Having a brand-new record player is great, but there are ways to make sure your records always sound their best.
Here are seven simple steps to improve and maintain your setup.
1. Place your record player on a piece of furniture
Having a small table or shelf for your turntable reduces vibration from people and pets moving around the room – the floor or uneven surfaces are a no go.
2. Make sure your turntable is level
To get the best results, you have to make sure to start with the basics. A level turntable is necessary for all the other adjustments that follow from here on. When adjusting the feet of your turntable, you can always do better than eye level, that’s why the AT615a Turntable Leveller is the perfect tool for the job. It comes in a robust, machined aluminium housing and is available for $59.95 on our website.
3. Keep your records pristine
Cleaning your records before every use is a great way to prolong the lifespan of your collection and your stylus. If there is any dirt or dust in the grooves, the needle will push it down further and wear the record out quicker. Avoid having to part with your favourite records with the AT6012 Record Cleaning Kit. The kit includes a velvet brush pad, the Audio-Technica Record Care Solution to remove micro dust, fingerprints and eliminate static electricity, as well as a storage base for the brush.
4. Use a slipmat
Slipmats come in a great variety of designs and can be a real eye-catcher. On top of that, using one for your turntable reduces vibration from the needle and turntable. `Almost every record and turntable store has some available for sale.
5. Clamp down your record
Disk stabilisers do a fantastic job making sure your record stays on the platter. The extra weight does not impact the motor performance and can avoid the ‘wow’ sound of a slightly warped record. With a weight of 600g, the product holds the record firmly in place. Get yourself an AT618a for $79.95 in stores and online.
6. Align your stylus
To make sure the stylus is aligned with the grooves, you can use an alignment protractor. If the stylus is not aligned there is the risk of inner groove distortion or a lopsided stereo image, because the stylus favours one side over the other. For more details, please have a look at our other article explaining all the relevant steps of how to align your turntable cartridge.
7. Tracking force
Each turntable cartridge has a recommended tracking force, which is the force of the tonearm pushing down the needle onto the record. This can be adjusted on some of our turntable models. It is easy to tell if the tracking force is too light because the needle might jump every now and then. Should the tracking force be too heavy, there is a risk of the record and stylus wearing out quicker. You can find the recommended tracking force in the manual. If you want to get the most accurate result, you can purchase a stylus gauge.