In most cases – no. But it is always better to have a good record. If the needle slides across an imperfect surface, it wears out quickly, especially if the record has many deep scratches or is heavily warped.
This wear can produce dust that mixes with your hand’s oil and gets pushed further down into the cartridge body, where it collects on delicate electrical parts. A needle can be very sensitive to your hand’s natural oils and acids, so if you touch the record while playing it (which no one should ever do) or you touch the needle with oily hands, then take the cartridge out and clean it immediately. The oil also causes the needle to stick in the groove, making it skip. It would help if you always kept your record collection safely stored away to never come into contact with anything except their sleeves.
Even if your needle seems fine, there is no way to tell how much damage has been done until it starts skipping on good records. By then, you’ve already ruined your cartridge. Your best bet is to take records in bad condition and play them on an old, crappy turntable or at least one with a known suitable cartridge.
What to do if a needle is damaged?
Here are some simple steps to repairing broken needles on gramophone records.
First of all, identify the problem. Next, ensure the stylus is broken, bent, or has other problems like dirt. When running across your vinyl record grooves, a damaged stylus produces scratching sounds with crackles and pops. If you can see visible cracks in it, then your needle is broken for sure.
A broken needle can leave visible cracks in the vinyl that will cause permanent damage to your records. If this occurs, switch out the broken needle with any spare you might have and ask for a replacement at your local record store. They should be able to help you find a replacement quickly.
If your needle gets dirty from bad records, the first thing to do is take it out and clean it by hand using a mild detergent and cold water. Let it dry for a few hours before putting it back in the cartridge.
How to keep a turntable needle in good condition?
Turntable “needle” is an essential part of your turntable. Here are some tips about keeping your needle in the best condition!
Two things will affect the lifespan of your needle.
The first one is the quality of the vinyl you’ll play on your turntable. You should never play any low-quality records to avoid quickly wearing out your needle faster. Likewise, if the record has some scratches or other imperfections, it should be better not to listen to it.
The second one is how you take care of your records and turntable in general. Many things can affect the lifespan of your needle. For example, if your turntable is placed near a window or a similar place, it might damage the needle and records because of different temperature and humidity levels. In any case, don’t forget about regularly cleaning off your needle.