Do You Play Or Save Your Best Cartridges

I suspect I am like many here, I have a small collection of cartridges. Until recently I would keep a casual playing cartridge set up and I would save my "good" cartridges for evening listening sessions where I am focusing on listening to music at the listening chair. I always had a casual cartridge mounted on an arm, maybe an Audio Technica OC9 III or something along those lines. These days its either an Ortofon MC3000 II or MC5000. 


Earlier this year I finally decided to use the DAC in my Trinov pre amp, and this involved getting a subscription to Roon, and hardwiring the computer and preamp to the router with CAT 6 ethernet cable. The sound is remarkably good, to the point where this can easily be my casual listening format. 

I almost wonder if its necessary to have a casual cartridge. Or should I just play my best ones as often as I want and bite the bullet and know I am getting a new diamond fitted every few years. 


Anyone else go through this kind of decision process?


and you must be some genius or cyborg if you can handle 150 cartridges in your head with distinct info about their sound.


They’re a lot like children. You just don’t forget their sound. So I guess I’m a genius, since I’m not a cyborg. Was listening to a JVC Z-1 with original beryllium canti and nude MR stylus earlier. Listening now to the M97HE with original HE stylus now. M95ED before those. Each one has a lot to love! But my favorite MM cart is not my Grace F-9E. It’s the 1970 ADC 10E MKIV. Amazing imaging I don’t get from the Koetsu or Dynavector. Retipped with a boron canti and nude MR stylus. Tracks at 0.75 grams. It’s a singular best cartridge.

oh boy :) I imagine how they gather around you on Father's Day, tell you stories and make you smile

You only live once. Life as we know it is too short and filled with the absence of nothing. Keep the best cartridge you have and put it on the best table you have. 

@grislybutter  "what does a 10,000 dollar cartridge do better than a $1,000 one?"

Absolutely nothing unless you have a comparable turntable and a comparable tonearm. If you do have these, you get smoother, clearer, more defined, more delicate, more refined sound. Nothing much.

Is it not that a Cartridge is extremely Fragile and all with a time served experience are knowing there is a Cart' going to be lost, so a spare at hand is not too strange.

This does add to the momentary heart flutters when carrying out certain management procedures for the Cart'. I have stopped Hand Cueing, it helps with my needs.

Spare Cart's are sometimes available, as used Cart's are not sold on, and a model is purchased that has superseded them, over a long period a collection can be acquired.

A Cart' certainly does not need a 1000 hours usage to warrant replacement, some like myself have moved on at a few hundred hours.

I have a Hana SL that is with approx' 100 Hours when superseded after a short period of usage and is now owned for 4 years at least.

The length of ownership and limited usage does not bother me, I have camera Lenses that cost more and have maybe been on the Camera for approx' 500 Images being captured over 6+years.

A Cart' and Camera Lens are a Tool, one is vital to capture light and enable the capturing of a Image, the other is vital, as it tracks a groove, which drive coils, generate a signal, to be transferred to the Point it is to become Sound. 

The Cart' is Sacrificial and will not remain as a optimised performer throughout it usage life, swapping out prior to the Styli being worn, is OK.