Is slight turntable wobble normal?

AWZ1979

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Feb 23, 2019
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I own an Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable and a decent record collection. I’ve noticed that just about every record I play on the turntable wobbles at least a little bit. Is this normal? I don’t notice anything audibly while playing records but will the wobble damage my records or the needle? I’ve tried taking the slip mat off to see if the platter is the problem but it’s hard to tell (without anything on the platter) if it is in fact the platter itself that’s wobbling.
 

Solypsa

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Jun 7, 2017
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Might help to define what wobble means for you in this context, ie movement in horizontal or vertical plane?
 

Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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No wobble is not normal. Yes it is audible.
 

AWZ1979

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thanks for the responses...

Solypsa: not sure what you mean by vertical or horizontal wobble. I can see the tone arm slightly moving up and down during play. So I guess horizontal?

Bruce B: it does it on most every record I play. Don’t think the center hole is off on all of them.

Gregadd: not hearing any abnormalities in the audio but there sure is a little wobble during play. Tone arm slightly moves up and down. Is there anything you know of that would remedy this? Or since I’m not hearing anything off while the records play should I just ignore it?
 
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Blackmorec

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Feb 1, 2019
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I believe this thread illustrates the considerable shortcomings of vinyl in that its a rather old, imprecise technology.
We spend considerable effort with geometrically correct protractors optimising (minimising) the horizontal tracking angle error and accurately setting the vertical tracking angle of our tone arm/cartridge combinations, then we play the average record, which is either slightly warped, (constantly varying VTA) or eccentric (spindle hole not properly centred so constantly varying HTA and speed).
This didn’t used to be much of a problem as the shortcomings were present on a high percentage of pressings and we became acustomed to their sonic effects. The problem has arisen more recently with streamed files, where such anomalies are completely absent. Become accustomed to the sound of high-end digital then switch back to vinyl and you will clearly hear the effects these physical distortions have on the sound. TT designers have been extremely good at extracting every last ounce of goodness from vinyl pressings but the major limitations are built into the medium, not the replay hardware and are therefore impossible to ameliorate, no matter how good the vinyl replay equipment..
 

AWZ1979

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Even with the wobble/bobble I still much prefer the sound of vinyl over digital. Even high res digital. Although I do listen to digital much more than vinyl due to the convenience. Thanks for the responses everyone. Gonna try playing some of my vinyl on my brother’s turntable and see if they have the same problem. If so it is what it is. If not I might consider investing in a new turntable. My Audio-Technica is about 5 years old. Maybe it’s time for a new one.
 

JackD201

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Apr 21, 2010
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Hi manny tables come with clamping or weight systems that reduce the warpage on the records. Some turntables have periphery rings or vacuums that practically eliminate them. If your collection consists of a fairly high percentage of warped records, I recommend looking at those with the aforementioned features.

In my case, I saw an opportunity way back when and I had a VP! with a periphery ring. NM/NM records were selling for cheap because of said warps. Having the ring, and now vacuum hold down, I was able to save a lot of money. Quite a lot actually. I am a bit of a vinyl piranha so yeah, quite a lot over time. :)
 

Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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Also is your overhang set correctly? That'll make a big difference in how much extra movement you get.
 

NorthStar

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Feb 8, 2011
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I own an Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable and a decent record collection. I’ve noticed that just about every record I play on the turntable wobbles at least a little bit. Is this normal? I don’t notice anything audibly while playing records but will the wobble damage my records or the needle? I’ve tried taking the slip mat off to see if the platter is the problem but it’s hard to tell (without anything on the platter) if it is in fact the platter itself that’s wobbling.

Is the platter of your TT spinning similar to this:
 

AWZ1979

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Feb 23, 2019
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Folsom: I don’t think I can adjust the overhang setting. It’s a pretty basic turntable.

Northstar: the platter on my turntable isn’t raised up like the one in the video you posted. It’s kind of halfway inside the turntable base so It’s hard to tell if it’s the platter itself that’s the problem without anything on it. That sure is how the records look when they’re playing though. Same kind of movement.
 

AWZ1979

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JackD201: any turntables with those features that you can recommend I check out?
 

NorthStar

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Northstar: the platter on my turntable isn’t raised up like the one in the video you posted. It’s kind of halfway inside the turntable base so It’s hard to tell if it’s the platter itself that’s the problem without anything on it. That sure is how the records look when they’re playing though. Same kind of movement.

I know, I've already checked your AT-LP60 model.
The video is only as an example. Here's another one:


Just with my eyes I can see if my platter is not spinning perfectly straight.
But that video above can help, by putting say a black piece of cardboard behind and some type of ruler. Most TTs are wobbling, I presume yours too. Some people here have turntables that spin so straight that anything less is not an option.

Your Audio-Technica turntable I believe retails for $99?
I believe most TTs in around that price range don't have the extreme precision of the better TTs.
So it's normal that most of them are wobbling. Enjoy the music.
 

AWZ1979

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Feb 23, 2019
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Thanks for the videos. The ruler thing is a good idea. I’ll try that. Yes, i believe I paid right around $100 for it. Didn’t have many records when I first bought it but I’ve built up a much larger collection since then so it might be time to upgrade. I’ve had my eye on this pro-ject TT ( https://thirdmanstore.com/catalog/p...cords-pro-ject-primary-turntable/category/97/ ) but after seeing that video you posted of that other pro-ject wobbling I might consider going with another brand.
 

NorthStar

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This is your turntable (approx. $85 on sale):

The owners of that model TT, and the next model up (AT-LP120) they all say the same as you, it wobbles. It takes very high precision machined parts to make a platter spins straight (more expensive).

If the sounds is fine to you that's what counts. The journey to perfect that sound is yours, and that journey certainly involves a higher investment the higher you climb the platter ladder.
 

NorthStar

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Thanks for the videos. The ruler thing is a good idea. I’ll try that. Yes, i believe I paid right around $100 for it. Didn’t have many records when I first bought it but I’ve built up a much larger collection since then so it might be time to upgrade. I’ve had my eye on this pro-ject TT ( https://thirdmanstore.com/catalog/p...cords-pro-ject-primary-turntable/category/97/ ) but after seeing that video you posted of that other pro-ject wobbling I might consider going with another brand.

Even the next model up, the AT-LP120 you can see the heavy wobbling:

For a budget between $200 and $300 I wouldn't know which one to go for.
I wish we had turntable audio stores with various demo turntables so that we can see them in action. ...Checking for wobbling. I would buy the one which spins the straighter, that comes with the best cartridge, that attracts me the most (design, color, features, ...), that sounds great, and within that budget.

Any member here knows which turntable is the very best for say around $250?
I've checked several places and there are roughly a dozen of them recommended in that price range...less than $300, and the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB ($279 street, video above) is among them, @ or near the top. There are others from Music Hall MMF and Pro-Ject Debut; out of those three (or others), which one is your best recommendation...Michael (Fremer)?
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Our smart members have already answered this I am sure. If you have a hill on your record will experience VTF and speed variations as the needle ascends and decends the hill. A record clamp can help. VPI makes one for the inner and outer portion of the turntable. Alas I believe it is only available for VPI turntables. Vacuum hold down also seats the entire record. I have seen a device that eliminates warps.
 

NorthStar

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Feb 8, 2011
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The cheapest outer ring is expensive...around $600.
A record clamp would help yes, and they are inexpensive...from roughly $20 to $40.


My ears are still good that I could hear the difference @ the end of the video, I knew which has the record weight on.
 

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