How to Fix a Slow Record Player

Tips On How To Fix A Slow Record Player

Are you searching for how to fix a slow record player, but you haven’t found much information? Have you tried everything but you’ve had no luck adjusting the speed? Fortunately for you, we have some great tips that will allow you to adjust the speed of your turntable perfectly. If you’re a perfectionist or an audiophile and you’re having a hard time adjusting your new record player so that it offers the right sound, if you follow our instructions you’ll be able to get your record player rotating at the perfect speed in just a matter of minutes.

Often, this process is more complicated for beginners, especially if they’re not familiar with how a turntable works or even where the adjustment screws are located. However, we’ve simplified the process for you, so you’ll be able to make the right adjustments for the perfect speed and sound.

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Checking for Obvious Problems

If you’re struggling to get the right sound out of your record player and you feel that the main issue is a slowly rotating platter, the first thing we recommend doing is lubing and cleaning each piece of the turntable. Before you do any tweaking it’s important that you ensure that everything is working as well as it can. If you can access these areas, try to get a couple of drops of high quality twenty weight synthetic oil on the motor shaft. We also recommend adding some oil where the spindle enters the housing. Remember, you only need to use a couple of drops.

Purchasing a quart of this high-tech, super-cool transmission lube if you’re only going to need a couple of drops may seem a bit much, but it’ll be worth the price if it gets your record player up and running smoothly. Make sure you look for a twenty weight oil with PTFE.

The next step is to ensure that the belt isn’t rubbing against anything. A belt can stretch out to the point where it can slip off the pulley. This can cause the turntable to move too slowly. On the other hand, if belt particles have worn off and gunked up the pulley, an increased effective diameter will cause the turntable to rotate too rapidly.

We recommend removing the belt to thoroughly clean the pulley using a Q-tip that’s been dipped in denatured alcohol. Steer clear of using rubbing alcohol because it contains lanolin, which can cause the belt to slip.


Most belts tend to stretch naturally over time. While stretching three up to six millimeters may not seem like much, it tends to severely slow down the turntable. If a belt has stretched only a couple of millimeters, you may still notice a change in the turntable’s speed.

If a stretched-out belt is still in good condition otherwise, you can try shrinking it back down to the correct size using hot water. To do, fold the belt in half and measure the size in millimeters before you place it in a large bowl. Boil a pot of water and pour it over the belt. Allow the belt to soak for ten minutes. Measure the belt once you remove it from the water and you’ll notice a big change in size.

Testing the Record Player’s Rotation Speed

Record Player’s Rotation Speed

There are more traditional ways (mentioned below) of checking your turntable speed that most experts recommend but this is the simplest. Of course its accuracy can be dependent on your ears. At the very least it’s a quick way to check if your turntable is having speed issues.

In this method, we use a reference song to compare what the record at the right speed should sound like. You can play a song (you have on vinyl) on your smartphone and then on vinyl to compare the two. This is especially handy if the difference is not large but more subtle. A song playing on a slow turntable sounds like it has a lower pitch (and vice-versa) than the song playing on your phone (which is obviously playing at the right speed). Of course, it will sound slower too.

You can find most songs on YouTube quite easily but I prefer using a music streaming service as they have millions of songs thus making it easy to find a reference song. Also, the music is neatly categorised with beautiful album art as well. I use Amazon Music which has a really killer offer.

To take it to the next level, most experts recommend testing your record player’s speed using a stroboscopic system. This system involves a cardboard disc that features evenly spaced markings and it’s placed directly on the turntable. Some platters feature stroboscopic markings along the edge. This process works well due to an optical illusion that allows you to make precise and quick adjustments if you find that the speed is off. I have been using this very effective and cheap disc I got from Amazon which is really handy as you can flip it to align your cartridge.

If you live in Australia, Asia, or Europe, you’ll need a disc that’s marked for fifty HZ. If you live in North American, you’ll need a disc that’s marked sixty HZ. You can either download one of the many discs available online, or you can purchase one.

If your record player is spinning at the right speed, the markings appear to stand totally still. If they look as though they’re drifting right or left, then the adjustment is off. The slower or faster the drift, the bigger the error.  You can see the illusion in any type of lighting, even fluorescent. Some people prefer to use LED lights or specialised strobe lights. You can even download an app for your Apple or Android smartphone to aid you here.

For even better precision, place a record on the turntable, place a strobe disc on top of the record, then place the tonearm on the record. This allows any adjustment to compensate for any additional; drag the needle and record impose.

Making the Right Adjustments

Record player service manuals can be found online and they’ll tell you where the adjustment screws are located. If you can’t locate the right manual for your model, you can probably get by with using a manual for a similar model.

If you’re still having issues, lift the pad and look under the platter for any adjustment screws. If you can’t find them, check under the motor. Some models feature surface holes or knobs that will allow you to make adjustments from the deck, but the majority of record players adjust from underneath.

Obviously, the record player should be level before you make any adjustments. You can place it between two tables or block it up on wood so that you’re able to get underneath easily. Usually, the adjustment screws are designed so that a counterclockwise turn will slow down the platter and a clockwise turn will speed it up.

Most audiophiles prefer using a non-metal, small screwdriver to make the appropriate adjustments, but that isn’t necessary. Keep in mind that making adjustments will be a trial and error process.

It’s very complicated to get the turntable to spin a hundred percent accurately, and most newbies won’t get to that point. But even if you’re at ninety-seven percent, you’re sure to still notice a lag. But by following these tips and taking your time, you shouldn’t have any problem getting within one percent.

Once you’ve got your records spinning at the correct speed and sounding sweet record them to your computer so you can archive them and create digital files that you can listen to while running if you so wish. Here is the guide to how to record vinyl to computer.