What is Anti Skate on a Turntable?

by Helen Appling | Updated: September 6, 2022

What is Anti Skate on a Turntable?

Anti-skating is a feature that prevents the tonearm from skating when the turntable is played. The anti-skate is usually adjustable. Linear-tracking turntables eliminate this problem. Counterweight anti-skate systems achieve the same effect. The anti-skate on a turntable must be adjusted properly to get the best sound from the record.

Linear-tracking turntables eliminate the possibility of skating

A linear-tracking turntable eliminates the potential for skating because the tonearm does not swing as it traverses the record. Instead, it slowly crawls over the record in a radial path, towards the center label. In addition, the angle of the stylus does not change, minimizing the chance of tangency errors. This eliminates the skating force, which is caused by the offset angle of the headshell on a pivoted arm.

Another difference between a conventional turntable and a linear-tracking turntable is the way in which the arms move across the records. Conventional turntable arms do not have anti-skating systems, so they can be prone to skating. Linear-tracking turntables have arms that do not have fixed contacts or bearings. Instead, the arms are connected to the turntable via a signal cable that twists in a way that exerts a small amount of anti-skating force.

The anti-skating feature in linear-tracking turntables eliminates the possibility of tonearm skating and is the most popular option for vinyl enthusiasts. Linear-tracking tone arms are difficult to build, expensive and temperamental. However, they provide decent performance.

Counterweight anti-skate systems have the same effect

Several different systems are available on the market that apply anti-skate forces. While they look crude, these systems have the same effect. They are designed to exert consistent force and resist the weight's tendency to "skate" around the phonograph record.

A counterweight anti-skate system applies force by balancing a small weight on a line between the tone arm and the pivoting arm. This weight can be adjusted by sliding it along a calibrated rod to vary the amount of force.

The counterweight and cartridge must be balanced to prevent the tonearm from skating. If the anti-skate weight is set too high, it may lead to distortion. To avoid this, align the cartridge with a protractor.

There are many ways to adjust anti-skate on a turntable. A popular design, such as the Pro-Ject Debut, will skip the centre of the record if the anti-skate is turned off. The Pro-Ject Essential line is another example. Some manufacturers suggest the addition of anti-skate as an option to reduce noise.

Choosing the right ring for anti-skate adjustment

When choosing the right ring for anti skate adjustment, the first thing to consider is how much anti skate adjustment is necessary. Most tables come with too much anti skate, and the adjustment is difficult to turn down. This causes uneven pressure on the groove walls and prevents the stylus from following the groove. Anti skate settings should balance this uneven pressure, and should be equal to the VTF of the cartridge. The anti skate dial will display the amount of force in grams.

The anti skate is a simple device that balances the inward drag of the pivoting arm. If this drag is unbalanced, it will cause the stylus to skip, and it will wear down the records prematurely. When choosing the right ring for anti skate adjustment on a turntable, it's important to remember that it must be able to balance itself on both ends in order to prevent a dangling needle. Once it is level, you can return the ring to its resting position.

To determine how much anti skate adjustment is needed on your turntable, start by setting the anti skate dial to 0. Using too much anti skate will cause excessive pressure on the stylus and impede movement of the record. It will also damage the stylus and record. The most effective anti skate will counteract the tendency of the tonearm to drift inward, ensuring that the sound is balanced and accurate.

Getting the best sound out of anti-skate

When adjusting anti-skate on your turntable, make sure you're regulating it appropriately. Too much or too little can cause mistracking and breakup. The anti-skate force can affect both the left and right channels.

While anti-skate systems are largely effective in reducing the amount of noise from your vinyl records, you should not forget that some types of turntables don't have an anti-skate. Instead, these anti-skate systems use a counterweight to apply a consistent amount of force. In this case, you should use the correct amount, but start with a small amount and gradually reduce it.

In addition to correct anti-skate force, you should also adjust the tonearm weight to match the recommendation of the manufacturer. If the anti-skate force is too high, you should lower it, which will reduce the chance of skating the record.