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March 22, 2005 3:24 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to keep a record player from skipping? [MI]

A friend lives in an old townhouse in DC with nice, but very spongy, old hardwood floors. Anytime someone walks by the record player there's a good chance it will make the record skip unless they're VERY careful. So what's a good way to keep this from happening? The turntable is mounted on top of a receiver and a CD player, and the components are on top of a nice and sturdy waist high wooden cabinet. Bonus points for soultions that are also aesthetically pleasing. Thanks in advance.
posted by Heminator to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
There's always the old "put a nickel on the stylus" trick. Not the best for your needle, but it might help. The same effect can be achieved if his turntable's arm has adjustable weight.
posted by tweebiscuit at 3:27 PM on March 22, 2005

I've not had direct experience, but there's product called "Freefloats" that get a pretty good rap..
More discussion here -

My own solution to the same problem, was putting my record player on the concrete and tiled hearth in front of the old fireplace in my house - it's really well isolated from any kind of skip or rumble..
posted by nonemoreblack at 3:42 PM on March 22, 2005

You definitely want to keep tracking mass as low as possible to protect the record. If you can mount the turntable on a shelf attache to the wall might help. Or other ideas. Or here.

General principle is to disconnect the turntable from the floor.
posted by mss at 3:51 PM on March 22, 2005

Yipes! Don't put coins on your needle! You'll scratch up yer records and quickly ruin yer stylus. Club DJs use this technique because it gives them more control in manipulating the discs, but, for home use, it should be avoided.

The Freefloat thing looks like the right idea. And you could probably improvise one with, I dunno, sponges or foam rubber or an old pillow or something.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:51 PM on March 22, 2005

I've seen DJs put cut in half tennis balls under the legs of the turntable to minimize vibration before.
posted by shepd at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2005

a cheap possible solution for isolation involves four rolls of duct tape and a bunch of rubber bands. stretch rubber bands around the rolls of tape until you have a decent platform to put a leg of the turntable on. the center hole should be just about the right size so with one of these per leg you have the whole thing floating on a bed of rubber bands. depending on the space and the turntable it may or may not work.

I had an big old turntable back in the day that worked great once i stuck a standard pillow under under it - because it was really heavy. if the table has enough mass to it that might work.
posted by 31d1 at 4:42 PM on March 22, 2005

Having a turntable with an extremely massive base helps stability a LOT. I used to have a Thorens that I could not walk near (similar spongy floor) - but when I acquired a tangent-tracking Yamaha with a very heavy base, it played fine. Try creating your own massive concrete base (cinderblocks?) to put the unit on. Otherwise, what mss said.
posted by omnidrew at 4:45 PM on March 22, 2005

Foam or an old pillow – as Dr. Wu recommends – is a good idea. Get some foam, get a concrete paving slab and place it on top of the foam, then sit the turntable on top of that. Not aesthetically pleasing, I'll grant you (unless you want your living room's stereo set-up to look like an impromptu rave soundsystem, that is), but very, very stable; the number of clubs that I've DJ-ed at which employ this technique is vast – it's a quick, cheap, and not too ugly fix.
posted by Len at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2005

If you can not move the turntable to a location where the floor is more stable then putting it on something less moveable might help. A slab of stone sitting on a partially inflated inner tube (a small one from say a wheelbarrow tire) might sufficiently damp the vibrations. Mass, such as cinderblocks underneath all this will also help. The inner tube is kind of ugly, so the traditional trick is to make a base with low sides into which the slab will fit. The low sides hide the inner tube. There are commercial versions of this available for lots of money if you don't want to build your own.
posted by caddis at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2005

Eek! As posted above: weights on your turntables are bad, bad juju. You'll destroy your records and your needles. I don't actually know any club or rave DJ's who do this-- it absolutely kills your equipment and your record collection.

Your options are many, and limited only by your budget:

1) Foam. Not bad. You'll need a fairly thick piece, and that is just ugly.

2) Air cushions. Most DJ stores should be selling these by now. They're basically X-shaped cushions that are sized perfectly for Tech 12's, which are slightly larger than average home decks. Still, should work well.

3) Suspension. You can hang the shelf the deck is on from a beam in the ceiling. Depending on which rooms are above, that is likely your absolute best option (and, incidentally, the one we used at the club I used to work at). Bonus vibration insulation would be provided by anchoring the shelf to the floor as well, and I believe we used springs at all the anchor points, to further minimize vibration. If it worked for us on an enormous system pounding out tooth-rattling bass, not to mention a few hundred people dancing, then I'm guessing it'll work for you.

4) Custom-built cabinet, with some combination of foam and air pillow inside, or, actually, a cinder block or two. They transmit very little vibration, especially from just walking by.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:03 PM on March 22, 2005

DON'T put a nickel on the stylus.
DO make sure the tonearm weight is set correctly. There's a slight chance that's the whole problem.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:41 PM on March 22, 2005

Is nailing down the loose boards not an option? Usually a few strategically-placed finish nails can get a board to stop creaking. Counter-sunk with a nailset, and covered with a dot of putty, they're practically invisible.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:15 PM on March 22, 2005

It has to be said.
Wait until 3am when no-one is walking around, then encode the records to mp3. I never went back.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:30 PM on March 22, 2005

It has to be said.
Mp3 sucks; fine through $10 earbuds, but awful through decent speakers and amplification.
posted by caddis at 2:55 AM on March 23, 2005

Amen, caddis!
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:53 AM on March 23, 2005

Just letting tweebiscuit know that you're not the only one who used the coin method. Although we used pennies, instead of nickels. We were po people.
posted by Juicylicious at 9:25 AM on March 23, 2005


No. You use the right amp, and do it right, (using a modern lossless compression format if you prefer - storage is cheap), and the results are second to none.

Of course, for many, doing it properly would be overkill since even badly encoded low-bitrate old-fashioned MP3 is better than music that skips on them. Depends on how much you're prepared to put up with I guess.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:13 AM on March 24, 2005

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