While ripping some records for future posts, I came across a song that I knew very well. In listening to the rip, I realized that my turntable was set to WAY too fast.
(Which means about half of the posts so far were ripped at the incorrect speed. If you wound up on this page thinking you were going to get a download, please stand by. The corrected rips should be up soon. If you’ve downloaded anything in the past few days, you’ll probably want to redownload them once the links go back up. Sorry about that.)
Looked up how to calibrate a turntable, and found lots of message board posts about $400* stroboscopes and pdfs you can download, cut out, plop onto your turntable and shine a fluorescent light bulb** at, and the flickering light bulb will make the dots on the pdf flicker and tell you if it’s going the right*** speed. Someone also suggested taping a piece of paper onto the edge of the platter, getting a stopwatch, putting your finger so that the tab of paper will hit your finger with every revolution. You’re supposed to count the number of times the paper hits your finger in 3 minutes. it should be 99-100 if your platter is spinning correctly.****
*I don’t have $400 to spend on a tool that does one thing one time. $400 on an iPhone is fine because a>we already have one, and b> it does more than measure how fast my record player spins.
**I don’t have a fluorescent bulb i can move over to the turntable. Besides, ***.
***So long as your AC is alternating at exactly 60Hz, that is. If it’s not, and you’ve got the TT running off of the same power that’s lighting up the fluorescent bulb, then the inconsistency of the AC is going to go to the TT as well, and appear like it’s spinning normally. I didn’t bother looking up what tools I would need to use to check to make sure the power coming to my house is actually alternating at 60 Hz. I’m guessing it’s more than $400.
Then I found someone mention a free Iphone app called iRPM that measures rotational speed. I’m sure there are lots of other spinning things you could measure with this as long as you can attach the phone to whatever’s spinning. Windmill blades, ceiling fan blades, the efficiency of your child’s Sit’n Spin, whatever.
This isn’t a paid post, and I’m only vouching for how easy and helpful this was for me. YMMV. I don’t know how accurate this is, but it’s close enough to measure within the bounds of how much my turntable is adjustable, so I’m calling it good.
Once installed, you open the app, put your phone down so that it’s not moving, click the “calibrate” button, then connect it to/place it on whatever’s spinning (ie, the turntable platter), and it’ll tell you how fast it’s going around. It even has something built into the software so that the display rotates exactly counter to the phone’s rotation, which makes it appear that the display is stationary as the phone rotates: