Are you looking to replace the cartridge and stylus on your SL-1200 turntable? These highly sought-after record players offer unmatched sound.
Best Needle And Cartridge For Technics 1200 On The Market
Yet, worn and inferior cartridges can easily interfere with their ability to deliver top-notch audio. We did a little snooping, and we are excited to bring you the five best SL-1200 cartridges and needle combos.
1. Audio-Technica VM750SH Dual Moving Magnet Stylus Cartridge – Best Overall
Audio-Technica’s VM750SH is a moving magnet cartridge with a nude square shank stylus and a lightweight aluminum cantilever. This expertly carved diamond stylus is a noticeable improvement over even some of the most revered elliptical styli. With such a high trackability rate, you can expect little to no groove stress and distortion. It produces high-frequency sound waves that are as smooth as butter. With such an expansive area of surface contact, this little needle manages to deliver incredibly detailed high-frequency sound waves.
Cartridge With High Detail For The SL 1200
Meanwhile, left and right magnets offer improved channel distinction and more extensive frequency responses. The cartridge’s die-cast aluminum alloy housing reduces vibrations while serving as an electrical shield. You can expect this little unit to pick up tons of information.
For the most part, we also found it easy to mount this to our Technics SL-1200 tonearm. It’s important to note that you do have to secure the element with nuts and bolts. These tiny elements are not the easiest to fasten. However, they are a small price to pay for better music.
Overall, it’s nice having the option to replace the stylus. Audio Technica makes seven styli that fit the VM750SH. After you install the VM750SH, you should notice an immediate improvement in the quality of the sound coming out of your preamp.
- The premier model in Audio technica’s new cartridge line.
- Tapered aluminum housing helps reduce unwanted vibrations
- Paratoroidal coil improves cartridge’s efficiency
- Set of dual moving magnets create more defined radio channels
- Covered by a one-year warranty
- Centershield between the magnets
- Somewhat challenging to attach the nuts and washers
2. Audio-Technica AT-VM95ML Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge – Runner-Up
Coming in second is Audio-Technica’s AT-VM95ML. This black and red cartridge boasts a Microlinier stylus that produces very minimal distortion. It’s worth noting that this multi-sided diamond stylus lasts longer than most conventional linear and elliptical styli. It is only likely to wear after about 1,000 hours of play.
Dual moving magnets help define and separate the cartridge’s channels. The unit’s aluminum housing does an excellent job of reducing unwanted resonance. Moreover, the rigid, lightweight aluminum cantilever serves as a solid backbone for the Microlinear stylus. It maintains a vertical tracking force between 1.8 and 2.2 grams. If you’re looking to scratch, then you’re probably better off with a cartridge from the company’s VM series.
Cartridge With Replaceable Needle
VM95 cartridge is a replacement for the old model AT95, which was produced for almost 40 years. Stylus MM type, the dimensions of Audio Technica VM95 are made so that it can be installed on similar tonearms without any additional adjustments and settings. The needle cartridges i’ve ever heard have a very specific sound pattern, namely “vinyl warm sound”. audio technica vm95c is a profitable purchase, but paying a little extra you will get vm95e, you can significantly improve the sound of the player.
The AT-VM95ML’s two-screw, bolt-free mount makes for a mostly frustration-free installation. Just pop it on your Technics SL-1200’s tonearm. Then, insert the provided screws. You have your choice of six different AT-VMN95 stylus replacements.
Audio Technica VM95 is a cartridge for the technics 1200 with a replaceable needle block. This is one of the best inexpensive needle. The transition to VM95ML gives a significant increase in sound detail.
- Super easy to set up, as it attaches to the tonearm with just two screws
- Durable cartridge with replaceable stylus (six replacement options)
- Low distortion
- Aesthetically pleasing black and red design
- Aluminum cantilever reduces resonance
- Middle-of-the-road audio quality
3. Ortofon Concorde MKII Mix Twin Cartridge – Best for Scratching and Back-Cueing
If you’re using your Technics SL-1200 for mixing, be sure to check out the Ortofon Concorde MKII Mix cartridges. This cartridge offering includes two forgiving yet highly perceptive spherical styli. It has a tracking force that ranges between 3 and 4 grams. Plus, the rigid cantilever manages constant manipulation with ease.
