Stylus came off my Benz M2 Wood Phono Cart
Jun 20, 2009 at 2:47 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20


Headphoneus Supremus
Mar 15, 2007
This has been a rough week for my audio setup. On Monday my Keces DA 131.1 DAC died after only 8 months of use. I can't say that I was happy about it, but it didn't really wreck my day. I still had my SOTA Star Sapphire turntable and a Oppo DVD player.

Earlier today, however, the stylus on my Benz M2 wood body phono cartridge literally fell off. I was listening to a record and when it finished I lifted the tonearm off with the queing lever and gently put it back in the cradle. Then I put on another record and when I queued the tonearm it wouldn't track -- it started to skip across the LP and I immediately lifted the queing lever. Since my tonearm has a removable headshell took it off, grabbed a magnifying glass, and put it under a bench lamp for a closer look. The stylus was gone. What a pisser.

Loosing my Benz cartridge ruined my day. A new Benz M2 is $1,500, but I can get a replacement for the retip charge which is still going to set me back about $800. What's worse, my vinyl rig is (was) my premium source. So that leaves me with just my Oppo DV-980H and a Squeezebox Duet (which I was using with the Keces DAC with until it crapped out).

Jun 20, 2009 at 2:59 AM Post #2 of 20
Although not as bad, join the club. I just got my first turntable and when I initially set the Music Hall MMF5 up with a Goldring 1042 cartridge up, it sounded like crap. Much worst than my digital setup after two hours of painstaking alignment and figuring out how to set it up.

Then I tried to tweak it to improve the sound and snapped the tonearm connecting wires.

Bad audio week for both of us, I guess.

Jun 20, 2009 at 3:13 AM Post #3 of 20
wow....wish I didn't read this thread!
I'm getting my first vinyl rig in the mail and now I'll be so scared putting it all together. Hope none of this luck rubs off on me, especially since it's my first time!
Jun 20, 2009 at 3:33 AM Post #5 of 20
No way. I first thought I'm going to put it all together by myself. Not anymore....I think it would be best to have some long time analog gearhead friends to this with me. (read, them doing it mostly).

I'm not going to mess with a $5k least, not by myself.
Jun 20, 2009 at 10:55 AM Post #6 of 20
This morning i just finished to set up my new cartridge, a 440Mla which replaced the 2M Red which came with the turntable, it's not the first time i mount a cart but the process can be really painful,it took an hour to align it properly, then i messed up with tracking force setup ( found the zero point but incorrectly set the scale on the counterweight
) and spun a record at i think...2.8-3g which is way over the recommended weight...luckily it was only for some seconds, however it is up and running and greatly improved playback of those damn inner grooves...

Just another little story which tells how vinyl requires patience and money, just a careless movement and something might go terribly wrong, good luck to the OP with his cartridge repairs...
Jun 20, 2009 at 3:27 PM Post #7 of 20
I have a trusty portable for.just an emergency.
Jun 20, 2009 at 4:36 PM Post #9 of 20
Jerome, there are a variety of retipping and repair services out there. I just got a vintage Dynavector Karat cart, and I am already anxious about what might happen if a diamond cantilever were to break.

On Vinyl Engine, I found strong recommendations for Soundsmith's retipping service. It's not cheap, but the quality of materials and service *looks* to be very high. The luxus "Ruby Cantilever/Optimized Contour Nude Contact Line Diamond" option is $350.00 plus shipping. Doubtless, to do such a thing would 'void warrany' from Benz. But $800.00 *sounds* to me like a merely titular service. Like many very high-end cartridge manufactures, Benz must be reasoning that, with a repair price that is nearly 50% of the new price, the customer will either commit to an upgrade/discount program, or the customer is so eccentrically wealthy [natch highend audio] that he'll pay anything within the broadest scope of reason to get 'his' preferred cart restored to pristine condition. There are people who get a kick out of boasting, 'Of course, when the cantilever broke, I considered some possible repair options, but I didn't feel confident in the expertise of any service but [Manufacturer's]. When I received the repaired cart, I knew that I had done the right thing. Cheers, Old Bean.'

