DIY: Setting Up the Cantilever

DIY: Setting Up the Cantilever

Setting up the cantilever of your turntable cartridge is an essential step to ensure optimal audio performance. Whether due to transportation mishaps or accidental nudges during handling, realigning the cantilever can greatly impact the quality of your playback. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively set up the cantilever:

Materials Needed:

  • Needle or thin tool
  • Patience and steady hands


  1. Understand the Cantilever: The cantilever is the delicate needle-like component that holds the stylus (needle) and traces the grooves of your vinyl records. Usually, it’s simply inserted through the damper without any adhesive, but not always! Therefore, handle it with care to avoid damage.
  2. Identify Misalignment: If you suspect that the cantilever has shifted, leading to audio distortion or mistracking, it’s time to realign it.
  3. Prepare Your Workspace: Choose a well-lit and quiet area to work. This minimizes distractions and helps you concentrate on the delicate task.
  4. Gather Tools: Have a needle or a thin tool on hand. This will be used to gently nudge the cantilever back into place.
  5. Access the Cantilever: If your cartridge has a removable stylus guard, carefully remove it to access the cantilever. Be gentle to avoid any accidental movements.
  6. Realign the Cantilever: Using the needle or thin tool, insert it from the back into the brass insert. With great care, move the cantilever back by approximately 1/2 mm. This step requires precision, so make small adjustments and observe the changes.
  7. Check Alignment: The further the tube protrudes from the plastic, the quieter the playback will be. If it sticks out too far, you can carefully push it back with your fingernail. But quieter doesn’t always mean worse. If the phono preamplifier works without interference and without humming, it can also lead to a smoother frequency response!
  8. Test Playback: Reattach the stylus guard if you removed it and carefully mount the cartridge back onto your tonearm. Play a test record and listen for improvements in audio quality. If needed, make further minor adjustments.
  9. Exercise Patience: Realignment requires patience and a steady hand. Take your time and make gradual adjustments until you achieve the desired alignment.

Important Note: We want to emphasize that performing this DIY cantilever alignment is at your own risk. Mishandling the delicate components can lead to permanent damage. If you’re uncertain or uncomfortable with this process, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

Remember, a properly aligned cantilever contributes to better audio reproduction and prolongs the life of your records. We wish you success in achieving optimal playback quality!



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