Stereo Records - How is the signal recorded onto the groove?

FAQ #1984 Updated December 21, 2011

Question:

How is the stereo signal recorded on a vinyl record? I vaguely recall a combination of left-right and up-down. I've been recording 45s onto CD and noticed on some records are distorted only on the left channel. Checked signals with a scope - not caused by electronics. I'm using a 70's vintage M95ED on a Pioneer PL-530.

Answer:

The stereo signal is recorded on a V-shaped groove. One wall of the groove has the left channel; the other wall has the right channel.

If the 45 RPM record is stereo, the distortion could be caused by:
 

  1. Damage to the left channel portion of the groove.
  2. Damaged stylus tip.
  3. Improper anti-skate setting on the tonearm. The anti-skate setting should equal the tracking force.

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