The best DJ needles to buy in 2024

Phase Team

Published on

July 11, 2024

Selecting the right DJ needles is a critical decision for any DJ.

No matter your style and preference: mixing, scratching, or performing as a club resident. Your choice of needles will significantly impact your performance.

However, not all DJ needles are of the same quality.

In this article, we'll guide you through the process of choosing the best DJ needle for your needs with our top recommended brand.

How do you choose the right DJ needle?

With so many options on the market, knowing what to look for is crucial before making your final decision. Here are the key criteria to keep in mind:

  • Identify your DJing style: whether you’re into mixing, scratching, live performances, or need an all-purpose solution, each style requires different needle characteristics. Tailoring your choice to your DJing style will enhance your performance.

  • Consider the right needle shape: a spherical stylus offers robust tracking ability, ideal for scratching and heavy use, while an elliptical stylus often delivers superior sound quality and higher output levels, perfect for detailed and high-fidelity playback.
  • Evaluate durability and build quality: opt for needles crafted from high-quality materials that can endure the physical demands of DJing, including frequent scratching and back-cueing. Durability ensures your needles last longer, even under intense use.

  • Consider your budget: needles can wear out quickly, especially with heavy use, and replacing them can become a significant expense. Balancing quality with cost-effectiveness is crucial to managing your budget effectively.

With these key points in mind, let’s take a look at the best DJ needles currently available in the market.

1) The Ortofon Concorde MK2 Series: the benchmark brand

Key features

Ortofon's Concorde series has been a trusted choice in the DJ community for years. The MK2 series stands out for its versatility, catering to a range of DJing needs from scratching to mixing and more. With its reputation for quality and a variety of models, Ortofon ensures that every DJ can find the perfect fit.

The main available products are:

  • Concorde MK2 Mix: Known for its robustness and balanced sound quality, making it ideal for all-purpose DJing.
  • Concorde MK2 Scratch: Specifically designed for scratch DJs, offering excellent tracking and stability.
  • Concorde MK2 Digital: Perfect for DJs using timecode vinyl, providing superior signal output and accuracy.
  • Concorde MK2 Club: highly dynamic sound quality, making it particularly suitable for club DJs.

All these models have a "plug and play" design, making them easy to install on virtually any type of turntable and tonearm.

Why choose Ortofon Concorde MK2 Series

  • A great variety of models depending on your practice and DJing style

  • One of the most famous brands that sets numerous standards in the DJ needle industry

Price: between $280 to $400 for the pair (mounted)

The price can vary significantly depending on the model you choose. Generally, mid-range models like the Concorde DJ range from around $280 per pair, while high-end options such as the Concorde Club can go up to $400 per pair.

Replacement stylus typically cost around $40 each, which is standard across most brands.

2) Phase, the world's first digital needle: now an industry standard

Key features

Although not a “real” needle per se, Phase represents a groundbreaking alternative to traditional needles.

As it bypasses the need for a physical needle, Phase offers DJs unprecedented freedom and reliability. Today, Phase is considered as one of the most effective tools for mixing on turntables and is adopted by the world's top DJs.

It's an extremely versatile tool that will suit all types of DJs who use DJ software with turntables. Moreover, having Phase doesn't prevent you from switching at any time to a traditional needle for real vinyl playback.

In terms of performance, Phase has quickly made a name for itself in the super elite DJ competition scene and was used by most of the last DMC DJ winners.

When it comes to budget, Phase is a smart investment. Its sensors last for years without wearing out or getting damaged, saving you big time in the long run—no need to keep buying DVS vinyl either.

Why choose Phase:

  • Easily the most versatile DJ tool on the market

  • Exceptional accuracy for performance-minded DJs

  • Saves money in the medium and long term

Price: around $400 - $450

Phase will cost you around $400 for the whole set. The good news is, as a long-term investment, you won't have to buy anything else in the future.

To get more information about Phase, visit phasedj.com

3) Ortofon VNL: the legacy is back (but under another brand)

Key features

Following the discontinuation of the legendary M44-7 DJ needle manufactured by Shure, the DJ world was in mourning.

However, with its VNL model, Ortofon aims to carry on the legacy of the M44-7 by offering a versatile cell, designed particularly for scratch performance.

Indeed, the VNL features a robust spherical stylus, ensuring excellent tracking stability and minimal record wear, making it ideal for intensive use in high-energy environments.

Why choose Ortofon Concorde MK2 Series

  • A versatile and robust needle

  • Recommended for scratch DJs

Price: from  $300 for the pair

The VNL needle by Ortofon will cost you around $149 (pre-mounted one) which means around $300 for the pair. Stylus can be replaced for around $40 each.

4) The Audio Technica AT-XP5: no more sound quality compromises

Key features

The AT-XP5 from Audio Technica is a top-notch DJ cartridge that’s perfect for both DJs and music enthusiasts.

One of the coolest things about the AT-XP5 is its high output level. This means it pumps out a strong, clear sound that cuts through noisy environments with ease. For DJs, this translates to better sound quality and presence during sets, making it easier to captivate the audience and craft an unforgettable auditory experience.

Overall, the AT-XP5 is a fantastic pick for DJs who want a reliable needle that delivers great sound and can handle some serious use.

Why choose Audio Technica AT-XP5

  • The high output level is useful for live performance

  • Also convincing to simply listen to music

Price: starting at $80

You can get the Audio Technica AT-XP5 for around $80 (not pre-mounted), which means 160 for the pair.

Just like these competitors, a stylus can be replaced for around $40 each.

Final verdict: which is the best DJ Needle?

Unfortunately, choosing only one best DJ needle is virtually impossible. It's really about finding the one that fits your style and setup best.

That said, the models we've picked out are some of the top contenders in 2024 and are unlikely to disappoint.

Plus, if you’re looking for a versatile and cost-effective alternative, the Phase DJ system is a cutting-edge option worth considering.

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