Retipping Cartridge

Just wanted to give a shout out to in the the El Dorado Hills, California.  I've had a Cardas Ruby 2 cartridge for some time (came used on a Rega P9 purchased here on Audiogon.  Thank you Audiogon!) and was wondering if it needed some service.  In the past I had sent my cartridges back east to the the ever popular Needle Doctor but decided to check this outfit out as they were very local.  I had heard about this outfit through audiogon and decided to have them check my cartridge out.  They indicated that indeed I did need a new stylus.  No big surprise.  The work was done very efficiently and reasonably.  I now have two terrific cartridges, a Cartridge Man and the aforesaid Ruby 2 and they both sound great.  Thanks Needle Clinic.  I'm glad a put my trust in your workmanship!
Retipping is one of the possible cartridge repairs . Besides it
may mean cantilever/stylus combo or stylus only retip. Then
there is also the price for each. You provided unsufficient info
to justify your P&R for ''the clinic''.
The obsession with retips is curious because there are other
more difficult repairs important. The coils are the most difficult
to repair even assuming that someone is willing to mess with
coils. Then damping is anyway more difficult to do then retip
of the whole cantilever/stylus combo or stylus only retip.
That is because the retipper can't get original by manufacturer
used damper but depends from his proveder. Ortofon , for example,
has its own laboratory for dampers research and production.
EMT has notorious problem with dampers. This problem is known
for years but never solved. By changing damper one need to first
losen the tension wire and remove ''movings parts'' ( joint pipe
on which coils , tension wire and cantiler/stylus are fastened).
We have never heard anyone complaining about tension wire. 
But those need to be centered and tension adjusted after any
damper change. The damper is behind the coils fastened on the
generator. So seen in this context the cantilever/stylus retip
 is the most easy to do. 

Wow, @nandric, way to crap on the OP's cornflakes. Why does he need to justify is so-called pr4 this place? He was happy with it, provided anecdital evidence about how it worked out for him; what else does he need?
Post removed 
No need to get discouraged by replies.

I’ve got a cart I’m sending to Andy to see if he can do his magic to it.
Hoping he can save my $2.5K cart that I didn’t see 1 year of service.

He has plenty of positive reviews, and it’s a faster turnaround compared to SS, since I’m in California.
Thank you for your very sufficient feedback on your retip service from Needleclinic, I currently use Soundsmith for this service but it is always good to know that their are other competent service providers as we roll into a new norm. Enjoy the music
You should not post on a public forum if all you need in your topic is someone who can share your euphoria about some refurbished cartridges you own. This is what you need ? A proper feedback score is positive and negative score, you know ? Believe it or not, but you will find NOT only positive feedbacks about Needle Clinic, this is real life (not always perfect).

Cartridge re-tipping with third party parts (not original parts) is a trade-off.

You’re saving on re-tip in California, because it is closer than Switzerland where your Cardas cartridge was made and must be serviced by its designer if you want the best service with original parts.

Cardas cartridge designed in Switzerland by A. Lukaschek (Benz).

Benz Micro is one of the world’s leading cartridge manufacturers. In addition to their world-wide distributor network — many of whom have been with the product line for up to 2 decades (Musical Surroundings is at 19 years) — they manufacture cartridges and sub-assemblies for over 10 turntable and audio companies around the world.

"Background on company and ruby generator: In the 1980s Ernst Benz developed his line of moving coil cartridges in conjunction with Sony in Japan and AJ van den Hul of the Netherlands. These pickups were immediately recognized for their high quality and brought to market under the Benz Micro name as well as the Madrigal Carnegie 1. The Madrigal Carnegie 2 was the first cartridge made by Benz to use a ruby core generator. In the early 90s Benz came out with their own ruby generator cartridge aptly named the Ruby. The advantage of a non-ferrous versus iron core to wind the coil around was a purer signal in the magnetic flux field due to elimination of unwanted eddy currents. The original Benz Ruby had an output of only .18mV as a direct result of the ruby core not adding or interfering with this pure magnetic circuit. Ernst Benz turned to friend Albert Lukaschek — an electrical and mechanical engineer and avid record collector — to design a special high-gain low-noise phono stage for the MC Ruby. Albert’s design became known as the Benz Lukaschek PP-1. In 1994 Ernst Benz decided to retire and sold off his various companies including diamond tool and high-temperature vacuum oven manufacturing. He sold the Benz Micro cartridge division to Albert Lukaschek.

