You might not be paying much attention to this, but this could be the costliest mistake when it comes to your record player. The placement of your record player is crucial. Ideally, your record player should be placed on an even surface and away from any electronics in the room. The most essential thing in the record player is the stylus tip; if it doesn’t touch the record in all the right places, the sound will be imperfect. Look for balancing feet below your turntable; all high-quality ones have them to ensure that the leveling is always perfect.
Most turntables also have in-built insulation, which ensures that it prevents vibration from affecting the quality of sound. If you have placed it on a wobbly station or an uneven surface, the player will generate excessive vibration. Newer models have an in-built system that cancels out the vibration, so the music quality is not compromised; however, don’t take a chance and buy an even and well-balanced turntable.
Cartridge Weight is Too High or Low
This is the tricky part, getting the weight of the cartridge right. Your cartridge puts weight on the groove of the records and is also known as the tracking force. If the weight is too much, the sound will be dense and thick but also damage the grooves of the players. On the other hand, if the cartridge is lightweight, it will give insufficient output, and the stylus could jump and damage the grooves. If the stylus is not fixed, it is easier to adjust it according to the weight of the cartridge, but today, most designs have a fixed stylus. In this case, the fix is not easy, and you might need a professional to do it.
The turntables have a tonearm at the rear end from where you can adjust the counterweight and the bias so that the inward pull is reduced. The manufacturer provides tracking weight, and their recommendation should be considered while setting up a record player. The arm counter usually comes with a marker that is easy to achieve, rather than finding the right balance yourself. Buying a cartridge gauge is also recommended; this could make the entire process relatively easy for an amateur.
Unclean Vinyl Records
Keeping your records shining and away from dust and grime is crucial to producing quality. There is no point in buying an expensive record player and then not caring for it afterward. Vinyl are sensitive; dust or other impurities will damage and scratch them, eventually affecting the record player.
First, always be extra cautious when removing a record from its sleeve. This is where your vinyl will get scratches and other such damages. When handling a record, always ensure that the surface is not touched; use the outer edge to remove or insert the record. The records should always be stored in a place that is not dusty. Using an ordinary cloth to remove the dust can scratch the surface so use a microfiber cloth or a recommended product. The grooves can also accumulate dust; therefore, using a record cleaning brush can effectively ensure a longer life for the record player and vinyl.
Low-quality Phono Stage
For your record player to play at its maximum potential, you must ensure that all external components are in sync. Therefore, a phono stage might be the most crucial component of your record player. A phono stage or a phono amp enhances the audio output of a record player. It works with the amplifiers to balance out the tonal balance. Whether your player has a built-in phono stage depends on the manufacturer. Many players come with built-ins, but you can always upgrade with an external one. An amplifier with a built-in phono-stage can also be attached externally to do the job.
Vinyl and record players are gaining popularity again, which has also increased the demand for phono amplifiers. At the time of purchase, you should check this feature and decide according to your budget and requirement.
These are just the top 4 mistakes you might be making with your record player and the vinyl records. There could be other mistakes that could affect the output of your record player. Before buying any instrument or equipment, it is always best to go through the care guide and the manual. A record player may seem a fancy addition to your home setup, but it requires care and regular maintenance. By following the care guide and doing your research before the purchase, you can ensure that the record player plays at its full potential while also satisfying the audiophile in you.