Last night I was playing a record when all of a sudden the sound suddenly went a bit dull, then the arm just drifted across the record to the dead wax, so I pulled the arm back to its resting place and noticed the cantilever was bent.
I’m a bit confused as to how this could have happened when I didn’t even see any dust on the stylus and the bias setting is ok too. The record is ok but I can’t risk playing any more records until the cartridge is fixed.
The cart is a Rega Atheta 3 and I know it’s expensive to have it rebuilt. Maybe it’s a warranty job?
The stylus looks ok to my eyes but it’ll need a proper look at with a microscope?
I’ve rechecked the weight, bias and even checked if the turntable is level and it’s spot on level. I do have an issue with static and there was a loudish click a second or two before the ‘incident’ but I put that down to static as the record I was playing is very familiar and has no significant noise or clicks present.
I had a similar problem with an Ortofon cart many years ago. The cantaliver collapsed. It was a defective cart. But it happened 3 days after the dealer installed me it. He changed it for free.
But if it happens many months after having bought it, it’s very very probably a human fault.
Maybe the dealer can be nice and accepts the guarantee. It happens.
I had a similar situation a few years ago when my Linn Akiva spontaneously shed its stylus in the middle of a Schubert sonata. The music continued to play intelligibly - barely - but sounded as though it had suddenly picked up an enormous fluff ball. I was a few months out of warranty, so I was out of luck in terms of getting a replacement. Best of luck with your dealer.
Has Rega’s bias dial accuracy improved? They used to be notorious. Just setting using the scale on a RB300 resulted in a skewed cantilever after a while on my old 17D2. I never had that with an Aro even with it’s very limited choice of bias (selected by ear using solo piano).
With everything set up correctly, and new abnormal interaction, sudden bending, would suggest a significant weakness (defect) in the cantilever.
Can you be certain it was not bent before you started playing that record? if you did not observe that it was normal, and the bend not so obvious that you would definitely have seen it before playing, then it begs the question as to whether it might have been slghtly bent before playing, perhaps causing the weakness rather than the weakness already being there, which then worsened under the forces of play, causing the changing sound and then the skating as it list proper tracking in the groove. If you can’t be certain, it was perfectly normal before starting play, then obvious question are: could you have been at it when you last cleaned the stylus? Alternatively, do you have young children in the house?
Is the cantilever bent in line with the centre of the body of the cartridge, and if yes, is that the stylus end bent upwards with a stylus and bent downwards, which I would expect, or is it bent sideways?