What happens when the stylus tip wears out on a $12,000 cartridge?

There is no shortage of stereo phono cartridges with 5-figure price tags. What do you do when the stylus tip wears out? Do any/some/all manufacturers of these cartridges provide or offer a re-tipping service? Or do you just lay out another 12 or 15 grand for a new cartridge? Sorry for my ignorance - the Denon DL-103R/Lithium Audio Musikraft shell I currently use is the most expensive cartridge set-up I’ve ever owned. I’ve had a couple re-tipped by Soundsmith in the past for $200 - 300. What do you guys at the other end of the price spectrum do?



Soundsmith re-tip service in New-Jersey. All done safely online with UPS shipping. Did it once on a zephyr and twice on a Lyra Kleos once cartridges reach 1,000 hours. The purists will balk at that. A perfectly acceptable solution to me with absolutely no discernible sound difference from the original cartridges. Under $400 per re-tip.

Very educational and very easy to put the cart before the horse during repair. Will there be any return policy if you do not like the sound the repair makes? It would be interesting to hear if retipping or other repairs restore the sound you were willing to initially pay. It seems to me without an audition of the repair or happy with the sound guarantee you are buying a pig in a poke.

Before you buy it, check with Steve Leung at VAS, ask him if he can re-tip and/or rebuild suspension/cantilever/tip. Worse than wear would be bending or snapping the cantilever.

I sometimes buy broken cartridges that I know he can rebuild. I ask him first, he tells me which ones are bad choices to work on.


Atlas does exactly that. They have a $450 service fee which covers cleaning, stylus check and tune up. The problem is you lose your cartridge for 6 months.


Excellent answer. I have a feeling that in some instances the owner is give a "new" cartridge at about 1/2 price. The old cartridge is sent back, stripped and rebuilt given a new serial number and sold as new. I have no problem with this recycling as all the important parts the wear are new. Elusive disc offers trade ins for new cartridges. Instead of getting the same cartridge back you get a different one. This is a bit more expensive costing about 75% instead of 50%.  Soundsmith is easily the most reasonable offering rebuilds for about 10%.