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How to set up a turntable...

For many people, turntable setup is a scary thought, particularly if you are only getting into vinyl. Admittedly it does seem pretty intimidating when you don't know what you are doing. So we have put together this basic guide on how to set up your turntable when it arrives.

This guide is generic, however, it should work for most turntables, however turntable setup is not universal. If you are unsure or confused about anything always ask before attempting it yourself, as turntables are very fragile and easily damaged! We are always on hand to help if it is required. 

Let's get started...

 

1. UNPACKING THE TURNTABLE

 

The first step in turntable setup

First of all you need to remember two important things when unpacking your turntable.

1. Carefully open and keep the box. If you ever decide to trade in your turntable it will be worth a lot more with the original box and packaging.

2. Before you start to build the turntable carefully read the instructions and then set out all the bits so that you don’t lose anything. ( some parts like the anti-skate weight are very small and can be easily misplaced).  Turntables are both complicated and delicate so you need to take care when unboxing and building it. If you are not sure what you are doing the best advice is to call into your local branch and we will build the turntable for you.  However, if you bought it mail order or you want to do it yourself then hopefully this guide will help.

 

2. FITTING THE BELT

 

You will see in the photograph our turntable expert fitting the belt is wearing gloves. The reason for this is that if you use your bare hands the oil from your skin will get unto the belt and it can then slip. To fit the belt you simply stretch the belt over the inner platter and place it over the pulley. The belt should fit around the centre of the inner platter. 

In some cases, there may be a small piece of card under the platter, you will need to remove that before fitting the belt. This is simply there to protect the bearing during transport. In can be useful to hang onto it, as it will come in handy if you ever have to ship your turntable. 

You can then place the main platter on top of the inner platter. (Note some turntables don’t have an inner platter and in that case, the belt goes right around the outside of the platter)

 

3. BALANCING THE ARM

In most cases where the arm is pre-fitted, there will be a small cable tie wrapped around the arm. This is to secure the arm during shipping so that it doesn't get damaged. You will need to remove this before balancing the arm and continuing with your turntable setup. 

 

 

Most turntables come with the cartridge (needle) pre-fitted. This is very helpful as it is quite complicated to fit a cartridge and you need certain tools like an alignment protractor to do it yourself, so having a cartridge prefitted makes any turntable setup much easier.

However, with the cartridge fitted all you need to do is set the weight and this is done by putting the supplied weight unto the back of the tonearm.

 

Most weights come with a numbered dial ( this can be moved independently of the main weight). Initially what you need to do is put on the weight, then take the arm off its rest and position it between the rest and the platter. You then need to adjust the weight until the arm literally floats level with the platter. ( ensure when you are balancing the arm that you have removed the stylus guard).

 

Once you have achieved this put the arm back on the rest and without moving the weight gently move the numbered dial until the zero is at the 12 O’clock position. 

Once you have done that then turn the whole weight counterclockwise until you have set the weight at the correct level. Most cartridges track between 1.5 and 2 grams but your instructions will tell you the ideal weight for your cartridge. Note do not fit the anti skate weight until you have balanced the arm.

Once you have set the weight you can put the stylus guard back on to keep the stylus (needle) safe.

 

 

4. ANTI SKATE WEIGHT

Once you have set your cartridge weight set you need to set the anti-skate weight. This is to ensure your cartridge will track correctly in the grooves of your records. In this particular turntable, the anti-skate weight is hung from a nylon string from the back of the arm. The nylon string can be quite difficult to see, so be patient with this part.

There are three grooves in the stub on the back of the arm and you can try all three to see which sounds better but generally, the middle groove is the preferred choice. Note some arms may use a dial for setting up the anti-skate Bias.

 

5. ADD THE COVER

Evary turntbale cover will fir on differently, but gernally they will have two slots at the back. in this case there are two small poles at the rear of the turntable and the cover simply slides onto these. This can be another part that requires a little bit of patience, as it can be quite a tight fit, and the last thing you want to do is crack your nice new cover! Once its on, lift the cover a few times to make sure it is located properly and that the hinges have free movement. 

 

6. READY TO PLAY

Connect the turntable to your phono stage or amplifier with the provided cables (if applicable). Some cables will be pre fitted to the arm and in other cases the turntable will have phono plugs that you connect the cable to. If there is an earth wire connect that to both the turntable and phono stage/amplifier. Then connect the turntable to the mains supply and you are ready to go.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This is only a guide, if you have any questions or queries please always contact one of our branches for advice. PLease do not attempt any part of this set up that you are unsure or unhappy about. Turntbales are fragile so be careful. 

 Turntable setup


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