Think your record player is spinning too fast?
There is a good chance it’s not.
You might swear that some pitches seem high or the sound is distorted. But sometimes it’s your ears that are off, not the sound.
And once you get it into your mind that your record player is too fast, you subconsciously convince yourself that you keep hearing more evidence to support your hypothesis.
This happens to all of us in many aspects of life.
That’s why the first thing you need to determine is whether your turntable is in fact spinning too fast.
Because if it’s not, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time trying to fix a problem that does not exist.
Is My Record Player Playing Too Fast?
In a stereo shop they can measure your RPM by using a strobe and calibrate it that way. Most likely you will not have access to that kind of equipment.
Luckily, there are apps you can put on your smartphone that can check the RPMs of your platter. There are 2 popular apps that get good reviews for this purpose, RPM- Turntable Speed Accuracy and RPM Speed & Wow.
There are other apps as well but those are the most popular and according to the reviews, they are the most accurate.
Once you know for sure that the turntable is spinning too fast, continue with the rest of this guide.
How To Fix A Fast Turntable
How you fix it depends on why it is too fast. In other words: the solution depends on the problem.
There are about 4 main reasons a belt drive deck could be spinning too fast, and 4 different fixes.
Speed Selector Switch Problem
Sometimes the speed switch can have an internal issues where the switch is slightly too far in one direction or the other.
This will send too much voltage to the motor which causes the record to spin too fast. This is often caused by dirt or grime inside the switch that can build up over time.
To determine if it is the switch try gently moving it slightly while the platter is spinning. If you hear the record slow down or speed up slightly, there is a good chance the switch could be the issue.
Speed Switch Fix
There are 2 ways to fix this issue.
- Replace the switch
- Clean and lube the switch
Replacing the switch is the better solution for the long term but will cost more and take more time. You would have to have a shop do it or do it yourself.
Either way you are paying for the part and labor. Cleaning and lubing the switch is much easier and will only take a couple of minutes.
You will need to get a bottle of electronics cleaner like Deoxit. Just spray a small amount of the product into the switch while gently moving it back and forth.
Turntable Belt Issue
The turntable belt is like other belts you may have seen on vacuum cleaner motors or other small electronics like cassette players.
It is basically a rubber band. Over time it can stretch out or get repositioned, causing speed deviations in the playback. There are 2 typical problems with the belt that will cause your speed to be off.
- Stretched out belt
- Belt is in the wrong position (rides up on the spindle too far)
No matter which of these 2 problems your turntable has, the solution is the same. Replace the belt!
You may be thinking “why would I replace the belt if it is just in the wrong position? Can’t I just move it?”
The answer is no. For the belt to get in the wrong position to begin with, it would have to be stretched too far which means it needs to be replaced.
These belts are widely available and not expensive. Of course, to get the original manufacturer part you will pay a little more, but there are many after market parts that will do the job for less money.
Every turntable is going to be a little different, so follow the instructions in the manual.
Basically, you are going to take out any screws you need to and remove the old belt. Then you place the new one in the same place. When you are done, put the chassis back together.
Turntable Parts Are Too Dry
There are some gears and motors under the platter that make the turntable function, and some of these parts need to be lubricated or there will be too much friction.
When there is too much friction the parts will move slower and place strain on other parts which will give way and move too fast.
To determine if this is the problem, check your belt and speed switch. If they are both OK, there is a good chance you need to lube some internal parts.
Dry Parts Fix
This will be different for each model, so consult your manual. However, turntables are all basically the same.
There are going to be motors and gears and springs. You can get some synthetic oil like this liquid bearings and use a tiny amount where needed inside your deck on your moving parts.
Rotation Speed Calibration Issue
This is my favorite reason for the deck to be spinning too fast because it is the easiest to fix (usually). Over time your motor can change speeds slightly and need calibration.
You can usually tell it is a calibration issue because it is going to be very subtle, with just a tiny variation in the speed.
To find out for sure if it is a calibration issue, check the other 3 issues and use the process of elimination to arrive at the conclusion that it is the calibration.
Some turntables have calibration screws, and some do not. The tables I have had in the past have all had these screws, which makes calibration extremely easy.
Check your manual to see if you have them, and if not, how to calibrate your speed. With the screw version, just turn the screws slightly clockwise until you hear the sound begin to sound normal.
Every turntable will tell you how to adjust the speed in the manual, so once again, this is the easiest fix to apply.
Record Player Playing Too Fast: Final Thoughts
The first step you should take is to determine if you actually have a speed issue or not. Many times the turntable is spinning at the correct speed, even when we could swear up and down that it is not.
If the speed is off, proceed to check each of the potential issues listed above. Once you’ve determined what the problem is, use our instructions and those in your manual to fix the issue.