RS Recommends: The Best Record Player Needles and Cartridges for Smoother Spinning
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If your records aren’t sounding as good as they once did (and you’re still taking good care of them), then the issue is most likely that your record player might need a new stylus, a.k.a your turntable’s needle. Not sure where to begin with your stylus replacement, here’s what you need to know about switching up your turntable’s most important accessory.
Record Player Needle Buying Guide
According to some record player makers, you’ll need to replace your needle every 500 hours, but that number varies depending on how much you’re using it and the type of stylus you use. For some collectors, that means you’ll want to swap out your turntable’s needle every few years. However, more avid users will find that the replacement has to come much sooner.
You’ll know when it’s time to change the needle because your records will start to sound muddy or distorted. You may notice your needle’s dragging on the record, or not picking up on the grooves it’s supposed to read as your record spins. If you’re not sure, you can always take your record player into a local record shop to have an expert take a look. Some brands, including Victrola, suggest looking at your needle’s serial number to find the right replacement. Your local record store should be able to help you figure out the right replacement for your specific setup, if you’re still not sure.
Using worn-down needles can damage your records, so you’ll want to act fast once you notice signs of wear. Vinyl aficionados are wise to keep a backup supply of replacement record player needles on hand.
When you’re shopping for the best record player needle, you’ll find that most needles come with a cartridge replacement. A diamond stylus is a popular and trusted option for most players, ensuring a smoother listening session. These record player needle replacements last longer and generally promise around 2,000 hours of listening time before you’ll need a replacement.
The Best Record Player Needles to Buy Right Now
Most of the top-selling record player needles on Amazon are widely compatible with various record player brands. No matter what you need, we’ve found some of the most trustworthy record player needles.
1. Soofotoo Record Player Needles
If you’re ready to replace your vintage player’s needle, you can’t go wrong with these diamond stylus record player needles from Soofotoo. If you’ve never had a diamond stylus before, you’ll love the clearer sound that you get from these needles. They’re compatible with most record players and easy to insert and install. Plus, each needle comes with a protective covering that keeps the diamond stylus from getting damaged.
2. Ideal Swan Replacement Record Player Needles
Most record player needles are pretty inexpensive, but Ideal Swan takes value to a new level. For the price of a couple coffees, you get six diamond stylus record player replacement needles. These needles produce excellent tone quality and are compatible with most record players, but always check to make sure before you purchase your next stylus.
3. Banpa Record Player Needle and Cartridge
If you’re refurbishing an older turntable, you might need to repair your record player’s cartridge and needle. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to opt for this bundle. It comes with an easy-to-install cartridge and four needles, each with a diamond stylus. The cartridges and needles are compatible with most record players. If you’re unsure if your record player is a match, Banpa offers consultations to make sure you’re getting the best fit.
4. Audio-Technica Elliptical Replacement Needle
If you own an Audio-Technica turntable, you’ll want to opt for an Audio-Technica record player needle rather than a generic model. These needles are on the expensive side, but they offer impeccable audio quality, greater precision, improved frequency, and help reduce distortion. This particular needle is compatible with Audio-Technica’s AT-VM95E cartridges.