My experience is that these are the guys who are often irritated to have spent so much money for a repair that doesn't sound substantially different from the device they've had for years. 6 months later, they've got the cart up on the 'Gon: 'In immaculate condition. The cantilever broke, but it was recently repaired by [Manufacturer's] expert service. Not only was the repair perfect in every respect but I even detected that [extremely minor nuance] was enhanced.' Then, sadly, the advert ends with pricing-surrender: 'The price of the new retail cartridge is [X]. In addition, I spent [Y] to have the cart inspected, repaired, and _upgraded_ by the Manufacturer. So it is an incomparable value that I now offer this exquisite, classic cartridge, recently serviced by the Manufacturer for [X-(a=whatever I feel like I have to discount to get this damned cart sold, because the whole experience of dealing with the thing breaking and then paying out the wazoo for the snooty techs to take their time and overcharge me for the repair has burned me on it, and it could break again anyway, and, frankly, I'm ready for something new--'just wish I hadn't burned so much cash on the altar of this thing.')]. Those who know will know what a bargain this is.'

The point is that if the Manufacturer's cost is $800, I'd seriously investigate some other repair services in case I decided that the repair cost couldn't by justified by the pleasure of the repair.

And good luck!
Jun 20, 2009 at 4:46 PM Post #10 of 20
I think there is a misunderstanding. I meant exchange rather than retip. Exchange through a Benz dealer is for a brand new cartridge, and you are required to return the old one within 30 days or they charge your credit card for the full price. The deal is $800 plus I send in my damaged cartridge (which is ok with me, since a cart with no stylus does nothing for me). Benz Micro will also retip your existing cart if you send it to the factory in Switzerland. The charge for that service is $500 plus shipping for a Benz Wood cartridge. Sorry for any confusion.

I am not willing to wait the 6 to 8 weeks turnaround time for a factory retip, and will not use anyone other than the manufacturer. So for me exchange is the only real palatable option. I intend to put in an exchange order with on Monday morning.

Jun 21, 2009 at 6:03 PM Post #11 of 20
i just had to get my project carbon arm rewired, the bearing replaced along with the spindle my rondo red moving coil also was damaged....................lesson learned is keep all quality hifi away from small children as this has cost me £500 to have fixed
Jun 21, 2009 at 7:57 PM Post #12 of 20

Originally Posted by catachresis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
On Vinyl Engine, I found strong recommendations for Soundsmith's retipping service. It's not cheap, but the quality of materials and service *looks* to be very high. The luxus "Ruby Cantilever/Optimized Contour Nude Contact Line Diamond" option is $350.00 plus shipping.

Now that I have had some time to get past being upset about my cartridge I have given your post some further thought. I am going to call SoundSmith tomorrow and give them a chance to persuade me that sending my Benz to them is a more attractive option than to exchange it for a new cart. I may use their service if the turnaround time is not too long.

Thanks for pointing this out as an option.

Jun 21, 2009 at 10:15 PM Post #13 of 20

I really like the level headed approach you are using towards this. Make sure you go with an option that would bring about the most satisfaction and enjoyment in the long run...

Looking at short term satisfaction would likely hurt you.

Just be careful yeah
Jun 22, 2009 at 7:59 PM Post #14 of 20
Well, I called SoundSmith and spoke to the president of the company. He was extremely pleasant to talk to, very knowledgeable, and informative. The problem is that the turnaround time is presently 12 weeks. And going three months with no vinyl just isn't going to work for me.

I will order a new cartridge using the Benz exchange program. I should have the replacement in a few days.

Jun 23, 2009 at 3:53 PM Post #15 of 20
I'd also recommend the Soundsmith. There are only a hand full of people in the world who do this kind of stuff and you make compromises based on what they offer.
I didn't have the option of going to the manufacturer with a vintage Supex so had it rebuilt by the Soundsmith which transformed it into a different beast altogther but one of amazing quality. Perhaps I could have gone to Koetsu for something closer to the original, if they even offer this service.
Or I could have gone to Van Den Hull and would have got a different take on it again.
The point is that what you get from the Soundsmith is a superlative rebuild based on his own ideas and experience of building B&O carts at a very reasonable cost for the work involved. But it's a unique sounding cart, it will never sound exactly the same as the original. If you want the exact same Benz spec you had before the accident then you need to go to Benz, simple as that.
If there is going to be a delay then buy a Denon DL 103 for a bit of fun while the Benz is away

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