How to adjust a record player

Comment ajuster une platine vinyle

A record player is a wonderful analog audio playback device. As for many mechanical devices, it requires some adjustments before the first use.

Many adjustments can be done by any user, but some should only be carried out by an experienced user or qualified technician.


Adjustments achievable by all:

Leveling the record player

This may sound simplistic, but having a turntable at level is often underestimated, although it is essential for a smooth and precise operation and the preservation of records.

This adjustment is simple: using a level, check the positioning of the turntable on the axis of the width and depth, then make adjustments on the furniture until the turntable is at level.

On some record player models, it is possible to adjust each feet’s height to get the device at level.

Calibrate the tonearm

It is important to have the tonearm of a record player adjusted, either before the first use or after replacing the cartridge, even if it is the same model.

The calibration of the tonearm is done by moving a counterweight behind the pivot, according to the specifications by the phono cartridge’s manufacturer. This adjustment leads to the application of the ideal tracking force of the stylus on the record. In general, the optimal calibration of the tonearm is set between 1.5 and 2 grams of tracking force.

To proceed with the tonearm adjustment:

- Unlock and remove the tonearm from the armrest.

- Move the counterweight so the arm gets horizontally balanced, being parallel to the platter.

- Align the graduated dial near the counterweight at "zero" position, without rotating the counterweight.

- Position and lock the tonearm on the armrest.

- Move the counterweight and the graduated dial to the mark specified by the phono cartridge manufacturer.

Adjust the anti-skating

During the use of a record player, the inner face of the groove exerts pressure on the stylus. This phenomenon is called "skating."

Depending on the model of record player, the anti-skating involves either adjusting a graduated dial that moves a spring, a magnet or a fixed counterweight, or by moving a suspended weight on a lever with graduated notches.

The adjustment value of the anti-skating, in grams, is the same as the one used to adjust the tonearm.


Adjustments by a qualified technician:

Some adjustments are rather complex and must only be performed by people who have some experience or by certified technicians.

For example, some high-end record players are sold without a tonearm. To position the tonearm on the plinth, a template must be used to drill a hole at the right place. Since this step is irreversible, it is best to rely on a qualified technician.

Another challenging task is to set the height of the tonearm on the plinth, because the angle of the arm should be neither too low, nor too sharp.

On some record players, it is possible to correct the playback speed by using a stroboscope calibrated at 60 hertz and a disc specially made for this purpose.

On several record players, the tonearm has a graduated dial for positioning the counterweight, but this is rarely found on high-end tonearms. In this case, a mechanical or electronic scale must be used to calibrate the tone arm.


The Audiophile Experts experience:

At the purchase of a record player at Audiophile Experts, our technicians will take care of the installation of components as well as the complex adjustments. When you install your new device at home, all you will have to do is to make sure that the unit is levelled.