If the sound you are getting from your record player has been slowing down and speedy up I understand your pain! This is one of the most annoying things that can happen and for many people, they just do not know why and think that they need to throw their turntable in the trash and get a new one! Hey, I am always looking for an excuse to get a new turntable (just ask my wife) or pick one up from a second-hand store.
However, today we are looking at ways that you can try and fix this yourself. Look I know that for a newbie this may seem intimidating, but if you ask me this is actually part of being a vinyl collector. Getting your hands dirty and tinkering with your turntable to get the sound just the way you want it is actually a lot of fun.
Why Is My Record Player Slowing Down And Speeding Up?
I recently wrote about what to do if your record player sounds fuzzy. However, in order to fix a problem, we need to know what is causing the problem. Truth be told there could be many reasons as to why your record player is slowing down or speeding up, but these are what I feel are the most common reasons as to why you may be having this issue.
First of all, the main suspect could be the belt. The belt on a record player sees a ton of action during its lifetime, no matter how much you spend on a record player the belt is eventually going to get some wear and tear. This can cause it to change shape and this can be a major reason as to why the sound you are hearing is kind of weird.
Another reason the speed could be changing is dust! Dust is the worst! I had this awesome record player that looked cool, but it was always exposed and dust would get into all the groves and it eventually caused the turntable to slow down ever so slightly.
Last, of all, your motor might need fine-tuning. We will take a closer look at this and I know that this may sound a little daunting, but it is not as difficult as you would imagine so do not worry about it.
Tips For Fixing Your Turntable Speed Issues
Here are some suggestions for keeping your record player turning as it should! These are just suggestions and if any of them feel a bit too much for you to watch as many videos as you can.
Fresh & Clean
Let’s start with the easiest one and that is making sure things are nice and clean. I actually dedicated a whole article to cleaning vinyl records that is worth checking out. Unless you have dust jackets, vinyl records can get dust on them which in turn can get transferred to your records.
I highly recommend that you look at a guide or watch a vinyl cleaning video that shows you how to properly take care of your vinyl. I also suggest that you keep your record player as free from dust as possible. You can get some handy kits and making sure you use things like microfiber cloth and compressed air will ensure that no pesky dust is going to cause you major problems!
Changing The Belt
When I purchase a cool looking record player, I do two things. One I try to sneak it past my wife and two I always take a peek under the hood and look at the belt. Sometimes a belt can go for years and years (I am talking decades!) and not give you any trouble, but you never really know. You can get replacement record player belts on places like Amazon for very little money. Just be sure to check the length that you need before ordering.
You can also try and “fix” the belt that you already have. A belt getting out of shape due to use is not uncommon at all. However, many people swear that you can get it back in shape with a little boiling water. You just remove the belt and place it in a pot of boiling water for around 10 minutes. The idea here is that it will make the belt go back to its original shape. I have had mixed results with this method if I am honest, but there is no harm in trying.
Fine Tuning The Motor
I know, I know! This sounds like some people’s idea of a nightmare, but it is not actually all that hard to do. If you want, check out this video guide that shows how simple it is. Basically, you unscrew the top of your turntable and then you just (with the help of a small screwdriver) fine-tune the motor to get it just at the right speed. In my experience, it never takes more than one turn to get the speed just right.
I will say that there is a fair bit of trial and error with this so do not get frustrated if it takes you longer than you may like. This is for many people a personal preference thing so be sure to listen to a lot of your favorite songs so you can tell if the turntable is set to just the way you like it.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why your record player speed is a bit off. It is something we all have to get used to and in all honesty with you guys, this is part of the dance of being a vinyl collector. Once you have tried a few of these fixes once, you will be a pro and realize that it is not too hard at all. As a matter of fact, I collect old turntables and find that tinkering with them is a great deal of fun, just as much fun as actually listening to them in many regards.