When is it time to change a record player needle?
When you bring home a used system
You should always change the needle whenever you buy a used record player. Don’t trust the person you’re buying it from to have done it for you. A bad needle can destroy your records, so it’s best practice to just change it preemptively.
When the sound quality decreases
If your records start to sound off, one of the first troubleshooting steps is to replace the needle. You should change your record player needle if you experience:
- Distorted sounds
- Pops and crackles
- Muffled high notes
- Distorted vocals
How to replace a record player needle
Step 1: Identify the Needle Type
The first step of changing your record player needle is to find out what type of needle you need. If you brought your record player brand new, then you might be able to find the needle type in your manufacturer paperwork. Otherwise, look up your cartridge, and you’ll be able to find and order your needle.
Step 2: Remove the Cartridge from the Tonearm
To change the record player needle or stylus, you need to remove the cartridge from the tonearm. This is usually a simple process, and changes between different turntable models.
Step 3: Replace the Needle
Pop the old needle out of the cartridge and pop the new one in. Simple.
Step 4: Reassemble
Just put the cartridge back together with the tonearm the way you got it off.
Step 5: Check your Setup
Use a couple of records to test out your system to make sure your needle is attached properly. Congrats, you just learned how to change a record player needle.