Don't Skip this Step: How to Balance Your Turntable Tonearm Like a Pro
If you're new to vinyl, setting up your turntable properly can seem intimidating. However, with a few simple steps, you can easily balance your tonearm and start enjoying your records with optimal sound quality.
Step 1: Gather your tools To balance your tonearm, you'll need a few things:
- Your turntable
- A tracking force gauge (a tool used to measure the amount of pressure applied to the stylus)
- A spirit level (optional, but helpful to ensure your turntable is level)
Step 2: Adjust your counterweight Your turntable's counterweight is responsible for balancing the tonearm. To adjust it, first, locate the counterweight at the back of the tonearm. It should be a small, cylindrical weight that can be rotated.
Start by rotating the counterweight until it is set to zero. Then, consult your turntable's manual to find the recommended tracking force for your specific cartridge.
Next, rotate the counterweight until the recommended tracking force is displayed on the gauge.
Step 3: Check the balance Now that you've set the tracking force, you need to check if the tonearm is balanced. This can be done by gently lifting the tonearm and checking if it stays level.
If the tonearm doesn't stay level, you'll need to adjust the counterweight until the tonearm is perfectly balanced.
Step 4: Fine-tune the anti-skate The anti-skate control helps to prevent the tonearm from pulling towards the center of the record. This can be adjusted using a small dial located near the counterweight.
Start by setting the anti-skate to zero, then play a record and listen for any distortion or skipping. Gradually increase the anti-skate until the distortion disappears and the record plays smoothly.
Step 5: Enjoy your records! Once you've balanced your tonearm and adjusted the anti-skate, you're ready to enjoy your records with optimal sound quality.
Remember to always handle your records with care, and never touch the grooves with your fingers. With a little practice, you'll be a pro at balancing your tonearm in no time!
I hope this guide was helpful. Happy listening!