While the turntable is the main component that should provide the best conditions for playing the record, the cartridge has a huge influence on the overall sound. Depending on your style, you can choose from spherical styli for optimum tracking performance, or elliptical styli that achieve the highest possible sound quality.
The most important factor when choosing a new cartridge should be the intended application. Whether you plan to perform with analog vinyl or a digital vinyl system (DVS), there are appropriate solutions for both options. A further consideration should be whether the cartridge also needs to be suitable for scratching. Even though there are good all-rounders on the market, it is advisable to pick cartridges to suit your performance style in order to achieve the best possible results.
Styli for DJ cartridges can be categorized into two major types: elliptical and spherical. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the intended application as mentioned previously. Due to a higher contact with the record groove, the use of an elliptical stylus results in rich and detailed sound reproduction. This is why elliptical styli are particularly recommended for studio and club environments.
Spherical styli on the other hand, have a higher tracking ability to reduce needle skipping and assist the cartridge to stay in the groove, even during fast record movements. The shape of a spherical stylus also contributes to a lower vinyl wear and for this reason, they are particularly ideal for scratching. In addition, if they also have a high output voltage, spherical styli are also suitable for use with timecode records (DVS).
While sound quality and tracking ability is mainly dependant on the stylus type, there are some technical aspects such as the output voltage, that should also be considered when purchasing a DJ cartridge. In general, it can be said that the higher the output voltage, the louder the audio signal produced by the cartridge. A high output voltage is especially important for playing back analog vinyl in clubs or for the use of the cartridge in a digital vinyl system.
Not every cartridge has a flat frequency response, often associated as a balanced sound. Some have a slight accentuation on the bass range, which can have a positive effect in a club situation..
■ The higher the output voltage, the louder the audio signal produced
■ Loudness is especially important for analog vinyl playback and DVS
■ Frequency response differs from cartridge to cartridge
■ Flat frequency responses are associated as a balanced sound while a slight accentuation on the bass range can have a positive effect in a club
Cartridges can be mounted to a turntable's tone arm either directly or indirectly, depending on their design. While a Concorde system can be mounted directly for immediate use, some other cartridges such as the Reloop OM Black must first be attached to a headshell before being ready to mount to the tone arm.
With proper care, a stylus will serve you well over a long time period. However, if sound quality or tracking ability begins to degrade, simply replace the worn stylus with the respective model - it is not necessary to replace the entire cartridge.
Here at Reloop, in partnership with Ortofon, we are proud to offer an extensive range of cartridges that are:
Reloop Concorde VIBE cartridge: Ultimate cartridge for club and studio
Reloop Concorde Green cartridge: Optimized for DVS
Reloop Concorde Blue cartridge: High output and low friction
Reloop Concorde Black Cartridge: The good all-rounder
Reloop RP-8000 MK2 & ELITE feat. DJ Angelo (Performance)
Reloop RMX-90 DVS - Beat juggle tone play w/ DJ Delta