Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Strain Gauge Stylus worn?

The idea seems to be that you want these to mechanically act as if they are one piece.  That way, as some people say, energy can be drained.

I have some basic understanding of physics and such, but am not familiar enough with these things to know if this is BS or not, my BS light is weakly flickering, but not conclusively.  I think there is some truth behind these folksy explanations.
Still another issue is I fear the strain gauge stylus may be somewhat worn.  I have some number of replacement styli, or can borrow styli from other identical carts, just have to dig them out and sort them. (Yes, it takes replacement styli that snap into place apparently held by small plastic ridges.  Funky, but it seems more stable than Shure cartridges.  Possibly the entire cartridge should be wrapped somehow in something.  I think the sound does have a slightly plastic resonance character to it.)

Phono systems always worry me because of the potential of wearing out your precious (and most often irreplaceable) source material.  I don't think I've ever pushed a stylus all the way into the grave.  I understand that they begin mistracking fairly consistently.  But I noticed some distortion on the inner grooves of the organ recording I was listening to on Sunday.  That could be:

1) early warning of stylus deterioration
2) already existing record wear from previous playings with other styli
3) horizontal tracking error
4) distortion in the recording itself
5) resonant effects in tonearm, etc
6) resonant effects in cartridge itself

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