THAT is a tough one. Is there a correlation with your physically touching the tonearm? If not, consider that there could be a ground wire perhaps in your tonearm that gets shorted out when the tonearm lifts off the LP. Look for a loose wire.
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Thanks for the feedback. This is most certainly a buzz and not a hum. When the buzz stops, quickly after the needle touches the record, it usually is gone for good. Very, very rarely it buzzes for a split second during play, then disappears. But that makes me nervous to play anything too loud.
Due to my lack of understanding of how these turntable operate, I think I'll bring it in for a fix so I can get back to tearing into some Steely Dan, among others. My current favorite song to play on the turn table is actually a Robert Palmer song, "Every Kinda People." Love it.
I'm not sure if there is a dimmer switch. But I think Atmasphere is on to something.
I took a look at the service manual for the presumably similar PL-15D, which can be downloaded by registering at vinylengine.com.
My suspicion is that the problem is being caused by a combination of the switch that controls application of AC power to the motor, and a capacitor (described as 0.047 uf with a voltage rating of 200 VAC) that is wired directly across the switch. I believe that the purpose of the capacitor is to suppress RFI (radio frequency interference) that may be generated as the switch opens and closes.
According to another reference I have, the PL-15D II dates back to the 1970's. It would therefore stand to reason that both the switch contacts and the capacitor are somewhat degraded. Abnormal amounts of RFI could therefore be generated by arcing resulting from "contact bounce" in the switch, which may in turn not be effectively suppressed by the old capacitor.
It would probably be a good idea to mention that possibility to the person at the shop you take it to.