wow and flutter

I have recently purchased a rega 3 (planer) turntable,I have attempted to set it up as best I can with my modest resources, ie to reduce vibration etc. I have been lucky enough to be able to purchase a second hand decca stereo check up record (in good condition for a dollar) but the test that shocked me was the 3khz tone for wow and flutter.Is there any way this distortion can be reduced apart from a heavier platter.
Make sure the belt is new or in good condition. Clean the rim of the subplatter and the pulley with isopropyl alcohol. Then clean the belt in hot soapy water so that it feels sticky to the touch afterwards.

If it's a planar 3 with the old motor then make sure the motor mount belts are in good condition.

Last, use some double sided tape (carpet tape works well) to secure the felt mat to the glass platter to prevent slipping.

Speed stability is not the rega's strongest suit, but I've found the above steps help significantly.
There is lots about the Rega Planar and speed stabilty on this forum.Do a search of the archives and you find various approaches to the problem.
Get a rim drive or quartz locked (linear) direct drive turntable. A lesser belt drive will always give you troubles. Don't feel bad, there's multi thousand dollar belt drive decks that will also fail that test!

The test is meaningless as it is merely an objective measurement that does not correlate to music. Music in its essence is ever changing and the ear actually prefers changes in pitch that are interpreted by the brain as more musical in that they keep the brain's musical centres interested and make the experience more musical and not less. This may be counter intuitive, but audiophiles know that objective measurements are more than useless when it comes to appreciating the musicality of a system and the emotional response it can create.
Not bad .. 5 answers and 1 of them attempts to answer the question. How discouraging for this audiogon newbie.
Seandtaylor, then maybe the correct answer is the stock answer used by 'sophisticated" listeners/audiophiles - "if it sounds OK then ignore the test results". Specifications and performance numbers are useless, aren't they.
I'm afraid I don't understand your response. The question regarded speed stability on the P3. As a P3 owner I know that speed stability is probably its weakest suit. So I offered advice that has helped me in the past. Others told him to change to a direct drive turntable, and then there was a long answer which seemed to imply that wow and flutter add to the music.

Well, I'm sorry but wow and flutter detract from the music in my book, both as they are measured and as they are heard.
If you want a more correct answer it is this.Cartridge/tonearm resonance is at the core of this issue.The Rega tonearm has an effective mass of 11gms.To this you are trying to match a cartridge that has a resonance of around 11/12Hz with the Rega arm.You are thus looking for a suitable cartridge.A search of Audigon archives will be helpful here.It is now commonly accepted that a Moving Coil cartridge with a relatively low vertical compliance is most suitable for the Rega.At entry level there is the Sumiko Blue Point Special,Dynavector 10x5,Denon DL-103.Wow and flutter are only subjective approaches at best as Paol Ladegaaard points out in a famous paper.Good speed stability and correct cartridge/tonearm matching is what you are looking for.

I don't think the arm/cartridge resonance is relevant for what you hear at your 3 kHz test track unless it is a 3 kHz tone superimposed on a low frequency (near the arm cartridge resonance frequency)signal.

You should make sure that the platter bearing is properly lubricated. An old bearing with insufficient lubrication may cause flutter.

If the bearing and belts etc are fine, then you might improve things with a heavier platter.

If none of the advice above (i.e cleaning the belt, lubrication etc)helps, then you'll either have to learn to live with it or get another TT such as suggested already by Psychicanimal.

Good luck!

- Harald
To chime in, wow is a distortion in reproduced sound consisting of a slow rise and fall of pitch caused by speed variation in the reproducing system. Flutter is simply the same phenomenon at a higher pitch.

Your issue is with the usual suspects: belt and or motor, assuming the LP itself is not grossly off-center (all LP's are to some extent). You may just need, as others have pointed out, to lubricate and replace motor and belt, respectively.

I would not replace the platter first.
In relation to the last 2 posts there are two fixes for a Rega Planar 3 that is not running at speed.Firstly check your running speed either with a strobe or stopwatch.You can get a downloadable strobe from the Vinyl Engine library.It will usually be 2% fast if not on speed.The first fix is the official Rega one and you must clean your bearing well and parts out thoroughly and then add 2 DROPS ONLY of 80w/90 Gear Oil.The second fix is the one I use and that is usually 2(3) spliced,not wound lengths of black electrical tape around the edge of the sub-platter to widen it sufficiently so that it slows the table down.You can use oil of your choice here so that it does not evaporate quickly as in the first fix.I can get dead-on speed(playing a record to account for stylus drag) this way.
The turntable was purchased second hand, I cleaned the belt as recomended but it has a little slack in it. Are the new belts a tight fit?. I presume the ac motor is the ultimate cause, there appears to be some caps in the power supply, can changing these make any diference and will the dc motor upgrades (ie origin live) eliminate this distortion or do they merely reduce it.
Thanks for all your replies, I am enjoying my sojourn into analog, just trying to optimise my equipment.
New belts are not tight, but neither are they expensive ($20). It would be worth trying.

If the turntable has the original belt-mounted motor then the rega motor upgrade kit will improve speed stability. After that the Heed Orbit power supply is reputed to improve speed stability. By the time you have purchased both of these you might be better off selling the rega and getting a better deck.

However to really crack speed stability you need a better turntable. At it's price point the rega has fundamental limitations. The platter is too light, with not enough peripheral mass. The bearing is not designed for extra mass, so carefull with adding mass to the existing platter. And an acrylic platter will have even less mass.

Look at the design of the Teres and Nottingham decks for examples of how to build belt drive decks with speed stability.

Oh, and make sure the deck is absolutely level, so that the bearing shaft is not rubbing on its housing.
A new belt is always a good idea,after about 3 years.The Heed power supply mentioned in the prevous post was especially developed for the Rega.A stable power source will always yield an improvement,so try that or some form of conditioning before going full hog on new motor.There are issues with the motor upgrade,such as the way it is mounted being a step-back,and so you might not consider it worth the money if you can get good results otherwise.Belt-drive turntables will always be subject to speed stability issues caused by stylus drag because of their relatively weak motors.
"Belt-drive turntables will always be subject to speed stability issues caused by stylus drag because of their relatively weak motors."

A 20+lb platter should make this a non-issue. And that I believe is why practically all high end belt drive tables have high-mass, often periphery weighted, platters. I would wager that the polar moment of inertia of these platters is a lot greater than the torque generated by the motor of a direct drive deck.
Seand, it's not all about torque--it's speed stability. That's why I mentioned *linear* when suggesting direct drive and that's why VPI uses flywheels in their top end belt drives. In fact, their top model uses two motors and one flywheel. Why not go for the simpler, single motor, 20+ platter approach that you suggest instead? Because
it takes more than 20 pounds. In my belt drive transport there's a weigh on top of the CD and that's enough once I had the power supply modded by Dan Wright--but in a turntable it's a whole different game. Think about it.

I must admit to making a somewhat general statement here and I am sure you can address this issue with a heavier weighted platter.It does not become a non-issue though, even with high-end turntables and I crave your indulgence as that is one of the things that make the idler-wheel Lenco very competitive,as is being dicussed over at that thread about building high-end on the cheap at home depot.Basically no matter how sophisticated your motor or platter/bearing system is,you are still relying on a rubber belt that is subject to cogging,stretching and wear etc. The idler wheel method provides a superior constant speed stability.For more on this and a better explanation I can only recommend the above-mentioned thread.
Get a new belt, clean the bearing and add some new oil, that's it. Now you have a great entry-level turntable.
With a good arm that you can put a good cartridge on.

pbb and others have said don't get to worked up about test records listen to the music, they are right also.