Should an MC cartridge be replaced due to age?

I am using a Dynavector 10x4 in an Akito arm. I have just realised that I’ve been using it for 20 years, although the total number of hours playing time is probably not particularly high.
It has been suggested that the cantilever suspension ‘rubber’ may well have deteriorated/stiffened in that time, and that perhaps I should consider a replacement.
The cartridge still sounds good to me, but I’m willing to try the experiment, if it’s justified.
Is this a real phenomenon, or a (very unpushy) sales pitch from my dealer?
Your collective opinions will be appreciated.

20 years is really pushing it. Are you sure you haven’t put 1,000+ hours on it? Yes the cantilever and suspension can break down. Dyna run an exchange program, indulge yourself I’d say!

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Is this question unique to MCs or would it apply to MMs too?

I’ve also got an aging Linn Troika but with very low usage (I only put on for serious listening, not background). Still seems to sound fine but wonder if it would be as good as a refurb…


The number of years that have passed are not that significant it is the actual hours of use that is.

A cartridge that sat in a box for 20 years unused is going to be just fine pretty much.

A Cartridge that has been played for 2 hours a day for 2 years is going to be flagging.

A lot of manufacturers say about 1000 hours is the limit. I suspect this is conservative and many will last sounding just fine for longer.

If you can listen to some new ones you can get a comparison. If you end up looking for a change then a Hana SL or EL is worth listening to. As is a Audio Technica AT33 PTG/II. All of which are low output MCs but Hana do high output versions too (SH & EH)

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I am running a 21 year old DV10X4Mk2, in a Linn Ittok…

Its not broken… and has low hours so… not rushing…

YMMV, etc.

Wondering… has a cost… :thinking:

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Its absolutey useless. Scrap it. Send it to me. :smiley:

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Which one - of the 2 mentioned… so far…?? :rofl:

Actually, mine isn’t 21 yet… thats in June this year…!!!

I understood 1-2000 hours max life so I used to change my stylus every couple of years, becoming an expensive vinyl running cost after I switched to MC, though not long after that the frequency reduced because I got a CD player.

A 1000 hours use over twenty years is just 50 hours of play each year.

That’s an average of about 1 hour or one albums per week.

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Thank you everyone for your thoughts. Ratrat’s arithmetic cannot be argued with, and 1000 hours must surely have been exceeded.
Time for a replacement, and given p/e and reviews, I shall go for the 10x5/2.


That… IMO… is the correct answer… And - is what I am likely to do… eventually…

Mine has only done around 500 LP sides ( I log them… sad). So maybe less than 200 hours…?

I use a mechanical click counter next to the TT, easy and reliable to click for each side - and not sad :slight_smile: because how else would you know. I calculate 20 minutes per side, so 3,000 clicks are 1,000 hours.


I use an old postcard. Which has served me through many cartridges…
Very low power consumption…!!

I used 20 mins per side in my calculation above. I have always worked in Sides, rather than Hours or Minutes.

My postcard tells me this:
DV 10X2 (c. 1981) - (record erased - removed due to upgrade, but kept and traded in for 10X4)
Linn Asak (c. 1983) - 1554 Sides
Linn Asaka (c. 1987) - 1481 Sides (sold on eBay)
DV 10X4 (c. 2001) - < 500 sides currently

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I have a mechanical click counter. I count LPs though rather than sides. 12" 45rpm record are counted the same as 33rpm.

This does present a dilemma with three sided double albums…:thinking:

My understanding has always been that time on its own is not kind to the general structures of a cartridge (cantilever suspension, etc). I was also told many years back that the coils in a MM cartridge degrade over time - no idea if the same happens to an MC cartridge.

Seemed logical to me so I tend to renew the stylus at 5 years and the entire cartridge after 10. Excuse for an upgrade!!

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I listen generally around 2 hours on weekends and I add around 40 hours when on holidays.
So I count 140 hours X 9 years. So I have 8 years and half globally to listen before change or retip. I will be on retirement then.

Sounds like the right call.

I used a 10x5 for many years and recommend trying it with a Dynavector P75 phono stage if your dealer has one in stock. I thought the P75 was a substantial improvement over the Naim Stageline MM phono in this particular context, with a much more open, dynamic, and lively sound.


That’s an interesting thought, thank you. However, I’m using a Supernait 3, so will stick with the phono stage fitted. The extra expense of another box can’t be ignored, either!

As far as I know, the Supernait3 Phono stage is similar to the Stageline MM so will sound similar too.

There are step-up devices that will feed into an amps phono stage should you wish to switch to an MC Cartridge and/or lower output.