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?


Streaming doesn’t wear out, and with Qobuz it’s higher sound quality, too!

As good as Qobuz is, and it is good, it won’t beat a high quality vinyl rig. You are smoking some good s$&t….

One of the problems with a worn stylus is the fact that it is now damaging your records. This can be something that is initially not that noticeable, until such time as you replace the cartridge or stylus and hear the groove damage!

Probably a good rule of thumb is to consider replacing the stylus and/or cartridge after a certain amount of time ( depending on the stylus shape) regardless of what condition it might appear to be.

I would think if at all possible, a re-build by the original manufacturer ( if in budget) would be preferable, simply because they have the exact specs and access to the original parts.

@jsbail Has produced a equation similar to ones I have presented in the past on the subject of cost per replay.

@jsbail stated " If you take care of your cartridge and get 2000 hours out of it, at about 44 minutes per album, it is about 2,727 albums. If you pay $12,000 for the cartridge, it costs about $4.40 to play an album. Only you can decide if it is worth it to you. "

This is also able to be presented in different manner and one that has been supplied recently through a Cart' Sale as an opportunity to be realised.

Obviously an option such as this is not too common and is one that is Cart' Bound, leaving the idea of having Cart' Options as the long haul methodology to make a Purchase.

A $10K Cart' with approx' 100-200 hours of usage life was put up for sale at approx' $6K.

If the 2000 hours usage was realised this would come in at, using above math' $2.20 per replay (1000 hrs @ $4.40).

Using a Third Party Service to overhaul the Cart' @ approx' $500 and the following usage extends to 2000 hours the cost of replay per Album drops to $1.60. (1000 hrs @ $3.20)

The Cart' in use 'will' by design and material selection most likely standout as an attractive performance way beyond a new purchase Cart's that will come in at $1.60 per replay.

As Cart's today are advancing in their designs with minuscule graduation in  improvement, even nanoscopic might be a better description, the TOTR Cart' of a previous generation 'will' not be easily differentiated as a Performer.

With the above in mind, a Cart' following one overhaul and 4000 hours of usage could undergo another overhaul @ maybe $600 will come in at approx' $1 per replay for the overall 6000 hrs. ( 3000 hrs @ $2ish)

I strongly suggest cleaned Vinyl is used any Cart' that comes with a particular Value, is sent into a Service at least once, to undergo a thorough clean during its period of accumulating its pre-overhaul hours, if this is adopted the cost per replay will creep up.

If a user with a tight budget has the opportunity to use such a methodology for their Cart' needs, and successfully achieve Two 1000-2000 hour usage periods, this is a economic way to attain usage of a item not usually considered.

I myself have Cart's rebuilt and Donor Cart's to be rebuilt.

My rebuilt Cart' in use at present, has been upgraded to be comparative to the Brands TOTR models from a past era. My Cart' has the same Damper assembly as used in the upper range on models.

The Cart' has been side by side compared the the Brands TOTR model from the past era, which today can still be seen offered as a £4K sale item. There is little to be concerned about during the A/B of the Cart's, my Cart' has certainly shown it is not the Poor Cousin.

With cost of Donor and Rebuild, if I get to the 2000 hrs of usage, using the above math, I will be in at £00.30 per replay, but for myself £00.70p vs £4.00 per reply is extremely welcomed as well.

'Oh Happy Days'.  

Van den Hul retip/rebuild all their cartridges for very reasonable prices.

The $12,000 cartridge hypothesis distorts the picture because $4-6K is a more representative price range for high end cartridges.