If you’re a vinyl enthusiast, you know that maintaining your turntable is crucial to getting the best sound possible.
One important aspect of turntable maintenance is lubrication. But with so many different types of oils and greases out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is best for your turntable.
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of oils and greases recommended for turntables and provide some tips on how to properly lubricate your turntable to keep it running smoothly.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of turntable lubrication.
What Oil To Use On Turntable
When it comes to choosing the right oil for your turntable, it’s important to use a fully synthetic and non-detergent oil. This type of oil is specifically designed to lubricate mechanical components without leaving any residue or buildup.
Compressor oil with a viscosity of ISO 68 or SAE 30 is a popular choice for turntable bearings. This type of oil is recommended by many turntable manufacturers, including Technics.
It’s important to note that not all oils are created equal. For example, WD-40 is not a lubricant and should not be used on turntable bearings. Using the wrong type of oil can actually cause more harm than good, so it’s important to do your research and choose the right oil for your turntable.
Why Lubrication Is Important For Turntables
Lubrication is a crucial aspect of maintaining a turntable’s performance and longevity. Turntable bearings are designed to run with specific clearances and lubricants, which help to fill the void between the spindle and the walls of the bearing well. Over time, however, these lubricants can change and evaporate, causing a loss of lubricant volume and increased clearances in the bearing.
This can lead to metal surfaces running together, resulting in unwanted noise and vibration. In extreme cases, it can even cause bearing wobble, which is a disaster for any turntable.
Regularly lubricating your turntable’s bearings with the right type of oil will help to prevent these issues from occurring. It will also help to keep your turntable running smoothly and quietly, ensuring that you get the best possible sound quality from your vinyl records.
In addition to using the right type of oil, it’s also important to apply it correctly. Applying too much oil can cause excess buildup, while applying too little can lead to insufficient lubrication. It’s recommended to apply a few drops of oil on the rotor shaft where it exits the motor, then gently rotate the pulley and work the shaft up and down to ensure that the oil gets down into the bushing.
Types Of Oils And Greases Recommended For Turntables
There are several types of oils and greases that are recommended for turntables. One popular choice is a thin, fully synthetic compressor oil with a viscosity of ISO 68 or SAE 30. This type of oil is recommended by many turntable manufacturers and is ideal for lubricating turntable bearings.
Another option is a special SAE20 engine oil without additives. This oil was developed for fuel engines in the 1950s and 1960s and was also used by Thorens as bearing oil. Today, this oil is still used in classic cars and motorbikes. This type of oil is particularly suitable for classic sintered bronze bearing bushes.
White lithium grease, or Phonolube, is another traditional grease that is commonly used on turntables. It’s important to note that not all types of grease are suitable for turntables, as some can gum up the action on certain levers and other components.
When choosing an oil or grease for your turntable, it’s important to make sure it is additive-free and specifically designed for mechanical components. It’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and only use the recommended type of oil or grease for your specific turntable model.
How To Choose The Right Oil For Your Turntable
Choosing the right oil for your turntable can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting the perfect oil for your turntable:
1. Type of Oil: As mentioned earlier, it’s important to use a fully synthetic and non-detergent oil. This type of oil is specially formulated to lubricate mechanical components without leaving any residue or buildup.
2. Viscosity: The viscosity of the oil is also important. A compressor oil with a viscosity of ISO 68 or SAE 30 is recommended for turntable bearings. This type of oil has the right thickness and flow characteristics to properly lubricate the bearing.
3. Protective Film Strength: The oil you choose should have an extremely strong protective film strength. This means that it will form a strong barrier between the metal surfaces, preventing wear and tear and reducing friction.
4. Low Friction: The oil should also have ultra-low friction properties. This will help to reduce any unwanted noise or distortion in your audio playback.
5. Manufacturer Recommendations: Finally, it’s always a good idea to check with your turntable manufacturer for their specific recommendations on what type of oil to use. Some manufacturers may have their own branded oils that are specially formulated for their turntables.
