Is there a slight wobble when you play records on your turntable?
Or even a large wobble?
This is a common issue.
And it is often nothing to worry about.
Are records supposed to wobble then?
We will get in that in just a second.
Keep reading to learn if records wobbling at all is a problem, or when it becomes one. We will also show you how to fix a turntable wobble.
- 1 Are Records Supposed To Wobble?
- 1.1 What Causes Turntables To Wobble
- 1.2 How To Fix Turntable Wobble
- 2 Are Record Players Supposed To Wobble: Final Thoughts
Are Records Supposed To Wobble?
It’s normal for a vinyl record to have a slight wobble, or exhibit some vibration, when it is playing on a record player. However, excessive wobble or vibration can cause problems with the tracking ability of the tonearm and cartridge and affect the sound quality and.
If your record player is wobbling visibly, you will need to fix it. In order to do that, you first need to determine what is causing the wobble. There are a few reasons a turntable might wobble.
What Causes Turntables To Wobble
If your turntable is wobbling, check each of the following possible causes to see which on is the reason for the wobble in your case.
Surface Is Not Level
If the turntable is sitting on a surface that is not level, it can cause the platter to wobble as it rotates. Use a level to make sure that the turntable is even. If it is not, adjust the surface beneath the record player to make it level, or adjust the turntable feet themselves.
Surface Is Not Stable
If the surface the turntable is placed on is unstable, it can vibrate or wobble, which will cause the record player to do the same. Make sure the record player is sitting on a sturdy surface. A solid record player stand is always a good option.
Incorrect Belt Tension
The belt that drives the platter needs to have the correct tension. If the belt is too loose or too tight, it can cause the platter to wobble.
The platter needs to be properly fastened. If the platter is not secure, it can begin to wobble when it rotates.
A worn-out or damaged stylus can cause also wobbling. It can do so in a number of ways. First, it may simply be unable to track the grooves in the record accurately, causing it to jump or skip. This can cause the tonearm to move erratically, which results in wobbling.
A damaged needle may also produce more friction as it moves through the grooves, which can cause the tonearm to vibrate. Similarly, if the needle is not aligned properly with the grooves in the record, or if it is not seated properly in the cartridge, it can cause the tonearm to move off center, resulting in a wobble.
If you are playing a vinyl record that is warped (or otherwise damaged), it can result in the needle jumping or skipping. This, in turn, can cause wobbling.
All vinyl records are suspect to warping over time. But heavier records, like 180 gram vinyl records, resist warping more than standard 120 to 160 gram vinyl records.
How To Fix Turntable Wobble
Once you have determined which of the above issues is causing your turntable to wobble, it is time to fix it. Follow the instructions below for the issue you have.
Level Your Turntable
Use the same spirit level (also called a bubble level, or just a level) you used to determine that your turntable is uneven to now level it out.
Place the level on the platter and make adjustments to the surface it is on, or the turntable feet, or both, until the level shows that the turntable is even. Make sure to check all axes.
Put Your Record Player On a Sturdy Surface
If the surface under your record player is unstable, you will never get it to work properly. Move the turntable onto a sturdy surface. It should be something that does not wobble or vibrate itself, because those movement will transfer to the record layer when it plays a record.
If you are unable to find a completely sturdy surface, you can also try to use isolation feet or a decoupling mat to help absorb vibrations and wobbling. I always recommend isolation feet anyway to eliminate vibrations, even on a sturdy surface.
Replace The Belt
If the turntable belt is too loose, you will need to replace it. If it is too tight, you can try removing it and stretching it out, before putting it back in its place. It is difficult yo get his just right (you could easily end up stretching it too much), but it is worth a try before replacing it altogether.
If you get a new belt, make sure it is the correct size for your turntable. The instruction manual will help you determine the size you need. In order to remove and replace the belt, follow these instructions.
- Make sure the turntable is unplugged and the platter is not spinning.
- Locate the belt and the motor. The belt is typically located around the motor pulley or a separate belt pulley.
- Gently lift the belt off the pulley. You may need to use a small flat-head screwdriver or a belt tool to help lift the belt.
- Once the belt is off either stretch it by pulling on gently on both ends (if it is too tight) or replace it with another belt (if it is too loose).
- Carefully place the stretched belt, or a new belt, back onto the pulley and make sure it is affixed properly.
- Plug in the turntable and test the belt tension by spinning the platter by hand. The belt should be tight enough to turn the platter, but not so tight that it causes any resistance or binding.
We also have an entire article on replacing a turntable belt.
Attach The Platter Correctly
If a loose, or otherwise incorrectly attached, platter is the culprit, follow these steps to fix it.
- Make sure the turntable is unplugged and the platter is not spinning.
- Check both the platter and the mounting screws that hold the platter to the spindle(the center post that the platter sits on). These are typically located around the perimeter of the platter.
- If the platter is not sitting correctly, unscrew the mounting screws using a screwdriver, remove the platter, and replace it correctly. Then put the screws back in. Be careful not to overtighten the screws, because it is easy to strip the threads or damage the platter.
- If the mounting screws are simply loose, tighten them. Again, make sure not to overtighten.
If the platter is sitting correctly and the mounting screws are tight, but the platter is still loose, it may be a sign of a more serious issue with the spindle or the bearing that supports it.
In this case, we recommend seeking the help of a professional. You could also try checking the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific turntable model, to see if they cover the specific issue you are having. But most likely, you will need a professional to take a look.
Align Or Replace Stylus
First, make sure the needle is in good condition and properly aligned in the cartridge. If it is not sitting correctly in the cartridge, you will need to adjust it, or remove it and put it back correctly.
We have an entire article on determining if a stylus is bad. It the needle is worn or damaged, you need to replace it.
This article will show you how to replace a turntable needle. It will come in handy is you simply need to remove and replace an incorrectly aligned needle, too.
Are Record Players Supposed To Wobble: Final Thoughts
Some wobbling is normal with record players and not a problem, as long as it is not affecting the playback. But if your turntable is exhibiting excessive wobble, you will want to fix it.
Go through the list of possible causes of a record player wobbling above and determine which one is causing your turntable to wobble. Then follow our instructions to fix the issue.