Does anyone else keep track of the hours played on their cartridge?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Kyle Mooney, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Kyle Mooney

    Kyle Mooney Active Member Thread Starter

    Central PA
    I keep a little notebook next to my TT. Every time I play an LP front to back I make a hash mark. I count each hash mark as 45 minutes (not trying to be perfectly exact, it's just the number I chose to use). After I make 10 hash marks, I write the date next to my hash marks and then add 7.5 hours to a running total in the far column. Then I drop down a line on the note pad and start my next set of 10 hash marks.

    Using this method I am able to use the dates to see how many hours over a space of time that I listen to my TT (it's never as much as I'd like). It also lets me know the age in hours on my stylus, albeit my method gives me an over estimation because most LPs come in under 45 minutes. I just use 45 minutes because it makes the quick math easier and back in the day a 90 minute cassette tape is what I always used to record 2 LPs, with one record per side.

    Surely this must be a common practice in order to know the amount of usage/wear on one's stylus?
    Macman likes this.
  2. Szeppelin75

    Szeppelin75 Forum Resident

    I thought about doing that but i always forget.
    nick99nack, BrentB, drum_cas and 3 others like this.
  3. kevinsponge

    kevinsponge Forum Resident

    Portland, OR USA
    I've got a record cleaning machine and put all my records in MOFI sleeves. I always wondered what kind of wear I was inflicting on the stylus.

    At around the nine year mark I took my 'table in to have the motor looked at and they said the stylus showed minimal wear.
    Mike from NYC likes this.
  4. Turnaround

    Turnaround Happy Human Holiday

    Each year, I print a couple twelve month calendars, each fitting on one one page. There are websites where you can make them for free (like I spend a few minutes in Word to reformat the calendar to my liking.

    When I listen to my stereo, I log on one calendar how many hours I use my turntable. I log on another calendar how many hours I use my preamp and amp (to track hours on tubes).

    I have months when I hardly use my stereo, and months when I use it a lot, so there's no way for me to even guess hours unless I keep track. I don't worry about being exact, and I don't worry if I occasionally forget to log hours. It takes a second to jot down a number on my calendar when I turn off my equipment.

    The most interesting thing has been realizing how much I really use my stereo. It's always far off from what I'd guess by memory. When I think about whether I want to spend money on an upgrade, my calendar helps me think about how much I really use my turntable or stereo.

    (Repost from How does everyone keep track of their stylus hours? )
    Kyle Mooney likes this.
  5. Williamson

    Williamson Forum Resident

    Yeah, I always forget to remember. How many hours are you meant to run before you change your stylus? - I can always tell by listening really. Is it a 1000 hours?
  6. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Levittown. NY
    Wouldn't this vary depending on how well you take care of your albums?
  7. Paully

    Paully De gustibus non est disputandum

    I have a golf counter clicker thing on my turntable. Every time I play a side I click it. It’s fairly automatic at this point.
  8. stax o' wax

    stax o' wax Forum Resident

    The West
    great idea.
    qwerty and Paully like this.
  9. quicksilverbudie

    quicksilverbudie quicksilverbudie

    Not by the minute but, by the year based on 300 hours per! Overall, after 8 years No wear from what I can hear.

    Szeppelin75 likes this.
  10. Mike from NYC

    Mike from NYC Forum Resident

    Surprise, AZ
    I've got a Dynavector 10x5 that I've owned and played for over a decade playing countless albums and it still sounds great and looks it too.
  11. Tom Littlefield

    Tom Littlefield Forum Resident

    New Hampshire, USA
    I have a Phoenix Engineering Falcon PSU/Roadrunner setup and it tracks the time automatically.
  12. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    You guys are crazy into numbers and stats and logs ! Love you
  13. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Only after many months of playing my cart did I learn about counting the sides with a ticker whose count you could multiply by roughly 20 min to get a good idea of the amount of use the cart got.

