Knowing how to check if your turntable is running at the right speed is crucial if you’re a vinyl enthusiast. You can use a strobe light and a stopwatch or an app on your phone to measure the timing between two points on the record. The time should be around 1 second per rotation of the platter. If you’re getting more than 2 seconds for every rotation, it means that your turntable needs to be adjusted lower to get back into sync with 45 RPM records- which are what most albums were pressed onto before CDs became popular.
If you’re a DJ, a turntable setup is one of the most important things to get right. One question that gets asked a lot is: how do I know if my turntable is running at the right speed? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it may seem. Many factors go into making sure your turntable has been set up correctly and can be used for professional use. We’ll take a look at some ways to test this out now.
The easy way to measure turntable speed
The easy way is to use a stroboscope. This is a device that emits light at a fixed frequency. When the light shines on a spinning object, it appears to be still. By counting the number of flashes per second, you can calculate the speed of the object.
Some audio enthusiasts also use a technique called “back timing.” This involves playing a track that has been recorded at a known speed and counting the number of beats per minute. Then, by comparing this number to the speed of your turntable, you can determine its precise speed.
While both of these methods are effective, they can be time-consuming and may not be necessary if you are only looking to make minor adjustments to your turntable speed. In most cases, a turntable manual will provide the manufacturer’s recommended speed setting. However, many music enthusiasts prefer to use this as a starting point and fine-tune their system by ear.
If you want to measure your turntable playback speed without using a strobe light or counting beats per minute, see the next page for two methods that won’t take up much of your time or require any special tools.
How to adjust the turntable speed on your record player?
The turntable speed can be adjusted by spinning the platter more or less quickly with your hand. The motorized version of this process is called “pitch control.” The RPM (or revolutions per minute) adjustment knob controls manual or electronic pitch control for different speeds. Manual adjustments must be made with hands, so they are not ideal for DJing but are perfect for people who would like to hear some older music recorded at slower speeds on faster speed.
We will go over some steps on how to change your turntables speed.
- If you have a turntable that speeds up and down, start playing your record. Find the speed control to slow it down (most of them slow down when turning right). Slow the speed down by turning the knob counterclockwise (if you can’t see where to turn it because it’s hidden under the lid of the table, lift the lid). Once you’ve slowed it down to somewhere in between 33 and 45 rpm, play with speeding back up again until it sounds right. Do not adjust too high; if necessary, adjust further downward on your speed control.
- If your turntable has no variable speed control knob, turn off your player and locate its belt underneath or behind the mechanism of your player. For some players, you will need to lift the lid and look underneath it for a belt that runs from an arm on the left to one of the feet on the right. However, there is no obvious belt location; check your owner’s manual if this is the case.
- Once you’ve located your belt, find its tension control (where you usually found or located your speed control). There will be a screw in it with which you can tighten or loosen the belt’s tension by turning clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. Tighten or loosen it until it feels about right, then play with speeding and slowing down until it sounds correct in terms of speed (try matching another record player).