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Turntable Needles

The needle or the stylus is an integral part of the USB turntable that picks up sound vibrations from the grooves of the records. Basically, the stylus is made of two main parts: the actual stylus and the cantilever. The actual stylus is the tip of the needle attached to the end of the cantilever, while the cantilever is the narrow arm that connects the stylus to its cartridge. As the stylus moves along the record grooves, the cantilever transmits the vibrations through the cartridge, where they become the electric signals that are recorded on your computer as music.

Needles or stylus come in two varieties as follows:

  • Conical Stylus: Most common type of stylus, spherical in shape. Most of the USB turntables are equipped with a conical stylus. These are considered to provide lesser quality sound than the other types, but still, it probably lasts longer.
  • Elliptical Stylus: Less common and is considered to be the higher quality option. Because of its shape, it fits more tightly into the grooves of the records, achieving less unnecessary vibration. The more precisely the stylus rides in the record grooves, the better the sound.
If in any case your record needle (stylus) is slipping and sliding over your records, then you can usually replace it without buying a whole new cartridge. You can follow these steps for replacing a record needle:
  • First clean the stylus to see if that helps.
  • Write down the make, model, and if possible serial number of your turntable.
  • See if your stylus cartridge (the box on the tone arm where the stylus is connected) has a separate make and model. Write these down, too.
  • Buy a new stylus for your turntable at an electronics repair store. The proper stylus type should be listed in a book at the store. Tell the salesperson the make and model of your turntable and cartridge, if appropriate.
  • Remove the old stylus. If the new stylus doesn't come with directions, try these: With one hand, hold the stylus cartridge to steady it. With the other hand, using a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers, grasp the end of the needle and pull.
  • Install the new stylus. Hold it from the top and press it gently into the space at the tip of the cartridge where the old stylus had been. Never do it forcefully.
  • Play a record to test the new stylus and adjust it if necessary.
Turntable Needles Reviews

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