"shaknspin" Electronically Measures Turntable Speed Plus a Great Deal More

While the name "shaknspin" may sound like a child's toy, the device is anything but, though it does make child's play of measuring turntable speed, calculating wow and flutter, jitter and more, graphically representing speed variations as histograms by frequency and speed distribution and even more. Both 33 1/3 and 45rpm can be measured but for the purposes of this overview, it shows only 33 1/3.

The "L" shaped battery powered device featuring a small florescent display was designed in Portugal by Sempersonus and for now is available only directly through them via their website. Depending upon the exchange rate, "shaknspin" costs around $300. Here's how it works:

Upon power up by pushing a small button on the unit's underside you're asked to "stay still", which is critically important because during this time the unit "self calibrates" and if you move or shake it, you will end up with incorrect results.

Once the screen lights up, put the unit gently down on a flat surface until the menu appears:

Navigating the menu will take a bit of learning and hand coordination. "Pitching" the device vertically lets you select the menu option ("speed", "W&F", "Last result" and "Calibrate"). Once the arrow moved to the desired selection you "roll" the device laterally to begin the selected option. Obviously you start with "Speed". Upon selecting it, place the shaknspin on the spinning platter with the corner pushed against the spindle. There's a hole under the device that allows you to place it directly on the spindle but the inventor says the corner placement is equally accurate and actually more so in most situations, especially where the spindle height prevents the unit from laying flat on the platter. The device will show in large numbers good to two decimal points, the platter's speed. If that's all you're interested in, you're done. But no one reading this will want to stop there.

Reverting to the menu page select "W&F" and again carefully place the unit adjacent to the spindle and it will begin measuring after which it flashes to let you know it's completed the task. It then reads "calculating" followed by this screen:

Here you see the average measured speed, the percent deviation of the average, the minimum and maximum actual speed and then min and max as percent deviations from the average speed. Below that is the W&F expressed as DIN peak to peak (2 sigma) weighted by the IEC/DIN 60386 curve, RMS of the observed wow and flutter. Also, W&F peak-to-peak. The Hz measurement if different from zero represents the periodicity of the low frequency (wow) strongest modulation (most relevant). Zero means too insignificant in amplitude or irregular in period to be considered. Below that is the same Peak2S wow measurement but weighted by a bandpass filter centered on 2Hz. and the same Peak2S flutter measurement weighted by a bandpass filter centered on 50Hz. and finally jitter (average speed change/second). I realize some of these terms (DIN, weighted, unweighted) may be unfamiliar to some but rather than stop here to explain, let's move on to the other measurements and all of these terms can be explained in another post.

According to the instructions a few additional values are calculated but only displayed through the smartphone app link in the instructions. I won't list those measurements here. Unfortunately for now it's a Android only app so I couldn't try it. The iOS version should be coming shortly (they all say).

Next, by rolling the unit up or down you can scroll through various graphical views of what's just been measured. The first allows you to observe the full length of the measured session in 0.5s segments. Here's one:

By rolling right you go to the next 5 second segment, etc. or back to get to the previous one. The high-pass view is also available but we'll skip that to get to the frequency distribution graphic post FFT analysis. It displays the strongest modulating frequencies found in the 0-50Hz spectrum. The highest five lower than 10Hz are labeled:

One more roll down and you access the final view, which is the speed distribution. This is a histogram of the measured speeds centered on the average. The narrower the curve the better.

Rolling down one more time brings you to the Bluetooth export option where you can automatically transfer the data to the smartphone app, which can generate a CSV file easily read into an Excel spreadsheet. Obviously that wasn't able to be tried at this time. One cool thing: all of the data can be sent to the company, which is building a turntable performance database.

One final thing: the unit has a "calibrate" mode you can access to adjust the device should it appear to be "off". Before doing so, repeat the original start up calibration to be sure you weren't moving around. If you do choose to calibrate the device, be sure to use a known 100% speed accurate turntable set using the best available strobe unit you have.

