How to set up cartridges and tonearms for DJ’s. DJ only tutorial!

The one and only DJ Short-E walks us through setting up a technics 1200 with shure m447’s for optimal performance. From counterweight adjustments to tonearm height to cartridge angle and overhang, Short-E covers it all!

Check out her site at studioscratches. She offers scratch tutorials, great beats, and a friendly vibe! Check it out!

Orotofon Elektro

Direct from Ortofon:

The Ortofon Elektro is durable enough to deal with extreme sound pressure and repeated vibrations, but is also able to produce an impressive, clean sound. It’s sleek looks mask a sophisticated cartridge build with a reinforced rubber suspension, excellent tracking ability and extreme competency with back-tracking and scratching. The bold, well rounded sound will benefit your set in the studio or in a live performance.


The Ortofon Elektro is one of the best sounding carts for EDM genres such as trance, house, and breaks. The cartridge is very punchy and has extremely tight bottom end. The output is super loud and clean. The highs are crisp and exaggerated, so careful with that EQ!

This is a great club cartridge for real vinyl. The one-piece concord design is fantastic for quick setup time. Make sure you use the correct weight settings though! Users of DVS systems such as Serato or Traktor would benefit more from a Shure M44-7.

It should be noted that Ortofon revised this cartridge and there are two different versions that are balanced slightly differently soundwise. The original is plain white in color, while the new version is a pearl white. The new version boasts an overall more clear output, and stronger bass and mids. If you’re going to purchase these new, shoot for the updated version.

I would highly discourage scratching with the Ortofon Elektro – if you want an Ortofon scratch cartridge, check out the Qbert Signature Model.

Cleaning and Polishing Technics Platter Dots

Years of dirt and grime can easily build up on the platter of your beloved Technics 1200’s. Continue reading to find out how you can restore your platters to their former shiny glory.

Steps for Cleaning Technics 1200 Platters

Step 1 – Removing the Surface Dirt

The first step for cleaning the Technics 1200 platter is to remove the surface dirt and grime. This is easily accomplished with a stiff bristle brush and a solution of water and baking soda.

Dip the brush into the solution and gently scrub the platter edge. Work your way around the platter, taking your time to ensure all areas are covered.

Step 2 – De-greasing the Platter

It’s slightly disturbing to think about, but most of the discoloration and dirt on the platters is from the oil on your hands. To remove this, use something like a glass cleaner – ie windex, or even a mild dish detergent. Again, apply this with your stiff bristle brush, making sure to cover the all the surfaces.

Step 3 – Wet Sanding

This step isn’t always needed, but can help remove the deepest of discoloration. I like to start with 1000 grit sand paper and work up to 1500 grit. Use the left over baking soda or mild detergent solution as the wetting agent. Again, work slowly and don’t stay in one spot too long. Use circular sanding patterns, and gentle hand pressure.

Step 4 – Final Polishing

At this point, there shouldn’t be any discoloration on the platters at all. If your platters still have gray or black marks, you need to revert back to earlier steps. For this step you will need metal polish. I like to use mother’s metal polish. It’s as easy as applying a small amount to a dry cloth and rubbing it on. You will see the platters start to sparkle before your eyes!

Now enjoy those clean platters, and perhaps think about reading about how to clean those needles?

Stanton H4S V2

Direct from Stanton

Replacement headshell for Stanton turntables and most other brands. Compatible with headshell-mount needles like 680 and 890. Includes 2 weights for better tracking. Gunmetal gray finish.



The Stanton H4S V2 is a great budget headshell. Both the sound and finish are excellent for the price. The headshell is a perfect match for both the Stanton 500.V3 and the Shure M44-7. I have a pair of these in my personal collection and haven’t had any issues with them at all.

The only minor inconvenience is that the hardware package that is included is pretty low quality. If you like to experiment with things like changing cartridge angles, or overhangs, you need to get some better quality screws, as the included hardware will strip out in no time at all. I picked up a handful of stainless steel mounting screws for a couple dollars at the local hardware store, and haven’t had any complaints.

Ortofon SH-4

Direct from Ortofon

Ortofon’s line of headshells provides an elegant and high quality solution for a wide array of cartridges. Regardless of your preference in cartridges, Ortofon’s headshells are comprised of the highest quality materials and add unique distinction to your turntable.

The Ortofon SH-4 is a quality headshell for a midrange price. The headshell is made from heavy gauge aluminum, and features gold contact pins, and a nice polished finish. The lift lever is an oversized design that works well for djing. I would recommend the Shure M44-7 as a perfect match for a cartridge.

Welcome to The Needle Archive!


With so many options available, the purpose of is to provide DJ’s with the best information about needles, cartridges, and headshells. We provide in-depth reviews to cover all aspects of the modern DJ cartridge – including sound quality, record wear, and tracking performance. Whether you are a pure junglist, a house dj, or even a turntablist with a Hip-Hop background, you will find information on any phono cartridge you are curious about.

If you would like your site to be featured on the Needle Archive, or you would like us to review your product, please contact us at

When visiting you will also find articles about proper needle care and turntable maintenance. A plethora of tips are available for the working or bedroom dj!