By considering these factors when choosing the right oil for your turntable, you can ensure that you are getting the best possible sound quality and prolonging the life of your turntable’s mechanical components.
How To Properly Lubricate Your Turntable
Proper lubrication is essential to maintain the quality of your turntable. Here are the steps to properly lubricate your turntable:
1. First, remove the platter from the turntable.
2. Apply a small amount of fully synthetic and non-detergent oil into the spindle hole. A pea-sized drop is usually enough.
3. Replace the platter onto the turntable and let it run for 1-2 hours to distribute the oil evenly.
4. After 1-2 hours, wipe off any excess oil from the spindle and platter.
5. For Technics DD turntables, including SL-1200s, it’s recommended to use 2-3 drops of oil once every 2000 playing hours.
6. Do not attempt to lubricate direct drive motors with a closed casing unless you detect unusually high friction or hear noise from the motor. This may cause more harm than good.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your turntable is properly lubricated and maintained for optimal performance. Remember to use only fully synthetic and non-detergent oil, and avoid using oils that are not specifically designed for turntable bearings.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Lubricating Your Turntable
Lubricating your turntable can be a daunting task, but it’s important to avoid certain mistakes to ensure that you don’t damage your equipment. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when lubricating your turntable:
1. Over-lubricating: While it may seem like more is better when it comes to lubrication, over-lubricating can actually cause more harm than good. Too much oil can attract dust and dirt, leading to buildup and potentially damaging your turntable’s bearings.
2. Using the wrong type of oil: As mentioned earlier, not all oils are created equal. Using the wrong type of oil can cause damage to your turntable’s bearings and other mechanical components. Make sure to use a fully synthetic and non-detergent oil that is specifically designed for turntable use.
3. Not cleaning the bearings: Before lubricating your turntable, it’s important to clean the bearings thoroughly. Accumulation of dust and dirt can cause damage to the bearings over time, so it’s important to clean them with mineral spirits or paint thinner before applying any lubricant.
4. Using too much force: When applying lubricant to your turntable’s bearings, it’s important to use a gentle touch. Applying too much force can damage the delicate components of your turntable and cause more harm than good.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your turntable stays in top condition and provides you with high-quality sound for years to come.
Other Turntable Maintenance Tips To Keep In Mind
In addition to using the right oil for your turntable, there are other maintenance tips to keep in mind to ensure your turntable is functioning at its best.
Firstly, it’s important to make sure your turntable is placed on a sturdy and level surface. Any outside vibrations or unevenness can affect rotational accuracy, lower the quality, or worse, can actually cause the needle to jump around and scratch the record.
Secondly, dust is the enemy of any turntable. It’s important to keep your turntable and records clean to prevent dust buildup. Dusting your turntable after each use or at least twice a week is recommended. A microfiber anti-static dusting cloth is the best tool to use for this purpose. If there is built-up dust and dirt on the surface of your turntable, use rubbing alcohol by moistening the microfiber cloth and wipe down all the surfaces, beginning with the center of the record player and wiping outwards. Make sure you soak up any remaining moisture by using a dry microfiber cloth.
Thirdly, cleaning your records by hand is the best option if you’re on a budget or wish to save time. Use a vinyl brush to gently clean the record’s surface in a circular pattern. Do not apply too much force as applying too much pressure will damage the grooves and affect sound quality. Use a vinyl record cleaning solution or a combination of dish soap and water to gently rub over the record. Once washed, dry with a microfiber towel and keep the records out for at least half an hour after drying them.
Lastly, it’s important to keep an eye on the motor and belt of your turntable for signs of degradation. If you notice that the belt is slipping lower on the pulley, that’s a big red flag indicating it’s time to replace it with a brand-new belt. It’s often easier to simply replace a malfunctioning motor rather than try and fix it yourself.
By following these simple maintenance tips, you can ensure that your turntable is functioning at its best and that you’re getting the most out of your vinyl listening experience.