Why Is My Turntable Slow? Common Causes And Solutions

Are you experiencing issues with your turntable spinning too slowly?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem that many vinyl enthusiasts face.

But before you start panicking and thinking about replacing your beloved record player, there are a few things you can do to fix the issue.

In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of a slow turntable and provide some tips on how to troubleshoot and solve the problem.

So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of turntable maintenance!

Why Is My Turntable Slow

There are several reasons why your turntable may be playing or sounding slow. The most common cause is a loose or stretched belt. Without the grip of the belt on the pulley, the turntable can move too slowly, affecting the overall sound and quality of the playback.

Another reason could be dirty 33 and 45 rpm controls. If these controls are dirty, they can affect the speed of the turntable and cause it to play slowly.

It’s also possible that your turntable needs a good cleaning. Dust and debris can accumulate on the turntable, causing it to move slower than usual. Regular cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth can help keep your turntable in tip-top condition.

If you’ve tried cleaning your turntable and checking the belt tension, but it’s still playing slow, there may be other issues at play. These could include problems with the turntable motor, lubrication of turntable parts, or calibration of the turntable rotation speed.

Possible Causes Of A Slow Turntable

There are several possible causes of a slow turntable. The first and most common cause is a loose or stretched belt. Over time, the belt can become worn out, leading to a loss of grip on the pulley and causing the turntable to move too slowly.

Another cause could be dirty 33 and 45 rpm controls. These controls can become clogged with dust and debris, leading to a slower playback speed. Regular cleaning of these controls can help prevent this issue.

It’s also possible that the turntable needs lubrication. Dry turntable parts can cause the turntable to move slowly, so adding some oil to the rotor shaft where it exits the motor can help improve its performance.

In some cases, a slow turntable may be due to poor calibration of the turntable rotation speed. This issue can be fixed by adjusting the speed selector on the turntable or by using a strobe disc or phone app to check the speed and make necessary adjustments.

Finally, a slow turntable could be caused by an uneven record center hole or general cleanliness issues with the turntable components. Ensuring that your records and turntable are clean and in good condition can help prevent these issues from occurring.

How To Check The Belt Tension

If you suspect that a loose or stretched belt is causing your turntable to play slow, it’s important to check the belt tension. Here’s how to do it:

1. Turn off and unplug your turntable.

2. Remove the platter from your turntable. This can usually be done by gently pulling up on the center spindle.

3. Look for the belt around the outer edge of the platter. If the belt is loose or stretched, it will be visibly sagging or slipping off the pulley.

4. If the belt is loose, you can try tightening it by adjusting the position of the motor or pulley. Consult your turntable’s manual for specific instructions on how to do this.

5. If the belt is stretched or cracked, it will need to be replaced. You can purchase a replacement belt online or at a local electronics store.

6. Once you have replaced or tightened the belt, reattach the platter and test your turntable’s speed using a strobe disc or phone app.

By checking and adjusting the belt tension as needed, you can ensure that your turntable is playing at the correct speed and producing high-quality sound.

Cleaning The Turntable Platter And Motor

Cleaning the turntable platter and motor is an essential part of maintaining your turntable and ensuring it plays at the correct speed. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate on the platter and motor, affecting the performance of your turntable. Here are some steps you can take to clean your turntable platter and motor:

1. Turn off and unplug your turntable: Before you start cleaning your turntable, make sure it is turned off and unplugged from the power source.

2. Remove the platter: Depending on the model of your turntable, you may need to remove the platter before cleaning it. Refer to your turntable’s manual for instructions on how to remove the platter.

3. Clean the platter: Once you have removed the platter, use a microfiber cloth or a soft-bristled brush to gently clean it. Be careful not to scratch the surface of the platter.

4. Clean the motor: Use a can of compressed air to blow any dust or debris out of the motor. If there is any stubborn dirt or grime, you can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean it.

5. Reattach the platter: Once you have finished cleaning the platter and motor, reattach the platter according to your turntable’s manual.

6. Test the speed: After cleaning your turntable, test it to ensure it is playing at the correct speed. If you notice any issues with the speed, refer to the other sections in this article for troubleshooting tips.

Regular cleaning of your turntable platter and motor can help prolong its lifespan and ensure it continues to play at optimal performance levels.

Adjusting The Pitch Control

Pitch control is a crucial feature on a turntable that allows you to adjust the playback speed of your records. If your turntable is playing slow, adjusting the pitch control may help to correct the speed and improve the audio quality produced by your record player.

To adjust the pitch control, you need to locate the adjustment screws on your turntable. Turntable service manuals can often be found online and will tell you where the adjustment screws are on your table. If you can’t find the right manual for your table, try looking at one for a similar model. You can also lift the pad and check under the platter for the adjustment screws. If they’re not there, look under the motor.

Once you’ve located the adjustment screws, make sure that your turntable is level before making any adjustments. Block it up on wood or between two tables so that you’re able to get in underneath. Generally, the adjustment screws are set up so that a clockwise turn speeds up the platter, and a counterclockwise turn will slow it down.

When adjusting the pitch control, always adjust the 33 1/3 rpm speed first. The screws are adjusting the speed potentiometers, so be patient and make small adjustments until you achieve the desired speed.

Some turntables have surface knobs or holes that allow you to make adjustments from the top of the deck, but most adjust from underneath. The truly particular audiophiles would use a small, non-metal (plastic/ceramic) screwdriver to make the adjustments, but that’s not absolutely necessary.

Upgrading Your Turntable’s Motor Or Belt

If you’ve tried all the basic troubleshooting steps and your turntable is still playing slow, it may be time to consider upgrading your turntable’s motor or belt. Upgrading the motor or belt can improve the overall performance of your turntable and help it run smoothly.

When upgrading your turntable’s motor, you’ll want to look for a high-quality replacement that is compatible with your specific turntable model. A more powerful motor can provide better torque and speed control, resulting in improved sound quality and smoother playback.

Upgrading the belt can also help improve the performance of your turntable. A high-quality replacement belt can provide better grip on the pulley, resulting in more accurate speed control and improved sound quality. When choosing a replacement belt, make sure to select one that is the correct size and material for your specific turntable model.

It’s important to note that upgrading your turntable’s motor or belt may require some technical expertise. If you’re not comfortable with performing these upgrades yourself, it’s best to seek the help of a professional technician who specializes in turntable repair and maintenance.