Frequently Asked Questions About Astatic Turntable Cartridge and Needle Combos
If your vinyl records don't sound as good as they used to, you may need a new turntable needle or cartridge. A fresh turntable stylus can keep your sound crisp and preserve your vinyl. An Astatic turntable cartridge and needle combo might help meet your needs.How does a turntable needle work?
When you place a classic vinyl record on the spinning plate called the turntable, the record turns. A needle that sits on the end of a long arm is carefully fitted into the grooves of the record. As the record revolves, the needle, or stylus, passes over the grooves and picks up vibrations. These vibrations travel through the Astatic needle and cartridge before going through the arm that extends over the record. From there, the amplifier makes your music audible. In short, the Astatic needle helps turn the record grooves into the sound you hear when you play your album.Why should you refresh your Astatic turntable needle and cartridge?
For a turntable operation, the Astatic needle is the heart of the system. As the point of contact with your vinyl records, your needle is the part that first transmits your record's sound. Even the highest-quality Astatic needles wear down over time and need replacement.
- Optimal sound: The sharper and fresher your Astatic needles, the more accurately the needle can read the grooves on the record and turn them into sound.
- Minimize skipping: Needles that have become dulled over time tend to skip over and between record grooves. Groove skipping can cause your vinyl record to become damaged.
- Hiss and distortion: If your record clearly demonstrates sound distortions such as hissing, popping, crackles, or fuzziness, your Astatic needle may need replacement.
- Compatibility: Make sure the Astatic cartridge you are considering is compatible with your turntable's tonearm. Most turntables use a standard cartridge, but it is always advisable to check the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Mass: The cartridge mass is an important consideration. To track correctly in your record's grooves, the cartridge mass needs to be carefully calibrated. The cartridge should press down enough not to skip but not with so much force that the grooves are damaged.
- Stylus: Is the stylus included in the package? Most needle and cartridge combos include the stylus, but it is a good idea to check.