How To: Properly set up a turntable

Properly set up a turntable

Paul demonstrates to viewers how to properly set up a turntable. Each turntable has the same basic parts, so this tutorial should work for most users. There are several components: the platter is the part that spins and it has a slip mat on top. The tone arm is to the right and it has a head shell and stylus cartridge (needle) mounted on the end. The queueing lever is at the base of the tone arm and it raises and lowers the tone arm base. There is also a VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle) adjustment that raises and lowers the entire tone arm assembly and the most important part is the counterweight which is on the end of the tone arm.

If you are setting up for the first time, first remove the platter and then mount the tone arm cartridge. Now, using the counterweight, balance the tone arm and replace the platter. Using an arc protractor that can be printed from the internet, place the tone arm over the platter to ensure the path follows the same arc that is printed on the protractor. Next, slightly loosen the screws on the head piece a little to give the cartridge a bit of room to wiggle. You know you have set up your turntable correctly if when the needle is resting on the record, the tone arm is totally parallel. This total process should only take 2-3 minutes to complete.

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