Here is a quick and easy test to see how well a turntable and tonearm keep external vibrations from reaching the cartridge stylus and contaminating your music. For each step, listen for sound coming from your speakers. If you hear something, then you know how well your turntable and tonearm isolates, minimizes, or dampens vibration in each area. Many turntables are designed to only allow certain frequencies pass through specific parts of the turntable, with the goal of removing all vibrations before they can reach the stylus. So something to listen for is a change in the tonal quality of sound in each test. Use mute as needed between steps.
- Turn up the volume to normal listening level. With the tonearm in the arm rest, tap gently on the headshell and the arm post with a fingernail, pencil eraser, etc.
2. Place the stylus on a stationary (motor off) record.
3. Tap on the supporting shelf with a knuckle, small hammer or other hard object.
4. Tap on the plinth with a fingernail, pencil eraser, etc.
5. Tap on the platter and record weight.
That is the turntable isolation test. Now you have some idea of how your music is being polluted by the environment, and how well your turntable is designed to protect the record and stylus from external vibration.