To fix a record player that spins too fast you’ll need screw drivers and something to measure your turntable speed. The first common way to fix it is by adjusting speed with the adjustment screws. For some record players these are more accessible than others. The second solution is replacing the belt, which isn’t expensive, and cleaning around the motor mechanisms.
Did you ever get home on a Friday night, grab a cold adult beverage and decided to turn on your record player, spin your favorite vinyl record and it sounds like Ronnie James Dio is sucking helium through a straw?
Okay, maybe not so severe, but Sabbath isn’t supposed to be THIS fast. Suddenly, your cold beverage just doesn’t seem so appealing, so you decide to end the party before it begins and binge watch Tiger King while eating stale Cheetos. If this has ever happened to you, perhaps we can alleviate the party crashing drama of a turntable that spins too fast.
While there are many different types of record players, many different brands, what I’m going to address today are a few of the simplest ways to fix some common issues.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
One tool every turntable owner should have at their disposal is a set of precision screwdrivers, the kind you use to repair eyeglasses. You can find a decent set for about 10 bucks.
Q-Tips and a soft cleaning cloth are usually available and handy to keep around for any kind of turntable repair and cleaning. Another asset to keep on hand is some Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. If you’re interested in the effects of alcohol on vinyl check out my other article. Let’s get started.
Turntable Speed Measurement
First, you’ll need a way to check your turntable speed. You can do this in a variety of ways. Here’s a couple easy methods you can try. Keep in mind you may need to check your speed several times so make sure you find a way you’re comfortable with.
- I recommend the RPM app (IOS) which is easy to use and very effective. There are also similar ones for Android. Just download an app you like (there are some really good free ones) and follow the easy instructions to get the speed.
- You can also take a couple sticky strips off a post-it note and place one on the platter and one on the base in a straight line, turn on the record player and count the revolutions for one minute and see what you’ve got. Not as precise but should get you pretty close.
- Place your cell phone directly on the turntable, remembering exactly where you placed it, turn it on, count the rotations till the timer hits one minute, and there you go. Again, not as precise but you can always tweek it if necessary.
If your speed is off only 1-2%, you may not even notice, but for crystal clarity and those with impeccable hearing, you may want to fine tune. If you’re cool pretending Jimmy Page just sounds like he’s a bit excited at a live show, Rock On! If that is unacceptable, read on.
How To Fix
Fixing Direct Drive Speed
The first type of record players we’re going to deal with are direct drive. Some record player may have a couple of small screws on the underside of the turntable. If your record player is like this, cool. It may be an easy fix.
First, secure your tone arm and protect your stylus because you’re going to tilt the record player up and adjust the screws. There may be only holes with some felt over the actual screws, but this is not a problem. Your precision screwdriver can push right through the felt, and you may have to feel around with the screwdriver to get a purchase on the screws, but you can do this. Take your time.
The adjustment screws may have identifiers such as “L” (typically for 33 RPM) or “H” (typically for 45 RPM). Turning the screw to the left should slow it down. A couple things to remember. A slight turn goes a long way.
Second, you’re going to have to check your record player with every adjustment, so that phone app will come in handy. You really don’t want to hear the opening riff of “I’m A Believer” by the Monkees 10 times in a row. It may take you several attempts to get it exact, but still shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
It’s possible that the speed adjustments screws aren’t on the bottom of your direct drive player. If this is the case, they should be under the platter. Some record players have holes in the platter and the base that you can line up to gain access to them with no effort. You adjust these the same way as the previous type. But to get to the screws without the holes, you’ll need to remove the platter.
First, always protect your stylus and lock down your tone arm. Next, take off the center spindle. It may be held on with a clip which can be removed with the assistance of the trusty screwdriver. After that is out of the way, gently lift off the platter.
You should see the adjustment screws on the drive motor. Checking the speed on this type can become tedious with replacing the platter to check it, but it’s still quicker and cheaper than taking it to the repair shop.
Fixing Belt-Driven Speed
For most belt-driven turntables, there are a few things that can make it spin too fast aside from speed screw adjustments. Gunk can build up over time on the pulley, inside the platter where the belt makes contact and on the drive tire. I’ve even seen where someone had put a new belt over on old one.
My best advice is to use your cleaning cloth, Q-Tips, alcohol and possibly a screwdriver if some rubber scraping is needed, to give all these parts a good cleaning and replace the belt. New belts are fairly cheap, just make sure you get the right one for your record player. Make sure your belt sits properly in the belt seat on the pulley and is straight and even on the platter.
A new belt can also cause your turntable to run a bit fast, but it usually gets broken in and settles down after a couple hours of use.
So, to fix a record player that spins too fast you’ll need screw drivers and something to measure your turntable speed. The first common way to fix it is by adjusting speed with the adjustment screws. For some record players these are more accessible than others. The second solution is replacing the belt, which isn’t expensive, and cleaning around the motor mechanisms.
Hopefully this article was able to help you with your spinning issues. If you have any questions leave it down below and I’ll do my best to answer it and feel free to leave a comment.
If you’re interested in my other educational articles, check them out here! If you’re interested in purchasing a good and affordable record player, check out my affordable top list. Thanks for reading!
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