Skip to content
Home » Do You Need To Upgrade Your Record Player Needle?

Do You Need To Upgrade Your Record Player Needle?

  • by
Record Player Needle

Record players are delicate pieces of equipment. One of its greatest attributes is the quality of its sonic performance. It owes its distinctive sound to the amalgamation of its parts, particularly to the stylus. While you might account static or distortion to its intended payoff, that might not always be the case. Most well-versed record player owners change their needle usually after a set amount of hours because they are aware of its importance. 

Turntables require a stylus change when they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Change in stylus shape due to use over time. (From conical to pointed or sharp to blunt)
  • Irregular tempo as the needle bounces off the track
  • Any bends or scratches
  • A sudden increase in static sounds and hisses
  • Distorted audio output

Experts recommend replacing turntable needles after 1000 hours of playing time on average. This number may vary depending on the manufacturer and model. Most new record player owners change the stylus immediately or soon after it’s in their possession. They do this because the number of playing hours the player has elapsed is unknown. With a new needle, the turntable keeper is well aware of its hours and keen on its usage.  

But why should you upgrade your record player needle in the first place?

Changing the cartridge or stylus regularly or as soon as anomalies are detected is vital in maintaining any record player. A worn-out needle, aside from distorting the sound of your records, will also damage them and compromise their integrity. It can interfere as well with the smoothness of the overall playing mechanism. Also, the tonearm can loosen or realign, in turn, give faulty music playing. A well-kept turntable will last longer with part maintenance and replacement. 

Cartridge or Stylus?

The parts of a record player are very complex and complicated. Its intricate design can be confusing and overwhelming to turntable owners. You should know its details well to distinguish which exactly needs replacement or repairs. 

When you notice changes in your record playing, you instinctively assume it just needs needle replacement. Without the proper diagnosis, you could be wasting your money on the wrong solution. 

First, inspect the record player’s tonearm for any screws keeping it in place. If there are none, then you can only replace the stylus. If it is the cartridge that needs changing, determine whether it’s a standard or p-mount type. You can tell their difference by the orientation of their screws. The former has vertical ones and the latter horizontal ones.

On the other hand, consider its shape and compatibility with the model if it’s the stylus you are changing. If you have not changed a stylus ever, consult the record player manual or the equipment seller. 

An important aspect of upgrading your record player is making sure you are replacing its parts with another one of good quality. Choose one from trusted brands. 

Audio Technica cartridges is a top-notch collection of accessories from a world-class brand of music equipment, well-known for its high-quality products. They have cartridges of all shapes and sizes. Their needles are durable and compatible with many turntable models.