When you listen to your favorite records, it’s common for the needle on your record player to wear down.
This can cause distortion in sound quality and make records skip more than they normally do.
You may also notice that the stylus (the bracket that holds the needle) needs replacing.
There are two ways to change a needle on a record player: changing the stylus or changing the cartridge.
The easiest method is to replace just the stylus because it doesn’t require any tools or experience with electronics; however, if there is damage to your cartridge, then you will need to replace both parts of your record player at once.
To find out which option best suits your needs, keep reading below!
How to Replace the Needle on Record Player
If you are a DJ and you want to protect your music, know how to install a fresh needle.
Or if you just like vinyl, learn how to install a fresh needle so that it does not damage the records.
Step 1: Remove the outer casing.
Examine your turntable. If you can take off the headshell or the cartridge carrier, do this now.
If you have never replaced your needle before, you might want to replace the needle cartridge as well.
Step 2: Find out what make and model it is.
Find the make and model of your turntable and needle cartridge.
Find the replacement parts for your device by taking this information to an electronics store or ordering online.
Step 3: Take out the old needle.
If you need to replace the needle, remove the old one. If it is difficult to remove, use needle-nose pliers.
Step 4: Replace the needle.
Read the instructions for the needle. If you didn’t get any, insert it into the cartridge by holding onto just a little bit of it and gently easing it in.
Step 5: Remove the old cartridge
If you want to replace your cartridge, the new one should come with instructions. Otherwise, use a small screwdriver and pliers to remove the old cartridge from your cartridge carrier or headshell.
Step 6: Remove the new needle
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 the new cartridge
Install your new cartridge by using the screws and nuts. But don’t fasten the nuts securely. You will need to make adjustments after you try it out.
Step 8: Rewire
To install a headshell, use needle-nose pliers or tweezers. The wires should be different colors and match the colors of the pins—red to red, blue to blue.
Be careful when attaching the wires! If you pull them out or strip the wires, then you will need to take your turntable to a repair shop.
Step 9: Insert the new needle
Insert the needle into the cartridge again, holding the top of the needle and gently pushing it in.
Step 10: Put the shell back on or put the carrier back in.
You need to put the headshell or cartridge carrier back on right now.
Step 11: Make sure the needle is straight.
Next, put the needle into the turntable. If your turntable came with a paper protractor, you will need to follow the instructions that come with it.
If your cartridge is not square, you can align it with the lines on the underside of the metal shaft that holds the needle.
Step 12: Tighten the nuts
Once the alignment is correct, tighten the nuts that are holding your cartridge in place. Do not over-tighten them or you could break or distort the cartridge.
Step 13: Adjust the tracking force
Put the arm down on the table. Put it at zero speed. Put the needle on the record. Adjust so that it is balanced with the turntable’s platter.
Step 14: Adjust the knob
Some turntables have a scale that shows how much force is being used to play the records. If your turntable has this, then adjust the dial so it matches the scale.
In your owner’s manual, you will find the right amount of pressure to put on a turntable.
Step 15: Take a measurement.
If you don’t have a built-in scale, you will need to use a stylus force gauge to measure and set the tracking force.
Step 16: Set the knob
To make the needle move to the right, set the anti-skating knob to a setting that is the same as your tracking force.
Step 17: Set the tonearm
If your arm has a setting for height and azimuth, use it. Make the arm just as high as the platter when playing a record.
And make sure that you have set the arm so that it is perpendicular to the record.
If your turntable doesn’t have arm height or azimuth adjustments, don’t worry.
Because not all turntables have these features, don’t be concerned if yours doesn’t.
Step 18: Relax and enjoy the music.
When you put on your favorite record, sit back and enjoy the sound.
And don’t forget to keep your stylus clean. Dust can build up on it, which will affect the sound of your record.
The needle is the most important part of a record player.
A new needle can make old records sound like new ones.
This is what makes it worth paying for a new replacement needle.
You can find these at electronic, audio, and record stores and online.
Always remember that you need to be very careful while using your turntable.
And if you are not sure about how to do any of the steps, contact an expert who knows what he or she is doing.
Otherwise, you might end up damaging your turntable or injuring yourself in the process of attempting to fix it!