The World Wide Stereo Turntable Clinic

The World Wide Stereo Turntable Clinic

Turntable maintenance by our vinyl doctors.

We have invested in all the equipment needed to adjust any turntable in the world to provide a better performance for the listener. Whether you have an older turntable that doesn't work correctly or simply want to see what this vinyl craze is all about, stop on by. 

Why might my turntable need a checkup?

A little background info...

When we drop the arm on a record, there's sophisticated physics involved in the playback process. A very small needle (aka stylus) reads microscopic etchings in the record groove-walls. And whether or not that needle can properly traverse those grooves is critical to ensuring perfect tracking and maximum fidelity while listening. Things to consider: the angle that the cartridge is mounted and aligned on the head-shell of the arm, the height and angle of the arm itself, the horizontal and vertical weighting and counter-weighting, the wear and tear on the stylus... all are critical to “reading” the inner groove-walls of the very precious LP without damaging it. (If you want to get super nerdy, check out this video from Applied Science showing a stop motion animation of a phonograph needle in an LP groove.)

If anything is off-balance, it can alter the playback of your vinyls — meaning your favorite records won't sound as awesome as they should.

Just what the doctor ordered.

So what happens at a turntable clinic, anyway?

Here's the rundown: 

First, we will look at the condition of your turntable's stylus (needle) under a WILD dissecting microscope. Made in Switzerland, this is the best microscope for stylus examination and is an impressive device. The WILD microscope features a rotating platform, Stereoscopic lenses and special lighting for the best possible view of the stylus (the tip of which is smaller than you might even imagine).

Next, we will check turntable speed, operational condition, and channel balance (equal sound from both left and right channels). During the speed test, we'll correct any errors that are found. 

Then, the most important part of our checkup: we will set the proper stylus force by playing a record with special test tones on it. An oscilloscope (like a small TV screen) is used to see if the stylus stays in firm contact with the groove walls, even during loud music passages  — and only then will the force be set for perfect tracking. We want just enough force to track the groove well, but without too much pressure, since this would cause excess record wear. (At our last turntable clinic, even seasoned audio veterans were stunned by the precision with which we were able to adjust their machine.)

Finally, we will compare the forces on each side of the groove wall and adjust your "anti-skating" (the horizontal balance of the arm) to ensure the pressure is equal on both sides of the groove. Getting all these adjustments as close to perfect as possible creates a better sound, less record wear, and a longer life for both the stylus and records. 

The most common reaction from our client post-checkup: "I have never seen test equipment like this," and/or "I never thought it would be possible to see the tracking of the grooves like I’m seeing now.” World Wide Stereo has invested in all the equipment needed to adjust any turntable in the world to provide a better performance for the listener. 

Clinic-on-demand in our local showrooms.


Now that the word is out about what we can do, we hold regular seasonal clinics in our showrooms and, thankfully, we have plenty of extra gear and on-site experts to do the testing. Meanwhile, you can have your own personal clinic anytime you want when you come on in to one of our Philly area showrooms in Montgomeryville or Ardmore

The same testing and adjusting procedures developed for our clinic are used to calibrate new turntables purchased at our store. If you’re serious about vinyl and want to buy a turntable with the peace-of-mind that it is performing at its very best, we've got you covered.

Any questions? Our vinyl doctors are here and ready to answer them — give us a call or send us an email today.

Scenes from our turntable clinics

Ken examining a turntable
Ken diagnosing an issue with a microscope
Tonearm calibration
Pat adjusting a turntable
Tommy balancing a tonearm

Turntable and vinyl maintenance at home

An apple a day keeps the... well, you know. To keep your turntable in tip-top shape here are a few at-home products that we recommend for the vinyl lover:

AudioQuest Anti-Static Record Cleaner Brush
Spin Clean MKII Complete Record Washer Package
VPI Industries HW-16.5 Record Cleaning Machine
The Last Factory LAST Stylus Cleaner
PRO-JECT Clean It Stylus Cleaning Brush

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