How Tight a Turntable Belt Should Be

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Because of this, we bumped into the question regarding how tight a turntable belt should be. When determining the tension of a turntable belt, it is important to balance what it does against the amount of effort required to do so. It’s important that the grip is not too tight or too loose, and must find a balance between the two.

In this article, let us tighten our seatbelts and know how tight a turntable belt should be and the processes to determine that.

First, you’ll need to determine which belt your turntable uses before purchasing it. Rubber belts come in a variety of sizes and it is good to get one that is tailor-made for your machine. There’s a wide variety of belts in the market, with many sizes, colors, and widths to choose from. So you know what belt is best for you depends on a few factors that include how it has been made the size it is. If the belt is too tight, it can cause the motor to tilt and ride in an inaccurate location. This can lead to potential damage.

What is a Turntable Belt

Before we try to answer how tight a turntable should be, we should first learn to define what a turntable belt is. Most record players are now equipped with turntable belts, as they allow the needle to meet and hold the grooves on each side of the outer rim while playing a record. There are varying qualities, but some should last for many years. A turntable is an item that can rotate and hold your records.

If your record player’s turntable belt is broken, or even if it’s just frayed a bit, then you can follow this straightforward step-by-step guide using pictures to have the belt replaced in no time. Usually, when a turntable has a belt, it’s held in place between two rotating disks. The motor then turns the belt by spinning one or the other of these disks. When the turntable starts, the belt passes through a pulley on the motor, around the platter, and back. This motion makes your vinyl play.

Without a record player belt, your records will not play. Record players are complicated pieces of machinery and might be difficult for some people to even figure out how to operate. Knowing where your spare turntable parts are will help if you ever need a replacement yourself.

Essentially, the difference between belt-driven and direct-drive turntables is that the former employs a system of belts to spin around the platter. Direct-drive washing machines use a motor that drives the agitator, which eliminates the need for belts.

A belt-driven turntable is needed to help the cartridge on the decks navigate through a vinyl record, which in turn helps produce sound. If you use a belt-driven turntable, you will know added complexities to the way it operates. The single most important point about this turntable is that it is tight.

But some new turntables have a direct drive design. Instead of a motor attached to a belt, the motor is attached directly to the turntable platter. Direct drive turntables are a favorite form of dj equipment because they have a quick response time and more consistent turntable speeds than other types of turntables.

Turntables with a belt drive are pretty popular because they’re the standard. Home turntables have a lot of belt drives. Playing records a lot sooner on a turntable with a belt without having to spend too much time or effort doing so is sometimes possible, but it takes more than just some platter manipulation and speed/motor knowledge.

Balance is Key: How Tight a Turntable Belt Should Be

Turntable belts are essential parts of belt-driven record players. They make a difference in the sound quality and offer better feedback. It’s important to note that a lower latency is also important for making sure their appropriateness that is critical for improving your sound quality. Many audiophiles find themselves lost in the “appropriateness” of their cartridge’s belt even though it is as vital to getting the best sound out of a turntable. We have also tried to think about the same question in our own personal lives.

As with most things, a balance is best when it comes to determining how a turntable belt should fit. Most turntables have a sub-platter that you can loosen to help the belt grip your record. The drive belt should be firmly tensioned so it doesn’t slip.

Turntable belts must not be too loose that it loses their grip, as a loose turntable belt is no more valuable than a wisp of air trying to lift a log of wood. It is important to make sure the belt doesn’t slip or become too tight, since this could interfere with your turntable. It’s important to know how tight the turntable is before switching it on.

It should be lightweight and skinny enough to stay on the rim when turned upside down, but not so tight that it puts too much sideways pressure on the motor bearings. If you get a belt that is too tight, it can cause a lot of issues with the turntable and platter by putting more pressure on it than usual. If your bike chain breaks, too, this could be a time you regret not leaving some slack at the derailleur or in your gear ratios.

