Why does my Victrola record player keep skipping? I have been asked this question plenty of times as a vinyl enthusiast. You are in the right spot if you are also looking for an answer to this question. From what I have learned, I'll discuss this record player's 6 most common issues along with their solutions. So without any delay, let's get started!
During my experience with Victrola record player, I have used their various models, including Empire 6-in-1 Wood and Navigator 8-in-1. While using them, I have found problems causing the turntables to skip. Here are some of them:
- Dirt build-up on the record's grooves;
- Elevated tonearm;
However, the above list is just the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading below, where I'll explore additional reasons behind this record player skipping problem along with 5 handy tips to improve the audio experience. Let's have a detailed look!
Why Does My Victrola Keep Skipping: 6 Reasons Explained
Listed below I have shared the 7 most common reasons for your Victrola record player skipping along with their fixes comprehensively. Let's check them out:
1. Record Groove Contain Dust And Dirt
If your record skips on any record player (not just a Victrola suitcase player), you should first check the physical media. Having owned numerous records spanning over two decades, I can attest to the fact that with time, dust, debris, and other foreign objects can find their way into the record grooves of your records.
Moreover, dust or other debris may still gather in the grooves of your record even if it is stored correctly. The most frequent problem I encounter when purchasing an old record is filth.
Follow these steps to clean your records and player properly:
- Step 1: Mix 1/4 isopropyl alcohol with 3/4 distilled water;
- Step 2: Spray this solution on your record surface;
- Step 3: Then gently wipe your surface with a clean cloth and let it dry.
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
2. Warped Record Problem
This is a problem that many people may overlook at first. A platter warp can lead to bobbing over one side and can interfere with the smooth playback.
One of the best ways to spot a platter warping is to listen to additional subsonic in the sound. If the bend in the platter is noticeable, it can damage the record due to too much pressure from the stylus and there will be certainly skating or skipping issues.
Follow these steps to resolve the issue of platter warping:
- Step 1: Unscrew and remove the platter from the spindle;
- Step 2: Use a level to ensure the bottom of the record player is flat. If it's showing no sign of error, try changing the place;
- Step 3: Perform a minor dusting of the record player. Sometimes, dust could also be behind platter warping;
- Step 4: Lastly, try another record player to ensure that the issue is not in the platter.
Think about where your record collection is located. Is it close to where the electronics are placed? If so, your vinyl record may not play back smoothly because of vibrations.
Moreover, if your record player is attached to an amplifier, the situation can become even worse due to external vibrations.
To fix the vibrations issue:
- Position your device onto a silicone or foam pad such as Kwmobile Turntable Isolation Feet;
- If you have external speakers, which are better than built-in speakers, ensure they are not sitting on the record player's surface.
Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
If none of that resolves the problem, then vibrations might not be the problem. You have to check the other issues mentioned below.
4. Record's Platters Are Too Small
Record players support different sizes of records, like 7, 10, and 12 inches. If you get a player that is not compatible with one plate, chances are it will show the symptoms of skipping.
Similarly, Victrola records are designed to be portable and small. Sometimes, their platters are too small to fit the records. You see, the record will shake more than it would if it were resting on a platter with a diameter of 10 or 12 inches because the outer half of the record has nothing to rest on.
Buying heavier records is one way to solve this problem. For instance, vinyl records come in 80-200 grams weight (normal records weigh 120 to 160 grams). These records are more resistant to distortion because of their thicker construction.
Moreover, the outer portion of your record usually suffers the most when it becomes distorted. I know how to handle it. The solution is silly, but it does the trick.
- Step 1: Cut a circle out of cardboard and make a hole in the center;
- Step 2: Put the disc onto the platter;
- Step 3: Turn on the record.
This will only function if the first few tracks of your audio equipment have been distorted towards the outer edge.
5. Elevated Tonearm Rest
This is a reported problem with Victrola players resembling suitcase-style record player. Sometimes, the tiny plastic cushion that the tone arm rests on when listening to a record is slightly elevated. This occurs due to the tonearm being overly light, requiring the same weight from the rest below it to drive it down completely.
This is how I handle this nuance problem:
- Step 1: To put both the tonearm and its rest in the down position, simply press the tonearm lever down.
- Step 2: Once both are in the down position, gradually press down on the tonearm rest to bring it up to the fully seated position.
6. Stylus Needs Replacing
The stylus is an instrument that transfers vibration from the grooves to the wires and, eventually, the cartridge. When the stylus pressure is down due to too much wearing down, the cartridge loses some of its spring.
Furthermore, a too-short stylus brings the cartridge and headshell dangerously near to the record, reducing the cartridge's bounce simultaneously. This results in skipping, particularly during loud bass impacts and other deep grooves.
You can solve this problem by removing the cartridge and replacing it with a new one. I would advise you to buy decent turntable needles such as Victrola 3-Pack Turntable Replacement Needles, which are inexpensive and sturdy.
Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
5 Tips for Improving Your Victrola Record Player Performance
Oftentimes, you may also face problems other than skipping with your Victrola record player. It can cause frustration and lead to various complications. Below, I have jotted some simple troubleshooting steps to ensure you maintain your record player and avoid any issues in the future. Let's have a look:
- Replace the stylus: The pre-installed stylus on most Victrolas is decent, but upgrading to a higher-quality diamond can reduce distortion.
- Add powered speakers: Adding a set of external powered speakers can boost and open up the sound. I prefer KEF Q150B Q150 because they are as compact as a different record player.
- Adjust tracking weight: Make sure the tonearm is dialed into the correct tracking force range for the cartridge (usually between 1-3 grams). This can reduce skipping.
- Lubricate parts: Lubricating the metal shaft and pivot points with a bit of oil, such as HOPPE'S No. 9 Lubricating oil can help the tonearm move smoothly and precisely.
- Upgrade the cartridge: For major sound improvements, upgrading to a higher-end phono cartridge like an Audio-Technica or Ortofon can make a dramatic difference in sound quality. Although it is expensive, it can improve the sound quality to a great deal.
For more insights, here's a related helpful video.
Your record may keep skipping due to dust accumulation, scratches, and unbalanced tonearms. To ensure smooth playback, make sure your player is clean, inspect it for scratches, and adjust its balance.
Your vinyl record keeps skipping even in the absence of obvious scratches due to dust or particles on the needle or in the grooves. To fix this problem, clean the needle and the record.
You can balance your Victrola by adjusting the tonearm's counterweight until the record player's surface is parallel. This will provide the best tracking force possible for crystal-clear audio playing.
To reset your Victrola record player, use the Victrola Stream app's "factory reset" option or hold the knob down for 15 seconds until the red light comes on.
To prevent skipping your record player, make sure the needle is correctly positioned and clean and your record player is resting on a sturdy surface. Moreover, increase the tracking force of your tonearm as per the manufacturer's instructions.
Summing up, Victrola record player skipping is a frequent problem faced by many record player owners. It's not odd at all.
If you also face this issue, adjust the stylus pressure by replacing the cartridge. Moreover, look at the warping problems as these can also be guilty parties. Lastly, ensure that the tonearm of your record player is working fine to avoid skipping.
For an improved audio experience, I would recommend you lubricate meta shafts and adjust tracking weight between 1-3 grams.