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For those dealing with failed cantilevers
2018-01-09, 03:49
Post: #1
For those dealing with failed cantilevers
After my Krystal’s cantilever failed, the obvious paths were to either trade it in, or to stick it in the drawer.

I chose the latter for a couple of months. But the relatively high cost of the failed cartridge kept gnawing at me. There in my drawer was sitting an over $5000/ounce bit of useless junk.

So I decided to pursue some other paths.

The first was to approach Goldring to ask if they could repair it for pay. I offered to pay whatever costs might be necessary for their work. Several weeks later they got back to me. Their response to my inquiry was to politely decline any assistance, even for pay.

The second was to approach Soundsmith in Peekskill, NY. They have a good reputation, and their repair prices are typically less than 35% of the cost of the new cartridge.

Soundsmith offer a full range of cantilever and diamond options. They were reliably responsive and communicative. So I’ve tossed the dice and sent it to them.

When it comes back, it will no longer be a Krystal ... but it will be functional ... and interesting.

I’ve chosen the solid boron cantilever with nude line contact diamond from their many options.

The cost is expected to be $450 or thereabouts. The turnaround time was estimated to be 8 weeks. They offer several lower cost options.

Their web site is quite interesting. Peter Ledermann (the apparent Principal) is a fascinating guy. I found the web site hard to navigate, but there’s a lot of interesting information archived there.

I’ll post as things progress. There may be others who have expensive failed cartridges sitting in drawers. Soundsmith might be an option of interest for more than just me.

LP12, Woodsong Woburn Abbey Oak Plinth, Tramp2, Cirkus, Keel, Radikal, Ekos SE/1, Lyra Delos, Uphorik, Krell KSP-7B, biamped Krell KSA-150s, ML Theos, ML 210 sub.
LP12, Greeves plinth, Cirkus, Kore, Mober Maxxon, Ittok LVII mk2, Ortofon MC-3 Turbo, CJ PV8 SE phono, CJ ET3 SE, CJ MF2550 SE, Thiel CS2.
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2018-01-09, 06:31
Post: #2
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
I was delighted with Soundsmith's rebuilding of my Transfiguration Temper. To paraphrase Forest Gump, cartridge repair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get.

But for a few hundred dollars you get better value for money than buying a new expensive MC. If you don't like the results there is a market for MCs that were rebuilt or retipped by Soundsmith.

John Hirsch
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2018-01-09, 06:47
Post: #3
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
Let us know how it goes. Soundsmith has a fine reputation & you took the option that I would.
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2018-01-09, 09:00 (This post was last modified: 2018-01-09 09:23 by smokestack.)
Post: #4
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
Aftermarket cartridge rebuilds get a lot of stick ...some of it justified, some of it not.

In some cases the work is just not up to standard ...with stuff like new diamonds being crudely glued to tired old cantilevers & suspensions constituting the worst of it.

In other cases , a cartridge is very expertly rebuilt by craftsmen to a standard equalling or even bettering the original product.

The remaining problem is that the cartridge is not the same as it was before.
[even if nominally similar styli and cantilever materials are used]
That's where the "box of chocolates" comes in .

The cartridge will not have the same sonic signature and balance of attributes possessed of the original design.
To some ears it may be better than before ...but to others it may have completely lost the personality that sold it to them in the first place.

The problem is that you can't audition the bloody things.
It's hard enough to compare production cartridges side by side these days ...but with rebuilds it really is a leap in the dark.

[I have an old Arkiv sitting in a drawer, sans cantilever... courtesy of my then young son.
I've occasionally been tempted to send it off to be fitted with a boron cantilever and something like an Ogura line contact nib.
In theory it should come back sounding something like an Arkiv B....but would it ?
It might equally well come back sounding like a more typical bit of high end HiFi . All detail and soundstage but with no ability to play a tune ! ]

That said, some rebuilds sound very good and many folks profess to be very very pleased with the results.
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2018-01-09, 13:46
Post: #5
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
As I said, it is a roll of the dice, and it will no longer be a Krystal.

It will be auditioned when it gets back. And examined under my Bausch & Lomb stereo microscope.

It will be better than a piece of useless junk in the drawer, whatever else it might be.

If it beats the Lyra (unlikely), it will go to deck #1.

If it beats the Ortofon (perhaps likely), it will go to deck #2.

If it’s not my cup of tea, it will go to eBay with an honest description so that someone else can try it.

While I’ve been writing this this morning, I’ve been watching the morning news in parallel. They just ran an advertisement for the Krystal. In the USA, Krystal is the name of a lower echelon fast food hamburger chain known for their cheapness.

The Krystal is their signature burger, often sold at the promotional price of 50 cents.

Back to the phono cartridge ... one thing that may change is the overhang, and with it the utility of that third mounting screw. I could make a joke here, but you will be spared.

