It’s one of the worst feelings for a music fan — you just put a brand-new record on your turntable, and the music comes out distorted. We understand that feeling. Indeed, we’ve been there before. To help you solve this inconvenience, we have put together a guide on what to do when a new record is skipping.
Some small pops can be caused by static, especially right after removing a record from its inner plastic sleeve. For the heavier skips, there are generally two culprits: the record itself or your listening set-up. The more likely of the two is the set-up, but we will explore the usual causes in both categories.
First, check to see if the record skips in the same place every time. If it does, there is a pretty good chance that it is the vinyl. Another trick is to play the record on a different turntable (perhaps at a friend’s place or a record shop). If the vinyl sounds good on one turntable, but not on yours, then you know to adjust your setup.
- The Main Reasons why Your Player Sounds Bad, Strange or Distorted
- 1. The needle (aka stylus) is dirty, worn or broken and needs to be replaced
- 2. The record player is not sitting on a level surface and causing inner groove distortion
- 3. The belt on your turntable is loose, not operating at the proper speed and needs to be replaced
- 4. Your turntable is not properly grounded and causing humming or buzzing noises
- 5. Your turntable’s built in preamp is on the wrong setting
- 6. Check the record
- 7. Turntable
- 8. Environment
- 9. Dust and Debris
- Records Skip: How to Fix It
- 1. Cleaning the Record With Glue
- 2. Using a Cleaning Solution
- 3. Fixing a Broken Record
- How to Balance the Tonearm
- Step 1: Set the anti-skate control
- Step 2: Set the yoke
- Step 3: Level the arm
- Step 4: Adjust the arm tracking weight dial
- Step 5: Balance the arm
- Step 6: Reset the anti-skate control
- Record Player Skipping: Final Thoughts
- FAQ for Ways Fix Wockoder Record Player Skipping
- What is a wockoder record player?
- Why does my wockoder record player skip?
- What can I do to fix my wockoder record player skipping?
- How often should I clean my wockoder record player to avoid skipping?
- How can I prevent skipping of my wockoder record player?
The Main Reasons why Your Player Sounds Bad, Strange or Distorted
The most common cause of record skips is also the easiest one to fix. And that is a dirty record. If that is not the issue, it may also be down to an improperly balanced tonearm. There are several reasons why your turntable or record player might sound like it’s not performing correctly. We will look at each reason below and provide advice on how to fix the issue so you can get back to listening to your vinyl records with the best sound possible.
The audio player or record player sounds bad, strange, or distorted due to the following common problems:
1. The needle (aka stylus) is dirty, worn or broken and needs to be replaced
Most audio issues on turntables or record players are a result of an old or broken stylus (aka, the needle).
Look straight forward at the needle on the cartridge and if it is bent to the left and right, it is broken and should be replaced. Trust me, you will not be able to realign it with your finger, the stylus is too fragile. It will most likely simply break off.
I’ve had people lose audio in one complete channel while listening to records and when you look at the needle, it’s bent so far one way that it’s only producing sound in that one corresponding speaker.
Also, look at the end of the stylus and make sure there isn’t a huge dust ball sitting there. If there is, the sound will be fuzzy and distorted as the dust is blocking the audio signal from reaching the speakers.
If the stylus is dusty, do not remove with your finger or you will risk breaking the stylus off or bending it as I mentioned above. Sometimes you can blow on the dust and it will remove but you will most likely want to purchase a stylus cleaner if you plan on using the turntable often.
I suggest stylus cleaners along with other important information about record player needles in this article, Everything You Need To Know About the Stylus on Your Turntable.
2. The record player is not sitting on a level surface and causing inner groove distortion
I recently had a friend buy a turntable from me. He got it home and hooked it up but kept complaining to me that it just didn’t sound right.
I stopped by his house to help him out and noticed that his turntable wasn’t sitting on a level surface. We moved the turntable to a level surface and the noise went a way.
What happened? When the turntable was tilted forward, the needle was dragging on the inner walls of the grooves and causing a distorted sound to be produced.
A leveled turntable will ensure that just the tip of the stylus is contacting the vinyl’s groove and producing the best possible sound.
For more information on how to properly set up your turntable’s stylus, please refer to the bottom of my article, Everything To Know About the Stylus on Your Turntable.
