Early record players actually used a small "needle" to play the record. In fact, some used actual cactus needles. As of the 1970s, virtually all turntables switched to magnetic cartridges, and most have a replaceable stylus. Unfortunately, as cartridge manufacturers bring out new models, replacement styli are discontinued. New replacements are usually "knock offs" or clones, and are typically of very low quality. For this reason, we prefer to install a new cartridge in most every case.