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Turntable Channel Level Imbalance - how do I test?

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 01:24
by theoaronson
I recently purchased a brand new Pioneer PLX-1000 to digitally record/archive vinyl. I noticed when listening the right channel sounded quieter on a few records and when I ran signal into my recording software it was visibly -2-3db lower.

I bought the "Ultimate Analogue Test LP" to troubleshoot - at 1kHz lateral test tone the right channel was still a few db lower so I know it wasn't just the mixes of original music. I tried another test LP and noticed levels were more balanced at lower freqs such as 315Hz vs testing again at 1kHz. 1kHz on second test record also showed imbalance.


* If playing back a mono lateral test tone should left/right be equal levels or is that normal for there to be a channel level imbalance ?
* Would a mono signal be summed as equal L/R (centered)? Note if mono recording was only in left channel the right would be silent, but I'm still getting audio, just quieter in R.
* How do lateral vs vertical test tones differ as far as channel balance?


Any other ways to test this issue on a turntable? Before you respond here's what I've tried and tested on:

1. Two different audio interfaces
2. Two different cartridges/styluses
3. Swapped out RCA cables on both input and output sides
4. Two different RIAA phono preamps

After driving myself crazy, I'm still seeing an imbalance so am wondering if this unit is just defective and needs to be returned. Thanks in advance for your feedback fellow audio nerds.

Re: Turntable Channel Level Imbalance - how do I test?

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 02:38
by analogaudio
Welcome to VE

you don't say much about the recording software, and it seems to be the only thing that remains in common through all the experiments. Perhaps the accuracy of the signal level display provided by the software should investigated? Many inexpensive level displays use scales having steps that may be too coarse for accurate measurement. If you are trying to troubleshoot errors of a few dB then for meaningful results the measuring system must introduce errors about one tenth this amount.

Re: Turntable Channel Level Imbalance - how do I test?

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 02:40
by Spinner45
Return it.
Problem solved.

Today's products seem to have more issues due to lacking Quality Control procedures.

Re: Turntable Channel Level Imbalance - how do I test?

Posted: 26 Feb 2019 07:55
by jiiteepee
If possible (not fixed installation) 1st check if the cartridge is properly set.
https://audio-technica.com.au/how-to/al ... cartridge/
http://www.audiophilia.com/reviews/2016 ... idge-setup