3. The belt on your turntable is loose, not operating at the proper speed and needs to be replaced
If your turntable uses a belt, check and make sure it has not loosened over time.
Turntable belts can expand over time and therefore it will not turn the platter at the appropriate speed. This will cause the sound to be wobbly or slow.
If you are not sure if you have a turntable with a belt, refer to the manual online to determine whether or not a belt is used.
If a belt is used it will be located underneath the platter on the turntable. Simply pull the platter up to remove the old belt and replace it with a new one.
You can often find a belt replacement by searching the turntable name and model number followed by “belt” on Google.
4. Your turntable is not properly grounded and causing humming or buzzing noises
Buzzing or humming noises are common with vintage turntables and can be easily fixed by attaching a ground wire correctly from the turntable to the receiver.
Please read my article, How To Remove Humming Or Buzzing Sound From Your Turntable for more detailed information.
5. Your turntable’s built in preamp is on the wrong setting
My friends who are new to setting up a turntable with their stereo system have called me asking why their turntable is making a distorted noise when playing.
Often, they have bought a modern turntable with a built in preamp and have the setting switch on the wrong option. Usually they have the built in preamp set to “Line” with the RCA cables plugged into “Phono” on their receiver. This setting will cause distorted sound during playback.
Built in preamps on turntables should be set to “Phono” with the RCA cables plugged into the “Phono” input on your receiver.
If you have the RCA cables plugged into the Aux input, you would select the built in preamp to be on the “Line” setting.
For more information on how to properly use a turntable with a built in preamp, please read my article on How To Connect Your Turntable To The Aux Input On Your Receiver. This article includes photos which will make it easier to explain how to make sure the settings are correct for you.
Following the above suggestions will help resolve performance issues with your turntable or record player and get your vinyl records playing back with the best sound possible!
6. Check the record
As we mentioned above, a brand-new vinyl record is less often the culprit of playback skipping, though it is not unheard of. Let’s run through some checks to see if the vinyl might be at fault.
Production mistakes, though exceedingly rare, can cause a vinyl record to become warped. Heat warps records. Pressure warps records. Both of these factors can be present while the record is being stored, whether it be roasting in a hot warehouse or crushed under the weight of hundreds of other records. Oh, and of course, shipping carriers are not always known for being careful with vinyl.
The author’s slightly warped copy of Beach House’s Bloom.
The record doesn’t have to look like a cresting ocean wave to skip. Even the hardly noticeable warp in the example above causes significant audible disruption.
Some will argue on this point, but there is little you can do to fix a warped record. Trust us, if you just purchased a brand-new record, your time and energy will be better spent exchanging the album for an unwarped copy. If you picked up the record from your local record store, bring the vinyl back in and request a refund or exchange. If you bought it on Discogs or from another online retailer, reach out to the seller as soon as possible for mediation.
It’s good to be hopeful, but if your record is scratched or damaged, it might not be possible to fix. Try every method listed here first to rule out every other option before deciding your record is damaged.
The two components of the turntable that are most likely to cause a record to skip are the:
- Tonearm: If possible, rebalance the tonearm so that the proper weight and vertical tracking force are being applied. The process for adjustments varies by turntable type, so you will need to check the specific guide (which you should be able to find online). Note that rebalancing a tonearm and adjusting vertical tracking force are not an option for some turntables.
- Stylus: Inspect the stylus — or record needle — for wear or foreign objects like dust. Be careful not to touch the stylus when inspecting it. Clean or replace the cartridge if necessary. Visit our guide to cleaning and maintaining a turntable stylus for more detailed instructions.
Lower-end turntables are generally more susceptible to skipping. In addition to having non-adjustable tonearms, they might not be capable of properly playing louder modern vinyl pressings. If skipping becomes a regular occurrence, you may consider upgrading your turntable. However, you don’t have to spend a lot to find a better option. Here are some of our favorite beginner and affordable turntables.
Your turntable could be picking up bad vibrations, man. Uneven services can exacerbate minor issues. Perhaps your listening setup is adjacent to the laundry room? Of course, they look nice, but those wood floors can tremble with heavy footsteps.