Best Cartridge For djs
Overall, this is an excellent option for any beginner DJ. The trendy design meshes well with the Technics SL-1200’s futuristic aesthetic. The duo of cartridges come in a nice little Flight case. For the most part, these cartridges churn out quality, balanced sound. Moreover, they transfer maximum information while eliminating talk between channels.
Ortofon Concorde MK2 is a universal cartridge optimized for scratching and playing records in both directions. When listening, we noticed high-quality sound and excellent tracking for almost any style of music. Excellent handling, long service life in the DJ cartridge niche and has an excellent price / quality ratio.
This cartridge is for DJs who prefer spectacular scratches during their sets because it has a high output power of 10 mv, a downforce of 4 g. The kit consists of 2 cartridges with needles, a cleaning brush and a carrying case.
- Excellent trackability
- Offers excellent production regardless of the music style
- The spherical stylus is less likely to damage records.
- Includes two Concorde MkII MIX cartridges with preinstalled styli
- A 2 to 4 gram tracking force keeps the needle from jumping out of the grooves
- Stylus can be replaced separately
- Suitable for scratching, mixing, and ordinary play
- Make sure to adjust your tonearm
4. Audio-Technica AT-VM95E/H Headshell and Cartridge Combo Kit – Best Budget Pick
This Audio-Technica bundle is perfect for audiophiles who want to step-up their sound stage game. It comes with an AT-VM95E cartridge that has been pre-mounted on a 9-gram aluminum Audio-Technica headshell. The cartridge features a bonded elliptical stylus. This piece picks up ample info, digging deep into the groove without causing any harm. Since the AT-VM95E shares the same body with other VM and AT series cartridges, you have plenty of replacement styli options. You also get a Bluecoil Audio anti-static carbon fiber brush, brush stand, record cleaning solution, and stylus cleaning solution.
Budget Needle And Catridge Combo
This cartridge has a dual moving magnet generator with specially wound coils for increased output voltage. The cartridge slides right onto any four-pin tonearm. Make this switch, and you’ll be hearing new details emerge from even your most over-played records.
AT-VM95E model has a needle with micro-linear sharpening. This greatly improves the sound of this type of needle is durable. Do not underestimate the razznye features of the cartridge needle, it provides the process of removing the translation of mechanical information from the plate to the electrical signal.
The color of this model distinguishes different features of the cartridge, and we can conclude: the more sophisticated the shape of the needle, the more expensive it is. On the basis of a single cartridge, you can try all the needle options, and find the right one. All Stylus and ink cartridges are manufactured in Japan.
- Comes with all the supplies you need to clean your records and stylus
- Plenty of replacement styli options
- AT-VM95E has already been mounted to an aluminum headshell
- Delivers incredible sound
- Perfect for anyone that wants to change over their current headshell
- Installation is a little complicated
5. Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge
Last but not least is Ortofon’s 2M Blue Photo Cartridge. This Danish cartridge is a well-rounded investment. Any audiophile can appreciate this cartridge’s ability to produce accurate, tonally balanced musical reproductions. The powerful dual magnet motor allows the stylus to spin around records without interruption. As a result, you get more accurate readings with less distortion.
This hi-fi cartridge boasts a brightly colored Hopelex body. Holex is an environmentally friendly material that is rigid enough to reduce unwanted resonance.
The 2M Blue has an angular body and a removable needle. The output power is 5.5 mW, the clamping force is 1.8 grams. These characteristics make it possible to use the cartridge on almost any player. The main body material is plastic, but the assembly is very decent. Compared to AT, there is a bit of a lack of detail. Nevertheless, Ortofon has a truly lively and tangible sound.
Overall, this is a bargain-friendly cartridge replacement for any new or used SL-1200. It’s super easy to install. Since the holes are pre-threaded and color-coded, you won’t find yourself fumbling to attach bolts. Since the 2M is quite balanced, you shouldn’t have to make many tonearm adjustments after installation.
