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  »  New  Buying a last cartridge...  Lucky you...  Analog Playback Forum     80  555192  09-05-2008
  »  New  Shelter 901 on SME 309 tonearm...  I wish I was so smart at beginning…...  Analog Playback Forum     3  34612  12-08-2009
02-13-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,145
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 21
Post ID: 6641
Reply to: 6638
None of my business, but
Alex, I am guessing that with the listed "compliance" of the 901 you could use an I-beam as your tonearm.  You could probably start by taping a small adhesive-type tire weight, ~10g, to the SME headshell and maybe add corresponding weight to the counterweight, and go from there, DEPENDING ON YOUR PARTICULAR TT/ARM SET-UP.  If a heavy/clunky rig to begin with, then likely it's OK with the extra weight.  Likewise with most of the old SMEs arms I know of, but not all of them.  Mass-wise, it should "work", though.  Bearing and/or suspension-wise, YMMV, and likewise tracking, etc.  I happen to like damping, too, if your SME has it; but maybe you like things more "lively".  You probably know that some suspended TT/arm rigs need internal compensation to balance any extra weight added to one corner.

Anyway, it's a lot like asking about platter/disc weights and clamps; it really is hard to call without "ALL" the info., if you get what I mean.

What is the stock input impedance for your step-ups?  That might work for you, at least as a start, then add matched Vishay S102s to taste.

Good luck.

Best regards,
Paul S
09-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 22
Post ID: 8142
Reply to: 860
The Shelter 901 gone flat.
Last week I sent my DAW’s DAC cable for refueling. The FM programs are slow – the concert season starts in a couple of weeks and everyone are resting now. So, I am spinning some records that made me to pay attention to the status of my analog. What I discovered was that something is wrong with my reference cartridge Shelter 901. I love the Shelter 901 but am not pleased what I heard recently. My Shelter begin to show compression and became disabled to play soft – is it the end of the life? I look at it under the scope and it look like it has live in it. I bought it in 1999, I have no idea how many hours on it but I have seen some heavy use. I still am not convinced that it is dead, though. I do not like an idea of a changing a cartridge on my reference arm…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,145
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 23
Post ID: 8143
Reply to: 8142
Plenty of suspects, including the usual
Romy, I have had and keep having similar thoughts, off and on.  For openers, re-visit the "Cautuionary Tale".  Who knows how, but stuff seems just to get itself loose and/or out of adjustment.  Not to mention the fricking electricity, which can absolutely, no question, mimic a fading cartridge (among many other things).  I suggest from painful experience that you do not adjust too far off the usual settings, if you have a way of keeping track.  Somehow, midling electricity of the "right" type makes VTA extremely improtant, meaning it's either OK or it's dead, no slack.  I suppose that until you go through it, it sounds nuts.  But when did that ever stop me from piping up?


Best regards,
Paul S
09-03-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 24
Post ID: 8145
Reply to: 8143
Actually it is not the case.
My Shelter is set properly; in fact the setting was not changed for years. On my TT there are 4 arms and there is another stereo arm. I know what shell be difference between my Second stereo arm and my Reference arm. No my Second stereo arm over perform my Reference arm in term of compression and dynamic range. It was not like this before…


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 498
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 25
Post ID: 8147
Reply to: 8145
Tired cartridges
In regard to moving coil cartridges, I would say:

1. This may simply be a symptom of electricity variability.  I would listen for a few days and see if it improves.

2. Cartridges not used for a while need to loosen up a bit in regard to the suspension.  Again, it may improve with continued listening.

3.  Aging suspensions may need mass loading adjusted to compensate for this natural aging process which changes how the cartridge responds to the set-up.  The set-up may not have changed, but the cartridge HAS physically changed and the setup needs to be adjusted to compensate for the new physical characteristics.  Mass loading reduction is usually where I start.

4. As a last resort for a moving coil, consider degaussing it.  It is a 2-edged sword, as it can bring a tired, dull cartridge back to life, but requires subsequent maintenance treatments.

Regards,
Adrian
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 26
Post ID: 8148
Reply to: 8147
Trying debuging the Shelter 901

 drdna wrote:
1. This may simply be a symptom of electricity variability.  I would listen for a few days and see if it improves.

Do you mean that electricity affects the sound of one cartridge but not another? I doubt that, particulary considering that all my cartridges are driven into the same phonostage.

 drdna wrote:
2. Cartridges not used for a while need to loosen up a bit in regard to the suspension.  Again, it may improve with continued listening.

OK, I will play it for a while, I hope you are right. Still, the magnitude of result worsening is much higher then what I would expect from a not broken in cartridge.

 drdna wrote:
3.  Aging suspensions may need mass loading adjusted to compensate for this natural aging process which changes how the cartridge responds to the set-up.  The set-up may not have changed, but the cartridge HAS physically changed and the setup needs to be adjusted to compensate for the new physical characteristics.  Mass loading reduction is usually where I start.

