How To Set Up A Belt-Drive Turntable – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you a vinyl enthusiast looking to set up your new belt drive turntable?

Or maybe you’re just curious about the benefits of this type of turntable and want to learn more.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of setting up your belt drive turntable, step by step.

We’ll also discuss the advantages of belt drive turntables over direct drive turntables, and introduce you to a high-quality option that’s sure to impress.

So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of belt drive turntables!

How To Set Up Belt Drive Turntable

Setting up a belt drive turntable may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite simple. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Lift up the dust cover and remove it from the turntable base.

2. Make sure the belt is still routed around the gold-colored motor pulley and that it is taut. To check this, remove the black felt mat from the turntable and rotate the aluminum record platter by hand until one of the large rectangular openings is positioned at the upper left corner of the turntable (at about the 10 o’clock position). Look down into the opening and locate the gold-colored motor pulley. Make sure the belt is around the pulley and that it is taut.

3. If the belt is off the motor pulley, it is probably off the platter as well. To reinstall the belt, remove the platter from the turntable by placing your thumb and a finger in the two circular holes near the spindle and gently lifting the platter straight up. Turn the platter over so the bottom is facing up, and reinstall the drive belt around the drive rim, which is located about an inch from the platter’s outer edge. Make sure there are no twists in the belt.

4. Reinstall the platter onto the turntable and rotate it by hand until one of the large rectangular openings is located at the upper left corner of the turntable (at about the 10 o’clock position). Look down into the opening and locate the gold-colored motor pulley. Grab the belt from the inside edge of the rectangular opening and pull it over and around the pulley.

5. Place the black felt mat back on the aluminum record platter.

6. After verifying that the belt is still around the pulley (or after reinstalling it), follow these steps to reset your turntable’s automatic cycle mechanism:

– Unplug your turntable from its power source.

– Press and release the STOP button.

– While holding your tonearm in its rest with one hand, use your other hand to slowly rotate your aluminum record platter in a clockwise direction for at least 10 full revolutions.

– Place a record on your record platter.

– Plug your turntable back into its power source.

– Press and release the START button.

And that’s it! Your belt drive turntable should now be set up and ready to use.

Understanding Belt Drive Turntables Vs Direct Drive Turntables

When it comes to turntables, there are two main types: belt drive and direct drive. The main difference between the two is how the platter is driven. A belt drive turntable has a platter that sits on a bearing and is driven by a pulley-style belt, usually made of rubber. In contrast, a direct drive turntable has a platter that is connected directly to the motor through the spindle at the heart of the plate.

Direct drive turntables have higher torque, which means they have a faster start-up speed and are less vulnerable to extraneous force, such as the weight of the stylus as it tracks the groove. This makes them popular with DJs who need to align beats coming from two decks. However, because the platter is attached to the motor, vibrations are fed directly from the latter to the former, which can lead to distortion in the final performance.

On the other hand, belt drive turntables isolate the motor from the platter with a rubber belt. This lessens motor interference and leads to better sound quality because the cartridge is more easily able to track the information etched into the groove of your record. However, because the belt can only be so taut and has some necessary give to move freely around the platter and pulley spindle, in theory, rotation speed is not quite as consistently accurate due to stretch and potential slipping.

When it comes down to it, both belt drive and direct drive turntables have their strengths and weaknesses. Belt drives are often more affordable and have higher sound quality due to their ability to isolate motor noise. Direct drives are better suited for DJs due to their higher torque and faster start-up speed. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you plan on using your turntable for.

Calibrating Your Turntable For Optimal Sound Quality

Now that you’ve set up your belt drive turntable, it’s time to calibrate it for optimal sound quality. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Get the record player levelled: This may sound simplistic, but having a turntable at level is often underestimated, although it is essential for a smooth and precise operation and the preservation of records. This adjustment is simple: using a level, check the positioning of the turntable on the axis of the width and depth, then adjust the height of the legs of the furniture or add wood slats under it until the turntable is at level.

