We are ranking our top 5 picks of hot selling DJ equipment, which is a must-see for DJs who can’t decide which cartridges will level up their mixing tables! The 3rd edition of the top 5 most popular ranking series is [Record Needle/Cartridge Edition]. I’m going to show and compare some fantastic needles that were ranked the hottest selling equipment in 2020.
What are record needles and cartridges?
First of all, what are record needles and cartridges? Before that, it may be better to understand how vinyl records and record players make sounds.
1. Fine grooves are carved on the analog record discs.
If you have actually touched the record, you may have seen it, but the record has fine grooves on the surface. The width of the groove is less than 1mm. One long groove starts near the outer rings and ends close to the center of the record disc. One small ridge is called a sound groove, and the R (right) channel is encoded on the outer groove wall, and the L (left) channel is on the inner groove wall.
2. The record needle traces the groove of the record disc and produces a vibration (sound).
The tip of the record needle traces the groove and it makes the needle tip vibrate slightly. This vibration is transmitted as an electrical signal into the record needle. Some types, materials, and tip shapes of the needle can enter deep into the groove to reproduce a high-resolution sound or prevent the record playback position from sliding (needle jumping) when DJing. Also, if you listen carefully while playing a record, you may hear a slight noise. This is called ‘needle talk’, and it proves that the needle is actually picking up the sound.
3. Increase the sound signal with an amplifier or an equalizer via a record player.
The weak electric signal is first sent from the record needle to the tone arm of the record player and then to the record player, and can be sent to a dedicated amplifier or equalizer. It is a mechanism to increase the electric signals that can reach the destination that will then be heard from the speaker.
The above are only the main points, but I think you could see that the record needle is an important part in the first step of how the sound starts from a vinyl record. In this ranking, I’m going to introduce the most sought-out record needles/cartridges in the market! There are various types of cartridges for purposes such as DJing, at-home listening, and even changing cartridges to match the music genres . Let’s discover the perfect record needle for your budget and purpose!
5 Most Popular Record Needles and Cartridges
A set of 2 record needles for DJ, the Concorde MkII CLUB cartridges from the ORTOFON’s Concorde series. In addition to this model, we have a lineup of models such as the MIX, DJ, SCRATCH, and DIGITAL, and as the model name suggests, they are tuned for excellent performance for every time they’re played. The Concorde MkII CLUB is just for DJing in clubs. The needle tip is elliptical, which is the only one in this series, and it has a gorgeous output at a high 8 mV. It is sold individually as well, but it is nice if you purchase it as a set of 2. It also comes with a brush for cleaning the needle tip and a hard case.
At no. 4, the MP-110 is from the MP series of NAGAOKA, a manufacturer loved by audiophiles and DJs as a Japanese record manufacturer for a long time! NAGAOKA’s original MP type (moving permalloy) cartridge, which is different from the general MM type (moving magnet) cartridge, has more flexible movement in the needle tip which is called a cantilever, and can produce a delicate yet high-quality playback. The MP type can express a relatively finer sound than the MM type. The sound features of the MP series are great for any genre, so it is recommended not only for listening at home, but also for DJs who work with multiple genres. For those who purchase their first record needles, the MP-110H, which is the set of the NAGAOKA headshell and the
The latest model, which was released at the end of 2020, is a featured cartridge that has gained attention among the DJs ever since its launch. The VNL MM type cartridge produces the powerful DJ-like sound that emphasizes the beat, and it can be a new standard to replace the SHURE / M44G and M44-7. As of the end of April 2021, the limited set for the first arrival, which includes a cartridge and 3 replacement needles, is available at a great value. Each of the 3 replacement needles has a ‘I’, ‘II’, or ‘III’ Roman numerals printed on the side. ‘I’ has the softest feel, and the larger the number, the harder it feels due to the difference in suspension mechanism including the damper. In addition, it is uniquely designed to help to prevent needle jumping. I recommend these needles to DJs who perform intense scratching and showy back queuing, as well as cueing the beat.
A cartridge for all genres, the OMEGA from ORTOFON’s long-selling OM series. It is a very popular record needle that has excellent playback ability that you may not imagine from its reasonable price. The OMEGA can be easily used for home audio and even for music lovers new to vinyl. The OMEGA uses an elliptical needle tip, which has excellent tracing ability compared to the basic spherical needle. It faithfully reproduces music. The output voltage is 4 mV, which is ideal for listening, but it can also be used for DJing depending on the tuning. You can customize the needles with the Stylus PRO S from the OM series and the Stylus Qbert for the OM Q-Bert with the same standard needle tip, or change out the head shell and lead wire to create your own favorite sound.
This is a replacement needle that can be used for the SHURE / M44G and M44-7 cartridges, which have been sorely missed by DJs all over the world since discontinued in 2018. The RS-44-100B needle can produce the sound of the gorgeous synth pad without making it blurry as well as the powerful sound comparable to that of the original needle. The DJs who have used the SHURE needles will be satisfied with this ability. It sounds interesting to compare it with other SHURE / M44G and M44-7 compatible needles such as the NAGAOKA / GD 63-44G and JICO / J44 series.
Record Needle/Cartridge Hot Selling & Popularity Comparison
|name||RS-44-100B||OMEGA||VNL||MP-110||Concorde MkII CLUB|
|Tracking Force||3.5g||1.75 g||4g||1.5～2.0g||3g|
|Replacement Needle||-||Stylus OMEGA||-||JN-P110||Stylus MkII CLUB|
There are many manufacturers and types of record needles, and it is not easy to choose, but you can choose the perfect stylus for you when you consider the purpose, budget, and optimal play to keep you scratching discs for hours.
Check out the following pages if you are interested in our other top-selling DJ equipment here at Sound House.
⇨ Best Sellers Ranking