Tips on Equipment Set Up & Record Care
If you've just bought a stereo or quad unit, you may need this advice.
The first point about setting up your system is to read the instructions. This may sound completely self-evident, but more equipment malfunctions can be traced to skipping the instructions supplied with a complex hifi than most other causes. Don't plug the unit in until everything is digested and then wired up.
Phase your speakers. This overly-mystifïed word means simply to insure that your positive and negative amplifier and speaker terminals are properly linked, i.e. positive to positive and negative to negative. Improperly phased speakers result in alternately (as opposed to simultaneously) moving woofers, giving mushy bass response. You can locate the positive terminal by either a plus sign or red dot on or near the contact point. Most wires are colored to aid in your identification of where to connect leads. Some aren't though, and instead have a ribbed insulator, i.e., one of the insulators has a raised rib which can be felt better than it can be seen.
Also when wiring, it can't be over-emphasized that you should make sure wires are touching only one terminal, and not spreading over to other parts of the chassis besides the designated spot. Otherwise you may find a blown-up amplifier after you turn it on.
Final suggestions for set-up are to save a!l packaging, as many stores won't accept returns of defective items without the original cardboard. Also, check your arm weight and anti-skating turntable devices according to the instructions, as these can unnecessarily shorten the life of your records, which are too expensive to be treated casually any longer.
Speaking of expensive records with a $6.98 list and $5.00 average sale price, you'll want to take good care of them in every possible way. Dust-covers have a purpose, despite their frequent lack of use. Throw away the plastic that comes with a record as it can contribute to warping.
There are several different record maintenance kits on the market, as it's called, and some are indeed better than others, even though they may look the same. Watts makes a comprehensive record maintenance kit. If you have already spent a few hundred or more dollars on your system already, it will be worth your while to spend a bit more to keep your records in near-perfect acoustical condition. The Watts kit includes everything you need to remove deep-down dust, dirt and static charge from the grooves. A $25.00 price tag may seem high but it lasts a long time. If you can't come up with that much you should at least have a Watts Preener for around $6. This cylindrical shaped felt cleaner has a moisture wick inside to keep dust and static low, and it works. Disc-Washer also makes a good set of record-maintenance supplies.