How To Balance Tonearm Of Your Turntable Perfectly

james williamson author James Williamson
  April 5th, 2024

Well, balancing a tonearm is the first step of configuring the turntable to achieve the perfect sound quality for which vinyl is known and in this article, we have shared a step-by-step guide to balance tonearm of your turntable easily.

We have tried our best to explain this concept in simple words so that even beginners can understand the article and apply the steps at their end in one go.

But, before going directly to the guide, let’s talk about why it is necessary to balance a tonearm.

Why Balancing A Tonearm Is Necessary?

A perfectly balanced tonearm helps us with proper tracking force or anti-skating adjustment and cartridge alignment which is important to achieve good sound quality from your turntable.

A badly balanced tonearm can cause damage to your stylus and record grooves and on top of that, you can face problems like record skipping or record looping.

Rules For Tonearm Balancing:

There is one rule for tonearm adjustment that everyone must follow to protect their records and stylus from damage.

The rule is that the tonearm must be parallel to the platter of the turntable when de-attached from the tonearm rest.

Well, after de-attaching the tonearm from its rest position, there are only 3 scenarios:

1) The tonearm is perfectly parallel to the platter:

tonearm balanced perfectly

This is our goal.

2) The tonearm is moving upside or away from the platter:

tonearm raised or points upward

Cons: In this situation, the force on the stylus is too light which causes the stylus to jump on the records. This will cause damage to your stylus and you will also face record-skipping issues.

3) The tonearm is going downwards or towards the platter:

tonearm points downward

Cons: In this situation, the force on the stylus is too heavy which forces the stylus to run deeper inside the record groove. This will cause damage to the stylus and record grooves and also, your stylus won’t be able to read the audio signals from the grooves properly.

I hope you understand the need for tonearm balancing and what might happen if you don’t do it properly.

So now, I am going to share the guide to balance it.

How to Balance the Tonearm Of Your Turntable:

Well, I suggested you first understand the article and then implement it on your turntable with a free mind. I repeat be patient while following the whole process.

Step 1:

Unplug the turntable or record player from the power source and add a stylus guard on your stylus.

Step 2:

Set the anti-skating to 0.

anti skating settings

Step 3:

Set the cueing device or tonearm lift liver in a downward position.

turntable cueing device

Step 4:

De-attach the tonearm from its lock

turntable tonearm lock

Step 5:

Gently, move the tonearm over the platter.

tonearm adjustment

Step 6:

So, the next thing we need to do is to make the tonearm perfectly parallel to the platter. To do so, we need to make some adjustments to the counterweight.

counterweight adjustment

Well, the concept of counterweight is very simple i.e. turning the counterweight towards the pivot point of the tonearm will add weight to the tonearm and similarly, turning the counterweight towards the end of the tonearm will reduce the weight.

Step 7:

Now, you need to adjust the counterweight according to the concept explained above and make the tonearm perfectly parallel to the platter. Here with the perfectly parallel statement, I meant that you must have tonearm rest at 180 degrees angle over the platter as shown in the image below.

tonearm balanced perfectly

Once you are satisfied with the tonearm’s 180-degree angle adjustment, move the tonearm to its armrest gently and lock it again.


You can also use tools like acrylic block from Hudson which will help you in tonearm adjustment and cartridge alignment.


Using this tool, you will see a straight line and you need to align the tonearm according to it.

Step 8:

Now, I need your whole focus or attention on this step because this step can be a very tricky part and you need to understand this concept first before applying it. Well, the counterweight consists of 2 components: i.e. counterweight itself and a dialer.

counterweight adjustment

For example: In the image above, the black part is the dialer and the silver part is the counterweight. If you move the counterweight, the dialer will move too but in reality, both are separate parts.

The dialer doesn’t have any effect on the counterweight.

It is there just to measure the tracking force. So now, you need to hold the counterweight with one hand, slowly move the dialer with the other hand, and set it to 0.

Step 9:

After setting it to 0, I again recommend you unlock the tonearm from its armrest and check whether the tonearm is still parallel to the platter or not. If not, you need to make the adjustments again until you make it perfect.

Step 10:

Lock the tonearm again on its armrest.

That’s it. You have just learned how to balance tonearm to the platter of your turntable or record player.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1- What happens if your tonearm is too light?

If your tonearm is too light then your stylus won’t maintain its position inside the record grooves. On top of that, the less force will make the stylus unstable and it can jump over the records and you could face issues like record skip and record looping.

Q2- What happens if your tonearm is too heavy?

If your tonearm is too heavy then your stylus will be forced to run deeper inside the grooves which will cause sound distortion, damage to the stylus and record, and an unpleasant vinyl experience.


I hope you understand the importance of balancing a tonearm and also learned how to balance it. If you have any question then please comment below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

james williamson
About Author: James Williamson

I have been a music enthusiast since childhood and I love talking about music bands, artists, vinyl, and music equipments. I have launched TurntableWave to help people avoid the mistakes that I had made while entering the vinyl world. In my free time, you will find me fishing or playing basketball.

Leave a Comment