Often overlooked, setting the tracking your cartridge weight and also balancing her tonearm might sound dry, yet it’s around the solitary most essential adjustment you deserve to make come the means your turntable sounds and also will save both your needle and your documents in the process. Us take you with the deceptively an easy process, step-by-step.

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This feature will guide you through the process of setting the tracking pressure of a cartridge ~ above a turntable.

Before I start I desire to introduce two an extremely important things. Firstly: it is in patient. Do not sirloin this process. In fact, force yourself to slow down and concentrate to protect against accidents. Secondly, if you check out the complying with instructions and also your turntable manufacturer recommends a method that contradicts my very own then monitor the manufacturer’s instructions instead. There might be a very an excellent design factor why we differ.

Some turntables need that you install the tonearm onto the turntable itself, others need that you affix the cartridge to the arm. This is a beginner’s guide so ns going to assume that both of this tasks have actually been done for you, as is frequently typical nowadays, by the manufacturer. The likes that Pro-Ject, Rega and also others choose to promote a ‘plug and play’ (well, almost) approach to do turntable set-up together easy and also as painless as possible, for this reason they will have completed both jobs for you.

Why do we set a tracking weight at all? To permit the stylus pen to faithfully monitor the grooves in the intended manner. The tracking load varies because arm and cartridge weights vary. If the tracking weight on your stylus is too low, it will reason the stylus pen to jump and also damage your document (which is why too low a weight is more harmful that too high a weight). If you collection the tracking weight also high, the stylus pen will not track the grooves correctly, losing information while aural distortion will regularly be noticeable too and, again, yes a opportunity of record damage, over an extensive period.

If you check out standard tracking weight instructions, girlfriend will discover a recommend range of tracking weight numbers from the manufacturer. If you stick with somewhere in-between climate you won’t go far wrong (i.e. For a recommended selection of 1.6g-2.g, go for 1.8g).

Get began below. If you gain stuck, you can examine the interactive image above for reference. NB: We’ve roughly based our example on a Technics SL-1200, yet most turntables will have a similar or tantamount set-up.


1: NO SKATING ALLOWEDLook for the anti-skate control. This can either be a rotating wheel featuring a numbered display or a item of fishing-type wire v a weight hanging turn off the finish that sits on a bar or some-such top top or about the arm (your turntable’s accuse will overview you to what position synchronizes to what setting). Set anti-skating to zero.


2: it’s NO YOKEYour arm might be secured come a sustaining yoke, midway follow me its length, via a plastic hook or latch or similar. This is the arm remainder that you generally use together a type of house base in between vinyl plays. Unhook this yoke, background it turn off the rest, support the eight to stop the stylus crashing into the platter for now and lower any supplied eight lift.


3: also STEVENMove the rear-mounted counterweight backwards and forwards follow me the size of the arm till the arm lifts turn off the eight rest and freely (without any kind of support native yourself) hangs in a level position. Your eight now has actually an reliable tracking weight of 0g. Tighten the locking seed to stop the counter-weight sliding but not sufficient that girlfriend can’t relocate it with light push for fine adjustments.


4: DIAL ZEROBecause the tracking weight, in this finely balanced position, is efficiently 0g, you deserve to now find the arm tracking load dial which typically sits at the behind of the arm, probably on the moveable counter-weight itself. Relocate the dial come zero. No every arm will arrive through a practically dial. If over there is no dial, nothing worry. Buy yourself a tracking weight gauge to provide confirmation of the wanted weight.


5: SPEAK your WEIGHTIf the counterweight is top top a screw thread, revolve it (which also moves the dial) to the wanted tracking weight. If her arm has no counter-weight dial or screw thread, remainder the tracking weight gauge ~ above the platter and also the stylus on the gauge. Edge the counterweight backwards and also forwards come the an ideal tracking weight. The gauge’s read-out will tell you when you have found the exactly weight.



Return and secure the tonearm. Set the anti-skating an equipment to the same number as your arm’s tracking weight. This maker adds a force to her tonearm preventing it native skipping (or ‘skating’ across) the grooves. It traction the tonearm out a little bit, successfully balancing the stylus pen forces in the groove. That’s it! you done.

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Further reading: check out our complete interactive and annotated overview to all the bits on your turntable here.