If you would like us to assist in identifying your stylus or cartridge - you are welcome to email us a nice clear picture firstname.lastname@example.org (1 or 2 different angles might help)
A smooth-tipped stylus (in popular usage often called a needle due to the former use of steel needles for the purpose or plural "styli"), is used to play the recorded groove. A special chisel-like stylus is used to engrave the groove into the master record.
The stylus is subject to hard wear as it is the only small part that comes into direct contact with the spinning record. In terms of the pressure imposed on its minute areas of actual contact, the forces it must bear are enormous. There are three desired qualities in a stylus: first, that it faithfully follows the contours of the recorded groove and transmits its vibrations to the next part in the chain; second, that it does not damage the recorded disc; and third, that it is resistant to wear. A worn-out, damaged or defective stylus tip will degrade audio quality and injure the groove.