2. Calibrate the tonearm: It is important to have the tonearm of a record player calibrated, either before the first use, after moving the device or after replacing the cartridge, even if it is the same model. The calibration of the tonearm is done by displacing a counterweight behind the pivot, according to the specifications by the manufacturer of the phono cartridge – the component that holds the stylus. This adjustment leads to the application of the ideal tracking force of the stylus on the record. In general, the optimal calibration of the tonearm is set between 1.5 and 2 grams of tracking force.

To proceed with the tonearm adjustment:

– Unlock and remove the tonearm from the armrest.

– Move the counterweight so that the arm gets horizontally balanced.

– Align the graduated dial near the counterweight at “zero” position, without touching the counterweight.

– Position and lock the tonearm on the armrest.

– Move the graduated dial and counterweight to the mark specified by the phono cartridge manufacturer.

3. Adjust anti-skating: During use, a record player’s stylus may experience pressure from skating. Anti-skating involves adjusting a graduated dial that moves a spring, magnet or fixed counterweight, or by moving a counterweight suspended by a nylon thread on a lever arm with graduated notches. The adjustment value of anti-skating, in grams, is usually similar to that used to adjust tonearm.

4. Correct pitch: On some record players equipped with direct-drive mechanisms, it is possible to correct playback speed or pitch. Record players used by DJs are usually equipped with such pitch control. By using a stroboscope calibrated at 60 hertz and a disc specially made for this purpose, move pitch control back or forth until bars drawn on disc are aligned under light of stroboscope.

By following these steps and making sure your turntable is properly calibrated, you’ll be able to enjoy optimal sound quality from your belt drive turntable for years to come.

Maintenance And Care Tips For Your Belt Drive Turntable

To keep your belt drive turntable in good condition and ensure that it provides the best sound quality, regular maintenance is necessary. Here are some tips to help you maintain and care for your belt drive turntable:

1. Clean the external surfaces of your turntable regularly with a microfiber cloth. Use rubbing alcohol if there is dirt buildup, but make sure to dry it completely with a clean cloth afterwards.

2. Use an anti-static cloth to clean your turntable. This cloth will prevent the surface from getting charged again from wiping and keep your equipment dust-free for much longer.

3. Always cover the record player with a dust cover between uses. If you don’t have a cover, you can also use a cloth to prevent dust from gathering.

4. Clean the stylus delicately using a carbon fiber brush or fluid cleaner. Avoid using your fingers to wipe it off, in order to avoid bending it. Blowing on the needle to clean it is also not recommended as it can cause accidental spitting and may not remove all of the dust.

5. Replace the belt once every few years or when you notice it slipping lower than usual on its pulley or hear it slip when you power up your device.

6. Make sure that your anti-skate counterweight is aligned correctly. This part of the device makes sure that your stylus sits perfectly in the centre of the groove as the record spins, which can have an effect on the way your stylus sits inside the record grooves.

By following these tips, you can keep your belt drive turntable clean and working efficiently for years to come, ensuring that you get the best sound quality possible from your vinyl collection.

Our Top Pick For High-Quality Belt Drive Turntable: Features And Benefits

If you’re in the market for a high-quality belt drive turntable, our top pick is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X. This entry-level turntable offers unbeatable value for money and comes equipped with classic features and top-quality components. Its fully automated operation makes it easy to use, and the powerful 300W DC servo-controlled motor ensures steady playback at both 33 and 45 RPM. The sturdy die-cast aluminum platter ensures accurate tracking, while the high-quality dual magnet cartridge with a replaceable needle and integrated switchable preamp provides great sound from your speakers or other external devices. The tonearm base and headshell have been strengthened to ensure precise tracking, and an AC adaptor is included for easy setup.

One of the benefits of a belt drive turntable is its smooth and quiet operation, which helps to isolate the motor and platter from external vibrations. This results in a more natural, warm sound compared to direct drive turntables. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X delivers deep and distinct sound that lets you experience records with amazing clarity and detail. It’s reasonably priced, making it an excellent choice for those who want a reliable record player without breaking the bank.

While some record players are relatively “plug and play,” many require a little more time and effort to hear at their best. Proper setup of your turntable helps you get the best performance and sound quality. By carefully setting up your new component, you’ll ensure that it is operating under ideal conditions. Whether you’re a new user or an audiophile, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality belt drive turntable that delivers exceptional sound quality at an affordable price point.