Phono Cartridge Rebuilding and Stylus Retipping Services
Unless you have used our services before, we suggest you get all the information and answers you need by reading this page, and the pages that can be linked to below in blue:
Then, please read THIS PAGE next, and then Stylus / Cantilever options Finally, CLICK HERE for our Retipping/ Rebuilding Service form.]
"Can my cartridge be rebuilt, even if the cantilever is snapped off?" The answer is yes; if the damage has not caused internal problems to the cartridge. Peter inspects for all types of internal damage on the cartridges that come in for service. You also have the option of paying for an initial evaluation, and if the cartridge is repairable, the fee can be applied to the work. Certain cartridges require considerable time and far more effort to rebuild properly - high end Clearaudio, Koetsu, and others. If you select one of the ranges shown for these types or others and it does NOT apply to your make and model, we will contact you before starting the repair. Peter's vast experience allows him to perform internal repair work that no one else in the world can do.
We offer basic service for retipping services, as well as replacement of the complete cantilever/stylus if required. Although more difficult and more costly, retipping only is by far the preferred method of restoration where the cantilever is intact and the diamond has been lost or worn. For these, we perform "retipping only" with our low mass Nude Contact Line styli, our Optimized Contour Nude Contact Line design or one of many other diamond designs we stock.
"Retipping Only" takes more time and is more difficult to do properly, but has near zero risk, and usually results in original performance. The cost for this service ranges from $350 - $650, depending on the cartridge model and how much other work is needed.
If your cartridge is badly damaged, we can usually replace the complete cantilever & stylus assembly. We perform this repair at many levels, using different materials (Aluminum, Ruby, Boron) with costs ranging from $200 to $650, depending on cartridge model, how much damage there is and other work that may be needed. Many cartridges, even lower cost ones, can be improved in performance through our repair work and upgrades as performance can be limited by the original cantilever/stylus combination. Click here for cantilever and stylus options.
Throughout the restoration process, we will keep you informed with recommendations for the best possible path for restoring your treasured cartridge. Our customers appreciate us knowing far more than just the “mechanics” of cartridge repair you might find elsewhere - after all, we have been engineering and manufacturing cartridges for a long time. It is an art form requiring many disciplines, and one that we have been engaged in for over 40 years.
Common questions regarding these services:
Q: My cantilever is bent or snapped off - can I still get my cartridge rebuilt?
A: Yes, unless the internal suspension or coils are damaged from the abuse to the cantilever, we can usually rebuild a cartridge that has this kind of damage. We inspect it fully to insure that there has been no internal damage prior to the rebuild.
I don’t understand your pricing policy – Do repairs always fall into your shown ranges, and can I just get an evaluation, and can I get it done quickly?
A: Yes, we can evaluate what is needed, and if it cartridge is repairable. The fee is $75, and can be applied towards repair of that cartridge. The time to perform evaluations is often 1-4 weeks work. Certain cartridges require considerable time and far more effort to rebuild properly - high end Clearaudio, Koetsu, and others. If you select one of the ranges shown for these types or others and it does NOT apply to your make and model, we will contact you before starting the repair.
What is a "cantilever?"
A: A cantilever is the tiny arm that holds the diamond tip or stylus; it's best properties are achieved when it is lightweight, strong, and extremely resistant to bending. Materials most often used are Aluminum alloy tubing, Ruby, Sapphire, Boron, and others.
Q: What kind of cantilever materials does Soundsmith offer?
A: Aluminum, Sapphire, Ruby, and Boron
Q: Can I get just the tip replaced, and not the entire Cantilever?
A: Yes, we can re-tip only, which is by far the preferred method, but it does not cost less. In fact, it is much more difficult and time consuming to perform a "retip only." The benefits, however, are many – one being extremely low risk of damage to the cartridge, as well as best chance for identical sound to when the cartridge was new. Typical costs for “retipping only” are between $350 and $650 depending on cartridge design. We will "retip" only if specifically requested, if you do request a "retip" only, and we are unable to, for any reason, we will contact you.
Q: Do you work on cartridge types and models not listed here?
A: Absolutely yes - we have rebuilt many cartridges that are not listed, including some antique and unusual types. We have rebuilt classic cartridges from the 40’s and 50s as well. We do charge for an evaluation, but do NOT charge for any amount of time and materials on a "preauthorized for rebuild" cartridge that we find, after inspection and work, cannot be rebuilt. We take that loss for time and materials.
Q: What happens if the cartridge is damaged during the rebuilding process?
A. It must be understood that there is always some risk when performing any type of microscopic repair. Although we have an extremely high success rate, some low level of risk is unavoidable. Unlike doctors and most other cartridge rebuilders, we do NOT charge for our time and materials when we are unsuccessful at rebuilding, or if the cartridge becomes unrepairable.
Q: How long does it take to get the work done?
A: That depends on the number of customers who sent in work ahead of yours. Our services are in high demand world-wide. Repair queue is typically in the 6-12 week range. Each and every customer gets the full measure of my 40 plus years of experience and skills.
Q: Do you have a warranty for your workmanship and materials?
A: Yes, ONE FULL YEAR to the original owner.
Q: Can I pay with Paypal?
A: Yes we accept PAYPAL, Visa, Master Card and Discover. You do NOT need to be a PAYPAL member to use your credit card with PAYPAL. Our PAYPAL account is Admin@sound-smith.com
how to send in your cartridge for service.