LP12, Woodsong Woburn Abbey Oak Plinth, Tramp2, Cirkus, Keel, Radikal, Ekos SE/1, Lyra Delos, Uphorik, Krell KSP-7B, biamped Krell KSA-150s, ML Theos, ML 210 sub.
LP12, Greeves plinth, Cirkus, Kore, Mober Maxxon, Ittok LVII mk2, Ortofon MC-3 Turbo, CJ PV8 SE phono, CJ ET3 SE, CJ MF2550 SE, Thiel CS2.
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2018-01-09, 13:59 (This post was last modified: 2018-01-09 14:01 by smokestack.)
Post: #6
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
Odd that Goldring didn't want to rebuild the Krystal .

Don't they make it ? Have they stopped doing refurbs ?

[The overhang thing had occurred to me too .
The cantilever would be need to be the same length as the original with the 3 point mount .
I think someone like Soundsmith would likely take care of that ]
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2018-01-09, 14:49
Post: #7
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
Yes, Goldring makes it for Linn.

I made the inquiry, and the response took long enough that I’d forgotten that I’d inquired. I do not know if they’ve abandoned all repairs, or if they are just unwilling to cut Linn out as a middleman on issues related to Linn cartridges.

They told me that they could not help me, and keep in mind that I was not trying to get warranty service, but was trying to get a repair to be billed according to their schedules and policies. They referred me back to Linn.

Well, I already knew that Linn would offer a small trade in value toward another Krystal, or a bit larger trade in value on a Kandid.

As an aside, during the Christmas season, Ortofon was willing to offer more than Linn on a trade. I considered the Cadenza Black because of this, but ended up choosing the Lyra Delos instead.

The Lyra has been a delightful surprise. Since mounting it, I’ve discovered that previously thought to be poorly pressed or poorly produced LPs can sound quite good.

I expect to add an Etna or Kleos later this year.

But first I am looking forward to hearing this boron cantilevered “Krystal Mk 2.”

LP12, Woodsong Woburn Abbey Oak Plinth, Tramp2, Cirkus, Keel, Radikal, Ekos SE/1, Lyra Delos, Uphorik, Krell KSP-7B, biamped Krell KSA-150s, ML Theos, ML 210 sub.
LP12, Greeves plinth, Cirkus, Kore, Mober Maxxon, Ittok LVII mk2, Ortofon MC-3 Turbo, CJ PV8 SE phono, CJ ET3 SE, CJ MF2550 SE, Thiel CS2.
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2018-01-09, 15:14
Post: #8
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
(2018-01-09 06:31)John Hirsch Wrote:  I was delighted with Soundsmith's rebuilding of my Transfiguration Temper. To paraphrase Forest Gump, cartridge repair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your going to get.

But for a few hundred dollars you get better value for money than buying a new expensive MC. If you don't like the results there is a market for MCs that were rebuilt or retipped by Soundsmith.

John Hirsch

+1^
Happy camper here with my Soundsmith rebuilt Troika. Big Grin

86LP12 + 2015 Cirkus + Lingo2 + 2015 Majik Standard Sub-chassis/arm-board + Ittok LVII + 2017 Soundsmith rebuilt Troika + T-Kable + Tramp2 + Linto + AkurateD CD + AV5103/AV5105 + 2x AV5125D + 2X Ninka + Trikan + 2X Komponent 104 + Sizmik10.25 + Silvers + Blacks + K400s + K20s
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2018-01-09, 15:33 (This post was last modified: 2018-01-15 05:20 by Peer Gynt.)
Post: #9
RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
I’ve been quite impressed with the videos that Peter Ledermann has done, and especially with the pictures he has shown of his work.

Some may already know that his cartridges are based on either the moving iron principle, or on the strain gage principle. In the moving iron arena, he looks like the logical heir to Joe Grado. Joe’s company still exists, but Joe’s genius left with Joe’s death. Peter seems to have taken Joe’s mantel, and a double portion of Joe’s spirit.

Something else of interest is that Soundsmith will rebuild their own moving iron cartridges for a very modest percentage of the msrp.

And even more unusual is the fact that the end user can retip their strain gage cartridges at home. No need to send them in.

So ... I can’t recommend them yet, but signs are trending good. There appear to be a lot of people who have been pretty happy with their work.

Maybe having Soundsmith do your work is like a box of Godiva Chocolates. You may not know what you’re biting into, but it is likely to be pleasing. With some other repair companies it sounds like you might be biting into one of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. And we all know how that can turn out.

LP12, Woodsong Woburn Abbey Oak Plinth, Tramp2, Cirkus, Keel, Radikal, Ekos SE/1, Lyra Delos, Uphorik, Krell KSP-7B, biamped Krell KSA-150s, ML Theos, ML 210 sub.
LP12, Greeves plinth, Cirkus, Kore, Mober Maxxon, Ittok LVII mk2, Ortofon MC-3 Turbo, CJ PV8 SE phono, CJ ET3 SE, CJ MF2550 SE, Thiel CS2.
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2018-01-09, 16:04
Post: #10
Sad RE: For those dealing with failed cantilevers
Hi Peer
Well done on getting a reply
I sent goldring 5 emails but as of today no reply has been received, mind you that was only 6 weeks ago !!
All the best
Tony
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