped it out the next day.

Fast turnaround, check!

I didn't mount it right away, even though I was anxious to hear how it sounded.  I recently purchased a new (to me) Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable and initially mounted my Kiseki Blue NS ($2100 retail) cartridge on that.  It sounded wonderful, but at this point I was really anxious to try out the Zu.  I fell in love with the Zu immediately, it's very dyanmic and a little more "punchy" than the Kiseki.  I couldn't believe that this $400 (original retail price) could sound this good.  The Kiseki and some of my other more expensive cartridges are a little more "refined" around the edges of the music, but none are as fun or as involving as the Zu.

Great sound, check!

He charged a little extra for all the time spent cleaning up the guts of the cartridge, but it was very reasonable.  I have a basically new high-end cartridge for less than 25% of the cost of the Kiseki Blue NS.  

Great value, check!

I don't have a frame of reference as to what the Zu Denon sounded like before the re-tip, but I can compare it favorably to other more expensive cartridges I own including the Kiseki Blue NS, Soundsmith Aida 2, Van Den Hul MC Special Two, and Hana SL.  I haven't had any desire to take it off the Wow XL, which is my main table.

This isn't the first cartridge I've had done by Andy, he also repaired my Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood and did a really nice job with that also.