How to Replace a Turntable Needle

How to Replace a Turntable Needle

August 19, 2019 67 By Kailee Schamberger


How to Replace a Turntable Needle. Whether you’re a professional DJ or simply
a vinyl enthusiast, knowing how to install a fresh needle will help protect your music. You will need A replacement needle A steady
hand A replacement cartridge A screwdriver A pair of needle-nose pliers Tweezers and
a stylus force gauge. Step 1. Examine your turntable and determine if your
head shell or cartridge carrier—that is, the arm that holds the needle cartridge—is
removable. If so, take it off. If you’ve never replaced your needle before,
you might want to replace the needle cartridge as well. Step 2. Determine the make and model of your turntable
and needle cartridge (which may or may not have its own number). Find the appropriate replacement parts by
taking this information to an electronics store or using it to order online. Step 3. If you’re replacing just the needle, remove
the old one by pulling it out by hand. If it’s difficult to remove, use needle-nose
pliers. Step 4. Read the instructions for the new needle. If it came with none, simply insert it into
the cartridge by holding the top of the needle and very gently easing it in. Step 5. If you’re replacing your entire cartridge,
the new one should come with instructions. If it doesn’t, simply use a small screwdriver
and pliers to remove the old cartridge from your cartridge carrier or head shell. Step 6. Remove the needle from your new cartridge
before installing it by gently pulling it out with your fingers. Make sure your hands are clean and free of
oil. Step 7. Install your new cartridge using the screws
and nuts provided. Don’t fasten the nuts securely at this point—you
want a bit of room to make adjustments. Step 8. Use needle-nose pliers or tweezers to slide
the head shell wires over the pins on the cartridge. The wires should be different colors, and
should match the colors of the pins—red to red, blue to blue. Be careful when attaching the wires! If you strip the wires, or pull them out entirely,
you’ll have to take your turntable to a repair shop! Step 9. Insert the needle back into the cartridge
by holding the top of the needle and very gently easing it in. Step 10. If you removed the head shell or cartridge
carrier, reinstall it at this time. Step 11. Next, align the needle. If your turntable came with an overhang gauge,
align the needle tip with the markings on the gauge. If it came with a paper protractor, follow
the instructions, which usually involve aligning the needle and cartridge marks on the protractor. If your cartridge doesn’t have square sides,
align the cantilever–the tiny metal shaft that holds the needle–with the guideline
underneath it. Step 12. Once you’ve achieved proper alignment, tighten
the nuts securing your cartridge to the cartridge carrier. Do not over-tighten them, or you could crack
or distort the cartridge. Step 13. Begin to set the tracking force. First, set your table’s anti-skating dial–usually
a small knob next to the arm–to zero. Place the cueing lever in the down position. Adjust the counterweight on the arm so that
your arm is parallel with the platter of your turntable. Step 14. If your turntable has a built-in tracking
force scale, adjust the dial to the appropriate tracking force. Refer to your owner’s manual for the appropriate
tracking force for your turntable. Step 15. If your turntable doesn’t have a built-in
scale, you’ll need to use a stylus force gauge to measure and set your turntable’s
tracking force. The stylus force gauge will have instructions
on proper use. Step 16. Set the anti-skating knob to the same setting
as your tracking force. Step 17. If your tone arm has provisions for setting
the arm height and azimuth, do so. Arm height should be set so that the arm is
parallel to the platter’s surface when a record is playing. Azimuth should be set so that your needle
is perpendicular to the record. Not all turntables have arm height or azimuth
settings, so if yours doesn’t, don’t worry about it. Step 18. Load up your favorite record, sit back, and
enjoy the smooth sound from your new needle! Did you know The most expensive turntable
in the world is the Continuum Caliburn, which costs $90,000–fully loaded, it’s $112,000!