Choosing The Right Turntable Cartridges


Vinyl records have increased in popularity in recent years with many people buying records and turntables to listen to them.  If you have a turntable and a record collection you need to consider your turntable cartridge.  The turntable cartridge is important not only to the playing of records but also to their maintenance.

The Importance Of Cartridges

The cartridge is an essential part of the turntable as it houses the needle which reads the grooves in the vinyl record.  While the plastic records of today are tougher than the shellac ones of old a cartridge that exerts too much pressure can still damage it.  The quality of the audio can also be affected if you do not have a suitable cartridge.

Assess The Fitted Cartridge

When you buy a turntable it will come with a cartridge already fitted in most cases.  The cartridge that comes with the turntable might be fine to use, depending on how much you paid for the system.  However, if might be best that you assess the cartridge and possibly buy a new one which is better suited to your listening needs.

Moving Magnet Or Moving Cartridge

When you look at cartridges you will find that some are classed as moving magnet and others as moving cartridge.  The moving magnet is the most common type of cartridge and offers a simple design which manufacturers can easily perfect.  The moving cartridge or moving coil choices are more expensive as they have a harder design to perfect.

Choosing between these types of cartridges might not be as hard as it seems.  One of the problems with moving coil cartridges is that they are not widely compatible because they require a higher voltage to work.  If you are going to get a moving coil cartridge you might have to purchase an external amplifier.

The Weight Of The Cartridge

The weight of the cartridge you choose is essential as it cannot be too heavy.  A heavy cartridge reduces the lifespan of your records and could cause scratches making them unreadable.  The ideal maximum weight for a cartridge should be 7.5 grams with the ideal weight being 5.5 grams.

Research Before Buying

If you see a cartridge that you think will work you need to research it.  Researching the cartridge will help you determine what sound quality you will get and if it is worth the price.  Having a price range for your cartridges is important as you do not want to spend more on the cartridge than the turntable.

A general rule is to have a cartridge that costs about half the price of the turntable.  If you choose a very expensive cartridge to put onto a cheap turntable you may face compatibility issues.  There are some cartridges that offer smooth sounds while others give better flourishes to high-end notes; this is something that only research will be able to tell you.

There are a number of points that you need to consider when buying a turntable cartridge.  You should not only consider the price, but also the weight as this affects your records lifespan.  The type of cartridge you get can also affect what you can use it for.