Pre-echo on a vinyl record

FAQ #4419 Updated September 13, 2017

Question:

When playing a record, I hear a faint audio signal before the song starts? Is there something wrong with the stylus or cartridge?

Answer:

The stylus is not defective; the cartridge is not defective.  They are working properly.

On a vinyl record, the groove has ridges cut deep into the vinyl wall.  The other side of the vinyl wall will have faint impressions of these deep cuts.  During a silent passage, or before a song starts, these faint impressions are picked up by the stylus.  This is especially noticeable if the following groove contains loud sounds.

This is known as pre-echo, i.e., the song is heard before it starts. When a heavier vinyl is used for the record, pre-echo is reduced.

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