Stanton 500.V3

Direct from Stanton

The 500.V3 is an updated version of the classic Stanton 500AL. With more years spent on the decks than any other cartridge in the world, the 500 series has earned a reputation as a standard. The 500.V3 represents a perfect balance between economy, reliability, ruggedness and optimum performance.


The Stanton 500 v3 is a great economic cartridge. For the price point of less than $50 each, you get performance and sound quality not found in the competition. The dynamic response is flat, the sound is crisp and vibrant.

Stanton has never really been in the spotlight for cartridges, as Shure has been dominating the pack. But these 500 V3 are a great contender. When you have 30 seconds to get ready – these carts respond decently well to being over weighted and shoddy setups, so quick setups in the club are ok!

Another thing to help keep the cost down on the 500v3 cart is that it is offered in a 2 pack blister. The cheaper packing material and lack of an included carrying case keeps these under $100 for a pair! These are a great match for the stock technics headshell or Stanton’s own H4-S2 Headshell.

Ortofon Q.Bert

Direct from Ortofon

Co-designed by DJ Q.Bert for scratch and back-cueing. High tracking ability. Ultra high output

Co-developed by one of the most legendary DJs of all time, the Ortofon Q.Bert provides unsurpassed handling, high output voltage, and low wear characteristics that literally put it in a class of its own.

Turntablists and mix DJs alike will appreciate the strong output of this cartridge, coupled with unrivaled tracking ability and sonic characteristics.

The Q.Bert features a more subdued high end, which helps to minimize surface noise from worn vinyl, and an accentuated mid-range to help bring scratching to the front of the sound stage.

The Q-Bert has a supreme ability to trace the grooves of your records and it is tailored specifically for scratch. Due to its enomous output, it is perfect for scratch of all music with deep bass frequences.


The Ortofon Q.Bert is the Qbert signature model. It combines stellar Ortofon sound with Qbert demanded tracking. This is 100% a turntablist scratch cartridge. The needle sticks in the groove through all your craziest moves.

The Ortofon Qbert has a fairly flat response, except for the extended bass response. This is another cartridge that is a great compliment to hip-hop music. Vocals and samples are crystal clear, drum beats and bass notes are pronounced and smooth.

The only downside to the Qbert Signature Scratch Cartridge is the price. These carts are quite expensive, but it pays for the true Ortofon quality. If you want the ultimate scratch cartridge, it would be hard to go wrong with a set of the Ortofon Qberts.

Numark CC-1

Direct from Numark

The CC-1 is Numark’s most versatile cartridge, and the Scratch Perverts signature model. The Perverts are widely regarded as the finest turntablists in the world. They hold the 1999 DMC World Mixing Championship title, and they share the 2001 DMC World Team Championship title with the Allies. The CC-1 offers the ideal combination of high output and superior tracking for performance worthy of champions.


The Numark CC-1 Scratch Perverts signature model cartridge is a great choice for a concord scratch cartridge. The low price, and the ability to stick to vinyl like glue is a major attraction! The one piece concord design combined with the stylish lift lever give this cartridge a sleek, clean, modern look.

The cartridge produces a loud, balanced output. I believe that the Numark CC-1 sounds best for hip-hop, the warm mid range and tight bass complement the genre well.

The CC-1 also features a diamond conical stylus. This allows for lower record wear and less required weight. The stylus grips the groove by the wall, instead of the bottom.

Shure Whitelabel

Direct from Shure:

The Shure Whitelabel cartridge is a truly revolutionary piece of DJ technology. It is an optimal choice for Digital DJs, providing superb tracking of time-coded records, and minimal sonic coloration when mixing between digital files and analog records.

Tailored for the club environment, Whitelabel features sonic characteristics including solid drop bass, flat mids, and accented highs. With a sleek and ergonomic design, the cartridge additionally delivers higher trackability, lower tone-arm resonance, and better skip resistance. It also includes an adjustable stylus overhang, reliable electrical contact, and improved stylus visibility.


Shure Whitelabel DJ cartridges are some of the best sounding club grade mixing needles you can buy. A mix of smooth bass, warm but detailed mids and highs, give these carts an almost perfect sound for high volume environments.

The Shure Whitelabel cartridge is best used for mixing, but can be scratched with using higher weight settings. My personal setup for Whitelabels is 4-5 grams when scratching and 2-3 grams when mixing.

I feel that white labels are the best cartridge to use for drum and bass, jungle, and house music. The smooth bass and supreme detail makes all your classic vinyl sound really great. These are my #1 pick, if you like to spin actual vinyl. Another great feature of this cartridge is the high visibility stripe down the center. This is used for cueing, many cartridges cover the record, whereas the Whitelabel lets you see exactly where you place the needle.

The only downside about Shure Whitelabels is the cost. They run about $90 each, and the replacement styli run about $40 each. Considering the long life of the cartridge though, it’s not a bad investment.

Whitelabel cartridges are also the only overhang adjustable concord cartridge on the market. The genius one piece design still allows precise tracking adjustments to fit any user. A maintenance tip for Whitelabels is to make sure the overhang adjustment screw is always tight, as these do loosen over time.