The most common cause of pitch variations is from the spindle hole not being perfectly centered on the record.If you notice any side to side swaying of the tonearm during play, that's your culprit.It will usually be most noticeable with string and piano and greatest towards the end of a side.
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I've recently ordered a Clearaudio synchro to address this problem but you might want to also check into the other various speed controllers which are available, such as the Project Speed Box or Speed Box SE;
"This tiny black box allows painless speed change between 33 and 45 rpm with the mere push of a button. But that's not all. This neat little box offers quartz-generated electronic speed regulation. In other words, the Speed Box isolates the attached turntable from line voltage fluctuations that can affect speed stability. The quartz oscillator boasts a speed stability of +/- .01%. The more upscale Speed Box SE offers speed stability ten times better than the Speed Box. If you think a fraction of a percent of speed variation wouldn't have much of an audible affect, you should hear what the diminutive Speed Box can do. I'll get to it later but it literally blew me away. I truly did not expect the degree of sonic mprovements that this little CDN$129 box delivered."
6moons Speed Box review
From what I just read, the Speed Box seems to be an AC synchronous device. It will not work with all turntables and it won't work with turntables that have DC motors. It won't work with certain Project turntables. I would check with the manufacturer to see if it will work with your particular turntable before ordering one...
Thanks very much for the advice. I did a bit of research on the Project speed box. The price is certainly right. I'm not optimistic, though, that it'll work with the Goldring table. I'll call musicdirect tomorrow and see. I'm definitely lookng for a cheap solution here. If I have to spend more than $100 or so, I'd almost rather just get a new table.
Is a speed controller helpful for any table, even more expensive ones? If so, it might be a good long-term investment.
Patrick: this is indeed a belt drive, but the belt is positioned correctly and looks fine.
Also, I'm going through a Shunyata power conditioner. Just FYI.
If you are putting everything through a Power Conditioner then this could be the issue.It is not a good idea to put your main power amp and your turntable both through the Power Conditioner.I did some research on this and it seems that this is a concensus of many(Power Amp on mains and Turntable on Conditioner) and I have to say I agree.Anyway tell us how you are set-up.
Interesting, Stefan. As it stands, everything is on the power conditioner. I'll try plugging the amp into the wall tonight, though I'm not so keen on giving up the surge protection.
I just called the Project people, and I can't use the speed box because the Goldring uses a captured power cord. That's probably going to prevent me from using any of these speed regulators. Too bad...
Yes the upshot is that Power Conditioners at the end of the day are "current limiting",in that a power amplifier needs to be able to draw a large amount of current from the mains at times and more than a Conditioner can provide very quickly.It becomes another component in the way of the Power transformer of the amp which should be good enough to obtain sufficient power from the mains and handle it properly,as that is what they are designed to do.This is current "high-end" philosophy(?) and it's said if your amp can't handle power properly....get another amp.Apparently low-draw current devices are O.K though.
As a Rega P3 owner I found the following causes most of the speed instability:
1) Off-center pressings (or oversized spindle hole in the LP). A little tapping on the periphery of the record (NOT WITH THE ARM LOWERED !!!!) will often center the record.
2) Belt slipping. Wash the belt in hot soapy water, and clean the pulley and subplatter with isopropyl alcohol to prevent any slip.
3) Level the table. Using a carpenters' level make sure the platter is ABSOLUTELY level. The regas are very sensitive to this.
4) Bearing oil. Gently lift the subplatter 1/2 inch (do not remove): the oil of the bearing should be clearly visible at the top of the shaft. If not you may need to add a drop or two of oil. Use 80w manual transmission oil (the smelly stuff with sulfur added) or oil from a Rega dealer.
Do all of the above before buying a speed box, because I strongly suspect that you don't need a speed box (and the above is way cheaper).
If you decide you need a speed box look into a Heed orbit. I think Music Direct may sell them. To be honest, though I think if you want to take it that far you're probably better off buying a better deck (like a nottingham).
Thanks again for the advice. I've noticed now that the speed problem is greatly alleviated late at night, though it's never perfect. This leads me to believe that crappy power is indeed the culprit. Since my TT has a captive power cord, I'll live with it for now. I'll be upgrading to a VPI Scout or something of similar caliber within the next few months.
Another question about the Goldring, though: about half the time when I turn off the motor, I get a loud pop through my speakers. This can't be good... What's causing this, and how can I make it stop? It only happens about half the time, and it's totally random.