Turntables are gaining back their popularity these days. Music enthusiasts believe that nothing sounds more authentic than a good record. However, as time goes by, the vinyl may earn damages because of an old stylus.
The stylus, or the needle, is a vital part of a record player. It brings life to the record. Without it, a turntable will be a mere spinning platter. Picking a replacement for a stylus is not as simple as pointing it out and paying for it. You have to be picky, and there are reasons why you should.
The Stylus Affects The Audio Quality
There are two types of styluses, spherical or conical and elliptical. Depending on the shape, a needle can create a significant impact on the sound quality.
In general, an elliptical-shaped stylus can be more accurate than the spherical-shaped one as it makes closer contact with the record grooves thus, extracting more data. On the downside, it can wear out more quickly. However, the lifespan will still depend on several factors, including its type of material.
The Lifespan Of Styluses Differs
High-quality does not automatically mean durability when it comes to the stylus. A higher-quality needle wears out faster than standard ones. A stylus can last for 200 to 1000 hours, depending on the type or model. Generally, micro-edges last close to the 200-hour mark, while spherical needles last close to 1000 hours.
Of course, there are ways to make your stylus last longer ̶ take good care of it. Make sure to keep anything that will cause excess friction, such as dirt or dust, away from the record grooves. Poor maintenance can cause damage to the stylus, negatively affecting the audio quality.
Some Stylus Brands Are Expensive
The price of a stylus depends on its type of material. Some are made of ceramic, others with ruby or sapphire. A Jico stylus proved to be a decent choice when it comes to replacement pieces.
Ceramic-tipped needles are the cheapest but last the shortest—the ones made with ruby or sapphire last longer than the former and are a little more expensive. The best stylus you can get is the diamond-tipped. It lasts way longer as it does not wear out quickly. Just be ready to pay a hefty amount if you want the best quality.
Nowadays, ceramic tips are becoming hard enough to go against sapphire and ruby tips. On the other hand, the diamond tips remain unmatched.
In owning turntables, it is essential to know when you should change the stylus. There are physical and audible factors you must observe when considering a replacement. A more distorted, fuzzy, static, and cracking sound is a clear sign of a worn-out stylus. A malformed and jumping needle will also require a rest.
When buying an old turntable, you should also remember to replace its stylus. Although you don’t know how long it has been used and its condition, purchasing a new one is still the best thing to do. A damaged needle can also cause damage to your records, so you better not risk it.