Cartridges - HiFi

A phono cartridge is a small electro-mechanical component mounted at the front of a tonearm on a turntable. It holds the cantilever (a tubular arm) and stylus tip (or needle) which vibrates as it traces the record grooves. The stylus tip is the needle shaped material at the front end of the cantilever. The cartridge converts the vibrations into audio signals which are then amplified further up the electronic chain. (Note: Typically, a new cartridge when purchased comes with the stylus included. Many cartridges are designed with a stylus that is end-user replaceable.)

The performance potential of a record playing system is defined by the capabilities of the phono cartridge. Tonal balance, response range, clarity on musical peaks, stereo separation and imaging, and freedom from noise and distortion are all affected at the outset. The selection of this first component is critical to the full enjoyment of the rest of your system.

Cartridge Mount
A cartridge is designed to be mounted on a turntable's tonearm. Some tonearms use a universal headshell. Others use a P-mount. A lesser number use a proprietary mount. The latter means you are restricted to their design. A cartridge is designed to be mounted on a turntable's tonearm. Some tonearms use a universal headshell. Others use a P-mount or T4P. A lesser number use a proprietary mount. The latter means you are restricted to their design.

The half-inch mount or standard mount as it is sometimes called is probably the most common. As illustrated on the left, two screws located a half-inch apart are threaded through the cartridge body and secured to the headshell. Four wires, each of a different color, are attached to the male plugs at the rear of the cartridge body. The other end of these wires are attached to the headshell plugs.
The P-mount or T4P, as illustrated on the left, utilizes a different approach. The cartridge is plugged into the tonearm and is then secured to the tonearm by a single screw.

A universal cartridge is designed for use in either a half-inch or P-mount tonearm. A universal cartridge is simply a P-mount cartridge with a separate half-inch mount adaptor included.

A listing of cartridges by brand and type are provided below as well as some of our specials.