How Tight Should A Turntable Belt Be?

How Tight Should A Turntable Belt Be?

When it comes to all turntable queries, you’ve visited the right page. So far, we’ve covered some reasons why your turntable belt might be slipping, and how often you should be replacing your belt. In this post, we’ll be discussing how tight your turntable belt should be, whether you’re just curious, or replaced one today. 

First things first, you’ll definitely need to figure out which belt your turntable requires before purchasing it. Rubber belts come in a variety of sizes and it is crucial that you pick a size that is right for your own turntable. Not all belts are created equally, as the width, length, and even thickness of a belt will make a difference in how your records play. If, say, your new belt is too short, it can put too much pressure and friction on the motor bearing, causing the motor to tilt and the belt to ride in the wrong location. 

Need help figuring out the size of your belt? This handy video will explain how you can go about measuring it: 

How to work out the correct size of drive belt to order

How Tight Should My Turntable Belt Be?

As with most things, a balance is best when it comes to determining how a turntable belt should fit. As a useful rule of thumb, a drive belt needs to be sufficiently tight enough to grip the sub-platter of your turntable with little strain.

It should be tiny enough to stay on the rim when turned upside down without sliding off, but not so tight that it puts too much sideways pressure on the motor bearings. If you obtain a belt that is excessively tight, you risk interfering with the operation of the turntable by putting too much pressure on the pulley and platter. If it’s too loose, well… you probably know the answer. 

Some forums may suggest going super tight, or rather loose, but let us begin from the very basics of rubber belts. To begin, a belt merely requires grip, consistent tension, and the appropriate breadth and thickness. Do note that the thickness of the belt requires some consistency. The quality of the turntable and its physics can affect how well a “sloppy belt” handles. 

A good belt with the right consistency wouldn’t need more than a 5-10% stretch. However, one can never be sure with the more generic belts. In general, tighter belts have fewer deviations and vibrations, and the best belts have been made to have a uniform thickness. It is natural that vibrations are transmitted to the platter via the rubber belt as a tune plays and vibrations should be best kept within the belt. 

Additionally, when it comes to speed, belt thickness is an issue. The belt’s effective working circumference is not on the inside or outside, but in the middle. However, large variances should not be caused by incorrect belt thickness, so if you’re getting “chipmunks,” something else is amiss.

Itching for more information on belt sizes and speed? Perhaps this forum might help. Users have sat down in an in-depth discussion on belt drives and their physics.

So… Tighter or Just Right?

Well, maybe just a little tighter, but not too much!

Does 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. 

Checking out user reviews of these items might also help you in making a swift decision especially when you’ll be flooded with choices. 

Got it! How Do I Replace the Belt?

Replacing the belt is easy! And by easy, we mean that changing the belt should take you less than 3 minutes. Check out a quick video guide here with a succinct explanation:

How to Put Belt on Turntable Record Player – How to Change Belt on Your Record Player

Any Tips?

Whether you’ve decided to go a little tighter, just right, or maybe even a little looser, experimentation might be the best solution for you if you have some time to spare. You know your turntable best so feel free to pay little heed to others’ opinions and explore it yourself! 

If you’ve been looking to purchase a turntable for some time, check out our reviews for the best turntables under $200 or under $100 if you’d like. Wishing you all the best, and all that jazz!

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