- When should I replace my phono
Assuming you are not looking to upgrade performance,
the only three reasons for replacing an entire cartridge is if a channel should
go dead, if it develops an un-solvable hummm, or if it will no longer hold the
- What can I expect from a cartridge
- All cartridges sound different. This is due mainly to
variations in frequency response, distortion, and microphonics. These produce
different forms of colorations to the sound. Moving iron cartridges tend to
sound more full and "warm" in the mid bass registers. Moving coil cartridges
are more transparent and offer the greatest harmonic integrity. Moving magnet
designs offer the best compromise.
- The other issue is the stylus. The
stylus will influence the overall consistency of the sound. This is really
where the cost factor plays an important part. Styli that track difficult
passages without breaking up require low mass cantilevers and line contact
styli. these are expensive to make.
- Are Moving coil cartridges really
- Though all moving coil designs will give you a glimpse
of the magical sound of vinyl, not all designs are the same. Large variations
in frequency response and large amounts of wire(to make hi outputs) can mar the
true potential of a moving coil. The low output MC's are the best but will
require a very quiet phono preamp for the best match.
- Think of the ideal
cartridge being a single turn of wire in a strong magnetic field. This ideal
however, will not make enough signal so there must be many turns of wire to
make a decent generator. The more wire, the more interaction between turns, and
that is the compromise that mars the soundstage.For the ultimate vinyl
experience, a low output moving coil design is the best choice.
- How do I match a cartridge with my
There are several issues here. The first is purely
technical, the cartridge compliance must match the tonearm mass for proper
performance on warps. All of our hi fi and audiohile cartridges are designed to
match the most popular tonearms. Many inexpensive "DJ" turntables use fairly hi
mass tonearms, and should be used only with DJ cartridges.
- Cost is an
issue. Unless you bought a used turntable of hi value, it seems ill advised to
spend more on a cartridge then you did on the turntable. This is especially
true if your turntable has little or no specifications supplied with it. If you
know the performance parameters of your turntable and tonearm well, then you
are qualified to make your own decision here.
- Will any cartridge work with these
new straight DJ tonearms?
Straight tonearms are a re-appearance
of the "underhung" tonearm designed in the late 40's for portable and miniature
They are intended for Scratch DJ applications. By design, the
needle is more secure in the groove during backwards movement of the platter-
But at a cost.
These designs should only use conical or spherical
styli and the entire line of sight from pivot to stylus must remain straight.
DO NOT OFFSET THE CARTRIDGE. The underhung tonearm exhibits a maximum
tracking error of 18° . (By comparison, a conventional offset arm exhibits
<2° of error). KAB does not reccomend these turntables for home
Warning: Use of elliptical styli in DJ
straight tonearms may do harm to the record being played. Use only conical or
- Can a stereo cartridge be used for
Yes. any stereo cartridge can be wired for Mono by
connecting the (+) terminals together and the (-) terminals together. Though
for the best mono reproduction, it is better to actively mix the two signals
further down the line if possible.
- Can a stereo cartridge be used for
vertical cut records?
Yes. Any stereo cartridge will retreive
vertically cut information. To do this, locate the channel that doesn't have
the ground strap on it. Now reverse the two connections + to - and - to +. Now,
strap the 2 channels together either at the cartridge or with a "Y" cord at the
stereo. Now, the lateral information will cancel and the vertical information
- Can I solder directly to the
No. Never solder directly to a cartridge, for it
will destroy the cartridge. Always use connectors to attach to the pins on the
back of a cartridge.
- If I have the Pfanstiehl Tetrad Part
Number, do I still need to get a quote?
No. The price of tetrads
is fixed. Just select the part number, click FINISH and add it to your
- My Stanton Cartridge is not listed.
Is there are substitute?
Click here for the Stanton
interchangeablility list. There is a good chance there is a substitute.
- What's the difference between Hi Fi
and DJ cartridges?
The difference is all in the stylus
Hi Fi Styli are designed to track lightly giving good performance
while being kind to your records.
DJ styli are designed for rougher
handling, back cueing and to stand up to the rigors of the club environment.
For home use, Hi Fi styli will always give the best sound.
- Can I replace a crystal cartridge
with a ceramic cartridge?
You can if the tracking force is the
same. Our ceramic cartridges track at under 6 grams. I have successfully
replaced the cartridges in many RCA 45 rpm players this way. The audio level
will be a little lower, but that has never proved to be a problem. The biggest
problem is with older sets that need to track heavier. I can only reccomend
trying to find the original cartridge or somehow reworking the tonearm