Top (free) tip, cartridges

While doing my annual system maintenance, I re-torqued the screws that fasten cartridge to headshell.
They tightened ever so slightly, but that made a noticeable improvement in SQ.
I can definitely hear a “blacker background”.
Note: I define blacker background as the more obvious reproduction of very small sounds like fingers on nylon strings, breaths of horn players, trail of cymbal strikes.

EDIT: Don’t overdo it!


Mechanical fasteners of nearly all types have a tendency to loosen. I’ve heard of people driven batty by rattles and vibrations in subs, only to find the bolts holding the speakers to the baffles had loosened, in some cases, a full turn.


While doing this also take note not to stress the tone arm bearings. Some tone arm manufacturers recommend removing the tone arm when afixing a cartridge as well as when tightening the mounting fasteners. Linn being one that I am aware of personally.
Glad to learn it resulted in an improvement.


Torque Wrench / Driver for Cartridge Headshell Screws (

Great reminder!
I was gifted one of these a few years back, cant say I’ve ever used it, I just tighten until “snug”


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I would say that if torque specs are published, use a torque wrench. In my case, Linn or Lyra don’t, so I do as you do–snug.

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