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Old 01-11-2016, 02:59 PM
PorkPieGuy PorkPieGuy is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,134
Default Calibrating a tone arm on a turntable

Please, please, please don't make me go back and join audiophile message boards!

Ok, so I got my stereo set up and running last week.

Here are pictures of the same make/model of turntable and stylus:

So, I adjusted everything as to how I was told to by the guy at the vintage electronics place. Basically, he said install the the cartridge on the headshell, balance the tonearm where it's parallel with platter, then add just enough weight to where the needle touches the record, and that should do it.

But when I got it hooked up, it totally sounded like [email protected] Everything was sort of distorted and just sounded bad. I tried multiple records, and everything sounded pretty terrible. My CDs sound great, so I knew it had something to do with my record player, and not the actual sound system. So, I have this brand new Nora Jones record that sounded the worst, so I decided to experiment with some calibrations just using my ears. I read online that distortion may mean that there's not enough pressure on the needle, so I'd play the Jones record, and I'd add just a little bit of weight adjustment from the back of the tone arm. Sure enough, some of the distortion went away. I did it again, and yup, better results. I kept doing it until the distortion totally went away. I just kept adding it very, very slow increments. Not only does the Nora Jones record sound amazing, so does everything else!

So I did some reading this afternoon, and sure enough, I have the spring-loaded stabilizer engaged on the cartridge. From what I've read, the stabilizer actually takes away 0.5 grams of weight, so that's why the needle felt too "light" on the record and made them distort.

In essence, I have no idea how much weight I have on it. In addition, this record player is from 1987, and who knows if the numbers on the tone arm are even that accurate anymore. I adjusted by sound as opposed to numbers, and I adjusted until it sounded good.

For those of you that listen to records, did you ever have to make adjustments to make things work the way that they are supposed to, even if it's outside of the weight recommendations?

Here's the stabilizer in place (not my picture):

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