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Slightly Bent Stylus

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by jewelsnbinoculars, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. jewelsnbinoculars

    jewelsnbinoculars Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Hey folks - in the process of moving. Removed my stylus and noticed the needle is veering to the right ever slightly. Not drastic, but noticeable. It’s a ATVMN95ml, played on a Technics SL-1200 MK1. Obviously this is an old table, but I’ve had zero issues with it in the year since I purchased it.

    Does the slight bend mean new stylus time? Will it hurt my records? Any advice is welcome. Thanks!
     
  2. racer59

    racer59 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bonita, CA
    Its probably best if you post a picture of the cart to see what the skew looks like.

    Im betting it will be 50/50. Some will say as long as it sounds good you are ok and the other half will tell you that you will damage your records.
     
    jewelsnbinoculars likes this.
  3. jewelsnbinoculars

    jewelsnbinoculars Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington, DC
  4. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    With a microline stylus, the cantilever being aligned with the grooves is more important than were you to have a geometry-independent conical tip.

    If the cantilever's neutral position is pointing one degree off of center, then that is similar to a one degree misalignment when setting the offset angle adjustment, which will move the alignment nulls and areas of distortion.

    ...And can be compensated for by such a headshell angle adjustment - when you are doing a protractor alignment and use the cantilever direction as a reference to the alignment grid instead of the cartridge body. I expect there will be a small degree of self-correction when there is actually vinyl being dragged under the stylus, though.

    As for a cause? Although it could just have been manufactured poorly, or taken a bump that altered the assembly, suspension fatigue can also cause such a permanent shift in the resting position - such as long-term fatigue from an incorrect anti-skate setting.

    [​IMG]

    When you see above how the cantilever is merely mounted through a rubber donut, one can then contemplate poking that donut with a tiny tool to make sure it is fully seated and straight in the stylus housing. Removing the stylus from cartridge and viewing under a magnifier will allow you to confirm your initial suspicion of a skew.


    Your picture is not set up well enough to determine the degree of skew - you can see that one mounting screw is more obstructed by the body than the other from the angle. However, I think one can see a bend in the cantilever, possibly from mis-handling.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
  5. jewelsnbinoculars

    jewelsnbinoculars Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Thanks so much for the detailed response. This is why I love this place.
     
  6. dconsmack

    dconsmack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    It’s time for a new stylus. The cantilever looks damaged (I have one so I’m familiar with it). It looks like it’s probably from mishandling and not a chronic incorrect anti-skating setting but just in case it is I strongly recommend setting dialing in your anti-skate setting using the Soundsmith method (after setting tracking at 2.2 grams). After playing a new stylus for a couple of months and the suspension has broken in you can back off the tracking force to 2.0 grams then reset the anti skate setting. Styli need less vertical tracking force as time goes on to get equivalent tracking performance because the suspension breaks in. This performance can be checked on certain test records with anti-skating torture tracks and recorded instruments with increasingly loud bass amplitude such as a concert bass drum hit. I will stress that it’s better to set the anti skate with the Soundsmith method and not a test record. But a torture track on a test record may reveal that your cartridge can’t even stay in the groove when new, but after 50 or more hours might be able to stay in the groove, sometimes even without distortion - especially Audio Technicas. I’ve seen them sail right through with no distortion when they’ve been played for a few dozen hours. If they can play difficult tests without distortion (mistracking) and not have to be at their maximum tracking force, even better because it will not only sound better but the styli will last longer and your records will benefit from less pressure on the groove. Those Audio Technica MicroLine styli are amazing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2021
    jewelsnbinoculars likes this.
  7. dconsmack

    dconsmack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Part 2
     
    jewelsnbinoculars likes this.
  8. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Location:
    Chesnee, SC, USA
    Toast
     
  9. TuneMan83

    TuneMan83 New Member

    [​IMG]

    Hi Everyone, first time poster here! I have a very similar issue but I think the bend is slighter than the OP. I expect the misalignment is due to an antiskate that was set too low. I have since fixed this and hoping stylus is still usable.. and may even straighten itself out now that the antiskate is fixed. Appreciate everyone's thoughts!!
     
  10. Davey

    Davey NP: Golden Apples of the Sun ~ Sun 16 Jan 2022

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Looks to me like it has a slight bend in it close to the suspension, not a skew, usually a result of mishandling, and not likely a result of skating force. The one posted by the OP has a bent cantilever too, though more severe. You can probably just change your offset angle a bit and be OK.
     
  11. TuneMan83

    TuneMan83 New Member

    That sounds like a good idea, thank you for your input. I'm assuming it would be a similar procedure described by Harby above.. essentially lining up with the stylus rather than the cartridge body when using the protractor? The stylus actually sounds pretty good as is so I'm wondering if it would be worth while to realign.. though from what I've read the ML cut stylus need to be lined up very well. My biggest concern is damage to my LPs.
     
  12. Davey

    Davey NP: Golden Apples of the Sun ~ Sun 16 Jan 2022

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Yes, the cantilever should always be the focus of alignment, not the cartridge body. Make sure no anti-skate is applied and tracking force is set to recommended value (or whatever value you will be using). But a slight misalignment won't damage your records unless it leads to mistracking.
     
  13. tryitfirst

    tryitfirst Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    This problem seems to be extraordinarily common. It has happened to me several times. I have a sneaking suspicion that this might arise from incorrect bias causing a Uri Geller effect over hundreds of records. Every time I suggest this someone tells me I'm talking bollocks but they never suggest an alternative explanation.
     
  14. Davey

    Davey NP: Golden Apples of the Sun ~ Sun 16 Jan 2022

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    We always suggest mishandling, which is an alternative explanation, and a bit more plausible :)
     
    missan likes this.
  15. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Sweden
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2021
  16. tryitfirst

    tryitfirst Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I agree, but it leaves many owners of curved cantilevers perplexed. When did we mishandle? How did we mishandle? Why didn't we notice the issue immediately? If mishandling is the explanation, why so many bent/curved cantilevers and so few broken ones? The history of science has many examples of experts dismissing what they can't explain, and impugning the naïve observer.

    I should like to see an experiment attempting to cause this phenomenon in various ways, including long-term playback with inappropriate bias before I rule it out.
     

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