Subject

Cartridge maintenance MC - MM and Pro systems

Stylus and record care


General cartridge mounting

Leads connections

Stylus position to record centre, overhang and alignment

Azimuth, vertical alignment

Tone-arm level, vertical tracking angle

Anti-skating, bias compensation adjustment

Tone-arm/cartridge combination


Malfunctions

Contact problems

Distortion


Stylus lifetime


Ortofon exchange service
Description

Cartridge maintenance MC - MM and Pro systems
Stylus and record care

To maintain optimal sound reproduction and to minimize wear on your record as well as on your stylus, we recommend the following procedure before and after each playback:
Remove dust from the stylus tip using a suitable small brush - such as one of the Ortofon types with the packing - which should be guided carefully along the cantilever in the direction of the stylus tip.
Following this treatment there will normally be no need for further stylus cleaning.
Clean the record surface from dust by using a fine anti-static brush or cloth Ortofon do not recommend the use of solvents containing alcohol for cleaning of either record surface or stylus.
The Ortofon warranty service will not be valid in cases where such treatment has caused malfunction of your cartridge.

 

General cartridge mounting
Leads connections

All Ortofon cartridges have a colour coding of the terminals, indicating red and green for right channel respectively hot and ground terminal. White and blue for left channel respectively hot and ground terminal.
Green terminal will always be used for grounding the cartridge housings or motor-system, whenever connected inside the cartridge.
We recommend to connect lead wires to the cartridge and head-shell before mounting the cartridge on the head-shell.
Remember correct orientation of the leads because of cartridge terminal pin dimensions of 1,2mm and head-shell pins normally only 1,0mm.

 

General cartridge mounting
Stylus position to record centre, overhang and alignment

For alignment of overhang please follow record player instructions. Where no instructions – or alignment protractor available - we recommend 16 mm as a general position of the stylus in front of the spindle centre for having almost zero tracking error on two stylus positions, one at about 30mm inwards from the starting groove and again near the end of playing.

 

General cartridge mounting
Azimuth, vertical alignment

Azimuth adjustment – or vertical alignment of the cartridge - is very important for optimal channel separation.
The checking is easily done by lowering the cartridge onto a thin mirror - placed on the record surface - and examining whether the reflection lines up square with the cartridge, when viewed from the front. During this test tone-arm must still be parallel to the record surface. If not obtainable - because of mirror thickness - remove record and work directly on the mat. If alignment is still incorrect and not adjustable - because of fixed head-shell - the only solution is to resort to packing on one side of the head-shell.

 

General cartridge mounting
Tone-arm level, vertical tracking angle

Cartridges are constructed so that cantilever angle corresponds to the 20 deg. record cutting angle, when the cartridge is loaded with recommen- ded tracking force and the cartridge base is parallel with the tone-arm and this again is parallel to the record surface.

 

General cartridge mounting
Anti-skating, bias compensation adjustment

Correct bias or anti-skating adjustment is important in order to achieve optimal tracking ability and thereby minimum record wear and distortion. A number of players have a device – which, related to the tracking force – will give an anti-clockwise force needed to the tone-arm. Correct bias has to compensate for the inwards directed torque on the tone-arm caused by the friction between stylus and groove. But this again is influenced by stylus type and amplitudes in the record.
A simple recommendation for a rather precise bias: If you hear distortion in say right channel - when using recommended tracking force - increase the bias-scale and vice versa.
This is for normal cartridge use. But when working like the DJ´s, where the record is turned forwards and backwards - bias has to be reduced - otherwise stylus will easily jump in the groove.

 

General cartridge mounting
Tone-arm/cartridge combination

When choosing either MC or MM-cartridges for your record player, total mass of tone-arm including cartridge and head-shell has to be taken into account in relation to the mechanical compliance (elasticity) of the cartridge cantilever system. Meaning that high mass of the combination needs low mechanical compliance, otherwise record warps can easily provoke tone-arm vibrations at frequencies around 4 to 6 Hz – that will bring degradation of performance. At least 8 Hz is advisable.

 

Malfunctions
Contact problems

One channel missing can arise for several reasons. For cartridges mounted in head-shells check cable shoes for not being short circuited or wires inside the insulation being disconnected from the cable shoe.
It is our experience that dirt is the main reason for missing contact in systems using the SME-type tone-arm connection. Dirt or some sort of oxidation – if contacts are not gold-plated or if gold plated contacts have been exposed to abrasive cleaning – can happen on all contacts involved and especially when systems are often taken in and out as the case will be for DJ`s.
For cleaning contacts we recommend to use the well known contact spray WD-40. This will also be very helpful for lubricating the union-not on the SME-type tone-arm, which very often is tightened unnecessary hard because of sluggish function.

 

Malfunctions
Distortion

Correct tracking force is very important for optimum performance as well as for reduction of wear in the record caused by mistracking. Tracking force should rather be too high than too low to overcome high amplitudes in the record and should be adjusted together with the anti-skating.

 

Stylus lifetime


If normal attention has been paid on cleaning record as well as stylus as mentioned, we find that 600 hours up to 1000 hours is possible without degradation of performance. However, concerning PRO systems used for "scratching" and "back cuing", we have experienced stylus lifetime to be substantially less because of their unique application. As a consequence DJ`s will have to consider about 500 hours at the most.

 

Ortofon exchange service


If you should have the need for this service - mentioned in our users manuals - please contact your local Ortofon dealer.