How To Tell If A Stylus Is Worn?

On the end of a cartridge is the stylus support that keeps it in place as it travels across a recording. The stylus is on its side at the tip. Once this is confirmed, you grip the stylus on the sides and align the bottom side of your new stylus to the cartridge housing.

Now that your new cartridge is securely installed, you can reference the overall steps for attaching the stylus. Assuming that your stylus guard is still in the correct position, you can now attach your stylus assembly back onto the cartridge. The stylus protector should remain in place as you install your new cartridge, preventing any further damage. Depending on what cartridge type is used by your record player, you may need to either change out the entire assembly or replace the stylus.

Remember, anything sticking to a vinyl records grooves, such as dirt or dust, will cause damage to your stylus, forcing you to either replace the stylus or the whole cartridge. The stylus is the stylus that is sitting in the types of vinyl grooves; sadly, various components in the phono cartridge will degrade or wear over time.

The stylus may wear too, leaving you with a warped cartridge that cannot read the irregularities in grooves on vinyl records. When using the cartridge over an extended period, two points that are constantly touching the record grooves start wearing.

The effects are gradual, but pushing past a certain wear point, a cartridge’s sound begins to degrade, and pushing past this you run the risk of damaging the record.
If an unmistakable scratchy sound continues, then your cartridge assembly is not rebounding properly and needs replacing or adjustment.

One of the telltale signs that may be related to needing to replace a needle is a scratchy-sounding sound. This would be pretty easy to diagnose, and, if you set your turntable correctly, could be a clear indication that you need to get a stylus replacement.

While not every sound of distortion is a signal you might need a stylus replacement for your turntable, it is important that you diagnose an issue ASAP to avoid damaging the grooves on your records. The distinction between the loudest and softest sounds can get lost, which could be a sign that something is wrong with the stylus. If indeed the wear on your stylus is impairing your recordings audio, then sounds are probably hushed or warped.

If the point of your stylus is too dull, the point of your stylus will rub up against the wall of your groove, causing audio to sound harsh and shrill. The stylus may even slip completely outside the groove, causing a big scratch to appear on the record surface. The stylus will also usually pick dust and dirt from the grooves of your records, particularly if you are listening to older pieces of vinyl.

Either way, a worn stylus can ruin records, so you certainly want to keep it well maintained and change it periodically. If you do get your stylus bad, you strongly suggest replacing it right away, before it causes any lasting damage to your records. If you see any kind of visible damage, like ragged edges or bent stylus heads, it is absolutely time to replace your stylus tips.

When a stylus starts skipping grooves on vinyl records, that means that it has worn down, and it is time to replace the stylus. If the needle skipping or skipping the grooves, you are certainly doing something wrong with your record, so take it off ASAP, and do not power on it again until you change your stylus. If skipping occurs, immediately stop your turntable and stop playing records until the stylus is changed. Unfortunately, styluses really wear out over time, so you have to be aware of when it is the appropriate time to change your cartridge.

Some cartridges let you just change out the stylus, and others let you change the entire cartridge (some have needles attached). Depending on which cartridge you are using, you might be able to swap out just the stylus, or you might need to pony up for a full cartridge.

Unfortunately, because you cannot replace an MC cartridges stylus when you break a needle, you will have to replace the whole cartridge. Fortunately for your bank balance, it is more likely that you only have to replace the stylus component, rather than the cartridge’s main housing — though, in many cases, the replacement stylus may be nearly as expensive as the whole cartridge.

Once you determine if you will need to replace the whole cartridge of the picture, or only the stylus, you will need to determine what stylus model you are working with. The process for getting a new stylus is going to differ depending on what kind of cartridge to the turntable you are attached to, as well as the shape of the stylus tip itself. If your record sounds scratchy like it is been rubbed with sandpaper, then either your needle needs adjustment, or it is gone bad and needs replacing.

The cartridge needs to be properly aligned so that the stylus can fit into the grooves of your RECORD properly.

Next, you will want to completely remove the old stylus by gently grasping the stylus assembly between your forefinger and thumb (you can use tongs as well if it feels easier) and pulling the stylus assembly off the old cartridge until it is snipped off.
The overhang on the stylus can be measured using an overhang indicator or a digital caliper, and if you bought an entirely new pre-mounted cartridge and stylus assembly, then the overhang is most likely preset at the time of manufacturing.

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