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Gramophone stylus and playback quality.

Listening to music on a turntable is a true ritual, which is an additional attraction for vinyl enthusiasts. The “black disc” has a unique sound, but the quality of the sound is not solely attributed to it – the turntable, especially the cartridge with the mounted stylus, also plays a significant role in the listening experience.

How does a turntable stylus work?

The cartridge with the stylus is located on the turntable’s tonearm, the distinctive arm that is placed on the record when we want to listen to music. The tonearm can be straight, S-shaped, or J-shaped, and its construction and stability determine the reception and transmission of vibrations from the stylus to the cartridge. The stylus is the part that comes into contact with the vinyl record. When the turntable is activated, the stylus reads the signals recorded in the record’s grooves, causing it to vibrate. These vibrations are then transformed into sound, which emanates from the speakers connected to the playback device.

What type of stylus is the best?

The turntable stylus must be compatible with the cartridge; otherwise, it will not be able to reproduce music. The stylus is sharp, with a small diamond tip, and it can have one of three shapes: elliptical, spherical, or linear. The most expensive and highly regarded styluses are those with a linear shape. However, in home conditions, the other two types of styluses also perform well and do not significantly degrade the sound quality.

Should the turntable stylus be replaced?

The durability of the stylus can vary depending on the brand and type of shape. After a certain period, it needs to be replaced – the manufacturer provides the working time for a particular model. A worn-out stylus can damage the vinyl record, so it is better to install a new one in advance, especially since the replacement process is not particularly complicated, and it can be done independently on most turntables.

Anti-skating calibration record

The turntable stylus must exert the right amount of pressure on the vinyl record, and it should be precisely positioned in the center of the groove. However, as the record rotates, the centrifugal force changes its position, causing disturbances. This is mitigated by the anti-skating record, available in XDiSC‘s offering, which helps calibrate the turntable so that the stylus moves only along the central part of the groove. Without anti-skating, the stylus becomes more susceptible to misalignment and damage.