Anti Skate is a feature on a turntable that counteracts against the skating force pushing the tonearm towards the center when playing a record. This force is caused by the friction between the needle/stylus and the surface of the record itself. It is called skating force and it could lead to problems in playback, for example, unwanted skipping while playing your music. The anti-skate mechanism can be exactly adjusted to balance out this force.
In this article, we will try to and answer the question of what anti-skate on a turntable is. We will answer how it works, what it prevents, and how to adjust it. Read on to find out more.
What Is Skating?
As mentioned earlier, when speaking in terms of turntables, skating is a force produced by the friction between the stylus and the surface of the record player. This force pushes the tonearm towards the center of the turntable. This should be avoided or counteracted as it can have a lot of effect on the playback of your record and your overall listening experience.
The first of these problems will be a dip in sound quality. Skating can result in a lot of distorted frequencies and inconsistent intensity. This means you won’t be hearing the music or recording the way the original artist, producer, and audio engineer intended to. And with one of the benefits of vinyl being superior sound quality, it may turn into a real headache. Aside from that, the skating force on a record can also result in your records popping and skipping frequently, and we all know how annoying that can be. Luckily, most turntables have a device to counteract the skating force, which we’ll get into in the next section.
What Is the Anti-Skate Feature?
As the name would imply, an anti-skate feature is simply a feature on a turntable that prevents balances out the skating force, giving you better listening experiences overall. These features can look different on every turntable, with no standard out there for anti-skate devices you may not even be able to see the device at all.
Usually, anti-skate features will be an adjustable weight that you can find on the tonearm. This will counteract the skating force and give you a much better sound. However, these might need to be adjusted from time to time for different records. But just because you don’t see this on your record player, it doesn’t mean your device doesn’t have one. Sometimes, a player would have an internal mechanism that will serve as an anti-skate and counteract the skating force. This works just as well as the counterweights you see on the tonearm, the main difference being you can’t manually adjust it.
How To Adjust The Anti-Skate Feature
As mentioned earlier, a lot of turntables have an adjustable anti-skate. Like many other components, adjustments can be needed to properly set up your turntable if you want to know more read our guide on what record player mistakes you should to avoid. You may need to adjust this from time to time to bring your listening experience to its peak. The goal of adjusting the weight is to keep the weight on the stylus that counteracts the skating force just right. If you get this done, the needle will stay in the groove and the stylus will track the music perfectly, giving you the best sound possible. Having the weight too heavy can damage the record and the stylus and cantilever will have trouble moving up and down. Not having enough weight, on the other hand, will result in the stylus jumping up and down and may result in bad audio quality and a lot of skipping.
Most manufacturers will have the recommended weight for their turntable, and it’s important to read that as manufacturers will know the right weight needed. Once you’ve read the manual and understand what weight needs to be set, simply set the counterweight and the knob at the end of the tonearm to the recommended weight. When that’s done, you’re good to go and all that’s left to do is put the record on your player and listen to your favorite albums for hours on end!
If you want to know more on how to properly set up every component of your turntable please read our guide on “7 Steps to Perfectly Set Up Your Turntable”.