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altKeep your jukebox sounding good!

Ensure the stylus is clean...

Most jukeboxes have a way of keeping the stylus clean which is usually a small brush that wipes the stylus (which is also known as the needle).  Depending on the machine this can be a static mounted brush, for example AMIs and early Rock Olas or can be a brush that moves to actually wipe the stylus clean, for example many 50s Wurlitzers and later Rock Olas.

altThe reason this is necessary is that records pick up dust.  As they rotate on the turntable static electricity builds up on the vinyl of the disk and dust is drawn to it.  You may wonder why dust gets in the jukebox when it is closed with a glass screen?  The simple answer is that there are vents at the base of the machine and when the machine is in use it gets quite warm, particularly if it has a valve amplifier.  This heat exits the Jukebox through vents in the rear top of the cabinet and fresh cooler air is drawn in the bottom.  This fresh air however is coming from floor level, often where there are carpets, so contains a lot of dust and other fine dirt particles.

So, ensure that the brush is in good condition and is gently wiping the stylus as it passes past it.

Ensure the stylus is in good condition...

altA worn stylus will result in poor sound quality, poor tracking on the record (so it may skip or jump) and excessive record wear.  Most replacement stylii available today are made of diamond and not sapphire and will last well over a year with reasonable use.  However if the tone arm tracking weight is too heavy then it will wear prematurely and can really damange precious records in a remarkably short time.  Refer to your service manual how to set the stylus weight as this varies from machine to machine.  If you have your machine routinely serviced then this will be checked as part of the service.

The "Cobra"

altIt is worth mentioning separately the "Cobra" cartridge fitted to many 50s Wurlitzers.  This "stylus" is actually a complete moving coil cartridge that fits in the top of the tone arm.  It has a diamond sylus on an alloy assembly that connects to a small coil via a white acoustic rubber coupling.  This flexible material deteriorates with time, so even if the sylus tip is in good condition, the sound can be poor.  Symptoms are that the bass notes sound slappy and the treble notes sound harsh and shrill.  

It really is no good having a spare stylus sat in its box for a year as you may find it is no good when you fit it for the first time!  The solution is to buy a new one when you need it that has not been manufactured too long in advance.

Contact us if you need a new stylus as we keep a full range in stock for old and new machines - please click here to send an email to the spares department