How long before your cartridge warms up?

Wondering if people would share how many sides of a LP must be played before they believe their cartridge has warmed up and is on "full boil" so to speak. My Ortofon MC Anna seems to like about 2 to 2.5 sides of an album (e.g. 33.3 rpm) before it really comes to life. This is something I am just starting to notice as I am fairly new to analog.
There is no rule, even not for room temperature. You will find cartridges which need a "warm up"the way you describe, a definite room temperature, some are very sensitive to VTF, some need 5h to "break in", some 50h and so on and on...and there are others which do not need that.
Mine for example are ready to go for 100% from scratch. Except the Lyra Titan i / Olympos, those demand a nice room temperature :-)
Can't speak to the Anna, but my MCs (Dynavectors) and MMs (mostly Ortofons) never needed any warm-up once they were broken in (50+ hours or so). Waiting for the rest of the electronics to warm up is probably more important. My system doesn't really produce full fidelity for 45 minutes or so. Try warming up your system with some low volume non-analog source and see if you perceive the same effect in the cart. Have fun & happy listening!
Thanks Effischer, you may be right. I did some more experimentation today and it could be anything from the load on the utility box at the time to other components warming up (bearing in the table).., etc.

I usually have the amp and the phono pre powered up for at least 2 hours before I start any listening.
Two LP sides (40+ minutes) sounds like a long time to me. Are you sure this is all due to the cartridge? Was the rest of your system already warmed up?

In my case, using a Benz LP, the cartridge seems to be fully "warmed up" in something like 5 minutes. Initially it sounds a tad bright but it settles down during the first few minutes and I really don't notice any more changes after that.

My electronics are a different story. My tube power amps sound a lot better after about 30 minutes, and I suspect that one of them sounds even better after a couple hours, but it is hard to judge that kind of change over a long period like that.
I agree with all that is being said here except that I don't think 40 minutes is excessive. I did note Mike Fremer at the latest Axpona stating that he finds his cartridge needs about 4 sides before it is at full stride.

I think what I experienced was an abnormal difference in the recording quality of a track on an album which was new to me; my subsequent testing today would indicate that my Anna does not need a wam-up period.

My Graaf amps are another story, the GM200 need about 30 to 45 minutes, the Modena (signature version of the original Graaf GM20) can take up to 2.5 hours to be at its complete best.

I did adjust the VTF already as the warming weather audibly necessitated that change. I believe, that was done about 4 weeks ago.
I give my amp and phono stage at least 15 to 20 minutes before I play my system. I have a zyx diamond gold and it sounds the same from first touch to the end of session. I recently replaced my benz micro lps which needed at least a side or two to sound its best. Best of Luck
Most of the edge on my OC-9/II is gone after about half a side. It mellows for a little while after that.
Hi Audiofun, all:

The fundamental cause is that cartridge suspensions (particularly the elastomer dampers) change in mechanical characteristics as a function of operating temperature, and these characteristics also change with humidity. The temperature dependency is why you will see references to "temperature-stable" suspension and damping systems in cartridge literature from Denon, Highphonic and others.

The 11th figure on the following page compares the temperature dependency of Denon's DL-1000A with other cartridges (presumably also Denon-made).

Although "temperature-stable" suspensions are less temperature dependent than other suspensions, they are not completely temperature independent. Some effect of temperature on cartridge performance still remains (and you can see this in the same Denon figure).

In my own experience, silicon rubber does combine acceptable damping performance with temperature stability, but it tends to not sound very good, so you probably won't find many cartridge designers using it.

The manufacturer of your cartridge may specify a preferred operating temperature and relative humidity. Chances are that you will be able to reduce the warm-up time and get better sound overall if you heed those recommendations.

FWIW, the frequency response of phono cartridges also changes depending on the LP groove radius - the deeper the cartridge goes in towards the label area, the more the top frequencies will be attenuated (by enough to be clearly measurable).

kind regards, jonathan
I find that my Kleos always sounds better on the second side of the LP. I usually play an album side while listening to another source before I even listen, so that I can enjoy the full LP.
It all depends on whether you are talking about northern or southern and winter or summer. In Texas when it is near to 100ºs, the cartridge is ready to go. In the winter, with the coldest temperature set at 72ºs, it may take on cut.
Despite Judy's sarcastic denial, there's no question it's a regional issue, and a seasonal one too, for precisely the reasons Jcarr explained (the behavior of elastomers varies with temperature and humidity).

