Introduction – What is a turntable Needle?
Every turntable is comprised of various components, and one of the most important ones is the needle. The needle of a turntable is also referred to as “the stylus”, so if you happen to stumble upon this term don’t worry, it means the same thing essentially.
There are two main reasons why you should consider purchasing another needle, and those are:
- Replacing your old turntable needle
- Upgrading your existent needle
Both of these reasons are legit for both older and newer versions of turntables as people have different tastes in music. Some turntables are equipped with needles that might provide the sound some people will like while some won’t. Anyhow, we’re here to provide you with the basic knowledge about best turntable stylus models, why to replace them, how, and when, so let’s begin.
When should you replace your turntable needle?
You might not have known this, but most turntable needles actually have a very long lifespan. Most stylus models were made to last for quite a while, but it’s quite obvious that their efficiency will wear off after prolonged usage. Anyhow, every time you tinker with your turntable, you bear the risk of damaging it, so replacing your turntable needle should only be done in several situations:
If the turntable stylus is missing, it’s obvious that it needs replacement
This is the only situation when you absolutely have to replace your turntable needle. It is obvious enough that you won’t be able to enjoy your music unless there’s a stylus, and the risk of damaging your turntable is significantly reduced – most people have a problem of plucking out the needle before they install another one.
If your turntable stylus is physically damaged
We don’t imply that your turntable stylus needs to be broken, per se. Even the slightest damages will result in decreased performance of your turntable, but that’s not the half of it – damaged turntable needles are prone to malfunction, and they might end up scratching your records. You don’t want that to happen, so we recommend that you replace your turntable stylus.
If you want to upgrade your turntable performance
Most people are content with their first turntable because they are unaware of the advantages that superior models offer. Once you’ve listened to music from several turntable models you will know the difference, and you will definitely ask “why is this turntable so good?”.
The answer might not be so easy to give since it could be derived from the turntable design, interior mechanism, or stylus. Anyhow, we can say with certainty that better stylus means better music performance, so this is one of the legitimate reasons why you should replace your former turntable needle.
The cartridge plays an important role in the performance of your turntable stylus
If you’re new to turntables but really want to get the maximum potential out of your model, you should know that the cartridge has an important impact on how your turntable stylus performs. We will be short on this one – the cartridge represents a rectangular object where the needle is plugged.
Since we’re more interested in turntable needles, let’s break it down – the combination of the turntable stylus and the turntable cartridge affects how your turntable will sound. There are more expensive models of both the stylus and cartridge models, but you can compensate for a mediocre cartridge by purchasing a high-quality needle.
There are several reasons why we advocate high-quality needles over cartridges:
- Turntable needles are usually easier to replace;
- They are commonly less expensive than cartridges;
However, there’s just one reason why all cartridge models are superior to any turntable stylus model – the cartridges never wear out, which is not the case with turntable stylus models. With that said, let’s look at some of the best turntable needles.
Top 5 Turntable Needles
TechPlay Gold Diamond tipped needle for turntables
TechPlay package of upgrade turntable needles offers a quick way to improve the performance of your turntable at a bargain price. Each needle has a Diamond head, they’re both very easy to install, and they’re compatible with most turntable products.
eXuby Record Player Needle with Diamond Tip 3-pack
These turntable needles are superior to most starter stylus models. These diamond needles ensure the quality sound performance of your turntable device, and they’re capable of lasting for up to 1000 hours. Since they’re able to last this long, they will preserve the quality of your records without laying a single scratch on them.
You don’t require any tools to install these turntable needles and they’re compatible with Jensen, Crosley, TechPlay, Teac, Numark, and other turntable models. Very valuable, but quite expensive.
- High-quality sound performance;
- They last for up to 1000 hours of playtime;
- Require no tools to install;
- They cost quite a lot, but these are one of the best turntable stylus models;
Crosley NP1 Replacement Needle
A standard Crosley replacement Needle, the NP1 model is affordable, reliable, and extremely efficient. This replacement stylus is manufactured with high-quality plastic materials, but, sadly, it’s not compatible with the first generation of Crosley Stack-O-Matic and second generation of Cr248 record players.
- Very affordable;
- Extremely reliable and efficient;
- High-grade plastic components;
- Not compatible with the first generation of Crosley Stack-O-Matic and the second generation of CR248 record players;
Pfanstiehl Vinyl Record Player 793-D7M Diamond Needle Stylus
Even though the package with the Pfanstiehl diamond needle indicates that this replacement needle is suitable for Pfanstiehl products, the measurements and dimensions are quite similar to that of most other turntable needles. It’s one of the cheapest turntable stylus models, and it’s equipped with a metal cantilever.
- Ideal for Pfanstiehl products;
- Works well at speeds of 16, 33, and 35 rotations per minute;
- Equipped with a metal cantilever;
- It will damage the record if it plays at 78 RPM speed
Boytone Pack of 2 Sapphire Tipped Ceramic Replacement Needle for Turntables
The last model in our review is Boytone Sapphier Tipped Ceramic needle replacements. They offer high quality and decent durability, but they’re mainly focused on Boytone record players (even though you could use them for Crosley and Jensen models). They are able to provide a lot of playtime before they wear out and are extremely affordable.
- Compatible with Boytone record players, Crosley CR6019A up to CR248, and Jensen JTA 22 up to JTA 470;
- Very affordable;
- Decently durable and highly reliable replacement stylus;
- Not very versatile as these needles are well suited for a limited number of record players;