Howdy folks, today we are looking at the best cartridge for recording vinyl. I will be honest with you and say that in my experience, when it comes to ripping vinyl to your computer, I do not actually think that the cartridge makes all that much of a difference. No matter if you have a more modestly priced one like this Audio-Technica AT-VM95C Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge on your turntable or if you have something higher end such as this, Audio-Technica AT33EV Elliptical Nude Dual Moving Coil Turntable (both of which we will be looking at later) at the end of the day, you are going to be getting your music onto your computer and that is all that matters. I wanted to have a look at a handful of cartridges that I think are worth considering if you are thinking of getting an upgrade or even if your current one is ready to be replaced.
Before we get to looking at the best cartridge for recording vinyl, I want to talk about why you want to do this and something else that is very important about digitizing your record collection.
Why Would You Want To Record Your Vinyl?
Isn’t part of the fun of collecting vinyl listening to it? Yes, yes it is however, if you collect vinyl to actually collect it as well as listen to it, you may want to listen to the record, but if it is pretty rare, you may not want to use the actual record all the time. A pretty rare album I have is Bleach by Nirvana and I am not talking about the Bleach Remastered that was released a little while back, but the original, real deal. This album is not in the best condition, but I love having it in my collection. However, I do not want to get it out all the time, but I did rip it to my computer so when I listen to it I know that I am listening to the original way the album was recorded and not causing any more wear or tear on the record.
Can’t I Just Use A Music Streaming App?
This is the elephant in the room when it comes to if recording vinyl is worth your time You can pretty much listen to anything you want these days on services like Spotify, Apple Music or Music Unlimited. I get why people do this as it is very convenient, but you do not actually own the music when you use these types of streaming services. For me, I like knowing that the music I am listening to is my own and from my own record collection.
Using The Right Software
We actually looked at this recently in our THE 5 BEST SOFTWARES FOR RECORDING VINYL TO COMPUTER article. However, we feel that while we are looking for the best cartridge for recording vinyl today, we do also need to look at the software you will be using to do this. There are many different types of software that do this and my personal favorite has always been Golden Records Vinyl and Cassette to MP3 or CD software which I think is fantastic. If you are worried about the sound quality of your music, most of these types of software will let you play around and clean up the sound so it is as good as possible.
I have a few older records that I have picked up on my travels over the years and they can sound a bit rough. This can be from old age, not being looked after properly or just being caked in dust and crud! These may not sound the best and be full of pops, hisses and some other issues. These types of software such as Audacity will allow you to make that sound as good as it can be if you are willing to tinker around with the various settings.
The 5 Best Cartridges For Recording Vinyl
Here we are taking a little look at a few of the cartridges that I think would make a great replacement or even an upgrade if you are thinking of recording your vinyl collection. I haven’t gone too crazy with my picks here, just a few popular cartridges that are all at different ends of the pricing spectrum so there should be something here for everyone.
Audio-Technica AT-VM95C Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge
I mentioned the Audio-Technica AT-VM95C Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge in the intro and I think getting an Audio-Technica cartridge for around 40 bucks is a real steal. If you are someone that has a more modestly priced record player like this Vinyl Record Player Turntable with Built-in Bluetooth Receiver & 2 Stereo Speakers this would certainly be a solid upgrade. I have never been disappointed with anything that features the Audio-Technica name and getting one of their products for a price like this is a real steal. If you want to have an extra cartridge that you use just for recording vinyl, this one would be perfect.
CENSHI Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge with Stylus
If you want to spend as little money as possible on your new cartridge then I found this CENSHI Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge with Stylus on Amazon which is currently listed at around 20 bucks! I think this is a decent cartridge from what I can tell and while I do not think this would be a huge upgrade over one that you already have. It would serve as a good replacement for those of you that have a cartridge that you feel is getting a bit past its best. It would also be handy if you want to have a cartridge on hand for recording vinyl and not actually listening to it if you know what I am saying.
Audio-Technica AT33EV Elliptical Nude Dual Moving Coil Turntable
We are kicking things up a notch on our search for the best cartridge for recording vinyl as we look at the Audio-Technica AT33EV Elliptical Nude Dual Moving Coil Turntable. This is a cartridge that I have actually had the pleasure of using and I think that it is fantastic. I had this on my Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable which I had a couple of years back and I found that it provided a much better contact and as a result a better sound than the one that came with the record player. Granted it cost way more than the record player I used it with, but I did notice a pretty big difference. This would be good for those of you that want to upgrade your current cartridge to something a bit more premium. Plus, this is certainly going to make sure that your records are recorded great!
Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge
I have talked about this Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge here on the site before and it is a truly awesome cartridge. I am a big fan of what Ortofon do and while their products can be a bit high-priced they are always of a very impressive quality and something that people who consider themselves to be “audiophiles” hold in pretty high regard. I actually had the pleasure of testing one of these out a while back and I did while listening to some records from my jazz collection such as Duke Ellington & John Coltrane and I was very impressed with how good it sounded. I think this is well worth being in the conversation for when it comes to getting a new cartridge to record your vinyl with.
2 Pack Record Player Cartridge
Ok so there may be some raised eyebrows that I have included this 2 Pack Record Player Cartridge on our best cartridge for recording vinyl list, but hear me out. At under ten bucks…. Yes, under ten bucks I feel that these could be ideal for someone that wants to record vinyl, but does not want to use their good cartridge and stylus to do so. You could have a cartridge that you only break out when you want to digitize your record collection and that is where I think something like this could come in handy. Plus, if you have one of those cheaper suitcase style record players such as this ByronStatics Vinyl Record Player, 3 Speed Turntable Record Player for example. These would be handy to have on hand in case you ever need to replace the cartridge.
Which Is The Best Cartridge?
I have had a lot of fun putting together this best cartridge for recording vinyl article today and picking a winner out of the five we have looked at today is actually way easier than you would think. Now, if we are talking about what is the best cartridge in general on the list we have today, without a doubt, it is the Audio-Technica AT33EV Elliptical Nude Dual Moving Coil Turntable which is something that is very special indeed. It is a higher end kind of cartridge and perfect if you want to make sure that your music is being played in the best quality possible.
However, I think that as the point of this article today was to find a cartridge for recording your vinyl so you can back it up and listen to it on the go, a stylus like that is a bit excessive if I am being honest. Do you really need to use an expensive cartridge like that when you are not listening to your records to enjoy them? I would have to say no, that is why my pick is the Audio-Technica AT-VM95C Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge. This is a damn fine cartridge and it costs around 40 bucks. This offers you great quality at an affordable price and it will certainly be great for listening to your music as well as recording it.