When using turntables, there is one thing that is usually a constant pain in the neck. This is the needle or the stylus as many people would like to call it. While most of the parts on the turntable are quite durable, the longevity of the needle varies depending on the care you afford it and also the extent of use.
At some point you are likely to note a difference in the quality of sound and when such symptoms start presenting themselves, it is time to replace the turntable needle. The best thing is that you will not have to call a professional for this. Even if you are a first timer, with this step by step guide, you should be able to change the needle without much of a problem.
Step-By-Step Replacing A Turntable Needle:
The first thing that you ought to do is locate the position of the tonearm which is usually the parts that holds the stylus and the cartridge in place. Once you have identified this, you have to check if it is removable or not. If it is removable, the task will be much easier.
If the headshell of the tonearm is removable, start by gently unscrewing this from its position and once that has been done, you are able to now pull the stylus in the opposite direction from the head. This will allow you to have the cartridge together with the needle separated from all the other parts of the turntable.
In the event that the make and model of your turntable does not have the detachable tonearm, then all you will be required to do is pull out the cartridge straight out together with the needle. This should be done in the opposite direction of the tonearm.
Before we can go any further, you may want to make sure that you have a screwdriver, stylus force gauge, tweezers and a needle nose pliers. Once you have this you can carry on. Keep in mind that it is highly advised that if you are doing this for the first time, you change the cartridge as well but otherwise we will retain the focus on replacing the needle.
In this step you also want to make sure that you have the make and model of the needle cartridge, the needle as well as the make and model of the turntable. Usually the cartridge might or might not have its own number. Ensure that the information is very accurate since this is the same information that you will use to get the replacement part from an electronic or if you would prefer to order online.
Since in this case you will only be replacing the needle, grasp it between your index and thumb finger and pull it out. If you find this difficult, you can use the needle nose pliers to pull the needle free.
Unpack the replacement needle and make sure that you read the instructions that come with this. If there are no instructions, do not worry, all you have to is hold the head of the needle and very gently push it into place. This should snap right in. In the event that you would like to change the cartridge as well, this usually comes with a clear set of instructions. The tools mentioned earlier will come in handy when doing this.
When removing the needle, make sure that you do not pull out the wires or strip them. Doing this will require you to take the turntable to a specialist but if they slip off, you can push them back in using the tweezers.
Make sure that your hands are clean and oil free when handling the needle or the stylus so that you do not compromise on the quality of sound that it is able to offer.
After you are done replacing the needle, the next challenge is to put everything back together. If you detached the headshell, you have to make sure that you put it back correctly.
All that is left in this case is to align the needle. Depending on the make and model of the turntable, you can either use the overhang gauge to do this or if not that, then you can use the paper protractor.
It is not a tedious process and doing it around three times will make you a professional. Remember to make sure that you make contact with the needle itself as little as possible especially with the replacement option.