First thing, you need to know before you go ahead and change your Audio Technica Stylus is to figure out which type you have. If you’re the meticulous type, you probably already know as you read all the info and everything little thing on your turntable and stylus.
For those of us who aren’t that attentive to details, let’s start with a little guide on the styli shapes and cartridges that you may find out there.
The Elliptical Stylus
This stylus has two radii and the front one is a bid wider than the side radius. This helps the stylus ride in the center of your groove, whereas the small side radius may track higher frequencies more accurate.
The elliptical stylus had a longer vertical contact area and the front to back contact area is a tad narrower, within the record groove. The elliptical tip tracks the groove modulations with higher accuracy, giving a better frequency response, a better phase response, with lower distortion, which is common for the inner grooves of the record.
Audio Technica gives 3 sizes of elliptical styli: 0.2×0.7mil, 0.3×0.7mil and 0.4×0.7 mil. The first number indicates the size of the side radius. Free tip? The smaller the side radius, the bigger the chances for a better sound. At the same time, the smaller the overall effective tip radius, the less you need force for the stylus for tracking.
The conical stylus
This is by far the simplest, cheapest and most common type of stylus. It features a spherical tip with a 0.6mil radius, touching the center of the record groove walls.
You should go for this stylus when using older, record players with a tonearm, imposing bigger tracking forces. You may also use it for tonearm that doesn’t have a cartridge tilt adjustments.
The radius for conical styli on 78rpm is 2.5mil, which is four times larger than the LP record conical styli.
The MicroLine stylus
This stylus is similar to a cutting stylus used to give the original master disc from which the records are typically made. It may track parts of your grove that other styli can’t reach. The tracking of the high-frequency passages is very accurate.
The one-of-a-kind multilevel “ridge” shape of this type of stylus tip wears evenly so the stylus is longer lasting, but so is your record. You may want to use this stylus on a higher-end cartridge.
The Line Contact stylus
This stylus is also presenting a great tip design for precise tracking of high-frequency passage, with minor abrasion.
The contact area is vertical and a bit longer than in an elliptical stylus. The line contact stylus ensures low distortion and doesn’t wear out your record either.
As it presents larger tracing footprint, the line contact stylus may cause some noise on your worn out records. It’s a good choice for the high-end cartridges as well.
Square or round shank?
This is something you want to check also. The stylus shank is the piece that links the tip to the cantilever.
It’s a bit trickier to align a round shank when it’s affixed to the cantilever. You need good alignment to place the stylus tip exactly in the record groove.
A square shank is not as cheap as the round one, but when you mount it in laser-cut square hole in the cantilever, it’s locked in perfect alignment with your record grooves.
Nude or bonded stylus?
A nude stylus is shaped from whole diamonds and is a bit more expensive as the diamond tips are bonded to metal shanks. It has a lower mass, which explains the higher accuracy. It’s grain-oriented and the face touching the record surface is long lasting.
In the case of a bonded (jointed) stylus, the diamond tip is glued on a metal shank that is also glued into the hole of the cantilever. It’s cheaper and has a higher mass so it may not give the same results as a nude stylus.
How to replace an ATN95E Stylus
You need to replace your worn stylus, as you want to maintain your turntable operating for a long time.
As there are so many types of Audio Technica styli on the market, we decided to give you a hint on an ATN95E stylus, just so that you make an idea on how it’s done.
- You start by removing the head shell from your turntable. Lock ring one full turn clockwise and rotate the head shell. You may observe how the head shell is released. Continue by pulling the head shell straight off.
- Turn over the head shell and try to see the flanges that stand out from the other side of your stylus’s body.
- Press smoothly, just enough to grab the flanges, and pull the take out the cartridge. You may have to carefully rock the stylus side to side when pulling.
Once again, don’t touch the needle!
- Attach the new stylus and go through all the above instructions in reverse.