It’s time to update our list of cartridges and needles which are suitable for DJ scratching / Turntablism use and are available to purchase brand new in 2020.
I get many questions about Scratch DJ equipment and so I have created a simple list of cartridges and styluses (needles) which are currently available to purchase, brand new in retail stores.
You can use this list to do your own research and see what suits you best.
There are many review sites and videos out there to help you make an informed buying decision, which at the end of the day comes down to personal preference.
I’ve linked each back to the official product pages so you can see exact specifications.
I’m not affiliated with any of these companies and none of these links are affiliate links.
Since Shure m44-7s, widely used and much loved by turntablists worldwide, have been discontinued, the price for these now rare cartridges has sky rocketed into the multiple hundreds of dollars. Unless you already have a set of Shure m44-7 cartridges and are willing to use third party styluses such as JICO, the high price is likely to be prohibitive for most.
Mentioning them though, just incase you happen to come across a set for a good price or know a turntablist who is retiring and willing part with their carts.
Most scratch DJs I know who are not using Shures are using Ortofon which is a mainstream, trusted brand.
Here’s the options:
Concorde MkII SCRATCH
OM Q.Bert pre-mounted on SH-4 Black headshell
OM Scratch White pre-mounted on SH-4 Blue headshell
If you’re wondering what the difference is between the OM and Concorde series of cartridge:
The sole difference between OM and Concorde cartridges is the housing and contacts found on the cartridge. Whereas the OM range requires mounting onto an appropriate headshell, the Concorde range conveniently attaches directly to the tonearm.
- OM Stands for “Optimum Match” which are designed to match most tonearms perfectly.
- Concorde – derived from the look of the cartridge.
The sole difference between OM and Concorde cartridges is the housing and
contacts found on the cartridge.
- The OM range requires mounting onto an appropriate headshell (usually supplied with your turntable.
- The Concorde range conveniently attaches directly to the tonearm.
There is no difference in sound between the two ranges, within the respective series of cartridge.
I haven’t seen or heard much about Stanton needles being used for scratch DJs recently and if you want to explore this brand yourself, you can check out their range here:
I also saw Qbert using these Japanese made needles:
They seem to get great press.
Did we miss out any great needles for scratching / turntablism?
Comment below and let us know.
If it was me and I was starting out, I’d probably go for the Concorde MkII SCRATCH, simply because I like how they look over the ones mounted on a standard headshell.
How about you?
What cartridges / needles are you are using and how do you like them?
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E