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How to replace a stylus.

How to replace a stylus.

, by Haim Deutsch, 2 min reading time

How to replace a stylus. 


You should be replacing your stylus after 1,000 hours of play (or every 3-5 years). To find the stylus you will need, look up your stylus’s model number to order a replacement. Turn the stylus around in your hand to look for letters or numbers. If you find any, this is the model number. 


The stylus refers to the needle and the piece of plastic connecting it to the cartridge and tone arm. The needle and plastic are always connected as one piece and it is designed to be easy to replace. Replacing the stylus will ensure that your sound remains accurate and your records stay safe.


If the stylus is worn out, you’ll notice a scratchy, distorted sound coming out of your records when you play them. It’s easy to hear when a stylus needs to be replaced. As far as terminology in this article goes, the tone arm refers to the arm that you move to raise and lower your needle. The cartridge is the piece that the stylus plugs into underneath the metal case. The stylus and the cartridge work together to actually read the sound coming out of a vinyl record.


To slide out the old stylus carefully, unplug the record player, hold the arm still, and grip the case surrounding the stylus. Pinch the sides and pull the old stylus out, sliding away from the cartridge and keeping it parallel to the tone arm. 


If your turntable has any locking mechanism or latch near the counter-weight at the end of the tone arm, use it to lock the tone arm in place while doing this.


You should then prepare yourself to slide the new stylus into the cartridge. With the needle pointing down, brace your record player’s tone arm with and hold the headshell still. Then, slide the stylus into the cartridge and press it into the slot until you hear a click. Once the new stylus is attached, you’re ready to enjoy your records.


You should be careful when undertaking this procedure - wear protective gloves (rubber will do) and avoid touching the needle itself. Remember, the stylus is perfectly aligned when it comes out of the box and touching it may damage the needle’s ability to accurately track the grooves in a record. You should be aware that some styluses won’t make a clicking noise but this is not something to worry about - as long as the stylus is attached and flush with the slot on the cartridge, you should be fine.

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