|Thomas Schick micoscope’s point of view!|
Most of the Clément cartridges you will find are equipped with palettes using saphir tips. These tips have a short lifetime and when they are worn out : they will hurt the grooves of your records. With perfectly cleaned mint records in 33RPM it can reach, in best case scenario, about one hundred hours, I would estimate a safely rough 50 hours of usage with good condition records. In fact Radio France used to change all there Clément palettes every day but of course there was a big safety margin. At this time saphir palette were much cheaper than the diamond ones, this explains why it is very rare to find an original diamond palette.
|General view of a palette|
Yes there is a color code on palettes but it changed a lot during the original production period and it. Most of the time saphir palettes have no color codes on the metal part. A red or a green dot means that you should have a diamond mono tip. For a 78RPM / shellac diamond palettes you have mostly two color dots like blue + red for instance.
|Spherical tip of a palette. Notice the highly polish tip.|
The safest way to recognize a diamond tip from a saphir tip is to check it out under magnifying glasses or even better a microscope. The diamond tips are black and the saphir ones are transparent white to white with greenish touches.
So you might be tempted to try a diamond tip palette. It’s lifespan will be much more important as significant signs of wear will be observed around 500 hours of mileage, but users report that they have spinned just over one thousand hours of music on these palettes without noticing any musical loss and damage to there records.
|Used new production ideler wheel for Clément turntables.|
Sound difference between saphir and diamond palette? Very little : the saphir tip sounds a bit smoother while diamond tip is more precise but this is a very faint difference and I personally use only diamond tiped palettes.
Cala Mighty Sound can provide you with diamond and saphir palettes for both shellacs and microgroove records. But more importantly we also have some super rare palettes for gold Clément cartridges available. All these palettes have been retiped by a Japanese expert with the best quality spherical diamond available and to the exact same specs as Clément used to offer (20µm for microgroove and 65µm for shellacs). You can check out the quality build of one of these microgroove diamond with the photos (included in this post) of Thomas Schick Clément cartridge and palette provided by Cala Mighty Sound.
We also offer some replacement idler wheels for Clément turntables as the rubber used in those turntables tends to crackle with time and/or soften too much.
Last but not least here is a short video with a French explanation on how to change a palette easily while using a heat shrink tube to hold it easily. These tubes will be supplied with all palettes sold by Cala Mighty Sound.
Many thanks to Thomas Schick for his beautiful photos of the diamond tip!