I was trying it changing VTF for .3g up and down. I did not detect any improvement. Adrian , are you sure that the loading REDUCTION is the direction to go with cartridge ageing?

 drdna wrote:
4. As a last resort for a moving coil, consider degaussing it.  It is a 2-edged sword, as it can bring a tired, dull cartridge back to life, but requires subsequent maintenance treatments.

Well, I am not a huge supporter of the idea of cartridges degaussing. It is not that that I did not observe an employment after the demagnetizing/degaussing of cartridges – the employment is obvious but I feel that the way the industry suggest doing it barbaric. I usually sort-cross-join the cartridge’s channels and run them for a few minutes in the groove. The cartridge magnetically gets reborn after this exercise. I never do any “forced” degaussing.

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
guy sergeant
United Kingdom
Posts 258
Joined on 08-03-2004

Post #: 27
Post ID: 8150
Reply to: 8148
Mass Loading
Are you absolutely sure that the headshell mass loading you use has not had an effect on the life of this cartridge?

I have my reasons for asking but the explanation is too convoluted to write at this moment!
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,145
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 28
Post ID: 8151
Reply to: 8148
Line contact

Of course I don't know if this also applies to your other cartridges that are working correctly through the same phono stage, but the VTA/bad electricity "problem" is peculiar to long line contact styluses.  And as I also noted recently, poor contacts anywhere along the route can do this, too.  You've probably already cleaned all the connectors, starting with the cartridge clips, but if not, give it a try.  Unlikely as it sounds, Clearaudio makes/markets the nicest cartridge clips I have seen/heard/used.

Remember the cable also goes dead with no use, and maybe try swapping phono cable before oyu throw in the towel.

Sometimes it seems like the better a component works when it's up, the worse it sounds when its down.

Good luck.

Best,
Paul S

09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 29
Post ID: 8153
Reply to: 8150
No one knows anything.
I am absolutely sure that running a cartridge with elective effective mass shell theoretically shorten the live of cartridge as higher mass creates higher moment of inertia and harder stress the cantilever. How effective this theory on practice I have no idea as I do not know if anybody even consider moderating the strength of the cantilever suspension with targeted effective mass. Yes, the needle compliance, yes the adding the mass changes compliance (even do not changes resonance a lot). So, what? How it all affect the result that I am getting. Hypothetically it might be some kind of suspension wearing BEFORE the needle got warn. If it is so then there is no know to me ways to say anything objectively about the state of this cartridge.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 30
Post ID: 8155
Reply to: 8153
I have no idea what is going on.

I got home. I turned the thing on, I played it and it was just unjustly compressed. I demagnetized it, it got better, even though the cartridge did not pay a lot since I demagnetized it last time. It is still not where I would like it to be. It is just too loud. The entire lower dynamic range, right along with the surface nose, is like 6dB-12dB louder then it shell be.  It is not that I bothered with surface nose but the low volume music is just too damn loud - very degusting.

I check all configurations and setting many times. I check phonostage, loading, cable, grounds – everything was perfect. It does sound like the cartridge is worn but why it is so sudden?  Also, looking under the microscope the needle looks fine (I took it off and looked 3 times!!!) I have no idea what it is. The only thing that I might think is that the cartridge might accidently sucked in some metal dust from my room and the dust blocked somehow the cantilever or coil. From outside I was not able to see anything…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
DHT4ME
St. George UT
Posts 16
Joined on 08-27-2008

Post #: 31
Post ID: 8156
Reply to: 8153
Diagnosis of suspension
Romy

Having worked in a high end shop and doing lots of carts I will lend my experiences.
Suspensions either harden or soften.
When they soften you will notice that your VTA starts to go, you have to lift the rear of the cart and they go quite rapidly.
They start to sound big and bloated, highs start to die.

Hard suspensions seem to stay put and loose bass. A stiffened suspension will actually benefit from the extra mass but will sound harder and harder as time goes by.
i am not sure who makes the Shelter but it is probably in the same boat as the Lyra. They last a very long time.

Koetsu gets soft fast, VDH gets soft after 10-15 yrs. Scantech manufactured carts seem to go for 15-20 yrs.
Obviously these are generalizations and the environment they are in can change it dramatically.

If you have not used it in a long time try a test tone LP with the LF bands for cart resonance and play it a few times.
This will work it near the resonance safely and restore it a bit.

Unless you smoke or have bad ozone your cart is still young.


Bob

www.PlateauLight.com
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 32
Post ID: 8157
Reply to: 8156
Smoke and cartridges?

 DHT4ME wrote:
… Suspensions either harden or soften.

