Should My Turntable Platter Wobble?

Should My Turntable Platter Wobble?

Craig Walker |

Greetings, vinyl enthusiasts! If you've been spinning your favourite records and noticed a bit of a wobble in your record players platter, you might be wondering if it's time to hit the panic button.

Well, keep calm and carry on reading, because we're about to delve into the nitty-gritty of turntable platter wobbles.

Is It Normal For My Turntable Platter To Wobble?

According to the turntable grand-masters, Audio-Technica:

"It is not unusual for a turntable platter to exhibit a slight undulation whilst rotating, it is likely to be more apparent at a faster speed such as 45 RPM or 78 RPM. However, this should not cause any negative artefacts in the audio reproduction."

So it is normal for your turntable to exhibit a slight wobble whilst playing a vinyl record.

If it isn't significant and isn't affecting playback then it shouldn't be a big issue.

But how much wobble is too much wobble?

If your record is bouncing up and down like kids on a trampoline at a birthday party with the sound quality to match then you've got an issue that needs resolving...

Why Causes A Turntable Platter To Wobble?

Now that we've established that a wobbling platter is less than ideal, let's look at what might be causing it.

There could be several culprits, from a warped record to an uneven surface. Or it could be something more sinister, like a bent spindle or a warped platter.

Warped records are pretty common, especially if they've been stored incorrectly. If your record looks more like a Pringle than a pancake, it's probably warped.

An uneven surface can also cause a wobble. So, make sure your turntable is on a flat, stable surface. If it's on a wonky table or a pile of books, it might be time for a little furniture rearrangement.

Pro-Ject Turntable Platter Side View

If your turntable platter is wobbling significantly, here are a few potential reasons and solutions:

  1. Uneven Surface: Ensure that the turntable is placed on a level and stable surface. An uneven surface can cause the platter to wobble.

  2. Warped Records: If you notice your platter wobbling then it's advisable to check your records before you panic! A warped record will spin like a merry-go-round. So check if your record is perfectly flat, and try a few other records before worrying too much.

  3. Platter Alignment: Check if the platter is properly seated and aligned on the spindle. If it's not sitting correctly, it can result in wobbling during rotation. Adjust the placement and make sure it is securely attached.

  4. Bearing Issues: The turntable's bearing, located at the centre of the platter, should be in good condition. If there are issues with the bearing, it can lead to wobbling. Lubricate or replace the bearing as needed.

  5. Belt Issues (if applicable): If your turntable is belt-driven, check the condition of the belt. A loose or damaged belt can result in uneven rotation. Replace the belt if needed.

  6. Motor Issues: Problems with the turntable's motor can also cause wobbling. Ensure that the motor is functioning properly and that there are no issues with its components.

  7. Lower Quality Turntable: Unfortunately some of the lower end turntables will exhibit a slight wobble and there's not much that can be adjusted on it. If you're serious about your records we'd recommend avoiding the cheapest bookcase record players and stick with a proper turntable from a known brand.

How To Fix A Wobbling Platter

So, your turntable platter is wobbling. Don't despair!

There are several things you can do to fix it.

Let's start with the simplest solutions and work our way up.

Check Your Setup

First things first, check your setup.

Make sure your turntable is on a flat, stable surface. If it's not, move it. Simple as that.

If your turntable is at even a slight angle then it's going to cause playback issues.

Check Your Records

Also, check your records. If they're warped, they could be causing the wobble.

Whilst writing this blog we noticed that our favourite "Linkin Park" LP is unfortunately exhibiting a minor wobble on the turntable.

It's incredibly hard to catch in a picture, but after a minor panic that our Pro-Ject demo turntable had a wobble it turns on the record has a minor warp and, whilst it doesn't affect playback, it causes a minor wobble when spinning.

So check your records, and make sure you store them correctly.

Read More: How To Store Vinyl Records

Re-Seat The Platter

If your setup is fine, the next step is to check and re-seat the platter.

Most turntables have adjustable feet or a levelling platform.

Make sure that your platter is correctly seated, make sure the belt is also installed correctly (if belt-drive) and use a spirit level to check that the turntable is sitting flat on it's surface.

Replace The Platter

If re-seating the platter doesn't work, it might be time to replace it.

Remove your platter and place it on a flat surface, does it wobble from side to side or is it perfectly flat to the surface?

Checking Turntable Platter Is Not Warped By Placing On A Flat Surface

If the the platter can wobble side to side then, assuming the surface is perfectly flat, your platter is the likely issue.

A damaged or warped platter is never going to spin flat, so if this is the case you'll need to invest in a replacement.

Final Thoughts

Once you've fixed the wobble, you'll want to prevent it from happening again.

The best way to do this is to take care of your turntable and your records.

Store your records correctly, keep your turntable on a flat surface, and regularly check for any signs of wobble. Prevention is better than cure, after all!

So, there you have it. A wobbling turntable platter might seem like a disaster, but with a little know-how and some elbow grease, you can fix it and get back to enjoying your vinyl collection. Happy spinning!