For the next six years Albert Lukaschek devoted himself to improving the cartridges and their manufacturing by building a new factory. In 1997 this culminated in the Ruby 2 and Ruby H models and then the entire Series 2 line in 2000. This was followed by the Series 3 in 2004 and the current S class in 2008.

The Benz Micro LP-S class cartridge is the flagship of the line representing over 20 years of R&D and production expertise. The original Benz LP was introduced in 2002 and the first Benz to use an ebony wood body combined with a ruby generator (see below). There was much debate regarding the name LP including long playing or limited production. Actually it was a nod to Luis Perez, the Portuguese Benz distributor who had sourced the ebony wood from Mozambique for the first production samples. Over the past 15+ years the advances and refinements to the Benz LP-S class include increases in the output voltage of the ruby generator to .38mV at 3.54cm/sec.

This was achieved by a redesign of the ruby square plate with radius edge and reducing mass by machining material out of the 2mm square plate. Coil-winding techniques were improved and magnet strength increased. Both front and rear pole pieces were refined with the rear pole piece featuring a countersunk soft butyl rubber damper for improved mechanical linearity. The entire suspension mechanism was improved. This allows skilled technicians to adjust both azimuth and suspension perfectly via the tension wire while Albert Lukaschek auditions each sample for maximum performance and uniformity. Having focused on almost every aspect of the cartridge, for the LP-S Albert decided to address the actual frame oft he cartridge where the generator assembly is mounted. All other Benz use a machined aluminum frame. From his studies and in-house repair service Albert was aware of other cartridge designs whose manufacturers had moved toward synthetic frames to fix eddy current concerns which his ruby generator addressed.

With this issue removed, Albert next looked at materials with higher mass and density to address vibrational energy yet still possessing a “musical” characteristic to not overdamp the liveliness of the music. He chose brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass has a wide range of applications such as screw machine parts, circuit board relays, electronic components and switches. It is used extensively in the musical instrument and electrical equipment fields. Brass is known for its strength and resistance to corrosion. Its properties closely resemble that of steel and today make it one of the most popular copper alloys. Brass can be easily precision machined and is available in rounds, flats, squares, hexagons, tube, plate and sheet.

For his specific brass formulation Lukaschek chose MR58 which contains 58% copper to machine the frame from solid bar stock. This brass frame is then gold-plated for environmental stability with a thin nickel sub-plate and as with all Benz cartridges tapped at 2.5mm for the mounting hardware. The brass increased overall weight of the LP from 10.8g to 16.4g for the LP-S class to still be suitable for the majority of today’s best tone arms. Both the electrical-magnetic and resonant properties of the brass frame enhance dynamic range, linearity and definition.

The first version of the LP-S introduced at the beginning of 2008 used a Gyger S stylus. This was the same stylus Albert Lukaschek had used since 1998 for his best cartridges such as the Ruby 3 and original LP and all Benz S class cartridges starting with the ACE. Perhaps due to the high demand Lukaschek placed on Gyger to produce large quantities of this stylus, Gyger’s quality control failed Lukaschek’s demanding specifications. Lukaschek thus began to investigate alternate styli and became very impressed by a Japanese Micro Ridge design. In the summer of 2009 production of this version of the LP-S began. It was the US press’ The Absolute Sound which dubbed this newer version the “LP S class MR”. Subsequently Benz used the same micro ridge stylus on all S class models from the ACE to the LP. "


Audiogon is the place to share knowledge and provide as much as possible technical information.

Some people still considering re-tip as a miracle.

When someone fixed their cartridge they are so happy about the fact that a cartridge can be used again, they are raving about it on public forums, wow.

It way be only two cartridges you ever owned, no technical information from you about re-tip (materials, cost), nothing. Your feedback is worthless.

May i ask a question ?
Do you know what’s the difference between Cartridge Man pick-up and Grado pick-up ? I am asking because Grado is MI with user replaceable stylus and even the rarest styli are still available (like XTZ) for very reasonable price.

Why people are buying a Cartridge Man pick-ups for such a high price if the cartridge boby is Grado? Because his silver coil or what ? Please explain, i really want to know.