People are told to go tight or loose when binding equipment, but sometimes physically tying rubber belts is better. That’s because you can adjust them more easily and they will slip less often. Getting started with a belt is easy. You just need to make sure it’s got grip, tension consistently at the same level, and the appropriate breadth thickness. You should note that the belt needs to be a consistent thickness. The quality of the turntable and how well it handles “sloppy belts” or whatever they are called can affect how well the device performs.

A belt’s material should always be stretchy, but that doesn’t mean it should cause more than a 5-10% expansion. One can never be certain with these generic belts. They do have fewer deviations, but the best are made to have a uniform thickness. Vibrations might be transmitted to the platter via the rubber belt because a tune is played and should be kept within the belt.

Certain types of work require that you have a certain belt thickness to perform the task. With this in mind, it’s best to opt for belts that are slightly more than what’s required. However, variances shouldn’t be too extreme when it comes to buying your belt, so if your size says 36 inches and you find one that says 38 inches instead of coming back with.

We most often recommend having your turntable belts tighter rather than loose. However, we always remind other audiophiles that having turntable belts too tight may damage your equipment, so make sure you are going on the right track.

Speaking of damage, the stress induced by tight turntable belts will heavily impact the mechanisms. If your turntable’s bearings become difficult to turn, this is usually because the belt has broken. If you attempt to fix the situation by replacing just the belt, the gears will most likely stop turning.

Size Matters

We always remind our fellow audiophiles to have a suitable diameter of the belt for their turntables. It can prevent extra stress on the record player while still reducing the possibility of loose installations.

There are five standard belt diameters to be considered for your record player. Make sure you have the right one. The standard diameters are the following: 128 mm diameter belts, 150 mm diameter belts, 172 mm diameter belts, and 300mm diameter belts.

So the next time you view some of the available diameters for turntable belts to make sure you’re staying on top of your content, it’s a good practice to assess it regularly as this is how tight a turntable belt should be.

Why Do People Still Use Belt-Driven Turntables?

Direct-drive turntables offer a smoother, more direct experience than belt-driven ones. This makes them more accessible and easy to use. Many people have turned to ask why there are still belt-driven turntables when the motors in direct-drive turntables are so much smaller.

The Price Matters

Direct-drive record players use a more compact approach to technology implementation, which means that you’ll also have to spend less money on them. What’s important to remember is the cost of the main product – which engineers and techs have to do more work on. Additionally, the smaller size means that it will be harder for your customers to return. The direct-drive record players are significantly more expensive than the belt-driven ones.

Other reasons for the rising cost of belt-driven machines include the increased complexity and high cost of motor drive. Unlike belt drives, motors are complex mechanical components used in many commercial and industrial machines today.

As it is With Most Audiophiles: it Sounds Better

The main reason why many buy FLAC-supported turntables is because they know the sound quality will be better than a lot of other ones. It’s one of the quintessential qualities of audio equipment, to begin with. Audiophiles prefer the sound produced by belt-driven record players over others because the sound quality is better.

A direct-drive record player uses the arm to turn a backstop that then moves the vinyl along. But with a belt-driven turntable, this process is much smoother and overall sound quality is heightened. The true answer: engineering. Motor noise can be very noisy and make it difficult to achieve quality sound levels with audio equipment. Unlike the motors, belts run smoother and eliminate or mitigate any excessive noise.

When I say “belt-driven turntables” it has a sense of clunkiness because people keep asking me about how tight they should be and more. Speaking of what’s next, this leads us to our next topic.

Where the Direct-Drive Record Players Win

As stated earlier, direct-drive record players and turntables are often less clunky than other kinds of turntables. However, these are not the only variables and features that these types of CD players have significantly improved upon from their predecessor belts-driven record players.

The type of record players DJs typically use – direct-drive models – are different because they allow the DJs to easily change their rotation speed or direction. To achieve a “scratching” sound, you would need to take the records out of the vinyl, rotate them on a turntable, and play them back through a needle.

