With turntables making a mainstream comeback, more owners find themselves hitting a snag when it comes to their stylus.
This delicate part of a record player needs utmost care and attention. And when you start encountering hisses and weird noises, it may seem like a perfect time to find a replacement cartridge.
However, there are turntable basics you might want to learn about cartridges and styli, including things that affect the sound quality that comes out of your turntables.
Always Check If Your Stylus Needs Cleaning
Dust could accumulate at the tip of the needle. This scenario could result from using a dirty vinyl disc or not cleaning the stylus tip for too long.
Before buying a replacement, consider the money you’ll save from removing the dirt firstly. Make use of a liquid cleaner specifically made for the kind of stylus that you have.
Avoid using random cleaners containing chemicals that could permanently damage the tip. Some vinyl enthusiasts make use of a cheap DIY solution, like gently lowering the needle’s end to the white part of the Magic Eraser.
If this step didn’t work, at least you’ve tried your chance at extending the life of your cartridge, which could have saved you a few bucks.
Know The Right Time To Buy A New Stylus
By hearing the sound quality, you would be able to determine whether the stylus needs replacing or not. Distortions, skipping, crackling and static, are signs that your equipment will retire soon.
Although cleaning fixes some things, it’s not always the case when a stylus has reached its limit. If nothing has changed after you used a cleaning solution for the diamond top, it’s time to find a replacement stylus or cartridge.
Also, a new turntable, particularly a beloved one, should have a new stylus. You’ll never know about the quality of the cartridge used and its condition. It’s better to ensure that your vinyl records are safe by purchasing a new cartridge.
Only Buy Original Cartridges
Tetrad cartridges are excellent choices for a turntable. However, there are cheap knock-off versions that are a complete waste of money.
Some of our vinyl enthusiast friends who fell victim to these bootleg items claim distorted outputs and plenty of skips.
The same goes with imitation Pfanstiehl cartridges, which sounded even worse.
Do not take your chances on fake items to prevent these mishaps from happening. They could even cause permanent damage to your vinyl and turntable, and that’s the least you’d want to happen.
Know That Cartridges Are Different
Manufacturers produce cartridges that may appear alike but don’t have the same element. They may have varying needle tips, output voltage, and shelf life.
If you plan to upgrade your cartridge, your choices may be limited. Due to this, some cartridges would allow you to replace the needle, while others would need the whole thing substituted.
You Can Extend The Life Of Your Stylus
Fortunately, there’s a proper way to care for a stylus, so you won’t need to replace it more often than you should. Regularly clean the tip with a liquid solution provided by the same manufacturer. Lastly, make sure that your vinyl records are also clean, as that is where the dirt usually comes from.