Is a worn stylus Normal after 6 weeks?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by KrisHawk, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. KrisHawk

    KrisHawk Active Member Thread Starter

    I’ve swapped the needle to the same cartridge Ortofon Red thinking I was going crazy. Checked alignment all is fine.

    I was playing my 2014 Please Please Me Mono from original analogue tapes.

    I noticed I can’t hear the very mild bass drum as they sing Please pleassssssee me oh yeah like I Please you.”

    Its not on the CD versions but I heard it on this LP before. I have 4 copies and same thing on another copy.

    My question..

    I play records all day everyday, probably 10-12 hours a day average. (Don’t sleep much.)

    I had the same thing and I used that same song as a test. I suspect worn stylus because that part of the music came back after changing 5 weeks ago.

    It’s also been used on different turntables after a week of using bad tone arms that twist around.

    Thought my Please pLease me was worn or damaged until I played a different copy.

    I know some keep their stylus for months!!

    However is this normal for EXCESSIVE play like me? Or am I doing something to wear it out faster?

    Has 350 hours at least.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  2. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    An elliptical, like your Ortofon 2M Red should get UP TO 1,000 hours under ideal conditions. However, misalignment and excessive tracking force can substantially reduce the hours you can expect to get out of the stylus.

    What make and model turntable are you using (your Profile is blank)? What is the Tracking Force set to?
    The Pinhead likes this.
  3. Ontheone

    Ontheone Well-Known Member

    We kind of need to take this assertion at face value. No one can confirm this is true on this board. We also have no idea if you are cleaning your records and stylus. So many factors come into play including possible issues within your hifi chain. 350 hrs is no where close to normal wear life.
    The Pinhead and Thorensman like this.
  4. 350 hours seems low, but there are a lot of variables that could accelerate wear. However, 1,000 hours is judicious in my view. I can hear audible distortion with more advanced stylus shapes like microline and micro ridge after 500-600 hours and replace them at that time. Obviously, ymmv.
    Leonthepro likes this.
  5. KrisHawk

    KrisHawk Active Member Thread Starter

    I realized my LP 120 had incorrect tracking. It’s on 2 grams and set the dial exactly. It wasn’t until a week ago that I realized I have to put it slightly above 1 instead of putting it at 2, and the difference was night and day.

    I trusted audio Technica or any company would make sure that all works outside of the factory...

    Could all these issues from mistracking be the issue?
    Aftermath likes this.
  6. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    Obviously it will. You are responsible for setting the VTF on any cartridge with a counterweight. There are some turntables like the Rega Planar 1 where the counterweight snaps into a preset location on the tonearm stub. Even then, the new owner is responsible to ensure this is done correctly. Your story make the obvious case for buying a scale rather than relying balancing the tonearm to set calibration to the counterweight.
    OldSoul, The FRiNgE and Aftermath like this.
  7. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    10-12 hours a day, you should get around 6 months before a replacement is necessary. This is with clean records, and installed and set up to it's best on a precision tonearm. By the way, Audio-Technica didn't build your turntable, though their brand is on it. It was outsourced, by Hanpin of China. And their QC is uneven. You need to balance your arm, and adjust your tracking force with a proper scale. And adjust your anti-skating compensation as needed. And make sure your cartridge is aligned to correct geometry.
    Aftermath and The FRiNgE like this.
  8. KrisHawk

    KrisHawk Active Member Thread Starter

    Can I use a scale people use for weed..?

    I will not disagree with you at all, you’re right. But in life we learn things from our mistakes.

    It wasn’t until my first faulty pioneer 1000 that I saw the stylus just bouncing around like crazy.

    The tone arm stays closer to arm rest then center at “0”.

    I’m guessing that bad tracking can cause damage to stylus that fast.... as someone else said if you have to ask if it’s worn it probably is.

    It’s been used on faulty arms this past week with many returns....

    Back to the 120 and I’m hearing slight loss of detail.... that I know well. Hubby said it sounds just fine, I know what I’m used to.

    Thank you to EVERYONE your advice is all appreciated.
  9. Bill Larson

    Bill Larson Forum Resident

    Damien DiAngelo and tin ears like this.
  10. John Mee

    John Mee Well-Known Member

  11. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    A loss of detail in the higher range (hi hats, cymbals, vocal harmonics, and the attack of a kick drum) can be noticed after 200 hours or so. This figure is not a constant, but can vary perhaps up to 600 hours for certain stylus shapes. A fine line maintains its sonic signature throughout its life-span... until it suddenly wears out and you hear massive distortion. An elliptical does lose a little before time for replacement. The typical 1000 hour life span of a stylus is just a figure, and accepted generally as the max safe limit without damaging your records.

    Make triple sure your cartridge is lined up correctly, the tracking force set, and anti-skate dialed in.. the turntable should be level. Your records should be clean. Dirt is abrasive, and will always accelerate stylus wear.

