F.A.Q. page

What is the right needle for my turntable, model # ABC-123?

Overview:  If you have a super old stereo that has a ceramic or crystal
           cartridge, say older than the 1970's, then matching a needle
           by model # is 95%+ reliable.  However, if you have a turntable
           1970's or newer with a magnetic cartridge, then searching for
           a needle by just the model # becomes only about 70% accurate.

OK Here's the problem. 

Most folks would naturally expect that all they have to do is provide
or search for the needle they require by simply having the  model # of
the turntable. However cross referencing the needle you want by model
# alone should only be a guide along your path to proper needle 
selection for the following reasons: 

A)      Sometimes a manufacturer changed the cartridge/needle combo 
          'mid production' without changing the model #. 
B)      Sometimes a turntable was sold without a cartridge at all thus
        forcing/allowing the customer to choose one at time of purchase.
        So the original customer could have chosen almost anything. 
C)      Sometimes someone changes the cartridge/needle combo sometime 
      after       the turntable/phonograph was originally purchased, and installs 
      almost anything. 

So any of the above conditions will destroy the effectiveness of a 
model to needle cross reference.  So here's the top secret inside scoop 
to get the right needle the 1st time. 

While selecting your needle by model often yields a correct cross reference
we highly recommend you probe deeper to avoid having to exchange your 
incorrect needle, here's how. 
A)       Look for any markings/numbers on the cartridge or needle and do 
            a search by that #. 
B)      Do a visual match to one of the needles on our site.
C)      Email us a CLEAR CLOSE-UP picture of your old needle; preferable at 
     a couple different angles.
D)      Snail mail us your old needle and or cartridge and we will match it for you.

How do I install my belt?
        visit http://www.turntablebelts.com/install.htm

Do you have the little lead wires that connect the cartridge to the head shell?
        We only have those as part of a head shell assembly.  $17.95 look under
        the ACCESSORIES heading at https://www.turntablebelts.com/orderform.htm

Will you be improving the website soon?
        YES! we are working hard behind the scenes to provide an all new easy to use
        website with the best cross reference tool and positive  needle ID
        verification before ordering. Check back in early 2004
What is the difference between a needle and a stylus?
            Nothing.  Manufacturers have long since used the two words 
            interchangeably.  It includes the tip, pin thingy (cantilever),
            and plastic housing which allows it to click or snap into the
            front/bottom of the cartridge (which is the box like thingy at
            the end of the tone arm).

Do I need to replace the whole cartridge?
    In almost all cases, NO.
    Unless your cartridge looks like its been run over by a steam 
    roller its virtually guaranteed to still be good. We only recommend 
    replacing it if:

A)  It's 'impossible' to find the right needle.  (In which case a more
    popular cartridge with a more easily replaced needle will serve you better)
B)      You want to do a substantial upgrade (for sound improvement) or a 
    substantial       downgrade to save money on a replacement needle.

My turntable turns slow, what gives?
            Usually the belt needs to be replaced.  Sometimes there is dried lubricant
    at the center spindle that binds and increases resistance on the rotation
    of the platter. See http://www.turntableneedles.com/install.htm for detailed
           instructions about how to remove the platter.

My turntable turns fast, what gives? 
    Sometime a belt that's too w-i-d-e will 'ride up' on the brass pulley spindle
    of the main drive motor.  You will need a narrower belt.

My motor is bad?
     Motors almost NEVER go bad.  See above two answers for other more likely causes.
     Also check voltage going to motor (if you're qualified) If motor doesn't turn 
     freely when turntable is UN-plugged then motor may need lubrication.

I have bad or distorted sound out of ONE CHANNEL only, other channel is good.
    several possibilities:
           A) Swap red and white connectors going from TT into amp (power off during this)
         if problem moves, then cause is in the TT if problem stays on same channel,
         problem is in amp.  If in older amp, turn off power and rotate all switches
         rapidly to 'clean' contacts and retry.
      B) Could be bad needle, buy new one from us:)
      C) Check tracking pressure and anti skate.

How do I adjust tracking pressure and anti skate?
        If you are lucky enough to have these two adjustments here's how:
        Move tracking force counter weight till needle suspends/hovers above
        record. then rotate numbers to zero. (this is zero grams pressure on record)
        then rotate weight AND numbers to recommended tracking pressure for your needle
        usually 1.5 to 3 grams is average.
        Then rotate anti skate to be equal.  That should get you there. If you still
        have adjustment related distortion then it may be time for a new needle.
        NOTE:    Anti skate is adjusted side to side pressure WITHIN GROOVE of record.
                 Tracking pressure is how hard the needle is pushing down inside the

What is the difference between spherical, conical, elliptical tips?
            Spherical and conical are the same.  They are basically a round tip.
            This is the standard type tip shape. Elliptical is an elongated tip
            kinda like a football.  This type is a significant upgrade from the
            conical type. It has a much more efficient contact with the groove
            of the record. Other names like FineLine, Aliptical, Stereohedron,
            Hyperelliptical, Hyperbolic, Biradial are are generally even better
            than elliptical tips.