In addition, these smaller moving parts last much longer than the belt of the belt-driven turntables. Belts are a more unstable part of the mechanism and will need more maintenance than motors.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the best belt for your turntable, but there are some easy ways to experiment with this issue by changing the tension of your belt to see what’s best. If you have some time in your schedule, you might want to consider experimenting with this process. Perhaps you’ve always known your audience better than everyone else? If so, good on you! It’s good to explore your own turntable and try out some new tracks. Good luck in all that jazz, and don’t forget to follow our social channels.

FAQ for How Tight Should Turntable Belt Be

Does the tightness of the belt affect the speed of the music?

Providing an increased tension or loosening your belt has little to do with speed besides restricting (tight) or allowing (loose) movement, neither of which will result in speedier play. If the belt slipped because it was too loose, the record would not play at a consistent lowered speed; meanwhile, a belt that was too tight would generate strain on the motor, eventually leading to unevenly worn bearings or total winding burnout.

Where can I get new belts?

If you aren’t situated near a turntable store like most of us, it’s simple to get one online for something as little as USD $10 for a pack of 5 or 10.  Replacing the belt is easy! And by easy, we mean that changing the belt should take you less than 3 minutes.

How do I preserve the integrity of my belt-driven turntable belts?

To preserve the integrity of your turntable belts, make sure to always check them once in a while, and make sure you are using the appropriate diameter and the appropriate thickness. Moreover, we recommend everyone not wait until the turntable belt is completely unusable before replacing the belt.

How do I replace my turntable’s belt?

Replacing a turntable belt is no mentally intensive exercise, nor is it physically exhausting. We recommend you remove the rubber mat first as this exposes the belt. After that, lift the platter.

The belt will then be exposed fully, and we will need to replace it. Grab your new turntable belt and put it on the bottom of the platter, aligning it to the inner circle. Slowly slide the platter upside down and put it back to the turntable, returning all the removed parts.

What are the advantages of turntable belts?

There are a lot of benefits to using a turntable with a belt drive. Belt drive turntables are a little quieter than direct drive turntables. Because the motor isn’t attached to the platter, its vibrations don’t shake it. There isn’t any vibration noise or interference while you’re playing your favorite records.

Direct drive turntables have more vibrations. All of them are transferred to the needle, which can cause noise and interference when a record is playing.

On a belt drive turntable, the motor is off to the side of the turntable so that none of its vibrations affects record play. Because the turntable belt is flat and smooth, it also minimizes vibration. However, that makes it very important to get a good quality turntable belt and change it as soon as it begins to deteriorate.

What do turntable belts look like? 

Turntable belts are flat, smooth, and made of a special kind of rubber. They look a little bit like giant black rubber bands.

The material they’re made of lasts a long time. Unfortunately, when turntable belt rubber begins to deteriorate, it can crack, crumble, or get sticky. All of these states can seriously interfere with your turntable, so make sure to change your turntable belt at the first sign of wear.

Can you replace your own turntable belt?

Replacing your own turntable belt is pretty easy to do. Even though it’s not difficult, it’s a great skill to have if you want to level up from casual listener to audio equipment expert.

With a little elbow grease, patience, and observation, you can replace the old belt to keep your record player running smoothly and your favorite records playing beautifully.

When should I replace my turntable belt?

On average, belts should be replaced around 3-5 years. Another indication that your belt is failing is a slow start-up or if the platter appears to be spinning too rapidly. A certain belt thickness and tension were considered when designing the belt system.

How long does a turntable belt last?

A typical turntable belt can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years or even longer. If you are someone that only uses your turntable every once in a while, then you may get the longest amount of use from a belt.

How to install a drive belt on the turntable?

Lift up the Dust Cover and remove it from the turntable Base. Remove the Rubber Mat from the Platter. Lift the Platter straight up off the Spindle. Slip the Belt around the underside of the Platter. Place the Platter back on the Spindle.

How much does it cost to replace a record player belt?

Here are a few examples of standard OEM replacement belt costs for standard models: Audio Technica $17-$35. Clearaudio $29-$49. Crosley $10-$25.

How do I know if my record player needs a new belt?

A turntable will generally let you know when it needs a new belt because it will a. not play, b. play too slowly, or c. does not perform certain functions such as speed changing (33 to 45 to 78).

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