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I have a Zenih Allego table type stereo with 8 track, radio & turntable, but it has NO cartridge at all - just wires from the needle arm. It's supposed to play 78s, how can I find out which cartridge and needle I should be hunting down?

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Jacob Paul

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You will need a very old type of cartridge called CERAMIC CARTRIDGE or CRYSTAL CARTRIDGE. It has been discontinued. Today's Hi-Fi use magnetic cartridge. Check out this link below
http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/phoncart.htm

Posted on Mar 10, 2011

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Jody, the arm the needle is on, usually adjustable with a dial on the end that can lighten, or put more weight on needle to help it track better on records. Other then that, the belts normally are changed to address slow speed issues. Check the attached links,instruction and guides, Good luck
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Copy down the brand and model of the turntable and go to your local stereo shop. Radio Shack used to carry these, too - but I don't know if they do anymore. Sometimes the cartridge needs to be replaces as well. That will be the rectangular piece the needle is inserted to on the underside of the tone arm. If your see a name and number on it - write it down. The needle can be easy to replace - the cartridge however is a little more involved.

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As it was purchased second-hand, I would replace the cartridge and stylus with a new one anyway. You can put the model number of the cartridge (found on it) into Google search. That should come up with the right one. You can basically fit most types of cartridge, as long as the you get the right type. IE: A magnetic one if the unit has a cartridge pre-amp built into. Or the Ceramic type etc if it hasn't.

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The phono sockets for this are at different line levels for that reason. Phone is for the turntable depending on the type. If it is a later model stereo and an older model cheaper turntable, it uses an older type of needle cartridge called ceramic. The signal output of it is higher than the later magnetic cartridges and may need a preamp (radio shack) to match the line level signal, allowing it to clear the distortion. If this scenario were reversed, using an older cheaper stereo with a later, better quality turntable, the opposite would happen. (signal to low) This preamp would amplify the input. I think you need what is called a matcher to lower the input signal instead of the preamp. I've seen these at radioshack. BTW, the CD input doesn't distort as much because a cd player puts out a high signal and the amp is matched to accept it.

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when you said "no sound enough to enjoy listening" did you mean that you could hear something coming thru the speakers, but it isn't loud enough? if so, you may be plugging the turntable into a "ceramic" phono input on your stereo. it may be that your stereo doesn't have a pre-amplifier on the phono inputs. Ceramic tonearm cartridges (the part that holds the stylus - which you may call the needle) have enough output level to drive an amplifier. if your cartridge is magnetic, the output is very low compared o the ceramic. the trade off is that magnetic cartridges have a much wider dynamic range than the ceramic, and when properly pre-amplified, sound MUCH better than a ceramic unit. you can probably find a separate pre-amp at radio shack (i know they sold them several years ago). you plug the turntable into the inputs of the pre-amp, then plug the pre-amps output into your stereo. hope this helps.

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Look it can either be one of 3 things. (1) Cartridge knackered. 2 Internal pre-amp in turntable. 3 Cartridge Pre-amp in Main amp connected to it.
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Remember all functions on your main amp can work fine, but that pre-amp for the cartridge (often a single IC) can be dead or weak.

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I can't see anyone still making a 40 year old turntable arm. You could get a replacement cartridge for it. You might need either a ceramic or magnetic one, depending on the pre-amp of the RCA.

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