Oh No!! How Can a Turntable Belt Matter So Much!?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Big T, Sep 2, 2021.

  1. Big T

    Big T Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Okay, I waited a few days to post this Maybe I've gone down the rabbit hole too far!!

    Put a new turntable belt on my Project Xtension 10 Evolution CC, and noticed the performance wasn't as good as before. The old belt was four years old and pretty sloppy. A new one should be better. So purchased an OEM replacement. Happily listening to favorite records, but something's not right.

    Not as good..........What's up???

    Well, this turntable has a square belt, not round. I couldn't believe my ears at first, but it seems that you need to "test" all four sides of the belt and pick the best one. Geez. This hobby drives me crazy sometimes!

    The belt is scrupulously clean and I don't dare touch it with my hands!

    Now that it's on the optimum side, performance is very near Micheal Fremer's Platterspeed measurements in his review as measured with my own test record and app. and it sounds glorious!

    Heads up to other "square belt" turntable owners!

    Keep on Rockin'!

    Big T
    Randoms likes this.
  2. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    It makes sense. A belt can be molded or machined badly.

    Rega recently came up with the improved "Rega Reference EBLT" belt for their turntables, now standard for their higher models and an upgrade for their lower or older models. Theirs are round belts.
    Explained at this link, and check their own charts for wow and flutter with their original belt and the EBLT belt, and the bottom of this page has a PDF with more info from their Roy Gandy.
    Rega | Reference EBLT Drive Belt Accessory
  3. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    The Six
    I bought a new belt for a Mission 775SM TT as the old one would squeak on startup. The original was also quite old, so like the OP, I figured a new one would be an improvement. Nope. The new belt didn't squeak but the sound had lost its drive. Comparing the two belts, the old one was harder and stiffer. Probably contributed more rumble and flutter and such, but sounded better nonetheless so I put it back in.

    There's more to good sound than low rumble and perfect speed control as any idler fan will tell you. I guess it depends on what one listens for.
    popol_vuh likes this.
  4. Derek Harold Nicholls

    Derek Harold Nicholls World Class 12'' arms Temaad

    Yes belts are very important with T/T's as they all stretch & give during music payback. That is why many people prefer tread belts or even better a belt made from Mylar tape. I took my T/T down from 0.07 Wow to 0.03 by changing to a Mylar belt and you certainly hear the difference as the base is more impact-full.

    Big T and jesterthejedi like this.
  5. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    St.Louis Mo.
    Hola mi amigo como estas
  6. Big T

    Big T Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Mr. Slippers,


    Todo Esta MUY Bien!! Nice sunny day here on Puget Sound. Late summer and its 75 degrees and a mild ocean breeze this morning. Hope you all are drying out there in St. Louis and that you and family are safe.

    So glad my turntable is singing again! My digital stuff sounds "swell", but my wife agrees that vinyl is still somehow better on my rig. Science would indicate that this is not possible under the laws of physics.....but, there you go!

    Keep on Rockin'

    Big T
    Aftermath likes this.
  7. ddarch

    ddarch Forum Resident

    Rubber belts stretch. A new rubber belt should be allowed to wear in for a week before you start taking measurements. At least that's what I've found in the case of AR and Thorens belts. D
    Budley and Big T like this.
  8. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Oh yes! Belts are critical to performance and many dealers used to mark Linn LP12 belts on the outside with an arrow for direction. They are precision ground on one side, so you put less vibration into the platter with the associated sonic benefits.

    Some cheap belts absolutely clobbered performance.
  9. Big T

    Big T Forum Resident Thread Starter

    You mean I should also try all four sides in the opposite directon by flipping the belt over? Hadn't thought of that.

    Thanks for pointing that out. More testing ahead.

    Big T
  10. CBackley

    CBackley Chairman of the Bored

    Dumb question, but how can a belt (I’m assuming is a rounded shape) be “square”?
  11. Davey

    Davey NP: Mary Halvorson ~ Amaryllis (2022)

    SF Bay Area, USA
    The belt cross section is square ...

    CBackley likes this.
  12. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    The Six
    Nah....the platter and pulley are square, too. :biglaugh:
    Aftermath likes this.
  13. gakerty

    gakerty Forum Resident

    This is one rabbit hole I don't dare go down, as I may go insane. You know there's a mega buck graphene quantum tunneling turntable belt just waiting to be created and sucker us all. Synergistic Research is ready. Along those lines, I'm thankful that my Clearaudio Ovation has a hardwired tonearm cable, cause if it didn't I'd already have spent thousands of dollars on silly expensive cables. It's good enough as is!
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
  14. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    The Six
    And when they do some ppl will line up to buy it. Supply and Demand....applies to more than the necessaries of Life.

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