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.
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.
Concorde CLUB uses a modified elliptical stylus, known as "special elliptical" which can stand up to heavy backcueing, unlike traditional elliptical styli.
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: