Is Your Old Cartridge Still Okay?

The answer, in a nutshell, is probably not.

In the hi-fi world you'll find a lot of audiophiles who are into vintage turntables, vintage amplifiers, vintage speakers and more. But you won't find a lot of people getting excited about old cartridges. That's because phono cartridges and styli weren't meant to last forever like other hi-fi components.

You probably know that needles get worn after a couple of thousand hours of play. And they should be replaced or else they can really ruin your precious records.

But after twenty or thirty years, cartridges--and not just the needle--can develop other problems. The tiny suspensions inside can dry out. The body of the cartridges can develop tiny cracks. Stylus cleaning products can work their way up the needle and gum up the insides over time.

At Tenacious Sound, a lot of people come in and ask us about their old turntables that have been in their attics for decades. They say "Oh, the cartridge was fine the last time I used it, so I don't need it replaced." We also have plenty of people coming in asking for replacement styli for their ancient phono cartridges. Sources for replacement needles are becoming difficult to find, and in many cases it's just a little more money to buy a new cartridge.

We're not saying this to sell you another cartridge, one that you probably don't need. We offer plenty of affordable cartridges from companies such as Ortofon, Denon, Grado and more. Many of them cost less than $100.

Your record collection is worth that, isn't it?