Acoustic Sounds



By: Michael Fremer

February 15th, 2023



Timerette Ends Stylus Life Anxiety

automatically starts and stops counting

How long your stylus will last before it's too far worn to provide full, detailed musical pleasure depends upon a number of factors, including how well you care for it and your records. Dirty records, which includes new out of the jacket ones, create greater friction and the grit, though invisible, will cause greater stylus wear.

Bad stylus hygiene is another determinant of stylus longevity, as is stylus profile: the more extreme, the more quickly its sharp (but not dangerously so if properly aligned) facets will round-out. It's like your teeth: the longer you go between "brushings" the greater is the likelihood that oil from your fingertips will adhere to the stylus and dirt and dust will be attracted to it. Add heat and the result often is a hardened blob that not good for the stylus or your records. If you don't pay close attention to the stylus after each side or at least each record, you might not notice any of this. I could embarrass more than a few well known names by showing close ups of their styli, but I won't!

Instead, I'll alert them and you to the Timerette from Portugal, a product from the same folks who manufacture and sell the "Shaknspin", which I reviewed on my "previous endeavor" and now use for speed accuracy testing on turntable reviews here. It's not a scientific instrument but it's pretty good at giving you wow and flutter measurements using a 9 degrees of freedom sensor.

There's another stylus timing device called Stylus Timer™ that sells for $19.95 and it works well but if you forget to start it when you lower the stylus onto the record, it won't do any timing. The Timerette, which sells for 109 Euro is an automatic timer that will do the timing even if you forget to start it, because it's a 'self-starter'. It stops by itself as well and is said to have a very long lived battery.

Push a button and it will you how many hours you've run your stylus. When you start the platter spinning it gives you a read out. What's not to like?

Here's the Hitch

What makes it work are a pair of tiny "self-stick" magnet you affix to the side of the platter. The Timerette uses those to do its timing. The Timerette is not exactly a pretty device and if the two tiny magnets offend your esthetic sensibilities, perhaps you'll not want to add them and the device to your turntable. Another consideration: if your platter is set into a plinth leaving a narrow space between the two, should a magnet fall off into the crevice, it could cause a problem. Just something to consider. Also, does your turntable offer a convenient perch for the device so it sits close enough to the magnets? Can the Timerette be re-set to "000"? I don't know. The instructions (such that there are) don't say.

I get emails all the time asking about how long a stylus lasts. C!onservatively speaking, with proper care, around 1000 hours (or so). It's difficult to keep track of the hours. Timerette makes it easy. It's definitely an anxiety reducer! Easy to recommend if it fits your esthetics and your turntable's physical design. Here's where to go for ordering information or, just to get questions answered.


Manufacturer Information

SMFT Unipessoal Lda. - VAT: PT514094125

R. Prof. Mario Albuquerque, 5-3B, Lisboa 1600-812, Portugal


  • 2023-02-15 10:27:24 PM

    bwb wrote:

    "Push a button and it will you how many hours you've run your stylus. When you start the platter spinning it gives you a read out. What's not to like?"

    No, it will tell you how many hours your platter has been spinning. In my case and I assume many others that have an automatic lifting device, the platter can spin for a lot longer than the sylus is in the grrove. Some with massive platters leave them spinning instead of stopping between records. And if you use more than one arm you are out of luck. I can see the usefulness for some, But here is nothing to like if it won't actually do what it is intended to do.

    What we really need is a sensor/timer that keeps track of how much time your tonearm is in the down position. I'll get to work on that

    • 2023-02-16 01:40:05 AM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      Good points! It’s still a useful device.

    • 2023-02-16 11:11:53 AM

      andy wrote:

      My Parks Audio Puffin preamp tracks up to 4 cart's stylus hours, it only starts tracking when the stylus is on the record, great device, have never seen it mentioned here.

      • 2023-02-16 11:47:41 AM

        andy wrote:

        BTW its designed and made in the US.

      • 2023-02-16 03:55:09 PM

        bwb wrote:

        Although I have no intention of giving up my phono pre and digitizing my vinyl for playback like this device does, the idea of a timer triggered by the presence of an audio signal is a good one. it could be hooked to a second output on a preamp if there is one. My phono pre has balanced and SE outs that are active at the same time. I only use one of them so a good candidate.

        • 2023-02-16 05:03:14 PM

          andy wrote:

          I use mine as a pre amp as well all the other great tools it has but some as you suggest just use it for TT setup primarily and at circa 500 a far better tool than this at 200.

  • 2023-02-16 09:25:38 AM

    topround wrote:

    It may not be exact but it does give sort of an indication to actual hours

  • 2023-02-16 04:02:41 PM

    bwb wrote:

    instead of tacking this thing onto your table there are devices like this that will tell you how long something has been running if you want to monitor total time your platter spins.

    • 2023-02-16 08:59:59 PM

      BSK wrote:

      Nice device but like stated if you have multiple arms and multiple cartridges like I do you are out of luck. So for $20. and free shipping (from their site) you can keep a log of each cartridge and the hours on it. Yes you have to write it down and yes you have but it is away around needing multiple timers if this is important to you.

      • 2023-02-17 04:28:00 AM

        Otto wrote:

        I'm also a fan of the Stylus Timer - and bought two when Michael first reviewed it. Like you said - it is only ~$20 delivered - versus $100+ for this one. It also remembers the time when I change the battery - a great feature (not sure if the Timerette does that). The automation on the Timerette is convenient, but pushing a button when you drop the arm and pushing a button when you raise it is not exactly rocket science. I also don’t like the idea of sticking anything to my platter if I can avoid it either. Looks like a great product for the right set up, but I'm really happy with my Stylus Timer.

    • 2023-02-17 09:58:27 PM

      otaku wrote:

      I bought a hand tally counter, and I just have to hit it when I start or end an album side. Cheap, effective, and no possible audio impact:

      141 sides so far.

  • 2023-02-19 12:13:55 PM

    Paulo Rebordao wrote:

    Hi there Disclosure: I'm the builder of this gadget, so I'm obviously biased.

    Agree with some of the comments here. It's not a solution for everyone (multiple tonearms, leaving the platter always spinning, etc).

    Just a couple of things Michael missed:

    • There a reset function obviously (long press of the button).
    • Changing the batteries won't erase the count.

    Thank you

  • 2023-03-06 04:18:47 PM

    Darron R. Birgenheier wrote:

    I'd like to see an automatic stylus life timer invented that works by monitoring the signal on the cartridge output, so that it only "counts" when the stylus is vibrating, and presumably in contact with a record. Obviously, this would need to be done in as "non-intrusive" a manner as possible, so it shouldn't be "in circuit", rather, inductive coupling around the audio cable from the turntable to the pre-amp?

    • 2023-03-06 04:22:30 PM

      Darron R. Birgenheier wrote:

      Another option: An optical sensor on the platter, to detect when its spinning, AND a small transducer in contact with a speaker cabinet, so that if BOTH are "positive", the timer starts. This could be done VERY inexpensively with an Arduino or other cheap microcontroller, and even send the data to the "cloud", with alerts set up. I'd have Alexa say "Hey, dumb-ass, change yo farkin' needle!" ;-)