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Record Wobbles While Playing

author
David Lawrence
• Sunday, 17 October, 2021
• 7 min read

Visible wobble may be normal for garbage turntables, but you’ll find that zero is the industry standard for quality machines. Some of the most common reasons for its happening is the record player could be poorly made or the spindle is warped.

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(Source: bignokh.com)

Contents

A turntable wobble of 5 mm, could be fine for most people whereas someone who is very particular wouldn’t like that amount at all. As the turntable spins it could have a miniscule variance in the production process that causes the platter to move slightly every time that it turns around.

These things won’t hurt the record or the player probably, but they can cause it to wobble slightly. Still, if it is stressing the cartridge and if a dip or rise corresponds to an area in the grooves where your needle has a hard time tracking, you might have some issues.

Many music collectors even say that they can hear the wobble by carefully listening to the record play. If your player wobbles too much and is causing issues with playing your records then you will probably want to level your turntable.

On an overflowing shelf that lacks support dividers, the weight of each record adds up quickly, and you don’t want the records on one end to be supporting the weight of your entire collection. Because some of your sleeves will have things like drop cards, 7-inch bonus records, album art books, or the protruding zipper from your copy of Sticky Fingers, the unevenness of the packaging will introduce disproportionate weight and pressure to the stack, further exacerbating the warping.

Sure, go ahead and tastefully stack them for a picture, but stand them back up posthaste. You’ll see below that re-introducing heat will potentially help you to tame a warped record, but don’t leave your records in a hot car or have them delivered to a sun-scorched doorstep in Las Vegas where you might accidentally leave them for a week while on vacation.

For short periods of time (like when your vinyl is on the delivery truck) you’re probably fine, but direct heat and sunlight over any extended amount of time is detrimental to the life of your vinyl. Now that we have addressed the basics of how your records can get warped in the first place, next we’ll go over a few of the generally accepted ways to remedy the problems.

Be careful that you don’t ever leave your record in too long or at too hot of temperature. If you are interested in learning more about how to fix your warped records you can read another article that I wrote about it by clicking here.

How much wobble you are comfortable with on your player is ultimately a personal decision. Even if you are able to perfectly level your platter there are many records that are slightly thicker on one side than the other, so they will cause your turntable to wobble as well.

This is the first time I've seen this happen, so it freaked me out a bit. I thought it might hop out of the groove at any moment.

I noticed the same or similar behavior on my old turntable when I didn't have the counterweight on the rear of the tonearm set correctly. I noticed the same or similar behavior on my old turntable when I didn't have the counterweight on the rear of the tonearm set correctly.

It probably means that the cart/arm combination you use isn't the best possible match, but double check all your cart and arm adjustments in any event. I thought it might hop out of the groove at any moment.

It probably means that the cart/arm combination you use isn't the best possible match, but double check all your cart and arm adjustments in any event. If you've been using it that long, and it doesn't happen with any other discs, I would tend to think the vinyl is your gremlin.

Fwiw, this happened when I used to have one of those cheap plastic turntables. I made huge upgrades to my setup, haven't seen it happen since.

Fwiw, this happened when I used to have one of those cheap plastic turntables. I made huge upgrades to my setup, haven't seen it happen since.

Oddly enough, the record that caused the crazy wobbling today used to play fine on my old cheap, plastic turntable! I can't remember if it sounded weird when mine was messing up.

I guess as long as it's a rare occurrence, I shouldn't care too much. The Sure V15 type III cartridge had such high compliance, if it was paired with a heavier tonearm (such as the Line Into LVII, to name one example), it would experience the “wobble” condition (and even skip easily).

I was repairing a Pioneer quartz direct drive turntable where the arm would randomly jump all over the record. I determined it to be a loose counterweight stub.

I tightened the end stub, reinstalled the counterweight, and all seemed to be well afterwards. So in closing, I'd at least check these two possibilities (among others) in the event of “cartridge wobble”.

I have a few albums with a tight spindle hole the worst David Bowie's UK original Hunky Dory. So in closing, I'd at least check these two possibilities (among others) in the event of “cartridge wobble”.

The behavior does sound like something is exciting the resonant frequency of your cartridge combination. Possibilities limited to problems associated with breaks between tracks only suggest that an ultra low frequency has been cut onto the record as the cutter speeds up to create the space between tracks.

A warped record is fairly obvious and will be mainly a problem at the outer tracks. An off-centre record could do it, but this should be obvious and not limited to between tracks.

The easiest way to check this is added some weight to the head shell, rebalance to zero and reapply ITF. This should lower the resonant frequency a little and may avoid this happening.

The behavior does sound like something is exciting the resonant frequency of your cartridge combination. Possibilities limited to problems associated with breaks between tracks only suggest that an ultra low frequency has been cut onto the record as the cutter speeds up to create the space between tracks.

A warped record is fairly obvious and will be mainly a problem at the outer tracks. An off-centre record could do it, but this should be obvious and not limited to between tracks.

The easiest way to check this is added some weight to the head shell, rebalance to zero and reapply ITF. This should lower the resonant frequency a little and may avoid this happening.

I can't remember if it sounded weird when mine was messing up. I agree though, I'm not gonna worry about it since it doesn't happen on all records.

I found out that there was something called the “Grade dance” (or similar). I found out that there was something called the “Grade dance” (or similar).

I'm just using the standard cartridge that came with my table, but I'd definitely like to upgrade in the future! I believe your PL-120 may be equipped with an ATP-2 cartridge, which is from Audio Technical's Pro/DJ range and comes with a heavy-duty stylus with low compliance.

It is “stiffer” than the average hi-fi stylus and therefor requires a higher tracking force (3 to 5 grams CIRC). Keep in mind that tracking it much lighter, maybe in an attempt to conserve your records, would not be a good idea.

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2 www.arb.com.au - https://www.arb.com.au/mercedes-benz-x-class-2018-present/canopies/
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4 www.flexiglass.com.au - https://www.flexiglass.com.au/flexisport-premium-canopy-to-suit-mercedes-benz-x-class-dual-cab
5 rhinoman.co.za - https://rhinoman.co.za/canopies/mercedes-x-canopies/
6 www.pickuptopsuk.com - https://www.pickuptopsuk.com/collections/mercedes-benz-x-class-hardtop-canopy-accessories
7 www.pegasus4x4.com - https://www.pegasus4x4.com/mercedes/x-class/x-class-hardtops/mercedes-benz-x-class-avantgarde-hardtop-with-central-locking/