Repairs to the Shelter 501-II.after service next four photos.
Repairs carried out by http://www.phonocartridgeretipping.com/
principal contact: Andy C Kim (prefers Chong)
I first heard about this re-tipping service online at the audio asylum / vinyl forum. Win Tinnon, a friend in the hobby, gave me a call and suggested that since this service was located near me (Belleview, Wa)*, I might want to give him a try and report back. So I made contact with Andy (Chong) and arranged to drop off my Shelter 501-II for repairs as needed.
The repair was complicated by a rookie mistake I had made when I attempted to fix a loose cantilever by re-inserting the cantilever with a gob of superglue. Chong, with patience, told me that I had used far too much glue, and in the wrong place. So Chong now had to remove the superglued cantilever and clean out all remaining glue residue from within the yoke that houses the cantilever.
The aluminum casing that houses the cartridge was disassembled (I don't know how) by Chong and then he did the following work:
This service took 4 weeks. Normally, Chong says, his turnaround is 3 weeks but this time he had taken a 1 week vacation during my repair so the turnaround was 1 week longer than usual. Even so, this is faster turnaround than the other re-tipper doing work in North America.
Price was very reasonable and considerably less than the competition.
When picking up the cartridge I found that it was still mounted to the tonearm of his test turntable. So we listened to the repaired Shelter on Chong's very considerable hi-fi system. When walking into Chong's listening room any audiophile will immediately spot the very prominent Tannoy Westminster speakers. These have massive and attractive cabinets housing a single 15 inch driver each. The amplification was by McIntosh monoblocks. Tube gear, of course. The Shelter sounded much as I remember it, only now I was hearing it through a system capable of producing a huge (HUGE) sound field. We listened happily to different records for an hour or so. Then it was time for me to take my cartridge and return home.
Before leaving Chong and I talked about his business. He told me that he presently regards it as a hobby more than a business designed to produce income. He also builds and repairs antique clocks.
Fast forward to my return home. I chose to install my old friend the Shelter 501-II on my TD124. The arm on that rig is a Zeta with silver wires. Assembly and alignment was straight forward, as I am familiar with this arm and cartridge. In less than an hour I was spinning vinyl.
Sound quality is as good as I can remember this Shelter ever sounding. After a couple of more days listening, I'll write a more thorough description of how this cartridge sounds. As for now I'm more inclined to listen to this thing. Pleasure first. Work later (grins)
One of the things Chong told me is that typically, when a cartridge goes off song after a period of years, it is just as likely that the real culprit is a dried-out and deteriorated elastomer damper as it might be any possible stylus wear. Something to consider.
* (I'm in the Seattle metropolitan area, as is Belleview, Wa.)