Thursday, August 6, 2009

My new turntable

Have a look at this beauty:

It's my new turntable, the black matte edition of the Pro-Ject Debut III to be precise. It's actually my first proper turntable. I did have one before, but I threw it away because it's crappy construction and even crappier needle were ruining my records.

You can imagine I was pretty excited when I unboxed it at home, eager to play some records that were gathering dust. Much to my dismay I found that installing the damn thing was trickier than I first imagined. Get it out of its box, put it on a shelve, connect it, and play, right? Not so. Here is an excerpt from the user's manual:

Make sure the surface you wish to use the turntable on is level (use a spirit level) before placing the turntable on it. Remove the two red transport screws (1) which secure the motor (22) during transportation.
Remove the transport lock (18) from the tonearm. Store it together with the two red motor transport screws (1) in the original packaging so they are available for any future transportation.
Fit the drive belt (3) around the hub (4) and the smaller diameter part of the motor pulley (2). Avoid getting sweat or grease on the belt as these will deteriorate the performance and reduce the belt's lifespan. Use absorbent kitchen paper to remove any oil or grease from the outer edge of the hub and the belt. Fit the platter (5) and felt mat over the spindle of the hub (4).

Cartridge downforce adjustment
The counterweight (6) supplied is suitable for cartridges weighing between 3,5 - 5,5g. Alternative counterweights for cartridges weighing between 6 - 9g or 1,5 - 3g are available as accessory parts. Adjust the downforce prior to installing the anti-skating weight.
Pushing carefully, turn the counterweight (6) onto the rear end of the tonearm tube (9), and so that the downforce scale (6a) shows towards the front of the player. Lower the armlift and position the cartridge in the space between arm rest and platter. Carefully rotate the counterweight (6) until the armtube balances out.
The arm should return to the balanced position if it is moved up or down. This adjustment must be done carefully. Do not forget to remove the cartridge protection cap if fitted.
Once the arm is correctly balanced return it to the rest. Hold the counterweight (6) without moving it, and gently revolve the downforce scale ring (6a) until the zero is in line with the anti-skating prong (15). Check whether the arm still balances out.
Rotate the counterweight counter clockwise (seen from the front) to adjust the downforce according to the cartridge manufacturer's recommendations. One mark on the scale represents 1 mN (= 0,1g / 0,1 Pond) of downforce.
Holy crap! That's a lot of work! In fact, it took me close to one hour getting everything right. But it was worth the effort: now I can listen to my records once more in perfect audio quality (cause the Debut III is one kick-ass turntable), and not worry about them getting ruined.