Stylus Replacement - Doubts

Hi guys,

I have a Project Debut Carbon DC with an Ortofon 2M Red + Ifi Zen Phono and I started noticing distortion when playing vinyls. Now it is just unbearable. Vocals just completely tear out.
If I use the same setup for CD’s the sound is perfect.
I also connected the turntable directly to the Amp (Yamaha A-S501) by passing the Ifi Zen Phono and the problem persists.

I’ve had the turntable for 6 years but I honestly don’t think I have reached the 1000hours mark.
I am also extra careful with the records and never play them without brushing them first.

Do you guys think I should try cleaning the stylus with something before replacing it? I was planning on getting a stylus for the 2M Blue as the cartridge is the same but I don’t want to spend a fortune and then finding out the problem is elsewhere.
I have also attached the best photos I could take (yes I know they are bad… sorry).

I was planning on buying the project CLEAN IT brush and the VINYL CLEAN.
Any tips or advices?

Thanks guys.

If you’ve never cleaned the stylus before, then yes, that is the first step and the easiest step to take before replacing the cartridge.

Get whichever felt brush and cleaning solution you want and clean it following the directions.

I use this kit for my setup.

I wasn’t aware the brush required liquid. Thanks for the tips.
I try to avoid amazon but I’m sure ill be able to find something similar in locals shops. :slight_smile:

The 1000 hours are no guarantee that it will last that long.
Especially if the plates have never seen a wash, the needle may wear out a little faster.
This means that the 1000 hour mark is quickly reduced to 800-600 hours.
I think the needle looks a bit flat, but it’s hard to tell from the photos, so look at it with a magnifying glass to see if there’s still a point or if it’s already flat.
You don’t have to go to Blue if you are unsure, but if you still have the original needle, put it in to see if it’s the needle or not.
In the worst case, invest the $20 for the replacement needle to check it before looking elsewhere.

The original needle is the RED. It came with it. I dont have any other to try it out.

I ordered a Project stylus brush but the guy at the store (official representatives) told me it does not require any cleaning fluid?

Should I go about buying something else like @SandboxGeneral suggested?
Or can I still get the Project brush but buy cleaning fluid and use it with it?

Thanks for the help guys!

Cleaning solution isn’t necessarily required. Once you get the brush, use it and see if it helps.

Be sure to gently pull the brush toward you on the stylus - from back to front as you’re facing it. Only pull it in one direction.

The cleaning solution can be helpful if there is crud on the end of the stylus that won’t come off with the brush alone.

Thanks for the tip! I had seen the direction rule on a youtube video. I like to see someone do something first (when I don’t know what I’m doing) so I don’t F up.

I will let you know how it goes!

Thanks again!

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The 2M Red was horrible to me from the very beginning on my VPI Nomad. Every record had sibilance & transient distortion. I put a 2M Bronze stylus in & it solved the problem.

Unfortunately when I plugged the Nomad rca output into another headphone amp, I heard no sound, so I took the record player apart to inspect it, but never put it back together.

Do you have a local dealer ? There is no guarantee that the cartridge is fine. I understand your care and all but I used turntables for over 30 years and things happen

I live on an island so I’m pretty much screwed when it comes to servicing or getting parts. I ordered the brush on monday and it still hasn’t arrived.
Although the photos aren’t clear they kind look like it could be dirt. SO I’ll start there and if I order the Ortofone Blue stylus I’ll definitely look for some store I can return it if that isn’t the issue.

@AntiWoke I enjoyed the red very much without any of those issues. The blue seems a reasonable upgrade but I think the bronze is a bit overkill for a Project Debut Carbon DC.

Why don’t you look at the tip of the needle with a magnifying glass and turn the Red a little to see the tip.
If you can’t see the tip and it’s flat, then you need a new needle because the tip has worn out.

On the subject of liquid, if you have some isopropanol you can also use that to clean it, dilute it to 70/30 because of me.
So 300ml isopropanol mixed with 700ml distilled water to a litre.
This will prevent streaks from forming.

I would also buy the Blue next time as a small upgrade over the Red.
Anything else would be too much for my taste.

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I don’t have a magnifying glass and curiously no one I know either… :man_facepalming:
If the brush fails I plan on getting one though. :sweat_smile:

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Then add it to your inventory - that’s always helpful.