    Ordered one to keep track on whatever new cart I end up getting eventually. For now, I'm just going by an approximation.
  14. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Carts do have a limited lifespan or at least a definite amount of hours they can run optimally. After that, the sound quality degrades and distortion increases. Worst-case scenario, some LPs could be damaged, from what I understand. So it's best to keep a very simple effective log of amount of hours the cart was used, just to be safe.
  15. Ulises

    Ulises Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    I’ve never worn out a cart because I always get the urge to upgrade first, either to a new Jico stylus on my Shure V15s or a new cart. I suspect I’m not alone here. Truly wearing one out is my new goal.
    Bob_in_OKC and Rolltide like this.
  16. tiller

    tiller Forum Resident

    I keep track yes. I use a free app on my smart phone called "Timesheet". It's meant to track hours logged for tracking/billing purposes but it is also perfectly suitable for tracking cartridge hours. I press a little play button on my phone when I start listening, and stop when I'm done. It tracks all of my usage.
  17. Dreams266

    Dreams266 Forum Resident

    I voted "Yes" but I don't log my play time. That is completely unnecessary since the cartridge will let you know when it's going and I can estimate the approximate time that will happen. I have a few recent reissues that have no "punch" when my cartridge is shot. Other records still sound good but if I play one of these "test" records and they are weak then I know I need a new one. It can also happen earlier by dropping arm hard or something falling onto it so it;s all by ear. I'm not going to replace the cartridge when a ticker says it's time since it can be earlier or later than that!
  18. Kyle Mooney

    Kyle Mooney Active Member Thread Starter

    Central PA
    Wow, I am surprised by how many years people are getting getting out of their styli: 8 yrs, 10 yrs. I suppose that can be expected, if one has a RCM (which I do) and only plays clean records, and regularly clean their stylus (I use zero dust after each side).
  19. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    i have a ticker counter but i forget to use it. plus i switch cartridges now and then. it's a lot of work. if you take good care of them they can last a long time.
    GyroSE likes this.
  20. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Temecula, CA
    I've been using my cartridge for over 10 years now, playing thousands and thousands of records. I started out keeping a rough estimate of usage, but long ago lost track. It seems to sound as great now as it ever did. I contacted the maker of my cartridge (London Reference) John Wright and asked him about the hours on it as I was concerned that it was likely overdue for a stylus change, but he seemed to indicate this was rather normal and was a result of the special paratrace stylus, known for long life. Also I use a lowish VTF of 1.57 grams, and all of the albums played are cleaned with a modified VPI 17f vacuum cleaner and KLAudio ultrasonic cleaner.

    So I keep playing the cartridge, now into its second decade, always on the lookout (listenout?) for any signs of stylus wear. But likely I'll send it back to Mr. Wright before too long for a checkup and whatever he thinks needs to be done. I just hate the thought of sending it overseas and the long wait to get it back though, so I procrastinate.
    Kyle Mooney likes this.
  21. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Long Island, NY
    I have an Audio Research Ref 2 phono pre-amp that keeps track of the tube hours. That gives me a reliable estimate of the hours on the cartridge (I use only one phone-pre and one cartridge).
    Aftermath likes this.
  22. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    That’s way too much work. I’ll change it at the 3 year mark or when it starts sounding wonky, whichever comes first.
    troggy likes this.
  23. Ken Clark

    Ken Clark Forum Resident

    Chicago Suburbs
    I like the golf counter idea and just ordered one. I installed a new cartridge just a couple weeks ago so now is a good time to start counting!
  24. Madness

    Madness Forum Resident

    Maryland, USA
  25. Williamson

    Williamson Forum Resident

    Before I had a RCM, and before I really understood that you could blunt your stylus playing dirty second hand records, I blitzed my way through an Ortofon bronze in about 2 years. It was great fun doing it though. I then replaced my Ortofon bronze with....... another Ortofon bronze.

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