“Pitch slurring,” “warbling” and “watery pitch” are just some of the unwanted results when a turntable suffers from speed variation, writes Noel Keywood in the November issue of Hi-Fi World. “Subjectively it isn’t an obvious issue until you hear the same music played on a pitch-stable turntable,” and then it’s “like taking off misty glasses.” Unfortunately, the problem is surprisingly common. Fortunately, there are some handy gadgets that enable DIY solutions.
Among the selected kit are Clearaudio’s Stroboscope Test Record and Speed Light, which are available either separately or as a package. Together they overcome the limitations of many other strobe discs, such as the need to be lit by a light source that flashes at mains frequency, which many modern light bulbs don’t, or the problem of the stability (or not) of the frequency of UK mains power.
The Clearaudio dual-sided Stroboscope Test Record and quartz-locked 300Hz Speed Light to illuminate it counter these issues, allowing you to accurately determine, and therefore optimize, the exact speed of your turntable.
Keywood also finds Clearaudio’s Trackability Test Record to be a useful ally. Designed to monitor the tracking abilities of your tonearm-cartridge combination, it includes a 3150Hz Wow&Flutter test tone – an “increasingly rare” find, notes Keywood. “Better still this LP has a locked outer grove on side 2 for concentricity alignment… Put an object on the plinth close to the arm’s finger lift and centre the disc to 0.1mm or so. Yes, it should be that accurate. Then measure.”
Read more about how to get your turntable running at the right speed in the November 2018 issue of Hi-Fi World