Originally Posted by Double-A
Thank you for your swift response . . . technically I am not currently looking for anything yet as I am trying to save my money for some college education . . . I just wanted to know these things for when I am able to spare some money. Thank you for your time.
Diamond stylus is probably the most expensive material known. If you want the best, it takes natural and not human made diamond, it has to be grain oriented if it is to wear slowest/last longest - which means that there will be more diamond wasted in cutting/grinding process than if cut/grind to have best volumetric yield. The more the stylus tip approaches that of the cutting stylus, the more trouble there is in making that shape. The smaller the actual stone is, the harder to make it made right. And/or to mount it properly on the cantilever.
Diamond is not exactly cheapest material known - yet all of the above can FAR outstrip the cost of the raw material. In best styli ( the physically smallest and of the most advanced stylus tip profiles made to the tightest tolerances ) it is next to invisible in the final cost.
Want proof ? Take a good microscope, compare side to side Van den Hul stylus tip profiles from any other manufacturer, Van den Hul included, and that from Audio Note IO cartridge. It is a VdH stylus made in Japan ( most likely but not positively confirmed by Namiki ) - and it looks in real life just as good as others do on paper or "photoshoped" images.
Its only disadvantage - PRICE !
Shure once did give a rough estimate how much a pound ( or kilogram, can not remember ) of finished diamond styli costs. It was a mind boggling figure, above what mere mortals can ever hope to earn in a lifetime. Given the small weight per stylus, that amount would make MANY cartridges and last a really long time for the manufacturer to use up,
I do not want to disclose the actual cost per single stylus cartridge manufacturer has to pay to the stylus manufacturer. It is one of the most closely guarded and generally kept in confidence information. But you can "guesstimate" it from the costs of the retippers - a really good diamond stylus stone alone can cost more than many complete cartridges.