Ortofon MC Cartridge Problems ??

I am having "major" issues with my MC cartridge...keep loosing the stylus??? 

I purchased a VPI Prime Signature (B stock - lacquer rub during initial shipping) at a great price...went back and forth on which cartridge to add - ended up upscaling & getting the Ortofon MC Quintet Black. Had to wait for the new cartridge for several months...I left the turntable at the Audio store until the system was complete. Had the entire system mounted at the store and checked. Took delivery and set the turn table up at my house - as I placed the arm on the system noted that no stylus attached to the cartridge? A little bit in shock - I called the audio store. They were excellent - they brought a brand new entire Ortofon MC Quintet Black (no cost) to my house (4 hr drive each way) and mounted it for me while I watched over the shoulder...they indicated it was not the first time seeing this. We played several albums, rechecked the mounting, tracking force, azimuth, alignment, tightness of the screws...all spot on. The anti-skate set up I was skeptical about - but after a demonstration of both methods - it worked...

The Quintet Black S has a Nude Shibata diamond, mounted on a high-performance Sapphire cantilever...the set up is extremely small. My table arm is the standard 3d printed carbon arm that came with the VPI table... JMW 10 3D tonearm. The table and system is build like a tank and although the arm is on a single needle pivot point (takes a little getting use to) - the cueing system lowers and raises gently without issue. My only concern is on the last track on the each side of the LP the arm/cartridge does track inward toward the spindle. I am extremely careful with the entire system. Before an album is played it goes thru the ultrasonic cleaner. I played about 25 albums over the course of a few weeks - and guess what - the entire stylus is missing in action again today??? Uggg...

Before calling the audio store again - helpful thoughts and insight from the community is appreciated. At this point I may look for a more economical cartridge that will last longer...I have read some threads about Ortofon cartridge fragility. Understandable - the cartridge is likely the one component that is replaced most often in a system...but i need something more reliable... recommends are welcome. A MC cartridge that matches well with my arm/table...at three different price/quality points...

Your insight is appreciated,



There has to be a post mortem exam on the cartridge. If the cantilever is snapped in half the most likely problem is the operator or tonearm set up. If the cantilever is missing entirely then it was not mounted correctly and it is a manufacturing defect which Ortofon will replace under warranty. If just the stylus is missing and the cantilever is entirely intact it is also a warranty issue. 

Unipivot arms are wobbly and probably more likely to damage cartridges. They are harder to handle and it does not take much to damage any cantilever. Since mass is the enemy the better cartridges use very small diamonds and cantilevers which have to be more fragile. You could always get a DJ cartridge but it will not sound as good. 

I played less than 25 albums...did not clean the stylus yet...or touch it, except to lower arm/stylus onto the record. In both cases...the entire stylus is no longer attached to the body of the cartridge. I am 2nd guessing it is something i did or doing..but  have been overly cautious...as the system is new.  I have read good thinks about the Hana cartridges... I am taking the entire table back to my Audio store and have them trouble shoot it from the start. I feel that the tracking inward on the last tract may be the issue, but unsure. It is a great table (i hoped it is my last table...the cartridge was more than i really wanted to spend...but wth...)and the cartridge is reportedly an excellent match.  J

FWIW I’d say you have dodged a $1k bullet. I ran that cartridge on virtually the same table and found it lacking in several areas. After two fails I’d ask the dealer for a refund and move on. An AT ART 9 or OC9 IMHE is a much better option or even a Soundsmith MIMC Star will be a step up in SQ and reliability. You could also look at the Charisma line—very Big Bang for the buck and beautifully made.

To be more specific on the problem....both the stylus and boron cantilever arm are gone as if dropped out of the connection point at the cartridge body. No matter what the Audio store finds...i feel i should move on from the Ortofon cartridges....think it.may be a quality control build issue....J

bummer, sorry to hear.  

fyi the quintet has a saphire cantilever that is fairly robust in my experience.  

you should definitely clean it more than every 25 plays!  

as to the failure, it has to be one of these possibilities-

1 user accident.

2 batch of poor quality builds from ortofon

3 incompatibility with the unipivot arm imparting twist on the cantilever. 

4 combination of bad quality batch and tonearm incompatibilty.

5 combination of bad batch and user accident.  

ortofons are generally well crafted, high quality units. 

did you happen to notice when it happened?