How to change the stylus on a phono cartridge?

How to change the stylus on a phono cartridge?

The stylus of your phono cartridge is showing signs of exhaustion? A bad handling during the playback of your record? You may need to change your stylus! In this shopping guide, offers you solutions to change the stylus of your phono cartridge, MM or MC.

1. Change the stylus of a MM cartridge

The MM cartridges, i.e. moving magnets, are the most common models on the analogue market. Indeed, they are less costly than moving coils cartridges (MC). In addition, they adapt themselves to a large number of phono preamplifiers thanks to their technical features. MM cartridges are excellent solutions when you own an entry-level or mid-range turntable and if you are looking for a good quality listening experience.

1.1. Replacement of a used or broken stylus on a MM cartridge

The stylus of the MM cartridges are another advantage for this phono cartridges category! Indeed, most Hi-Fi manufacturers today, such as Ortofon, Rega, Audio Technica, Sumiko... provide replacement stylus to their MM cartridges.

REGA Planar 2 turntable

In this way, if your stylus is starting to be tired after long hours of listening or if it has been broken during a bad handling, you do not need to purchase another complete MM cartridge. You just have to buy a stylus compatible with your cartridge, remove the tired or broken one, and replace it (carefully) by the new one. And you get a MM cartridge as new, at low budget!

1.2. Improvement of the stylus on a MM cartridge

Changing the stylus of a MM cartridge by another can also give upgrade possibilities to your phono cartridge.

Some manufacturers create MM cartridges ranges with similar technical features, thus allowing to replace the original stylus by a better one, for example with a more modern stylus profile. In this way, it gives you a solution to improve your vinyl listening experience, without buying a new full MM cartridge.

For example, the Audio Technica AT-VM95 MM cartridges range is composed of 6 models. Each one has its own replacement stylus from the AT-VMN95 range, but you can place another stylus of this range in order to improve your vinyl experience.

Audio Technica AT-VM95E MM cartridge

The manufacturer Ortofon offers this principle with the famous 2M MM cartridge range. By the way, if your record player is equipped with a Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, we can simply recommend you to change the stylus by the 2M Blue stylus. A huge step further, ensured by a lot of music lovers already converted!

Ortofon 2M Blue stylus

2. Change the stylus of a MC cartridge

The MC cartridges, i.e. moving coils, go even further in terms of technology, and thus are more expensive than MM cartridges. This implies that MC cartridges are also more performing than MM ones. According to us, they are the “real” cartridges for playing a record!

In the future, if you look for higher quality listening experience, we recommend you to invest in a MC cartridge! Of course, if your turntable is compatible.

2.1. Replacement of a tired or broken stylus on a MC cartridge

Regarding to the stylus of a MC cartridge, know that this one cannot be replaced in case of wear or breakage... If this happens, you have to buy a new complete MC cartridge. But do not worry, manufacturers offer different solutions to change your stylus!

2.2. Repair or return a MC cartridge

Some manufacturers of MC cartridges offer interesting solutions, conscious about this issue.

Indeed, Ortofon or even Audio Technica offer you to return your MC cartridge for the purchase of a MC cartridge of an equivalent range, or higher to the returned one! In this way, you can replace your moving coils phono cartridge by a new one, while taking advantage of a discount. Furthermore, this allows you to get a better MC cartridge, and thus improve the sound reproduction of your Hi-Fi system ;)

Audio Technica AT-OC9XML MC cartridge

As you can see, change the stylus of a MC cartridge, and just this part, is not possible for this kind of Hi-Fi cartridge... And if there is no return offer from any manufacturer? In this case, know that some manufacturers offer repairs for broken stylus on a MC cartridge.

As we said before, there is always a solution to change the stylus of a MC cartridge, and even if it looks more tiresome than for a MM cartridge, it is essential to fully enjoy your vinyl records!

Hana ML MC cartridge


We hope that these few lines will help you to change a stylus on a phono cartridge. In case of breakage or wear of the stylus of your MC or MM cartridge, do not hesitate to contact our technicians by phone (0 810 810 121) or via contact form. They know how to guide you and offer you the best solution possible following your situation.