    Another factor I want to mention, but may not apply... will say this anyway. Extended periods of listening can cause fatigue, and greatly reduced hearing sensitivity. This condition is temporary, and usually a 24 hour break would be enough. I have experienced fatigue even at lower listening levels, literally 14 hours per day of critical listening in my music mastering. Let me "tell ya", I sometimes need three days break to get it back to where I am not hearing "mush". Silence is good, and being outdoors at night listening to the sounds of nature... very therapeutic for any audiophile IMO.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  12. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    These, I used to believe the 1000 hour mark was universal, but you realize it really isnt after researching more. Most manufacturers will specify how often a stylus needs to be replaced. Ortofon do too and they typically recommend the 500 hour range as a general rule. Its a complicated subject, but you do best in keeping a new stylus around at all times, so you are able to switch it out and see if it sounds better, less distorted and such.

    It should be asked however, what are you priorities when it comes to the vinyl hobby?
    Aftermath, The FRiNgE and snorker like this.
  13. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Temecula, CA
    Have you experienced this? Massive distortion appears suddenly?
  14. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    Heres Peter talking about it, although he calls it a Micro Line:

    The FRiNgE likes this.
  15. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    I'm have not owned a line contact, hyper-elliptical and Shibata, yes! The sudden onset of distortion is observed by those who own a line contact.
  16. merlperl

    merlperl Forum Resident

    Sherman Oaks, CA
    Ortofon recommends 1000 to possibly 2,000 hours on their styli. 500 is woefully low. I have 755 hours on my 2 m black and took it in to be scoped and possibly replace it. They saw almost no wear on it. It’s not even 1/3 way through it’s life.
    Aftermath and Tullman like this.
  17. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    Ive not seen such estimates from them. Could you link that?
    And was it Ortofon that inspected the cartridge?
    It is possible to go that amount with finer shapes, some have them for decades and swear by it being as perfect as the day they bought it.
    Now there are tons of variables to consider, and it drastically changes depending on what stylus you have and how clean your records are for example. But the real scary prospect of it all is that while you think its good to go until you start to hear it distorting a little, that distortion thats audible to you comes way after the stylus has already begun to distort in frequencies and grooves you can not discerne without certain expertise.
    According to general estimates and if my numbers work out, you should be getting about 6% distortion on a 15KHZ groove by now.
    Take that as you will.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 4:57 AM
  18. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    6 weeks, even with constant playing, is very questionable. Under normal conditions. If there's been an additional factor, misuse, or similar, then maybe, but it'd need to have been pretty extreme.
  19. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    Is it though? If we do take the words at face value, 12 hours a day for 6 weeks, thats 504 hours right there. Which to me says its best to replace the stylus if its eliptical like the Red.

    By the way with such frequent listen it would almost be best to get a cartridge that offers cheap stylus tmreplacement. Like the Nag 110 or something. At least from memory the Red is quite expensive.
  20. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    FAQ & Installation

    As usual there is no clear agreement on this: Stylus lifespan- Vinyl Engine

    Edit. With proper care we find that up to 1000 hours is possible without degradation of performance. The stylus does begin to exhibit changes after 1.000 hours, but the stylus life as a whole is expected to top 2.000 hours.

    With sub-optimal alignment and dirty records 500 hours would seem highly possible. The other very atypical usage is 12 hour sessions, does this have a negative affect?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 5:49 AM
  21. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    Thanks, I should have been more specific though. It would be a lot more interesting to read a user manual for a specific cartridge because theres no mention of such here. Ortofon make a lots of cartridges, most of which will not last anywhere near this. And I do know an older manual that suggested the 500 hour range and reasoning behind it, I think for a Fine Line type stylus.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 6:03 AM
    Randoms likes this.
  22. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    Well, crunching the numbers :) --- 6 weeks x 24 hours a day = 1008 hours coincidentally --- did you buy chance leave they stylus in the runout for the other 12 hours you weren't listening? :magoo:

    Kidding aside - 42 x 12 = 504 hours, hmmmmm ---- I guess anything is possible, especially if someone was running nicked up, dirty records..... or maybe banged the tip accidentally perhaps. Not saying this was you OP, but again I have also seen claims from different sources that they "only got 500 hours, etc" But my sensibilities (and experience) say this is a little low.

    You sure when you bought it that it was truly new, and you didn't get an "Amazon swap-eroo" or something unexpected? (it happens - to me once on Amazon with an AT cartridge with removable stylus - the stylus on it was clearly used and swapped out).

    Some cartridge manufacturers don't have a tell-tale factory seal on their packages, and I am always diligent and weary that my cartridge is truly new. When it comes in I do close inspection under bright and with a 20x loupe and look for ANY signs it was handled, used, etc. Paranoid? You bet! With the prices we pay, and knowing how the real world can work I am always a skeptic when buying things like this!

    Anyway, at face value and my view of the situation from the internet, yes this sounds low!
  23. violarules

    violarules Forum Resident

    Baltimore, MD
    I'm not sure I understand the OP. He says he thinks the stylus is worn because he can't hear some very faint bass drum on one track? Surely, if there truly were wear, the OP would be able to give more audible examples of such?
  24. KrisHawk

    KrisHawk Active Member Thread Starter

    Just got a new needle problem solved. I can hear everything again. Strange I’ve played this album at LEAST 50 times. It’s been played with bad tracking and still sounds like the sealed copy I just opened.....
    Aftermath likes this.
  25. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    How did it get solved? And how do you mean bad tracking?

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