Collection: Phono Cartridges

The pickup or cartridge is a transducer that converts mechanical vibrations from a stylus into an electrical signal. The electrical signal is amplified and converted into sound by one or more loudspeakers. Crystal and ceramic pickups that use the piezoelectric effect have largely been replaced by magnetic cartridges.
The pickup includes a stylus with a small diamond or sapphire tip which runs in the record groove. The stylus eventually becomes worn by contact with the groove, and it is usually replaceable.
Styli are classified as spherical or elliptical, although the tip is actually shaped as a half-sphere or a half-ellipsoid. Spherical styli are generally more robust than other types, but do not follow the groove as accurately, giving diminished high frequency response. Elliptical styli usually track the groove more accurately, with increased high frequency response and less distortion. For DJ use, the relative robustness of spherical styli make them generally preferred for back-cuing and scratching. There are a number of derivations of the basic elliptical type, including the shibata or fine line stylus, which can more accurately reproduce high frequency information contained in the record groove. This is especially important for playback of quadraphonic recordings.