Using a test LP is the best way to determine the tuning and quality of your setup, and for years, the Hi Fi News Test Record has been the best of the bunch.
Test records are intended to challenge your turntable set up. They will highlight poorly aligned cartridges and put sub-par cartridges to the test. Due to the nature of
The Hi Fi News Test Record was re cut in 2002, and its catalogue number has been updated from HFN001 to HFN002.
Hi Fi News Test Record tracks and their functions
The Hi Fi News Test LP is separated in to numerous tracks, or bands, each with a different function. After each track, the cartridge will not continue to track the test LP unless it is manually set to the next one. This gives the user time to make adjustments according to the findings of the previous track. Listed below is each track and its function.
- Identification of channels. Just to make sure that right is right and left is left. I’m sure there are more than a handful of people who have been caught red-faced by track one.
- Phasing. Checks to see whether everything is hooked up correctly, such as speaker cables and cartridge connections.
- Channel Balance. The sound should be centred between the speakers.
- Channel Balance. Left only.
- Channel Balance. Right only.
- Anti-skate. This tests your anti-skate levels. The sound coming out of each speaker should be the same, otherwise the anti-skate needs adjustment.
- Same as 6, but louder.
- Same as 7, but louder.
- Same as 8, but louder. Very hard for your poor cartridge to track.
- Tracking test, part one. This side of the record has three separate tracking tests spaced across the record surface. This is done as tracking performance can change depending on the area of the record being tracked.
- Cartridge arm resonance test. Determines the resonant frequency of the cartridge suspension. An arm and cartridge together will have a resonant frequency, which can vary depending on the combination.
- Cartridge arm resonance again, but with reversed sweeps.
- Tracking test, part two.
- Cartridge alignment. A properly aligned cartridge will produce equal sound from both channels with this test. The sounds will cancel out in mono mode.
- Background noise. Detects rumble and other undesirable noises. Essentially a silent track that is best listened to at a normal listening level.
- Frequency check. Scans across the frequencies audible to the human ear to ensure your system is playing all of them.
- Tracking test, part three.
The Hi Fi News Test Record will help highlight problems you didn’t know were there
Then you can go about fixing them. The best thing about the test LP is that it tests just about every parameter of turntable set up. It is far beyond the scope of this article to highlight the possible fixes for problems highlighted by the test record, but there are plenty of resources available on the internet to fix any problem.