Are you wondering why your turntable is rotating too fast or too slow? Want to know how to adjust the pitch on your turntable? Well, here you will find all the answers you are looking for.
A Turntable is a beautiful analog audio playback device. But like many mechanical devices, it requires some adjustments before first use, after replacing a part, or periodically, depending on usage. If adjustments are simple, any user can make it, but experienced users or qualified technicians should only do some calibrations.
So before proceeding with the adjustments, you need to know what made the turntable speed got altered.
TURNTABLE PITCH SPEED
Let’s start with some basic things about pitch speed.
The pitch/speed represents how fast the turntable spins and is measured in RPM – Revolutions Per Minute. Nowadays, most of the record players come with two-speed rates like 33 ⅓ RPM and 45 RPM. Some turntables accommodate playing the records by switching between 33 ⅓ RPM and 45 RPM, while others have to be changed manually.
Let’s consider turntables that need manual pitch switching. If you play a 12 inch LP at a speed of 45 RPM speed, it will rotate too fast, and the music will sound more like a chipmunks song. Similarly, if you play a 7 inch LP at 33 ⅓ RPM, the record will sound like the realm of a horror movie BGM and might also get distorted due to slow speed.
To avoid such confusion, it is essential to check the speed before playing any record. Depending on which turntable record you have, you need to switch between the play speed to either 33 ⅓ or 45 RPM. If you have a belt-drive system, you may have to move the belt manually underneath the platter.
HOW TO TEST THE SPEED OF TURNTABLE
1. Test Using Digital Tachometer
A tachometer, also known as revolution-counter, rev-counter, and RPM gauge, is an instrument used to measure the rotation speed of a turntable, shaft, or disk, as in a motor or other machine. The device usually displays the speed in revolutions per minute (RPM) on a calibrated analog dial, but now digital displays are getting common. It is effective but expensive; a good measuring device has a specific cost!
2. TEST USING STROBE DISC
Strobe Disc is an alignment tool that allows you to adjust the rotation speed of your turntable finely.
To adjust the speed of your turntable:
- Place the strobe disc on the turntable plate with the strobe side facing up.
- For illumination, use a 50Hz light source (in Europe) or a light source with 60Hz (in the USA).
- Make sure that the disc is not exposed to direct sunlight!
Use the outer ring for a line voltage of 50Hz (Europe) or the inner ring for a voltage of 60Hz (United States). The two rings are divided into three different reader options: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 (from outside to inside). Turn on the turntable and wait until the turntable has reached its final speed.
Then consider the line on the scale, which corresponds to the set speed of your turntable. If you have the impression that it will change, you must adapt it (to do this, follow the instructions in the user manual of your turntable).
3. USE MOBILE APPS
A simple solution but not very precise. Download any application that can note time (For example, Stopwatch Timer or RPM calculator), Install and launch the app, also use a marker (adhesive tape or other) on the record label to mark the initial position, and count to the minute! With this method, I had counted 47 revolutions per minute and 36 for the 33 1/3 position. It still shows that my turntable was turning too fast! Which confirmed what I had noticed while listening.
HOW TO ADJUST PITCH ON TURNTABLE
Once you have confirmed that your turntable is slightly running out of time, you need to fix it. There are two options available for How To adjust pitch on turntable.
- Try to fix it yourself
- Getting the help of professionals.
1. Try To Fix It Yourself
If you are new to turntable, it is highly recommended to take it to a professional. But if you are knowledgeable enough or brave enough to handle it yourself, here are a few things to take care of. The below-given fixes are basic things that can help simply help you to fix the pitch, however, make sure you know where you are heading, and these solutions are not for everyone.
1. CHECK FOR THE BELT:
If you are using a belt-drive turntable, then here are some of the possibilities you need to look out for.
In most cases, the belts naturally get stretched over a period of time. Stretching a few millimeters, say, for instance, up to 6mm, may not seem like a lot, but it can severely reduce the speed and slow down the turntable pitch. In that case, you need a turntable belt replacement.
If in case the belt seems to have a very slight stretch and not degraded, then you can try and shrink it back to its size.
First, fold the belt and measure its size. Now place the belt in an empty pan. Boil some water separately (make sure it is boiled up to the boiling point) and now add the hot water into the pan in which the belt is placed.
Leave the pan undisturbed for 5 minutes. After that, take it out and dry it. Now measure the size of the belt. You might notice that the size of the belt should have shrunk by now. Put it back on the turntable. It should fix the turntable pitch issue.
This is yet another possibility. Check whether the belt is rubbing on the motor or platter or check for any blockage or dirt as it could possibly affect the speed. If you can’t find anything but still the problem persists, try taking off the belt and adding a few oil drops to the rotor shaft motor, and moving it around a little. Clean off any excess oil and then reattach the belt back. Make sure to use fully synthetic and non-detergent oil.
2. ADJUST THE SPEED SETTINGS ON TURNTABLE
It is recommended to use your turntable manual, as it will help you to locate and adjust the pitch screws on the turntable. You can often find the Turntable service manuals online. If you don’t have the manual or couldn’t find the right manual for your turntable, you can use the manual of a similar model.
If you still can’t find the screws, try checking under the platter. If the adjusting screws are not there, then look under the motor. Some of the new turntables have surface knobs or holes that allow you to adjust the screws from the top of the deck, but most models need to adjust from underneath.
Generally, clockwise rotation of the screw speeds up the platter, and anti-clockwise rotation of the screw will slow it down. Once you have adjusted the screws, again test the turntable using a phone app or strobe disc, or tachometer until the desired speed is obtained.
Also, make sure to maintain your turntable’s stability and level when you adjust the screws, or else the speed could be off when you put it back in its natural place and stance.
2. GO TO A PROFESSIONAL
If all the above-mentioned fixed seems to be overwhelmed or a bit too complicated, or you get worried about ending up with any damages to your turntable, the best thing you can do is take it to a professional. If you have a warranty for your turntable, make use of it. The price for repair may vary based on the shop or the professional. You can also ask your vinyl buddies to suggest you a repair shop with a decent price offer. It is recommended to go for a full service, it might be expensive, but it will prevent any future issue.
We have provided you with all the possible ways to adjust the pitch of the turntable. Yet some adjustments are quite complex and should only be done by people with some experience or by certified technicians due to a high risk of failure, which could require repairs or even render a Turntable useless. I hope this article is helpful for you.