Setting up your turntable for the best possible performance can sometimes be tricky. Balancing a tonearm correctly may seem like a challenging operation, but in reality it's relatively simple, and making sure it's done well is a surefire way to improve sound quality. If you've just bought a turntable and you didn't see the store staff balancing it for you, chances are you have to do it yourself! Never fear though - if it's out slightly, you will still be able to get a good performance.
How to Balance a Turntable Tonearm
- The first step is to put the counterweight on the end of the tonearm wand. Ensure that the anti-skating weight is removed at this point.
- Move the tonearm off its rest and adjust the counterweight so that the tonearm balances horizontally.
- Now turn the counterweight scale to indicate zero.
- Turn the counterweight (and the scale) to the correct tracking force. The tracking force depends on the cartridge in use - if you are unaware of it, you can find this in your cartridge's specifications. it'll will usually be between 1 and 2 grams.
- Adjust the anti-skating weight to correspond with the tracking force.
Using a turntable does require some setup knowledge, but the reward is definitely worth it. Making sure your tonearm is correctly balanced is just about the easiest way to improve sound quality without breaking out the wallet.