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Boron shortage impacting Cartridge Manufacturers

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  • Boron shortage impacting Cartridge Manufacturers

    I've recently seen many cartridge manufacturers making 'updates' to many cartridge models. They are marketing them as 'new' and vastly superior in many ways, but wondering if this is in light of boron shortages that many use for their cantilevers. Ortofon recently released a statement that they are going to be using sapphire cantilevers instead of boron in the lower and mid range cartridges: http://www.ortofon.com/mc-quintet-black-s-p-549-n-1579

    Also, Soundsmith recently changed their Zephyr and now the Paua cartridge (which had boron cantilevers). Transfiguration recently updated the Proteus to a new version (not sure if it was because of the boron). They are advertising them as better in many questions, but have to wondering if this is another case of marketing hype.

  • #2
    Ortofon recently announced a switch from Boron to Sapphire cantilevers on all but its more expensive "Exclusive Series" (photo is of original Boron cantilevered Quintet).
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here is the new MKII Paua from Soundsmith, which states on their site: "Now we introduce the new Paua MKII, employing a newly developed Aluminum alloy used to fashion the MKII's cantilever into a precision acoustic and mechanical lever. It features stiffness in the ranges required, while providing critical damping in other sections of the acoustic spectrum." The previous Paua used a Boron cantilever. They are calling a new and better Paua, but I wonder if it is just a marketing technique when boron cantilevers are harder to resource. This may be the new trend, at least for those who use Boron.

      Comment


      • #4
        Considering how tiny a cantilever is, does a boron shortage really significantly affect cartridge mfgrs? I could see it if they were pumping out millions of carts but they are not.
        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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        • #5
          According to a quick check on the web, boron sells for about $5 a gram. That is fairly cheap. The so called shortage must not be affecting the market or supply that much.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with JC. I looked everywhere and can purchase Boron power. Boron is not present in nature in elemental form. It is found combined in borax, boric acid, kernite, ulexite, colemanite and borates. Maybe its the manufacturing process or its cost to convert the minerals into a hard tiny object like a cantilevers that is causing cartridge manufacturers to move away form the Boron. Its a who really knows type of thing.

            Chris
            ----------------------------------------------------------------
            Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

            Comment


            • #7
              I couldn't find anything on the net about a boron shortage but am wondering after seeing that around 3/4 of the element comes from Turkey and the political situation there combined with its widespread use of has anything to do with the current situation?
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                I couldn't find anything on the net about a boron shortage but am wondering after seeing that around 3/4 of the element comes from Turkey and the political situation there combined with its widespread use of has anything to do with the current situation?
                regardless, if it was tough to get for ANY reason, the price would be going up.
                Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                Comment


                • #9
                  Even on http://www.boren.gov.tr/en/boren/org...onal-structure or the http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/boron/ sites there is no mention of any shortage from any of the countries producing the product.

                  I think this whole thing is some smoke and mirror deal to use another product.
                  Chris
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------
                  Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cpp View Post
                    Even on http://www.boren.gov.tr/en/boren/org...onal-structure or the http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/boron/ sites there is no mention of any shortage from any of the countries producing the product.

                    I think this whole thing is some smoke and mirror deal to use another product.
                    Maybe boron for cantilevers has just become obsolete? Could sapphire match or exceed performance of boron today at same cost?
                    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm going on Ortofon's press release and surmising why a lot of manufacturers are moving away from Boron cantilevers: "Multiple studies show that demand for strategic natural resources continues to increase. New technologies use ever-increasing amounts of rare and strategic resources. Understandable that this increasing demand may complicate future supply. Over the decades, there has been an increase in the use of Boron. Elemental Boron is mostly used in high tech applications. One of Boron's benefits for our modern technology is its use in neodymium magnets, which are an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron. Boron has also been applied in manufacturing of phono cartridges: Boron cantilevers are strong, stiff, light and 100% inert. From all possible options Boron cantilever is the best, but unfortunately extremely difficult to obtain. To make sure future supplies of the Ortofon High-End cartridges, we will henceforward reserve the use of Boron cantilevers for our Exclusive series."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Analog21 View Post
                        I'm going on Ortofon's press release and surmising why a lot of manufacturers are moving away from Boron cantilevers: "Multiple studies show that demand for strategic natural resources continues to increase. New technologies use ever-increasing amounts of rare and strategic resources. Understandable that this increasing demand may complicate future supply. Over the decades, there has been an increase in the use of Boron. Elemental Boron is mostly used in high tech applications. One of Boron's benefits for our modern technology is its use in neodymium magnets, which are an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron. Boron has also been applied in manufacturing of phono cartridges: Boron cantilevers are strong, stiff, light and 100% inert. From all possible options Boron cantilever is the best, but unfortunately extremely difficult to obtain. To make sure future supplies of the Ortofon High-End cartridges, we will henceforward reserve the use of Boron cantilevers for our Exclusive series."
                        well, they may be phasing it out because of concerns of future availability, but as for now its $5-$10 a gram, and not extremely difficult to obtain or it would cost more. Sounds like marketing BS to me.
                        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                        Comment


                        • Analog21
                          Analog21 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I would agree except for the fact they are reserving the Boron for their most expensive cartridges. If Boron was not superior, they wouldn't keep them in their top of the line carts. If it is superior and so cheap as you highlight, then there would no other reason for Ortofon to change.

                        • JCOConnell
                          JCOConnell commented
                          Editing a comment
                          except maybe, to sell the more expensive carts

                      • #13
                        I guess we used up our supply of boron from making borax detergent.
                        Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                        Comment


                        • MylesBAstor
                          MylesBAstor commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Or the Vitamin Shoppe gets preference.

                      • #14
                        I have heard from a couple of people that the issue is the stylus' are no longer available not necessarily a boron shortage. Possible that the manufacturer's tooling is worn and that the investment wasn't worth it. It seems no one from Ortofon to DIY can get these stylii any more.
                        Turntable: - 1. Fairchild 750/OMA slate plinth
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                        • #15
                          gram for gram are the 10,000 to 15,000 dollars cartridges not more than gold per gram now. I do not know what Boron sells for but I would think it is not a big deal.

                          I am sure you could buy it if you want it Limited market is a bigger problem thou getting a Atlas was not easy for me they had limited amount for Canada so the story went.

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                          • Garth
                            Garth commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Gold is 42.69 per gram atlas is 11.6 grams Boron a High of 2,100 a pound
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