You can also try to find a better focus with a good mobile phone camera.
Cameras are sharper than the eye itself.
Maybe you can see the tip that way.
But a magnifying glass is much better.
And with the magnifying glass, you can also make a fire if the weather plays along and the electricity fails :slight_smile:

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haha It would also help with a career change to detective. :face_with_monocle:
I will definitely look into it.

Hi guys.

The cleaning was a no go. Same distortion. (Didn’t use fluid though)

This is the same song recorded from an mp3 file (though you only need to hear the distorted one).

I’m going to try and find a magnifying glass but maybe listening to the samples might help you guys help me…

A worn-out belt doesn’t cause this does it?

Thanks again.


The link doesen‘t work.
A worn belt would tend to be more conducive to speed and needle wear.
It would then have to be very worn or worn out.
However, the belt tends to be made of rubber and would tend to contract rather than wear out.

Did you adjust the tonearm correctly when you set it up?
If not, this can also contribute to increased needle wear.
If you did adjust it, try adding a little more weight to the needle before setting it up.
And see if it gets better.

I have found a photo of the needle where you can compare it with your needle.
You can see the tip there.
You can’t see it on your pictures.
But it is really only a guess that your needle is really at the end.
I once had more dropouts and it was due to the needle.

The turntable came assembled. Have been using it for years. Only recent change was to the Acryl-it platter but it sounded great even after the change to the new platter.
I think the needle is worn but now im going to buy a magnifying glass and try to get a good picture with my phone.

(The belt looks ok - but I just thought I’d ask)

The links should be working now. I made them public. Please have a listen and let me know what you think.

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There you have the cause!
If you have replaced the acrylic plate and not adjusted the tone arm to it, that is the reason why the needle is now at the end. Maybe not completely, but it probably contributed to it.
The needle is also the cause, as you can hear in your first link.
They are worn and need a new one.

Before you buy a new needle, familiarise yourself with the calibration of the needle, because you still need accessories for it, you can order them at the same time.
And stick to the settings of the blues in the manual, especially the weight.
As a tip I can give you when the needle is new, you can give it 0.2 g less weight, this protects the needle a little and gives it time to free itself. Later you can give it the recommended weight.
It is not difficult to adjust, You tube can also help.
If you set it correctly once and the turntable stays in place, it will last forever until the next needle change.
And if it’s set correctly, the needle will hold accordingly.

humm. Are you sure about that? I read that no adjustments were required that it was just a matter of swapping the platter. :pleading_face:

Regarding your tips, you mean I should get a digital scale right? Or do you recommend anything else?
I just repeated the procedure of balancing the tone-arm with the counter weight then adjusting to the cartridge weight but I do not have a scale.

Correct me if I’m wrong but once I have it I just re-do everything I’ve done but this time set the scale on top of the platter and rest the needed on the scale. If it’s not at 1.8g I adjust the counterweight right?

I actually noticed that I had the tone-arm adjusted at 1.5g :grimacing:
But too much weight is what grinds it down right?
I don’t remember why I set it to 1.5g maybe I read a similar tip somewhere before.

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Yes, I’m sure.
The turntables never have the same dimensions as those where they were installed.
Even if they are tolerated by 0.1 mm, this has a great influence on the angle and depth of the needle position.

I would use a digital tonearm scale, which is more accurate, and yes, if you only have 1.5 g, add weight, and then turn the wheel back slightly to adjust it without losing weight.
This takes the play out of the thread and prevents it from turning back.
The weight is only decisive for the pressure, the depth also plays a bit of a role so that the needle does not touch down completely.
The angle is also important but tends to be more important when you change the tonearm.
But I would still check it with a new needle.

The 1.5 g was probably for playing in and later you give it a bit more weight because the tip always breaks at the front or rounds off slightly.
Then you give it a little more pressure and leave it.
Of course, if you give it too much weight, it tends to wear out.
It is better to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation, as they have tested it extensively.

There is also a good spirit level from Ortofon that you can use to check whether the turntable is level. This is also important.
There is also a kind of sound plate where you can slide the needle or something similar and test plates.
But I didn’t buy that, it was a bit expensive.
The scales for weight and horizontal testing are perfectly adequate.
The plate more makes more sense when changing the tone arm.

Always readjust the needle when it is new, when the platter is changed and when the belt is changed.
The record player can slip very quickly and then nothing is right.
Unfortunately, it is sensitive in this respect.
Oh yes, if the needle is broken or worn out, you simply need a new one, even if you take it out to check or clean it.
For practice, however, it is okay to get a feeling for it when it is already worn out.