Actually I know everything (:-) about the suspension and VTA. I can hear VTA very well. In fact contrary to what people say the Shelters are very sensitive to VTA. My feeling is that VTA and suspension are not guilty. You see, in order the a cartridge to compress that much the VTA what be off too much. I use cards on SME 3012 to measure FTA and now I am at 17 cards. Even if I was at 9 cards that would be WAY too low angle then I would have many other very severe problems and some very-very minor compression. My point that I have no “other very severe problems”. The bass at high dynamic range is perfect, so I conclude that VTA is where it shell be and suspension did not change, at least the static suspension…

 DHT4ME wrote:
If you have not used it in a long time try a test tone LP with the LF bands for cart resonance and play it a few times. This will work it near the resonance safely and restore it a bit.

Yes, It will be a next step but I am sure that it will be fine.

 DHT4ME wrote:
Unless you smoke or have bad ozone your cart is still young. 

That is VERY interesting. I never thought about any connection between cigarette smoke and cartridges. I do not smoke casually but I do cigar and sometimes quote intensely. In fact over the period that I did not spin records a lot I had a few parties in my room with absolutely insulting amount of cigar smoke – literally was not possible to see the wall of the damn room. Do you think it might have an effect to the cartridges?

Rgs, the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-04-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
DHT4ME
St. George UT
Posts 16
Joined on 08-27-2008

Post #: 33
Post ID: 8158
Reply to: 8157
Smoke and Mirrors- err ......suspensions
yes unfortunately smoking shortens the life of rubber in suspensions. How much is too much? I don't know that but it does have a life shortening effect. I was looking over your post and saw you mentioned that pops and surface noise was higher.
That is a characteristic of bearing chatter also. I don't know your arm but mabye look into it .


Bob

www.PlateauLight.com
09-08-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 34
Post ID: 8205
Reply to: 8142
Something is definitely wrong with Shelter.

Today the electricity was wonderful and I had some time spent playing records. I was playing only my ill Shelter and I really did not like what I heard. At this point I might confirm that even the lowest bass is not where I would like it to be – it looks like the Shelter gets worse and worse dally. I one more time played with VTF, VTA, with arm setting – everything is absolutely perfect. Still I have

1)      Compression at the entire lower region
2)      Redaction of bass transients, along with fastening bass decay.
3)      Picking some very strange noises at HF
4)      Redaction of bass lowest end.
5)      Severs deppersonization of upper mid range
6)      Complete disability to play soft across all spectra.

Everyone is keep telling me that my damping in the cartridge is goner but honestly I do not buy it as now. Two month ago, when I did my “End of the Life Phonostage” the cartridge was perfect. Now the needle and the suspension are very same.  It is imposable to have such a rapid worsening of damping.

I am still at lost. I did sole to myself the idea that I get another cartridge but the  true reasons what happened with my current Shelter is truly interests me.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-08-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,145
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 35
Post ID: 8206
Reply to: 8205
Of course you've
already run other cartridges through the same front end, IC, etc., and they are fine...

The last time my "cartridge" took a big dump, it was the tube pins in the K&K.

And I coulda sworn I'd just cleaned 'em...

Paul S
09-10-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 36
Post ID: 8211
Reply to: 8205
The Shelter’s harakiri or where is my scalpel?

Well, I have sold to myself the idea that my Shelter 901 had died by a mysterious but unknown to human illness. I have sold to myself an idea that I need to buy another hard-reading cartridge, I do not know what it will be yet but “I am ready”. Still, the Shelter 901 has a perfectly alive needles tip, even though it sounds like crap. So, I am wondering what I can do with it?

I do not men to find any way of redemption but since I have no idea why it do badly sound I desired to exposed the dead Shelter to hara-kiri – to cut it open and to see what if anything I can do to fix it or at least to learn why it is gone bad so rapidly. I truly have nothing to lose. However, if I opine the thing up, discover that the damping of dried and then let say to boil the cartridge in low fat milk, after which it get the sound back, then would it be funny at least.

I have to say that I am very ignorant with cartridges assembly. I took apart 2 or 3 of them but then I was forced to trash them. – it give an idea about my skills in the field of cartridges dissectomy. Anyhow, I feel that to throw away this Shelter without making some barbarian experiments on t would be a crime against a common feline sense…

Rgs, Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-10-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RonyWeissman
Lyon, France
Posts 138
Joined on 05-29-2004

Post #: 37
Post ID: 8212
Reply to: 8211
Manufacturer 901
Hi Romy,

Have you tried sending an e-mail to the manufacturer asking if he'll take a look at it and let you know what went wrong, and if it is reparable?  I sent my 901 back after it was severly attacked by loose metal scraps in a metalshop( don't ask)... anyway he repaired and cleaned it for what i remember was a nominal fee and it still sounds tremendous.