- Nude elliptical diamond stylus offers deep reads and quiet tracking
- Upgraded version of the Ortofon 2M Red
- Noticeable increase in audio dynamics, resolution, and details
- Replaceable stylus
- Precise information retrieval
- Easy to installation thanks to color-code pin terminals and threaded screw holes
- Audio quality is comparable to moving coil
- Some audible background noise
How to Choose Cartridge and Needle for Technics SL-1200
Here’s what you need to know before you start shopping around for a new Technics SL-1200 cartridge.
Since your stylus (aka the needle) is the only element that is going to come in direct contact with your records, it’s important to scrutinize its shape, material, and size. Most styli are either conical or elliptical. Most sound production experts agree that elliptical styli pick up more of the modulations between the groves. In turn, these types of styli are capable of providing listeners with richer audio experiences.
It’s important to note that some styli are replaceable. Meanwhile, others inseparable from their cartridges. Since the styli do not last as long as cartridges (most offer no more than 1,000 hours of playback) and SL-1200-compatible cartridges are rightfully pricey, most hi-fi enthusiasts opt for divisible cartridge and stylus combos. After all, old and damaged styli are capable of damaging vinyl records.
The sound of a vinyl record player is largely determined by cartridge. Some enthusiasts even go so far as to claim that the player model does not play a significant role at all, the main thing is to buy a more expensive head. For those who have just started choosing needle and cartridge, we will give some tips. Start from the experience of your listening, the number of records. If your musical preferences are more in the field of popular music, rock and blues, then choose MM-cartridge for Techniques. But if you listen to classical music, MC cartridge is preferable.
The record turns. The stylus picks up the info that is carved in the grooves. The cantilever transforms that info into vibrations. Either a moving magnet or a moving coil picks up those vibrations. This signal is picked up and amplified by your turntable’s preamp. Moving magnet cartridges tend to be less expensive and less precise than moving coil cartridges. Since coils are lighter, they put less pressure on the cantilever. As a result, they tend to produce more accurate readings.
A cantilever is the small, rigid arm that connects a stylus to a cartridge. A small rubber mount serves as a flexible bridge between the cantilever and the cartridge. The cantilever vibrates as the stylus maneuvers around your records’ grooves. These small tremors travel through the cartridge before being sent to the turntable’s preamp. Cantilevers are made from a variety of hard metals. For the most part, you want yours to be as rigid and lightweight as possible.
Each cartridge also carries a trackability rating. Trackability is a cartridge’s ability to read a record without distortion. Distortion is the product of resistance. Trackability is measured in micrometers (μm). When it comes to trackability, more is always better.
The SL-1200 boasts a p-mount cartridge. Replacement cartridges should include screws that can be inserted into the set of holes located on the end of your record player’s tonearm. In most cases, a single horizontal screw holds the p-mount cartridge in place. Some cartridges are held in place by nuts and bolts. Meanwhile, others come pre-threaded.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Turntable’s Cartridge?
There are several reasons you might need to replace the needle and cartridge on your Technics SL-1200. These record players are highly sought-after and hard to come by. Technics has ceased production. As a result, almost all purchases are for used or deadstock turntables. When this is the case, consumers have no way of telling the age of the included cartridges and styli.
The rubber components on used cartridges tend to degrade. Moreover, most needles (at least most middle-of-the-road ones) only perform well for around 1,000 hours of play. A worn stylus can cause your records to sound crackly and distorted. Meanwhile, a worn-out cartridge is likely to put excess force on your vinyl records. If things get bad enough, these worn elements can even cause permanent damage to your vinyl records.
Replacing Your Cartridge and Stylus
Check out this video to see how a cartridge is mounted on an SL-1200. You must adjust the balance of your tonearm after replacing the cartridge. There’s a small dial on the back of the SL-1200. You want to reduce or increase the pull of the counterweight until the tonearm is completely level.
Your Technics SL-1200 cannot deliver top-notch sound without the help of a superior cartridge and stylus set. Topping off our list is Audio Technica’s VM750SH Shibata Stylus Cartridge. The high-end cartridge’s moving magnets, tapered aluminum cantilever, and divisive center shield are a huge improvement over most stock alternatives. We recommend the Ortofon Concorde MKII Mix Twin Cartridges to anyone who enjoys scratching.
Questions? Drop them in the comment section below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.