The only problem I’ve ever had with analog is every time a record comes to an end I feel a little like one of Pavlov’s dogs, except I don’t salivate or get a treat. I have to get up at precisely that moment and actually lift the tonearm manually from the LP’s surface. The physical exercise isn’t the issue—getting up and walking over to the turntable isn’t exactly demanding—it’s the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder I suffer from having to get up when the machine calls, and the fact that this is about the only moment in my life when a machine actually dictates my actions.
I’ve seen a lot of accessories that were supposed to lift the tonearm at the end of the record and provide the audio equivalent of a deus ex machina. Some needed truly silly remote controls; some tried to throw the tonearm at the ceiling; and some simply didn’t work—often with a notable bang as the cartridge skidded across the record’s grooves.
The Q Up automatic tonearm lift is the exception. It really does work, is highly adjustable, and costs roughly $60. You can even check out its ease of setup and compatibility with your tonearm and turntable before you buy it. Just go to thequp.com for the instructions and compatibility options for your specific ’arm. The Q Up consists of a rectangular black column with a lever attached to it that you place toward the rear of your tonearm. (Various adhesive blocks allow for height adjustment.) With the Q Up installed the tonearm glides over the riser lever until it hits a triggering lever at the end of the LP, which makes the riser lever lift the tonearm off the record.
You can adjust the speed of the lift so it only moves the tonearm with the force necessary to cleanly escape the inner groove with minimal sound. The lift device also slides backward and forward, so you can experiment with a range of records and make sure that it will not lift too soon with longer records that have only minimal run-out grooves.
The only defect in the Q Up is the adjustment of its U-shaped outer casing on top of the rectangular column that adheres to your turntable. You will need to experiment a bit to get the location right before you use the adhesive because the plastic U-shaped holder doesn’t always secure the mechanism properly if the mechanism is placed too high in the holder. If this is the case, it is easy to fix. You can use plastic glue, clamp the holder till the glue dries, and then affix the mechanism in its proper place within the holder. If you are handy with tools, drill a really small hole on each side of the mechanism (after verifying height and placement of the stackable platform that fits your setup), insert a small, short screw, and tighten so the lift device can’t move in the U-shaped holder.
Provided you actually consult the compatibility chart on the Q Up Web site before you buy, read and follow the instructions, take the time to check setup before you use the adhesive tape to attach the Q Up column to the turntable surface, and adjust the lift-force sensitivity adjustor to the minimum necessary lift force, the Q Up’s operation is consistently flawless. Total set-up time: Less than ten minutes.
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