Need a Replacement Needle?
If you know for sure that you need a new needle please use this form to send us a message.
We will email you back asking for clear and well-lit photos of your old needle. Please have them ready. NB Needles usually cost between $35-$60 and we can find most replacements.
We can SMS you if that's easier - let us know if you'd prefer this.
The reason we ask for images is that most needles are after-market (not made by the original company anymore) and model numbers are about as useful as tits on a bull - see photo :) If you don't know what you need, please read on for a trove of stylus-related information.
Wanna start Fresh?
Do you have a removable cartridge? If you see two little screws on top of your headshell (see below for terms) and four little wires on the back, then you probably do. This means that for the princely sum of $69 you can buy an Ortofon OM5S Cart & Stylus.
Replacing the cartridge and stylus great way to refresh your machine, especially if your current cartridge is rather old..
Ortofon is a great Danish brand; they have been making needles for over 70 years.
The OM 5S is a moving magnetic cartridge (MM) with a spherical shaped stylus that provides balanced and distortion-free playback for general purpose applications.
Use the form above if you would like to order one of these. They can be a little tricky to assemble and align on the headshell and we are MORE THAN HAPPY to do this for you. But if you have some needle-nose pliers, a small screwdriver and even a semblance of manual dexterity, you will be fine.
There is another world of needle cuts above and beyond spherical which most people will not care about. But if you are the kind of person who listens to the white noise in the empty grooves of the records with equal fascination to the music, then go to our Hi-Fi stylus page if you want to step things up to the next level - and there are quite a few …
Why Don't We Sell Online?
Model numbers are very unreliable due to the fact that most headshell assemblies have removable/replaceable cartridges and most replacement needles are after-market and so have different codes and names.
So, because there is vast room for confusion and error we would rather talk to your personally, over the phone or via email and make sure you get what you need first time around. Before you do, please scroll down the page as we have answered, in great detail, many FAQS.
And yes, we do mail-order. Full in stock accessory list here. But before we continue; a community service announcement ...
Spherical vs Elliptical vs Shibata vs …
To put is as briefly as possible, a spherical stylus is the simplest shape, the cheapest and the hardest to stuff up. It also touches the walls of your grooves the least, so on the one hand you get the ‘worst’ sound quality but you do the least possible harm to your vinyl. These will be perfectly fine for most people!
Also, take the word ‘worst’ here with a grain of salt, because the sound it still amazing even with a spherical. The thing is, when you move up the line to elliptical and then the other cuts, yes you will get better sound, and yes, can can play older worn records and get ‘new’ sounding audio off them again, but things like the alignment of your cartridge become SUPER IMPORTANT: if you do it incorrectly you can cause more damage than it is worth.
Above and beyond stylus shape is the final frontier - moving coil cartridges. These flip the inside mechanics of the regular cartridge in which the vibrations of the needle move a magnet through a coil to make the electricities.
Moving coils are delicate, expensive and only for the completely audio-insane. Best way to experience one is in someone else’s house, drinking someone else whiskey, listening to someone else’s records - idea being that they have paid for it all :)
If any of this remotely interests you, head over to our HiFi page
CSA : PG Recommended
Did your or someone else's progeny destroy your stylus? Fear not, this is not at all uncommon. In fact it is so common that you may consider your child as part of an elite squad of stylus destroyers. To commemorate the tears of both despair and joy (from having a budding music lover in the clan) we have a created a celebratory star for the youngster to wear with pride. Simply click on the image to enlarge, save to your desktop and print.
Every turntable has a tone arm, at the business end of that is the 'headshell assembly' (see image below with funky coloured outlines): this is comprised of the headshell and a cartridge (cart) into which the "needle assembly" (commonly referred to as the needle or stylus) sticks.
On less expensive turntables the headshell assembly is permanently attached and so you MUST find the correct replacement needle.
BUT 90% of home HI-FI turntables have a removable headshell and 90% of those have a standard "universal" collar fitting, which means that in most cases you can easily remove the entire headshell assembly to replace the needle OR the entire cartridge. All carts and needles look slightly different so the below images are simple guides.
Standard Half-Inch Mount Headshell Assembly
ADC Half-Inch Mount Headshell - 7 pins (female)
Standard "Universal" Tone-Arm Bayonet - 4 pins (male)
Do You Need to Replace Your Stylus?
We always, always, err on the side of caution. For the sake of $50 - $70 dollars, better safe than sorry is the law of the land. So if you have inherited or bought a deck, why not start fresh? Then you can count the 600-800 odd hours of play you get from each needle.
BUT, if you want to know more, worn needles have telltale signs.
This whole thing is what people mean when they refer to the 'needle' or 'stylus'.
FIRST visually inspect the tip and make sure there is still a bit diamond left on the end of the cantilever (the tiny tube thing). If there is, woo. THEN play a good condition record (don't worry, you are not going to kill a record by playing it once with an old needle). If the sound is good, you are okay. If the sound is bad, that's a pretty solid sign that you might need to replace your needle (as long as you know your sound system is working in the first place). Yeah, pretty high tech stuff here :) But you have to love a technology this simple.
