Anything invented eventually goes bad over time, what one should be worried about, however, is how long they take to go bad. Have they really been effective? What is growing the faults in them? Can they still be fixed to work perfectly again? The answers to these questions would tell how well the phono cartridges have been able to stand the test of time.
Phono Cartridges when abandoned for long tend to wear out by their brittle and suspensions. The ones in use over time also corrode but not as much as phono cartridges stack up in some carton in the attic. Either way, cartridges are not immune to entropy. However, there are some factors that help make phono cartridges last longer than others in the same category, the price, the maintenance, and the usage.
One might begin to wonder why are phono cartridges so expensive. Actually, there are other less expensive phono cartridges but as you might expect, they are less effective and tend to go bad quicker than the expensive ones. Price does make the difference with phono cartridges. Moreover, what good does a lesser price phono cartridge make when it can easily go bad.
How Do Phono Cartridges Go Bad?
Phono cartridges may last longer with good maintenance and quality, they eventually break down. Phono cartridges wearing out start with the hardening of the rubber parts in the suspension. Whenever this occurs, you can easily tell your phono cartridge is giving signs of breaking down. Some brands such as Denon DL Cartridges however make use of rubber parts that hardly harden over time but, storage condition and maintenance should still be put into consideration as these also add to the lifespan and longevity.
Moreso, even with quality rubber parts, storage conditions such as high polluted areas with high levels of ozone tend to add to the rubber part deterioration. Aside from the rubber parts, dust on the grooves of records also affects the stylus and makes it wear out sooner than expected. For a question like how long does it take for a phono cartridge to break in? Well, a quality phono cartridge with good maintenance is expected to last 5 years before showing signs of breaking in or wearing out. When they do, they could break down totally, produce unwanted vibrations or a cracking sound with a vinyl record.
It is incontestable that phono cartridges go bad over time, the life span, however, depends on the quality and the maintenance of the device. Moreover, if a phono cartridge is stored properly away from dust and not left to sit just anywhere in the attic, then the lifespan might increase even with the storage and lack of usage.