Record Player Needle Types: Advanced Guide

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Last updatedLast updated: June 03, 2021
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When thinking about spending a leisurely evening listening to your favorite records, you must account for how your record player needle-type will impact the sound quality of your songs. In reality, you seek an experience that will allow you to feel the music and take you back to a time where life had a smooth pace, rhythm, and an overall memorable impact on your life.

According to CNN, Vinyl records have had such a resurgence” during the past year that it is time for you to consider joining the masses. According to most reviews, the sturdiest model must be the DJ Direct Drive DJ Turntable from Pioneer, which, thanks to its reinforced construction, is the most reliable option out there.

When looking at the various aspects that can create an awesome night of music, there is a small piece of hardware that can make all the difference in the world. That minute piece of hardware is the record player needle, which plays an integral part in making the music listening experience one that you seek to replicate time after time. Let us take a look at various aspects of record player needles and what you have to account for in the process.

How to choose the right type of needle?

So how do you go about choosing the right type of needle? Actually, there are numerous characteristics to take into account when making such a decision. We are going to review various sets of those characteristics to ensure you are getting the best sound possible on your record player.

Material

Record Player Needle Types: Advanced GuideWhen researching the various materials used in different products, you have to determine how those materials will impact the use of your product. Each record player needle is attached to the turntable stylus. In regards to record player needles, they tend to come in one of two types:

  • Tipped diamond needles
  • Nude-diamond needles

Here’s a quick description of each of these needles. A tipped-diamond needle is comprised of a stylus that is metal, and the tip of the needle is a diamond. Here is a tipped-diamond needle for you to check out as it is a very well-received product. The nude-diamond needle is different in the fact that the stylus is entirely made up of a diamond. As important as the stylus is, it is also vital to account for the overall turntable as well. There are many well-rated turntables currently on the market, so as a consumer, you are very fortunate.  If you are just starting your turntable or DJ experience, there are many options to choose from, so have fun jumping into this new foray.

Shape

With all the options that you as a consumer have, it is important to account for various details when identifying the stylus or your choice for your turntable or record player. The following shapes are all available as a stylus on your hardware:

  • Spherical styli
  • Elliptical styli
  • Hyper elliptical styli
  • Micro-ridge styli

We will review each of these styles in further detail later in the article. With that said, you will have to make a number of decisions when identifying the type of musical experience you would like for your turntable to provide.

Record Player Needle Types: Advanced Guide

Size

When thinking about size, you need to determine your turntable or record player purpose. If you are seeking to be a DJ that wants to perform in a combative fashion while scratching, then the stylus must be shorter in length to deal with the level of stress exerted onto the needle.

If you were to use a longer stylus, then the aggressive scratching would wear out the needle in a quicker fashion.

Popular types of needles

Spherical

The spherical. or cone-shaped stylus is the most budget-friendly of the group. If you look closely at the needle, you will notice that it looks very similar to that of a ball-point pen. With that said, many in the music community state that using this type of needle will cause your records to sustain more wear over time. However, there are others that believe it will cause less wear on your albums.

Elliptical

The next stylus to discuss is the elliptical-shaped needle, which is also known as bi-radial. This shaped needle covers more area on the album due to its dual shape. The advantage of such an operation is that it tracks the record more closely to the way it was intended and has a better response overall. One of the concerns with this needle is that it tends to wear itself quicker than other styluses, but you can prolong its life with regular maintenance.

Hyper elliptical

The hyper elliptical stylus is a fine line needle that performs better at reading higher level frequencies while also being kinder to your albums in the form of less wear. The design overall is considered to be of very high quality, which makes the manufacturing process more difficult. Given that such is the case, these needles tend to be more expensive than the previous style mentioned above.

Micro-ridge

The micro-ridge stylus is recognized to be the most advanced stylus of the group. This particular stylus was made to offer top-level performance. They provide the closest thing to master discs when using a turntable. The stylus itself is considered to be the most durable and also is the kindest to your albums over time.

One of the concerns that have been shared by the album community is that it is so precise that it will read the smallest of record damage, dust, or other defects that might have compromised your record. Of all the styles, the micro-ridge is considered to be the most expensive of the group.

Final thoughts

As a music lover, you have a wide variety of options when seeking turntables, record players, and record player needles types. With that said, you are extremely fortunate to be living in a time when our musical experiences benefit from all the wonderful technological advances that have been introduced into the market in the past ten years.

All of these options, though, can get a tad overwhelming, but with a little bit of research, a little bit of asking questions, you will find the experience that will meet your needs. Your choices in this arena will lead you to have the opportunity to enjoy the gift of beautiful music anytime you want to enjoy it. It is one of life’s true gifts, and when enjoyed, there’s no place any of us would rather be.

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