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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:10 pm 
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Location: London, ON, CA
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I've had good luck over the past 7-8 years retipping moving coil cartridges. You're taking a chance buying cartridge bodies with broken cantilevers but there's a potential for huge bang for the buck in the $500-$800 Cnd range if you buy right and don't have a problem, and so far I've been lucky.

I ran modified Denon 103R's for a number of years, and they were really cheap to modify, especially in those days when retipping prices were even more reasonable and the Cnd dollar was strong, and a very big bang for the $. I switched over to Ortofon MC 20 Supers a few years ago as I had one in storage-it ended up needing a total rebuild including new coil, and then I bought another MC 20 Super body for $60 about 2 years ago. The first one was retipped with a boron cantilever and the $60 body ended up with a Sapphire Cantilever, both microridge styli, and the work was done by Andy at Needleclinic or phonocartridgeretipping.com

I really enjoyed those Ortofons for the past 4 years and they were a very good match with my phono stage, which is a current mode design (as opposed to voltage) and works well with low impedance cartridges. The Ortofons fit that bill with internal impedance of 5 ohms.

So when I decided to shop for something a bit more exotic to retip about a year ago, I wanted to stick with low impedance designs in the 3-5 ohm range. As a result I ended up being drawn to stuff like the Monster Alpha Genesis, other Ortofons and the early Accuphase cartridges (AC 1, 2 and 3, but primarily 2 and 3). Both the Monster and Accuphase were designed by the current Zyx designer so there is an element of decent pedigree there.

I'd been watching patiently for something to come up for a while and bid on one of the Monsters but didn't get it; ended up spotting an Accuphase AC 2 about 6 weeks ago that looked very good in the photos. It was described as broken cantilever but it was really more like it was just missing the stylus. Almost all of the cantilever (sapphire in this case) was still there; only a very small piece right at the end of the cantilever was missing. I ended up buying it, with upscale delivery which was supposed to save me customs and duty (which it did not) for $195 Cnd delivered. Not cheap for a busted cartridge, but it is a busted cartridge that sold for about $1500 U.S. about 35 years ago :lol:

When the cartridge was first delivered to me I was pretty excited as it appeared to be in really good shape with no signs of abuse. Looked almost new with the exception of not having a stylus :wink:

As such I toyed with sending it to a retipper in Russia that comes highly recommend and just taking a chance on the suspension (to save some money) but in the end I ended up sending it to Andy as he is much more comfortable doing suspension work and it is essentially included in his prices unlike other retippers. And I've had positive experiences with him in the past and figured this might be a cartridge I might want to live with for a long time.

He didn't disappoint me, reworking the cartridge and installing a Namiki Boron cantilever with Microridge stylus that I provided him with and getting the cartridge back to me within about 2 1/2 weeks of when I sent it to him. He received it on a Saturday and posted it back to me on Monday. Can't complain about that.

In any event, I'm quite happy with it. Was not sure what to expect, but it noticeably betters the MC 20 Super I was using. It is noticeably fuller sounding, makes the MC 20 Super sound a bit thin almost, which really surprised me (and I like) while at the same time being very detailed and extremely clear. Instruments are more clearly separated and delineated and vocals more intelligible but the cartridge is musical and not analytical in the very best sense.

Extremely quiet in the groove (nothing beats boron for this IMO) and the Accuphase, combined with my phono stage, actually has a higher output than my MC 20 Supers. It is spec'd at .18 mV but the chart that came with the cartridge (pristine original box and packaging) indicated a tested output of .25 mV on both the right and left channel, ruler flat frequency response (20-20 +- 1 dB). 30 dB channel separation and .5 dB channel balance which is quite a bit better than my MC 20 Supers and may explain the improved imaging and clarity I'm hearing.

For about $850 Cnd. (including Canada Customs ripping me off both ways on the shipping-sheesh!) I'm pretty happy and figure I have a pretty good cartridge here. At least that's my story :lol:

Sounds like a lot of money (and is actually :roll: ) but the prices of new cartridges have really gone through the roof in the past 3-5 years-heck, I see a new Dynavector 10 x 5 is now $750 U.S.!!!-and I think I ended up with pretty good value providing it lasts and doesn't break down. Time will tell.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:39 pm 
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Location: Surrey , BC, CA
Hey, congrats on this wonderful cartridge! I used to have these always around especially when I had my Accuphase preamplifiers with the phono stage in it. That was the match of the century....nice lush and detailed sound with midrange as Accuphase is known for!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:43 pm 
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Thanks Libor!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:49 pm 
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Nice picture by the way...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:12 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
What headshell?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:44 am 
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Erik wrote:
What headshell?


Yamamoto HS4


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:01 am 
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I'd be interested to know if you have noticed any difference when compared to others. It's not cheap.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:41 am 
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Erik wrote:
I'd be interested to know if you have noticed any difference when compared to others. It's not cheap.


It's a very good headshell-my impressions here:

https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=44048

Also interesting here:

https://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/116/1164799.html


It's a bargain compared to the Arche :lol: :lol: :lol:

http://www.rutherfordaudio.com/shop/cad/the-arche-headshell.html


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:54 am 
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Thanks Blake!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:05 am 
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Location: GTA, ON, CA
Blake, this is an amazing cartridge. I have at least 3 of them in my system. A real gem of a cartridge. Congrats on the acquisition.


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