Think about ways to limit the impact of vibration in your own environment. Try placing a rug or carpet underneath your setup, moving it away from walls or floors that might shake, and, at the very least, make sure the surface your turntable sits on is level. DJs in loud club environments will utilize a record weight to limit the vibrations of sound waves. Your solution may be as simple as placing your turntable on a thick wooden cutting board. Here is a more complete guide to the importance of turntable isolation and how to fix any problems with vibration.
9. Dust and Debris
Is it dusty or does it have visible prints on it? Though uncommon, this could have happened in the production process. To remove dust particles, clean the record with an anti-static brush. Consider a deeper clean of the vinyl record if there are visible smudges. Remember that a few small pops, especially after removing the plastic outer wrapping and the inner plastic sleeve, can occur due to static. An anti-static brush is a useful and affordable tool for any record collector and can help with these pops.
We hope this article has provided guidance on why your new vinyl record is skipping. Remember the two main culprits — the set-up and the record — and that, more often than not, it is a turntable or environmental issue when you hear a skip on a brand-new record. When in doubt, play the record on a friend’s turntable or at a record shop to rule out the vinyl itself.
Records Skip: How to Fix It
That moment when you cue up the needle on an old favorite album that you haven’t listened to in a long time.
You sit back and get ready to enjoy the album in its entirety, something we rarely find the time for anymore. Everybody listens to single songs. No one listens to albums.
The first track starts playing and right when you lose myself in the music, it happens.
And the moment is ruined. Unfortunately, record player skipping is the one major annoyance with vinyl, and an unavoidable one at that. There are a number of reasons it can occur and luckily, most of them are fixable.
Let’s do some troubleshooting, find out why your record might be skipping, and cover what you can do about it.
1. Cleaning the Record With Glue
Odd as this may sound, a good method to start with is using wood glue.
With your tonearm off the record, spin the record.
Starting at the edge of the inner label, lightly squeeze your wood glue bottle and move the nozzle along the record until you reach the outer edge. Your record should have a covering of even wood glue lines.
With the record still spinning, use a small piece of cardboard to spread the wood glue. Start from the outer edge and move slowly inwards, to create a thin, consistent film across your record.
Stop the record from spinning and leave it as is for 24 hours, so that the wood glue dries completely. Once it’s bone-dry, remove the layer of wood glue, starting at the outer edge. Try to remove it in one go.
If you can’t pull it all off in one go, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just easier if it comes off all at once. Once it’s off, use a lint free cloth to wipe down your record in a circular motion.
Now try playing your record again. If dirt and/or dust was the issue, it should play without skipping now.
2. Using a Cleaning Solution
If your record is still skipping, you’ll need to clean it a little deeper using a record cleaning solution and a cloth. Check the label on the solution to see if there are any specific instructions to follow when applying it.
In general, you just need to apply the solution to the record, let it sit, and then rinse it off with distilled water. Be careful not to get the label on the record wet.
Wipe the distilled water off with the cloth and then let the record dry completely before trying to play it again. Read more about this cleaning method.
3. Fixing a Broken Record
Unfortunately, once a record is damaged, it will likely never play the way it used to. There are a few “last resort” type techniques out there on the internet that you could try, like this one that asks you to sandpaper your record. It is unlikely to be successful, but if your record is already damaged, what do you have to lose?
How to Balance the Tonearm
You’ll always need to balance the tonearm whenever you change your cartridge, because cartridges have different weights, and this affects how firmly the needle presses against your record.
But you also might need to rebalance the tonearm occasionally, if it becomes unbalanced and you end up with a skipping problem as a result.
Your best bet is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you don’t have any, follow the advice below. But if you do have them and your manufacturer’s guidelines differ from the following advice, please follow your manufacturer’s guidelines – there might be a very important reason for the difference.
If this is the first time you’re balancing a tonearm, be patient and take your time. Don’t rush through the process. Balancing the arm is one of the best things you can do for the quality of sound your turntable produces. So be methodical. It’ll be worth your while.
That being said, this is the general approach that should work for most record players.
Step 1: Set the anti-skate control
The anti-skate control could look one of two ways: a circle with numbers on it, or like a piece of fishing gut with a weight hanging off it, that rests on a bar either on or around the arm. Once you’ve found it, set it to zero.
Step 2: Set the yoke
Halfway down the neck of the arm, you should see a plastic hook or latch. That’s the yoke. Unhook it, making sure you support the arm so it doesn’t smash into the platter. Slowly lower the arm and gently let it rest where it hangs by itself.
