Playing 78s Excuse my ignorance, I'm just new to this whole business. I'm probably looking at picking up this turntable, but reviews I've read have mentioned the need to upgrade the cartridge or stylus or something in order to be able to play 78s.
My question, what exactly do I need to do on top of buying this turntable, to be able to play 78s. Is there another cartridge or stylus I need to buy?
Yes, you need a 78 cartridge, which is mono, and has different stylus geometry. The Shure M78s is the one to buy. It's by far the easiest just to buy another cartridge shell and mount the M78s in it, then swap when needed. There is a storage hole behind the tonearm to keep the second cartridge shell.
Thanks. Is it generally easy to swap a stylus on a cartridge between records? I know I can buy a whole new cartridge and headset, and just swap the headset every time I want to play, but I don't have the extra $$ right now for all.
78s have wider grooves, so while you can play them with any stylus (needle), you'll get more noise and less music than if you use a wider stylus. You'll also put more wear and tear on your stereo stylus by using it on 78s so it's a good idea to swap it out. You should play 78s back in mono for reduced noise, but you don't need a mono cartridge -- you can just hit the mono switch on your receiver if it has one (this is an indispensible feature for me). If it doesn't, you can blend the signal by putting a cheap Y adaptor on the cables.
The M78 is fine but I think the original Stanton 500 is preferable for 78s and mono LPs and acceptable for stereo LPs. It's cheap and it's been an industry standard for years. A wide variety of stylii are available. The stylii slip on and off the cartridge easily so you can change them without having to swap headshells -- which requires rebalancing the arm unless you're using two headshells and cartridges of identical weight to the gram, and of course requires buying a second headshell and second cart.
The best thing to do is to buy another headshell and install a dedicated widegroove 78 rpm cartridge. I use the Shure M78S. It comes jumpered for mono, but this was not compatable with my AT 120's, so I took the jumper off. Stick with original stylii as I haven't found an aftermarket one that works.