Tips For Correcting Off Centre Spindle Holes On Vinyl LPs
Oftentimes, you will have a vinyl LP that revolves concentrically on one side but is off centre on the other side. The degree of eccentricity can vary from being very minor to being quite noticeable. The latter are in the minority but they do appear every so often. What you need to do to correct the eccentricity is as follows:-
- Place the Vinyl LP on your turntable platter and clamp it (if you use one). Watch the outer edge of the record as it revolves and ascertain if it is revolving concentrically or whether there is a point where it extends outwards while it spins, in other words out of concentric revolution.
- While the record is revolving on the platter, identify the area at the edge of the LP that extends outwards. The point that needs to be adjusted is the point on the spindle hole wall that is directly opposite, i.e. the point that coincides with the outer edge of the disc that pushes outwards when spinning.
- Remove the clamp and locate the specific area on the spindle hole; align the record on the spindle so that the area on the spindle hole that has been identified is pushed tightly against the spindle. Put the clamp in place again and turn the platter on. If the same area on the outer edge of the record still pushes outwards at the same point, then the point on the spindle hole wall of the record needs to be gently ‘shaved’ or filed with a round file. On the other hand if the record now revolves concentrically the problem has been solved without any intervention. It is a good idea to put a light pencil mark (a short straight pencil line) at the area where the spindle hole needs to be pushed against the spindle for concentric revolution. You can refer to this pencil line when you play the record again and properly centre it at the spindle.
- By far the biggest problem with this procedure is that at the very beginning the tendency is to shave off too much of the spindle hole which leads to an overly large spindle hole. One should ‘shave’ only the smallest amount, incrementally, followed up by visual testing until an improvement begins to show. Start by filing off some of the spindle hole wall with one, two or three light movements with the file. You may have to repeat the process and you should place the record back on the platter and push the spindle hole tightly against the spindle at the point where you have filed off some of the spindle hole wall or paper label. If the record still spins eccentrically then you may have identified the wrong spot on the spindle hole or you may need to shave off some more. If you have identified the correct spot, you should see signs of an improvement already. The spindle hole may be very badly off centre and it may require more shaving. You cannot be too careful with this but you do get better with practice. Start on a record that is dispensable. Everybody who has done this has had mishaps and you do not want this to happen on a record that is valuable or that you like a lot.
- Many records (RTI pressings come to mind) are perfectly centred on one side but are ‘off centre’ on the other side. Rarely, if ever in fact, in my experience has a spindle hole that has been adjusted (‘shaved’) on one side adversely affected the correctly centred side. For some reason, mathematical one assumes, the area that needs adjustment does not coincide with or affect the side that is properly centred.
- If your eyesight is good you may not need to wear eye glasses while carrying out this process but if it is in anyway less than perfect, wear eye glasses.
- Most off centre issues that you come across are very minor in such a way that many vinyl enthusiasts would not bother carrying out this procedure. It could even be something such as the paper label extending over the spindle hole on the record that is preventing the record from rotating concentrically. A gentle ‘filing’ of the correct area on the spindle hole will resolve the issue.
- You definitely get better at this with practice but in the meantime you do not want to ‘trash’ your cherished music collection. Off Centre issues vary from disc to disc. Some can be quite pronounced and can be seen readily when the record is spinning and these will require a little more ‘filing’ or ‘shaving’ to get the problem solved. Most records can be treated in such a way that the ‘intervention’ is so neat that it is in the nature of an ‘invisible repair’. What helps this also is that not all spindle holes are cut neatly and precisely and can look a little ‘ragged’ even on new discs and old ones too. I have fixed many LPs in my collection that were off centre to one degree or another and they now spin concentrically which spares me the anguish of seeing my Lyra cartridge weaving in and out as it negotiates an off centre LP.
- It is important to remember to correctly identify the area on the record’s spindle hole that needs to be adjusted; it is almost always the point that is directly opposite the area on the edge of the record that pushes outwards towards you while it is spinning; repeat this process so that you are sure that you have the right spot; what can be helpful is to put something on the record label that extends out a little on to the run off area or dead wax so that you can compare the location with respect to the area where the edge of the record pushes out. The particular ‘something’ I am referring to is one of these colour page identifiers (‘post its’) that you would use on a file of papers to identify certain important documents or correspondence. They can be bought at any Office Max or Office Depot stores I would think. One side (clear) is adhesive but it peels off without any issue whatsoever and there is no adhesive on the colour strip. That will give you a very good idea whether you have the precise spot, or are near it.
The above information is provided to assist collectors and enthusiasts to resolve off centre vinyl LP issues. We cannot be held responsible for any mishaps or accidents that occur in attempting any of the above such as over enlarging an LP Spindle Hole or ruining an LP Record due to excessive filing of the Spindle Hole. If you wish to proceed with the above, you do so at your own risk and without any guarantee from Vinyl LP Care. It is important to start on an LP Record that is dispensable. It is only with practice that you become adept at resolving issues with vinyl Spindle Holes that are off centre.