And why those cartridges goes to Needle Clinic, but not to the manufacturers ? manufacturers does not support their buyers ?

Do you service your Mercedes-Benz car at local Ford service because it’s closer ?

Do you guys in USA never ship anything abroad? Because on this forum you can only mention retippers from USA ignoring the rest of the world including original cartridge designers/manufacturer to ship your cartridge to. Cartridge is very small device and very easy to ship.
Thank you Chakster4 for sharing all that history regarding my cartridge.  I had no idea.  All I know is it sounds great.  In response to your your inquiry, no, I do not know the difference between Cartridge Man and Grado.  Also, I did look into returning the cartridge to benz but was told repair times were extremely lengthy.  I also considered trading it in but the process seemed confusing and more expensive then I was prepared for. Being a  If I had a Mercedes, I doubt I would have it repaired at a Ford dealership.  Again, thanks for all that information regarding my cartridge.  Very much appreciated.
The uncalled-for vitriol on Agon reminds me of these Badly Drawn Boys’ lyrics:
I’ve, been pissing in the wind-I chanced a foolish grin,- and dribbled on my chin-Now the ground, shifts beneath my feet-The faces that I greet, never know my name-
Just give me something-I’ll take nothing-Just give me something-I’ll take nothing
Just as a FYI.
Steven Leung of VAS audio will and successfully did look at and repair a coil problem on my Koetsu Black Goldline.
On one channel it had not one but two breaks in that side coil wire.
I think his charge to fix this issue was very fair.
He also tweaked the suspension slightly due to age etc.
The stylus and cantilever were not touched and are the factory originals.

The more contacts we have for cartridge repair the better IMHO.
Not everyone can afford to rush out and buy new carts or seek out near unobtanium nos vintage mm examples no matter how good they may be.
Bravo chakster, if your writting is meant as dissertation you get 
from you older brother an 10. There are two kinds of contributions
in our forum. Those who use arguments related to the subject-
matter and those who argue  against the writer using the old 
''strow man'' strategy . They have no argument reg. the subject- 
matter but well about assumed character of the writer. 
Even in this short thread one can easylly see both kinds as
well difference between them.  Some of them even pretend to
speak in the name of the other assuming that the other is not
able to speak for himself. Arrogance is the other name for

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
Walt Whitman

Thanks uberwaltz,  My Sony XL 88 D and Kiseki Agaat are
waiting  4 years for this possibility. 
Obviously each case is different and I do not know if Steven can repair your carts but you can reach out to him to see.
Good luck my friend.
I care less what the others think, I sent my cartridge to Needle Clinic and Andy replaced the cantilever and upgraded my stylus tip.  It is a night and day difference for the better.  The price was dirt cheap and Andy returned my cartridge to me a day after he received it.  All told From the day I shipped it to him until the time I got it back was exactly 7 days. Realize that I live on the east coast and Andy is on the west coast. Andy will always get my business.  
I only heard about Soundsmith so I sent it to them. I thought the turnaround time would be longer and it was so short that it's going to be back before I'm ready for it. No worries, it was broken for 20 years and fixed in under a week. It can wait a few days while my protractor gets here. It's great that there are multiple places to get repairs. Good for the analog world!
Thank you Chakster for sharing all that history regarding my cartridge. I had no idea. All I know is it sounds great. In response to your your inquiry, no, I do not know the difference between Cartridge Man and Grado. Also, I did look into returning the cartridge to benz but was told repair times were extremely lengthy. I also considered trading it in but the process seemed confusing and more expensive then I was prepared for. Being a If I had a Mercedes, I doubt I would have it repaired at a Ford dealership. Again, thanks for all that information regarding my cartridge. Very much appreciated.

You're welcome. 

I hope some expert can explain me what is a Cartridge Man and why it looks exactly like the Grado Prestige series, but cost much more? I wanna know. 

The Cartridge Man company based in UK.
Grado Labs based in USA and this company is the manufacturer. 

I assume Cartridge Man ordering parts from Grado, tweak their cartridge and sell them for higher price.

Would be nice to know what's the difference in sound between some of the best Grado and that Cartridge Man pickups.

My favorite Grado is XTZ (signature model from Joseph Grado, made in the 80's). As i can see the stylus for XTZ is still available (compatible with all Grado prestige series).