Is it normal that my needle skips quite often when I scratch faster w/ my turntable?
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  1. #1
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    Default Is it normal that my needle skips quite often when I scratch faster w/ my turntable?

    I don't push down on the turntable with all my force or anything, but when I scratch faster I tend to push down a bit harder than usual, and that causes my needle to skip and playback a few miliseconds than intended.

    Any way I can fix this? Should I set my tone arm heavier when scratching on my timecoded vinyl records? I already have butter rugz and some pretty good slipmats, so I don't know what else I can improve.

    For the record, I have a pair of Stanton STR8-80 turntables, and the tone arm is REALLY light weight, the thing is made out of light aluminum.

    Could also a problem be the turntable stylus itself? The ones I have are used (by a previous owner) and I don't know for how long, but they don't cause any crackling noise or overpowered bass or anything.

    Thanks! I can post a video to show what I mean if needed, I just want to resolve this issue.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    It's a balancing act between your TT settings, and you level of competence.

    The better you get, and the more your TT settings match your own style, the less the needle will skip.

    Skipping needles is all part of learning to scratch. There's no avoiding it. Nobody (NOBODY!) ever got good at scratching without either:

    a) Putting up with a lot of skipping while starting out, or;
    b) Putting so much weight on their needles (coins???) that they ruined the first battle records they ever bought.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru dripstep's Avatar
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    Work on that velvet touch. The only thing that will fix this properly is practicing moving the record and barely touching it. Borderline use the force.
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  4. #4
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    You have to be able to stop the record using practically NO downward force. It's a case of understanding how your finger prints can stop the record spinning without pressing down. You're strobe shouldn't change at all. Or VERY little at least.

    Friction is your friend. Or your enemy, depending on how you look at it.

    Pretty soon you'll understand what I mean. You might want to lick your fingers then rub 'em on your trousers a little.
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  5. #5
    Tech Mentor P4ULSON's Avatar
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    Use SHURE m44-7 needles. and make sure your record is not WARPED or DEFORMED. The platter on the str8-80 is very light and will move and flex. I thought i had a bent tone arm for the longest time it was skipping on brand new Time code vinyl but the vinyl warped when it was shipped to me. Your turntable has a straight tone arm so skipping shouldn't really happen unless your just to aggressive on the platter. Worst comes to worst Get Super Seal its a skipless scratch record

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    You have to be able to stop the record using practically NO downward force. It's a case of understanding how your finger prints can stop the record spinning without pressing down. You're strobe shouldn't change at all. Or VERY little at least.

    Friction is your friend. Or your enemy, depending on how you look at it.

    Pretty soon you'll understand what I mean. You might want to lick your fingers then rub 'em on your trousers a little.
    That's what it means when DJ's lick their fingers, I never really understood that.

    Guess I'll have to learn to use less force when scratching, thanks everyone for your replies, I appreciate it.

  7. #7
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    It's normal when starting out for things to skip a bit.

    But adding coins and excessive weight on your needles always seems to be trying to compensate for an underlying problem; it doesn't really get to the root cause. I've mostly scratched on basic carts (eg. Stanton 500) with the recommended 3 gram weight without problems, always by solving the problem with the deck or record.

    In my experience most skips are caused by some give or slack causing jolts to the needle or record. Even a tiny amount of give can do this.

    My experience comes from Technics, but on your Stantons you can probably do similar checks, roughly in order:

    * Is the record a snug fit on the spindle? If there's an play side-to-side you'll get skips, and this is the most common thing I've found. Try a few of your records to feel the difference it makes. The classic way to solve this is to put a cigarette paper on the spindle before you press the record down. A piece of (thin) loo roll works too.

    * Check the tonearm doesn't have any give to it. Hold it tight in your hand and move it around, checking that it's always held solid (even though it moves smoothly) -- no give to it.

    * Same as above, but plug in the headshell and hold that to check there's still no give. Sometimes there's give in the headshell connection to the stylus. On Technics there's a little screw below the tonearm to help with this.

    * Does the platter rock? Press down on it from opposite sites and check for any give. If there's a rock to it then every time you touch it the needle is going to bounce around.

    * Check for warped record for the same reason as above.

    * Balance the tonearm correctly and with the recommended weight. Set up the height, anti-skate etc. correctly. I don't think the tonearm weight itself should be much of an issue as long as it's balanced and then applying the right pressure.

    * Maybe the stylus is just worn out. When they're worn, they don't stay in the groove so well.

    That's a rough summary of my own experiences. Hopefully it helps you. I might be going against the grain a bit by suggesting not to just adding coins or upgrading to expensive carts! Whenever I've had time to look into someone doing this, there's always some actual problem elsewhere. Tho I'm sure others have their own experiences too.

    But I'm nowadays I tend to scratch timecode on my old Stanton 500 carts, and even the compatible stylii I bought on eBay the other week are giving great results.

    The needle is meant to be pretty light on the record, that's how the sound comes out

  8. #8
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    It'll come, mate. Just stick at it.
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  9. #9
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    Also the closer you put the needle to the center of the record the less jumping you will have. (Obviously time code only hahaha)

    Also most needles are rated for 3 grams so make sure your at that. Too much more and you will wear out your needle and your records.

    Also a newer needle will stay in thee grooves much better than an old worn out one.

  10. #10
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    He he he Qbert has a bit of a thing about you finger licking turntablists .... Wash yer hands yer dirty buggers
    Maybe try with just the butter rugz or some flying carpets (or some homemade ones) with the butter rugz. If your slipmats have too much give under the vinyl when you press down the vinyl won't be level, causing skips.
    Check that the centre hole on the vinyl doesn't need a sticker to tighten it up again. The centre hole will grow with use as it wears against the spindle, causing the vinyl to wobble and skip. It's an easy fix, use a bit of sticky tape or a sticker cut into strips to tighten the centre hole up again (or buy some new timecodes lol).

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