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How to Buy a Cartridge

A stylus is commonly referred to as a needle; a cartridge is the body that supports the stylus.

The cartridge supplied with most turntables provides adequate performance for the casual listener, serious music lovers should upgrade to a better model. Most cartridges, or at least their needles, should be replaced approximately every 500 to 1000 hours of play time. Better cartridges last longer, sound better, and produce less wear on the grooves of your records. A worn cartridge can permanently damage your records. If you’re unsure about the condition, play on the safe side and replace it.

Cartridges come in two basic types: Moving Magnet and Moving Coil. Moving magnet cartridges are the most popular because of their relatively low cost and good performance. Moving-coil cartridges have long been prized by audiophiles for their exceptionally clear, spacious sound, they do cost more but the quality is noticeable.

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