Back in the days of '78, some people would use cactus needles rather than steel in their Victrolas to reduce record wear. Now a New York high-end cartridge manufacturer has ripped a page from that book, making exotic cartridges for audiophiles that use a cactus needle as the cantilever.
The cantilever is the bar that extends from the inner cartridge workings and holds the actual stylus or needle, and often these are made from exotic materials like boron or ruby. So while the SoundSmith Hyperion doesn't actually use the cactus to trace the grooves like the old Victrola trick, it does provide the vital link from the needle to the cartridge body.
SoundSmith designer Peter Ledermann says that the key is to find a cantilever material that combines extreme stiffness, good self damping and lightness all in one, and none of those exotic materials can match the natural properties of a good old cactus needle.
At $7000 you're not exactly going to be putting the Hyperion in your Technics DJ turntable, but Ledermann does show his faith in the cactus solution by offering the cartridge with a 10 year no fault warranty. Even if your cleaning lady breaks it, it will be repaired for no charge.