1. Scratch and Mix application
2. How to replace a stylus?
4. Spherical and elliptical styli
5. Stylus lifetime
1. For Scratch and Mix
Traditionally, Scratch DJs prefer spherical styli, as they preserve more of the groove over repeated backcueing and scratching. In theory, there is little difference between the tracking capabilities of an elliptical stylus versus a spherical stylus.
Mix DJs will benefit from either stylus type, and many choose elliptical based strictly on fidelity reasons. However, there is no absolute rule on choosing a stylus - many mix DJs still use sphericals, and some scratch DJs are actually using ellipticals.
One thing is for sure - if you choose to use an elliptical stylus, you should take care to not apply too much tracking weight, as it will prematurely cause unnecessary wear.
2. How to replace a stylus?
Firstly lock the turntable tone arm, unscrew the cartridge, gently remove the stylus from the cartridge and insert a new stylus. A stylus is changed usually by pulling straight out and in the opposite direction of the turntable's arm. If the stylus doesn't come with directions, try these: with one hand, hold the cartridge to steady it. With the other hand, using a pair of tweezers, grasp the stylus from both sides and pull.
Install the new stylus: holding the stylus from the top, press it gently into the space at the tip of the cartridge where the old stylus had been. Don't force it.
3. How should I maintain the stylus to ensure longest life and best sound?
Stylus longevity is a result of many different factors, including the condition of vinyl being played, the amount of backcueing being performed, and the setup of the cartridge.
- For best performance, make sure the records being played are not scratched and that they are relatively free of dirt and residue.
- Also make sure to follow setup guidelines as suggested by the specifications found in the manual (or found on our website).
- Finally, the stylus should be cleaned regularly using an appropriate stylus brush, with the bristles of the brush being dragged from back-to-front to remove any dirt or residue. Ortofon insists that cleaning fluids are not to be used, as they can weaken the stylus or cause damage to the internal components of the cartridge.
4. I've heard a lot of varying statements on the differences between spherical and elliptical styli. What are the real differences, and the reasoning behind them?
The physical difference between a spherical and elliptical stylus is the shape of the diamond.
An elliptical diamond allows for more detailed sound quality, as it fits better within the groove and therefore has more contact area with the groove itself. Elliptical diamonds penetrate the groove walls further, extracting more intricate detail, especially in the high end, than is possible with a spherical diamond. It is commonly misrepresented that elliptical styli cause more wear than spherical styli.
In fact, spherical styli, since they have a smaller contact area and more pressure, cause more immediate wear than elliptical styli, but in a smaller area of the groove itself. Elliptical styli, since they have more weight distribution amongst a larger contact area, will wear the groove slower, but will wear more of the groove over repeated backcueing.
Ortofon's DJ cartridges use a modified elliptical stylus, known as "special elliptical" which can stand up to heavy backcueing, unlike traditional elliptical styli.
5. What is stylus lifetime?
Concerning DJ systems used for scratching and back cuing, we have experienced stylus lifetime to be about 500 hours at the most because of the styli unique application.
Proper care comprises the following:
- Cleaning of record by means of carbon fibre brush before and after every use. Cleaning of record by using record cleaning machine once in a while.
- Cleaning of stylus by means of a fine antistatic brush. Please remember to remove dust from the diamond tip before and after playback of each record. Use the brush in the forward direction from the rear of the cartridge towards the stylus tip and never from stylus tip to the rear of the cartridge and never from side to side.
- Proper adjustment of antiskating, azimuth and tracking force.