Howdy folks today we are looking at the reasons as to why your record player sounds high pitched and what some of the things you can do to fix this are. I actually spoke about this a while back, but this is a subject that never hurts to revisit as there are always people who are just getting into collecting records or those who are getting back into it after doing so back in the 80s and 90s. My son is someone that has taken an interest in vinyl recently, his taste in music is not that great and when I suggested he listen to the epic Appetite for Destruction Remastered by Guns n Roses, he pulled a face! Anyway, his rather basic ByronStatics Vinyl Record Player, that I got him to start his vinyl journey on had some issues (which turned out happened because he dropped the thing!) and these are the steps we took to get it working right and not sounding like the music was playing at a faster, higher pitch than it should have been.
Is It At The Right Speed Setting?
I know that this one here sounds blatantly obvious, but some people who are new to vinyl may not know that you can change the speed of your turntable and that can be the cause of your record player sounds high pitched troubles. Most record players, no matter if it is this ANGELS HORN Vinyl Record Player that costs over 200 bucks or this Victrola Brooklyn Special Edition 3-in-1 Bluetooth Suitcase Record Player that costs around $50 will have different speed settings, usually two or three depending on the record player. Anyway, some albums need to be played at a different speed and if you do not have the record player set to the right speed it can sound sped up or slowed down. I would say playing around with the switch or dial to see if it makes a difference is the first thing that you should do.
Download An App To Test Your Record Player’s Speed
One way that you can see if your record player is turning as it should be is with one of many different apps that are on the market. You just download the app on your phone, fire up the app, place your phone on the turntable and it will tell you what the RPM is and you can then see if it is right. I am not sure exactly how accurate these things are, but the one I have used is called, RPM Speed & Wow and I have been impressed with it. Another popular one is called, RPM – Turntable Speed Accuracy, and this is one that a friend of mine says he likes best. These not only give you an idea of the RPM, but also if your record player has any wow or flutter issues and this could actually be another reason as to why your record player sounds high pitched!
It Is Usually The Belt
Not only do I collect records, but I also collect turntables, or as my wife likes to say, I horde turntables. Anyway, in my experience, if there is an issue with the speed that the turntable is rotating, the belt is 99/100 going to be the cause of this. I remember a while back I had this pretty awesome Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable that was my main turntable and it had this thing where the sound would speed up one second and then go slow the next, it was very slight, but it was like nails on a chalkboard to me! Over time the belt had become loose, just down to the use of it, but with my son’s record player, he dropped it, the problem with these suitcase style ones is that people can move them and a record player should be left still!
You will have to open up your turntable to get to the belt and if you are not comfortable doing this or have no clue how to, you may be better off taking it to a professional. Now if you are dealing with a cheap record player like this Vinyl Record Player Turntable with Built-in Bluetooth Receive that costs 40 bucks, you are probably better just buying another than trying to fix it. If you do want to try and fix it, check the belt to see if it feels loose, or weird or if it is damaged in any way. People say that you can boil the belt and it will get it back into the right shape, but I would recommend just replacing it, and picking up something like this 5 Pieces Turntable Belt set. Replace the belt and then see if the sound is ok. Now, take your time with this and make sure you have put the belt on right! I have been to “Johnny Cut Corners” in the past, not put the belt on right, and had an even weirder sound that I started with!
The Calibration Screws
Not all modern record players have these, but many record players do have these little calibration screws (where they are will depend on the make and model of your record player) the idea here is that you turn them slightly to get the calibration just right. You would make small adjustments and then check the speed with one of the apps we mentioned before. This is a bit of a timely and pain in the butt kind of thing to do, but it can make a hell of a difference and save you buying a new belt or taking it to a professional to get fixed. Again, if you have purchased a cheap record player like this Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player then you probably would be better off just replacing it than spending money and time trying to get it fixed.
If you ask me, I think a huge part of the fun of collecting vinyl and record players in general, is tinkering with them and never knowing what kind of sound you are going to get until you put that first record on. One of my go to albums to test out a record player is Open Up And Say Ahh by Poison, because it is an album I know inside out, and I can tell right away if the record player sounds high pitched or if there is some kind of other issue with it! I have found that more often than not a slipped or damaged belt is the cause of a record player sounding weird and that to be honest with you is a pretty easy fix that you more than likely can do yourself. As I said before, if you are not comfortable doing it by yourself, take it to a professional!