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?


@bdp24 well as you well know… neither Grado nor Decca had a monopoly on the far reaching tails of the variability curve…. As a Signet dealer, we had ( more properly were REQUIRED to have a fine German microscope for cartridge evaluation, as PART of.. ).. Plenty of storied brands struggle to meet the published specifications….. Volumes could be written…. ah hem…. were… Deming, Juran….

i digress….

@dogberry I don’t think you are doing it wrong at all…. now where did i put that….5th tonearm ?……

If I have it, I use it. If I love it, I'll buy another one to replace the current one when it's done. 

I would agree with 'use the best you have'.  If a person has an 'ear for music' then why wouldn't you want to hear the best you can?  Of course it all comes down to how deep a person's pockets are but you still have to have a passion for it.  You can be a millionaire but if you don't care then a $500 system might be good enough. Depending on what your priorities are, usually a person will buy the best they can afford.

Depends on the LP. I won't use my best cartridge on some of my cherished albums from my youth long, long ago. I only have one  cartridge with a conical stylus for 78s and it's sure not my best one. Besides, from time to time a change is nice. Then when I switch back to my favorite AT33PTG/2 (which is not my most expensive MC) I only appreciate her more. She must just have a special synergy in my system. Since the PTG was designed strictly for the Japanese market, I am not so sure I will be able to replace her whe the time comes.