The tonearm of a turntable is an essential component that plays a crucial role in achieving accurate and high-quality sound reproduction. One of the critical components of a tonearm is the counterweight, which balances the tonearm’s weight and ensures that the stylus tracks properly on the record. However, if you do not have a counterweight or have a damaged one, you can still balance the tonearm by following these steps.
Step 1: Set the Tonearm Height The first step in balancing a tonearm without a counterweight is to set the tonearm height correctly. The height adjustment is essential because it determines the angle at which the stylus contacts the record surface. The ideal height for the tonearm is between 1.5 and 2.0 mm. To set the height, loosen the locking collar, and move the tonearm up or down until it is at the correct height. Once you have set the tonearm height, lock the collar to keep it in place.
Step 2: Set the Antiskate Antiskate is another crucial factor that helps maintain the proper tracking of the stylus. It works by counteracting the inward force that the groove places on the stylus. The ideal antiskate setting is equal to the tracking force applied to the stylus. For example, if the tracking force is 2 grams, set the antiskate to 2 grams. You can set the antiskate by adjusting the knob on the tonearm base.
Step 3: Adjust the Tracking Force The tracking force is the downward force applied to the stylus when it tracks the record. It is essential to set the tracking force to the manufacturer’s recommended setting to ensure the stylus tracks properly and does not damage the record. To adjust the tracking force, use a tracking force gauge and adjust the weight at the end of the tonearm until it is at the correct level.
Step 4: Test the Balance Once you have set the height, antiskate, and tracking force, it is time to test the balance of the tonearm. To do this, place the stylus on the record and adjust the tonearm’s weight until the stylus floats above the record surface. You can adjust the weight by moving it back or forward along the tonearm. When the stylus is floating, the tonearm is balanced, and you can start listening to your record.
In conclusion, balancing a tonearm without a counterweight is possible, but it requires careful adjustment of the tonearm height, antiskate, tracking force, and weight distribution. While it may take some time to get it right, the effort is worth it, as it ensures that your turntable produces accurate and high-quality sound reproduction.