Turntable Belts: What Are They & How Do You Replace Them?
If you’re new to the world of record players, you might find all the moving parts a little perplexing. What do all those wheels and pulleys do? How can an audiophile maintain their turntable in tip-top shape?
There are many moving parts to a record player, but in this blog post, we’ll give you some information and tips on your record player’s turntable belt. We’ll tell you what it is, what it does, and how to replace them when the time comes so that your record player stays in optimum condition.
What Is a Turntable Belt?
Turntable belts are a key feature of most record players, both the old-school vintage versions and newer models. A turntable belt rotates the platter of a record player’s turntable. The platter is the part that holds your records.
More specifically, the turntable belt connects the platter to a motor installed off to the side of your record player. On belt drive turntables, there is a motor attached to a belt. When the motor starts, the belt runs through a pulley on the motor, around the platter, and back, spinning the platter so that your records can play.
Without a turntable belt, your records literally won’t play. They’re necessary to turn the platter and run the mechanism that makes record players work, so it’s important to keep them in good shape and replace them when necessary so that your records give their best.
However, some newer turntables have a direct drive design, which means that instead of a motor attached to a belt, the motor is attached directly to the turntable platter. Direct drive turntables are popular with DJs who like the quick response time and more consistent turntable speeds that some direct drive turntables have.
Belt drive turntables are usually popular with record player newbies because they are the standard. Most new turntables sold for home usage have belt drives. They don’t require a lot of platter manipulation or knowledge about speed or motor settings, so you can start playing records a lot sooner on a turntable with a belt.
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.
How Can I Replace My Turntable Belt?
Turntable belts are made to last a long time, but they eventually break down and disintegrate. When you need to replace your turntable belt, here are a few easy steps to follow.
Before you get started, brush up on the parts of a record player with our handy guide.
Remove the Old Turntable Belt
The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the old turntable belt to make room for the new one. If it leaves any black goo behind, remove it with isopropyl alcohol on a clean rag or cotton swab.
If the old belt was crumbly, it’s okay to gently vacuum or brush away any debris to make sure the new belt fits perfectly.
Get a New Turntable Belt
The best place to find new turntable belts is the internet, although you can sometimes find them in specialty record and audio equipment shops. To make sure you have the correct one, search by the make and model of your turntable, and make sure you know the length and width of the original turntable belt.
As a bonus, turntable belts often come in multi-packs, so as long as you store your belts in a cool, dry place, you won’t have to buy them often.
Some manufacturers will upgrade your turntable belt for free, so check in with your turntable’s maker before you purchase a new belt.
Open Up Your Record Player
Now it’s time to open up your turntable and replace the belt. Start by removing the turntable mat and setting it aside. This will give you access to the platter, which you’ll need to take off the turntable plinth.
Check carefully for any clips or latches that need to be released before removing the platter, and make sure you remember where they do and how they attach.
Connect The New Turntable Belt
Once the platter is off, it should be easy to identify two things; the motor that the old belt was attached to and the inside rim of the platter.
Carefully attach one end of the new belt to the motor. There may be a pulley that the belt actually connects to. Make sure to note where and how the old turntable belt is attached when you remove it to make sure you’re hooking the new one to the right spots.
Loop the other end of the belt loosely around the underside of the platter in the area that the actual platter fits over. Check to make sure it isn’t too loose or too tight so that your platter turns evenly and your records play correctly.
Once you’ve done that, replace the platter and test the results of your hard work by playing one of your favorite records. If the platter doesn’t spin, unplug your record player, take the record off, and double-check to ensure that everything is correctly attached and set up.
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.
If you’re looking for more records to add to your collection, check out Sound of Vinyl.
What are Turntable Belts?| Wise Geek