ALSO if the cartridge it sitting nice and high up off the record you have a bunch of life left in the thing because old/worn/abused cantilevers get weak and don't support cartridges as well so they sit very low near the vinyl, sometimes even touching it - this is very bad). If this is the case you should check the weight of your tone arm (if you have an adjustable tone arm that is) and if the weight is okay and your cart is still sitting low, think seriously about replacing your needle.
If your cantilever tube is bent to one side you have ignored physics, the little anti-skating wheel and most likely the instructions. You also need a new needle, and please ask us to explain about anti-skating; we are here to help and it's not rocket surgery :)
YES we can almost certainly find you a replacement stylus - send your details through here and we'll email you back asking for some photos of your needle, cartridge and headshell.
NOTE: Model numbers are very unreliable due to the fact that most headshells have replaceable cartridges and most replacement needles are after-market and so have different codes and names, so in-focus and well-lit photos are essential to determine what you need.
NOTE 2: We do not have our email on the website so that robots don't spam us but just use the form to contact us and we'll get back to you 'real fast'.
Should You Upgrade Your Cart?
As you may have read above, to replace the cartridge you need to have a removable one,
Usually you can remove the whole headshell (easiest)
Sometimes the headshell is fixed (trickier but doable - don't rip your wires out)
Sadly, on cheaper decks you are stuck with the cart you have got :(
Basically, anything with 2 little screws is removable.
So, should you just replace your needle or upgrade your cart/needle? For most people, a standard cart and needle will do the job however, the beauty of this music reproduction technology is that you can upgrade 1) if your speakers are fairly nice and 2) if your ears start suggesting you might like to.
It’s not a decision most will make (about 5% of you, we reckon) and you would probably want to have more than the basic set up to get any value out of a needle upgrade. In our experience, you will use a normal needle for a while and will be fine, but if you find yourself thinking about even better, clearer sound and reading up on how and why you can get it, and terms like ‘clarity’ and ‘definition’ mean something to you, then you will probably want to consider an upgrade.
Be aware that there is not only a law of diminishing returns there is, there is alos a pretty deep rabbit hole - it does have rather sturdy ledges on the way down though - so fear not.
For a great workhorse home HiFi cart & needle we the Ortofon OM range. We keep the OM5E in stock.
The next step up from your standard cartridge is around the $200 - $300 price point. The is generally the case across all brands. We recommend the Ortofon 2M blue. One of our buddies is one of Australia's best producers and he raves about this number so we are going with his ears because we are all half deaf from DJing :D.
The needle is arguably the most important part of your set up! Think about it, this is where the action happens. People often make the mistake of leaving their stylus on until it wears out. This is not good. The more worn your needle, the more damage it's doing to your wax every time you play it.
In addition to regularly replacing your needle(s), we also strongly recommend that you get yourself a little bottle of stylus cleaner and clean your needle regularly between plays.
Now that we've had our little rant, regarding replacement needles, we keep a limited range of the best styli in stock. For DJs: Ortofon OM & Shure N447 and as stated above, for home use we recommend the Ortofon OM PRO S cartridge. We also keep a select range of the more common home Hi-Fi needles in stock.
However, we can (and do) order most any other needle from our local supplier with a short turnaround.
If you are not sure what you need or want, please or do not hesitate to call us on 02 9380 8223. We would love to guide you through this process to make sure your you get the right needle and that your beloved vinyl is being cared for and played in the best possible way. We are more than happy to do mail order around Australia.
We can get almost any home HI-FI replacement needle, but, be aware that turntable make and model number IS different to the cartridge make and model number.
Some players will sport the original cartridge, however many, many of the the cartridges will have been replaced at some stage - or even at the time of original purchase, as many turntables do not actually come with a headshell assembly or were loaded up by different suppliers.
This is not a problem but it means that along with your turntable make and model number you will need to know your cartridge make and model number.
Contact us with whatever info you have we'll track down your specific stylus and get back to you in no time with availability and price information.
If you want a replacement (which is often simpler and not much more expensive) we recommend and stock the Audio-Technica AT95e (the green one pictured in the gallery here). It is a very reliable, great-sounding, elliptical stylus made by the same company that makes a hand-made moving coil $7000 stylus. I.e., they don't mess around.
About 80% of old (and new) players have a standard fitting half-inch mount headshell (left). The circled parts are where the headshell plugs into the tone arm (below)
If we can't determine the make and model of your machine or cartridge then we can, in most instances, replace your entire cartridge (see bottom for terms).
If you go this option, the cart and stylus come together and it is only marginally more expensive to buy both than a merely a replacement stylus.
This is a tone arm. Note the collar at the bottom of the image. This is where the back of the Headshell (circled in red above) fits in.
As we have said, most turntables have this fitting which means that, in the worst case, you can bring in (or send) your whole Headshell assembly for us to sort you out.
Here's a handy guide to setting up your tone arm correctly; but if this is too much for you, ask us, we can show you.
Please note that it is vital to get the correct stylus (needle) for your cartridge. They are all different and virtually NONE of them are interchangeable.
This might sound dumb, but back in the day every company made their own needles and due to the awesome longevity of both vinyl and turntables, this non-cross-compatibility is locked in.
As we've said, don't worry, we can usually find your replacement needle but even if we can't, replacing the cartridge is not expensive and recommended every 10 years anyway.