Turntables are a beloved piece of audio equipment, known for their rich and warm sound that vinyl enthusiasts can’t get enough of. However, like any technology, turntables can occasionally run into problems that can disrupt your vinyl listening experience.

In this article, we’ll explain 5 Turntable Troubleshooting Tips to help you diagnose and fix common issues, ensuring your records sound as good as they should. Let’s get started.

5 Turntable Troubleshooting Tips

5 Turntable Troubleshooting Tips

1. Skipping or Stuttering Playback

One of the most frustrating issues with a turntable is when it starts skipping or stuttering during playback. This can be caused by various factors, but the most common reasons include:

  • Dirty or Damaged Stylus: Check your stylus for dirt, dust, or damage. Clean it carefully with a stylus brush or replace it if necessary.
  • Incorrect Tracking Force: Make sure your turntable is properly calibrated and that the tracking force is set to the manufacturer’s recommended level. Adjust the tonearm counterweight as needed.
  • Uneven Surface: Ensure your turntable is on a stable and level surface. Vibrations or wobbling can cause playback issues.


2. Loud Hums and Buzzes

A noticeable hum or buzz can disrupt the quiet moments of your vinyl listening experience. To resolve this issue:

  • Grounding: Ensure your turntable is correctly grounded to your amplifier or receiver. Loose or missing grounding connections can lead to unwanted noise.
  • Isolation: Place your turntable on an isolation platform or shelf to minimize vibrations from external sources.
  • Check Cables: Examine your audio cables for damage or loose connections. Replacing them with high-quality cables may also reduce interference.

Also Read: 4 Tips on How to Upgrade Your Turntable to a Newer Version

3. Distorted Sound

If you’re experiencing distorted sound, such as crackling or popping, it might be caused by:

  •  Dirty Records: Ensure your vinyl records are clean and free from dust, dirt, or scratches. Clean them with a record brush and an anti-static brush.
  • Worn-Out or Misaligned Stylus: If your stylus is worn or misaligned, it can cause distortion. Replace or realign it as needed.
  • Tracking Force and Anti-Skate: Verify that the tracking force and anti-skate settings are correctly adjusted for your cartridge and tonearm.


4. Turntable Won’t Start

If your turntable won’t start, there are a few common issues to consider:

  • Power Supply: Ensure the turntable is properly plugged in, and the power switch is on.
  • Drive Belt: Check if the drive belt is correctly positioned and not stretched or damaged and replace it if necessary.
  • Motor Issues: If the turntable motor isn’t functioning, it might need professional repair.


5. Uneven Speed or Pitch Variations

Inconsistent speed or pitch variations can be a significant annoyance. To address this issue:

  • Belt-Drive Tension: In belt-driven turntables, check the drive belt’s tension. If it’s too loose or too tight, it can affect speed stability.
  • Direct-Drive Calibration: If you have a direct-drive turntable, ensure the pitch control is set to the correct speed.
  • Platter and Bearing Lubrication: Lubricate the platter and bearings according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent speed variations.

How to Fix a Record Player Needle

Fixing a record player needle, also known as a stylus, can be a delicate task, and it’s important to handle it with care to avoid damaging your vinyl records. Here’s a general guide on how to troubleshoot and potentially fix a record player needle:

  • Inspect the stylus:

First, visually inspect the stylus for any visible damage, such as a bent or broken needle, or a worn-down tip. If you see any noticeable issues, it’s a good indicator that the stylus needs to be replaced.
Clean the stylus:

Sometimes, a dirty stylus can lead to poor sound quality or skipping. Carefully clean the stylus with a soft brush or stylus cleaning brush. Gently sweep the brush from the back of the cartridge toward the front to remove any dust or debris.

Must Read: 5 Tips on How to Choose the Right Phonocartridge for Your Turntable

  • Check the alignment:

The stylus should be aligned correctly with the groove of the record. Misalignment can result in distortion and uneven wear. Consult your turntable’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the stylus alignment.
Adjust tracking force:

Tracking force is the amount of pressure the stylus exerts on the record. Too much or too little pressure can cause problems. Consult your turntable’s manual for information on adjusting the tracking force and make sure it’s set correctly.

  • Check the cartridge:

The cartridge holds the stylus and is responsible for translating the grooves on the record into an electrical signal. Sometimes, problems with the cartridge can affect the stylus’s performance. If you suspect an issue with the cartridge, it may need to be replaced.
Replace the stylus:

If the stylus is visibly damaged, or worn out, or cleaning and adjustments don’t improve the sound quality, it’s likely time to replace the stylus. Consult your turntable’s manual or the manufacturer’s guidelines to find the appropriate replacement stylus. Make sure to power off and disconnect your turntable before replacing the stylus.

  • Seek professional help:

If you’re not comfortable performing these tasks or if you suspect a more complex issue with your turntable’s tonearm or other components, it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of a professional technician or a local audio equipment repair shop.


Owning a turntable is a wonderful way to enjoy the timeless sound of vinyl records. However, even the best turntables can run into occasional hiccups. By following these five turntable troubleshooting tips, you can diagnose and often fix common issues that may disrupt your vinyl listening experience.

Remember, regular maintenance and care go a long way in preventing many of these problems, so you can continue to enjoy your vinyl collection to its fullest.