Step 3: Level the arm
Move the rear-mounted counter weight along the length of the arm until you find the sweet spot: where it lifts up and hangs perfectly level in the air, without any support.
When this happens, tighten the locking nut – tight enough to stop the weight from moving freely, but not so tight that you can’t make small adjustments. By locking your turntable’s arm in this position, you make sure that it’s held at a tracking weight of 0 grams.
Step 4: Adjust the arm tracking weight dial
You should now find the arm tracking weight dial. It could be at the back of the arm or possibly be attached to the counter-weight you just adjusted. Wherever it is, move it to zero.
If your turntable arm doesn’t have an arm tracking weight dial, you can use a tracking weight gauge to check if you’ve balanced it at zero grams.
Step 5: Balance the arm
Now that you have the tracking weight dial set to 0 grams, you need to adjust the counterweight again. By either adjusting the counterweight itself (this is where the degree to which you tightened it earlier will come into play), or the screw thread (which is attached to the dial), move the dial until you feel the tracking force.
This tracking force is generally dependent on the turntable cartridge you have loaded. Check your cartridge’s specifications. Usually, it will be between 1 and 2 grams.
If your counterweight doesn’t have a dial or screw thread, you’re going to have to use a tracking weight gauge. Place the tracking weight gauge on the platter, and then place the stylus on the gauge.
Then, just like you did earlier, move the counterweight backwards and forwards, until the reading on the tracking weight gauge tells you that you have the right weight.
Step 6: Reset the anti-skate control
Now you can put the arm back into position. Secure it with the yoke. Then, set the anti-skate control to the same weight you set for the tracking weight.
This is essentially the pinnacle point in stopping your records from skipping. By setting the anti-skate, you add downward force, which stops the arm from skipping the grooves.
Play the record now. If it’s not damaged, it should play without skipping. But if it does skip…I have some bad news. You’ve probably got a broken record on your hands.
Record Player Skipping: Final Thoughts
Most cases of a record play skipping are easily fixed. Hopefully that was the case for you.
But if your skipping problem was due to a record broken beyond repair, I am sorry. I’ve been there, too. It hurts.
That’s why I encourage everyone to do what you can to prevent damage to your record collection. Treat your albums like they are irreplaceable, because in many ways, they are. Even the best record player turntables sound bad if the record is damaged.
Handle and store your records properly and you will hopefully never again find yourself trying to figure our why your record is skipping.
FAQ for Ways Fix Wockoder Record Player Skipping
What is a wockoder record player?
A wockoder record player is a device that plays vinyl records. It was first introduced by the company Wockoders in 1933 and it was the first turntable to use a platter, which is a disc with a circular hole in the middle.
The turntable can be used for playing vinyl records and also for playing 78rpm records. The sound quality of the record player is very good as it uses vacuum tubes to produce sound, which are far superior to transistors.
The main advantage of using this type of record player is that it can play both old and new records, which means you don’t need to buy an expensive new machine each time you want to listen to something from your collection.
Why does my wockoder record player skip?
Most people think that skipping is a problem with the recording player. However, it is actually a problem with the wockoder itself.
There are many reasons why your wockoder may skip. The most common reasons why your wockoder skips include:
- The power cord was not plugged in all the way
- The power cord is damaged
- The disc that you are playing has scratches and/or defects
- Dirty and/or faulty needle
What can I do to fix my wockoder record player skipping?
If you’re having a hard time playing your wockoder record player, there are some things you can do to fix the issue. The first thing you should try is unplugging the unit and then plugging it back in. If that doesn’t work, you might need to clean the record player’s needle or replace it with a new one.
How often should I clean my wockoder record player to avoid skipping?
The answer to this question depends on the type of record player. But generally, it is recommended that you clean your record player every six months.
How can I prevent skipping of my wockoder record player?
Skipping is a common problem for record players. This is usually because the records often move around and the needle can be outside of the grooves. When this happens, the needle can skip to another part of the record and cause damage.
There are several ways to prevent skipping on your record player. You can use a turntable mat or you can use a felt pad on top of your records that will help reduce friction between the records and platter. You could also try using a different type of needle, such as an elliptical or diamond-shaped needle.
If you want to avoid skipping altogether, you should make sure that your records are securely in place before playing them.