Years ago Raul paid us a visit, travelling from Mexico to CT, just so we could hear his then new preamp! I warmed the system up before he arrived and we played LPs all afternoon. Everything was sounding great.

We broke for a two hour dinner, then returned to playing more LPs. The sound was dull and lifeless, even though we'd left the electronics powered up. I should mention that it was the dead of Winter, fiercely cold outside (~0F) and bone dry air. Surmising that the cartridge suspension had cooled off and stiffened up (per Jcarr's explanation above) I tweaked VTF up by a hair, no more than a few thousandths of a gram.

Wham! The sound sprang to life again, instantly. Raul asked what I'd done and I showed him, alternating between "dead" VTF and "alive" VTF... a tiny adjustment.

The sweet spot for VTF in those conditions was incredibly small, but it was there. Just had to find it.
If you read the fine print on your cartridge manuals, some manufacturers actually publish temperature and/or humidity guidelines. A friend of mine found the Shelters mistrack here depending on the season, whereas the Benz tracks fine all year round. Interestingly Benz publishes temperature operating ranges that fit the climate here.
Since each case is probably different for many reasons, this is another topic worth learning about and then forgetting about most of what people will say about their particular experiences for the most part most likely.

TBG of course will be all over it and others may join in as well in order to benefit from discussions on nebulous topics similar to whatever nebulous and highly questionable product it is they might be hawking in a similar manner.

THen tbg will tell anyone who thinks its a waste of time that they add no value because everyone really enjoys wasting lots of time on nebulous audiophile topics.

SO lets cut to the chase and move on to more important things with our lives, unless this is a topic that truly burning for you, which might be the case for a select few, but not most.

No two cart setups are the same and all will sound different at different times. They are mechanical devices so expect things to vary over time depending on many things, similar to an automobile.

OK TBG, you can tell me I offer no value in these forums and I should leave now....
Mapman, I do think this phenomenon does happen. And as always I agree with you when you say there is no reason to have discussions of personal experiences as our tastes vary greatly.
"And as always I agree with you when you say there is no reason to have discussions of personal experiences as our tastes vary greatly."

There is reason to have that, but no reason to put too much trust into any single case that any of us might report, though some will be more trusted than others.

WHen many say the same thing, then clear patterns emerge that people can bank on with more confidence.

Also, fringe issues are just that fringe. WOrth some discussion, but not nearly as much as things that are widely accepted core principles and tenets of good sound, which one can read about in many places.

We all think we hear what we hear and know what we know, but that alone does not make it true.

I suspect cartridges do tend to "warm up" in general, for better or for worse, so that is worth knowing. Take action accordingly if this is a concern. That's about the extent of it from my perspective.

Just mine though.....
I find this whole discussion interesting and I have already gleaned some good things to take from the discourse. Thanks all.
Hi Doug: your experience with altered VTF for different operating temperature is worthwhile, but with one caveat.

Increasing the VTF will make tracking more secure and bring the SRA back to where it should be, but it will not compensate for temperature-driven deviations in measured frequency response. To correct that, I don't believe that there is any alternative to setting the room temperature to whatever the cartridge manufacturer recommends.

OTOH, since the measured frequency response at the outer bands of the LP will almost certainly be different from the frequency response at the inner bands, perhaps it is not such an important thing to quibble over.

(I have been re-reading a white paper that the Entre company published for their EC-25 cartridge series, which includes graphs showing the differences between outer-groove response and inner-groove response. The outer-inner difference that Entre reported was between 6-7dB for a Japanese-made test record, and it looks to be about 13dB for a test record made in either the US or Europe.)

kind regards, jonathan

PS. Recommendation for Lyra owners - our preferred operating range calls for temperatures of 22-23 degrees centigrade, and a relative humidity of 58-60%.
So it does appear that is my room is below 75 degrees F my cartridge (MC Anna) requires a side or two to warm up and start delivering on the quality I know it to be capable of.., realized this last night when the sound wasn't so great and I correlated it to my over zealous use of the "cold" button on the thermostat :)