R Weissman
09-11-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 38
Post ID: 8220
Reply to: 8205
The Shelter 901’s lobotomy

 RonyWeissman wrote:
…Have you tried….

 Romy the Cat wrote:
…. in the field of cartridges dissectomy….

 Paul S wrote:
..And I coulda sworn I'd just cleaned 'em...Paul S

I spend so time figure out what is going on with my Shelter. I was not able to found how to open the cartridge safely. The bottom of the Shelter has a plastic tubing, sort of cover that protects the coil, I cut the plastic cover off and the needle sustention and the coil was exposed. Looking under a scope the damping looked fine and elastic but I realized that there a tone of dirt between the magnet and the coil. I mean the dust accumulated there and built a bridge between the movable coil and magnet. Too much for hard guess why the cartridge sounded so purely.

I cleared the gap with soft brash; it looks like there were no metal particles in there. After I did it I detected that I pulled one of the wires from the vertical coil that crossed the gap to magnet. I put is back. I put the cartridge back to the tonearm and… it played wonderfully.  No problem with compression, perfect ability to play soft and so on…. It looks like the problem is resolved. Well, yes and no…

I plagued a few more records and I hear some bass character that I would attribute to too low VTA or too low loading impedance value. The VTA and the loading were of course fine. I took the cartridge off and begin to explore what is going on. OK, I took it off 20-30 times (that to SME detachable shelf), making minor adjustment and truing to fine what the bass over damping was coming from. The cartridge has two crossed coils and very fine (I think 54ga) wires going the pins. What I learned that the profile of those wires and the level of freedom with which they live the coils and run away from coils does affect the damping of cartridge could. Sort of the wires act as the additional coil suspenders… Playing with it I found a configuration what the bass was more or less clean but I am not comfortable that there is so much flexibility in this. I am still not convinced that the coil’s wires in my cartridge do minimal impact to the coil’s movement. I guess do not know the reality - is blessing…

There was another, even worse aspect that I discovered. After a record or two playing and expecting the cartridge I was seeing each second time as the new dust come to the gap between the coil and magnet. Without the protective plastic cover the cartridge acted as a vacuum cleaner socking in all dust. Very very ugly! I have written yesterday ay another forum:

“The quietness of cartridge is very complicated subject and it is not always a good thing. If fact, for one of my arms do prefer to have a very hard-reading cartridge instead of forgiving one. In the certain pressings and on certain labels a hard-reading cartridge (uselessly the cartridges of “complex profiles) is as quiet as conical cartridge but they have an eddied value to scarp out the grove the last cent of “crisp”.  The 901 might not used for quietness assessment because it is ridiculously hard-reading cartridge. In addition to unfriendly for grove’s dust and grove’s wearing needle the 901 has (at list in my setup) the profile of the tip that is VERY electrostatically unfriendly. While the needle scraps the record it generates a huge electrostatic field, immeasurably higher then other cartridges I used. If you have high gain phonostage and high sensitivity speakers then juts by lifting the 901 a few mm above the record you can hear how the nearby groves are trying to discharge them to the 901 tip. I have no idea what in 901 responsible for it but something does. That all makes the 901 to have a very high (in fact insulting) level of surface noise. “

So, I need to figure out what happen electrostatically with Shelter and even if I put a new cover on it looks like the cartridge will sock dust juts around the cover. I do not mind to play it nude and wide open (as so other cartridges) but with this electrostatic aggressiveness it would not work out. The alterative would be to go arrays from the Shelter’s electrostatic behave all together. I wonder of it is the Shelter of something else… I have expected the tonearm and TT and I did not detect anything unusual or alarming…

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-11-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 39
Post ID: 8221
Reply to: 8222
Turntable's MC cartridges and the Tone
This is sort of mystery for me, no less than the mystery of the loudspeaker driver’s tone. Where the quality of tone comes from cartridges? There is just a coil former, wires and some kind glue that holds it all together. What is responsible for different cartridges produce such a dramatically different quality of tone? There are of cause different designs but they I think related to the mechanical characteristic of cartridges. The sound in MC is born in the coil and it moves out right the way? So, it is the type of the coil’s former, wire and the warmish that matters?

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
09-11-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 40
Post ID: 8222
Reply to: 8220
Try this
A friend once recommended me to use a wet cloth to slightly moist the tonearm's upper side to avoid electrostatic building up, before playing each record's side. It works wonderfully, especially here in my city which is very dry and electrostatic can become an annoyance. You might extent the moistening to the cartridge sides and see if that helps to stop the dirt going into the coil.
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  »  New  Buying a last cartridge...  Lucky you...  Analog Playback Forum     80  555192  09-05-2008
  »  New  Shelter 901 on SME 309 tonearm...  I wish I was so smart at beginning…...  Analog Playback Forum     3  34612  12-08-2009
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