In the "old days" it used to be said turntable test results can be only as good as the test records being used to produce them. With the shaknspin, the results can be only as good as the programming that went into its creation. For now, there's no way to knowing how good that is other than to say that I tried the shaknspin on 3 of the world's finest turntables that happen to be here right now: two direct drive and one belt and the speed calculation at least appeared to be "right on" for all three. Which turntable produced these results? Not saying! I will say though, for my work shaknspin (pending accuracy verification) will become an indispensable tool of the trade. For you? Depending upon the cost of your turntable, I don't see how anyone can be without it, if just to bring to a show off friend's listening room and maybe pull down his electronic pants. Did I just write that?

COMMENTS
Glotz's picture

I want one. If just to pull peoples' pants down with... roll roll whoops!

Seriously, this thing looks brilliant. You say it's accurate, so it is.

JJCalvillo's picture

Or you could use your phone and the RPM app. Gives speed + wow & flutter. Pretty sure RPM is free.

Michael Fremer's picture
a great deal more.... and your phono doesn't have to spin on your TT
isaacrivera's picture

Your review says it needs to be placed on the platter for measurements. Did I get that wrong? I know it is a different device, but why would a spinning phone be a bigger burden than spinning this? This actually looks heavier than a phone. I explained in more detail below, but weight affects speed on even high-ish torque belt and rim driven tts, which can easily be confirmed by dropping small weights on the spinning platter as the device is measuring. Just dropping a 2g tracking force stylus on the record can reduce speed 2%.

Michael Fremer's picture
This device is a lot lighter than my iPhone 10..I also like that it's got a singular (not Cingular) purpose...
Michael Fremer's picture
My iPhone weighs 200 plus grams. The shaknspin weighs 113g---of course lighter than a 180g record and yes the mass distribution differs but no doubt 113g in close proximity to the spindle will not affect measurements.
isaacrivera's picture

Is free in its limited version, which is quite annoying to use because it locks after a # of rpms. The unlocked version costs $4.99 if I recall correctly. Nevertheless it is a good bang-fot-the-buck.

JohnVF's picture

It's $300. Your phone can accurately do the same thing with the RPM app. That you don't mention this falls into every bad stereotype about audio reviews. That you're in it to push products instead of actually helping out the hobbyist.

Michael Fremer's picture
I just bought the RPM app to try based on your claim that "your phone can accurately do the same thing with the RPM app". The RPM app does not do everything shaknspin does. NOT EVEN CLOSE. What's more, the instructions suck and the original reading I got was off compared to every other speed measuring system I have here (more than a few). The instructions for adjusting the calibration are half assed. The "calibration multiplier" instructions to correct what's wrong instructs that I can enter my own multiplier between 0.9 and 1.1 to adjust to correct RPM. .9 makes it too slow and 1 makes it too fast on a direct drive turntable I know runs at 33.3. That you claimed it does the same thing as shaknspin and then to suggest that what I wrote "falls into every bad stereotype about audio reviewers" tells me that you fall into the stereotype of every cynical reader. "Push product". No. If I could push anything it would be you off of this website.
Gojira's picture

At the moment I am busy with modifications to my turntable.
I achieved the greatest success by maximizing the torque of the motor not only to the turntable platter, but on the records itself. The fewer records can make other movements than the turntable platter, the more spectacular are the tonal improvements. All tonal aspects benefit in massive amounts from that, including very low surface noise. That is the reason why many manufacturers suck the records tightly to the plates with a strong vacuum. But the interface in front of it is of course the turntable platter, the belt and the motor. The less torque from a motor acts on a record, the worse the sound quality. Rotating mechanics, especially if they are to move precisely and with as little friction as possible, must be balanced so that a synchronous run is possible at all. If you now place the elongated measuring device you have described, on a platter that has a powerful motor, the measurements should be more precise. But of course, the Device is not shaped as a disc, so it is unbalanced, and it could be, that this will disturb the measurement itself. When one put the measuring device on a turntable platter, and it is not shaped like a disc with evenly distributed mass, the question arises in me, as to how accurate measurements with such a device are possible? Until now, turntables with belts made of rubber are predominantly offered, the worst material for power transmission because it is too elastic. And there are still too many motors installed that have too little torque. If you put something, in this case the oblong measuring device, on a turntable like a Rega or a Linn, will it affect the measurement results, or what is your opinion?

Michael Fremer's picture
Is extremely lightweight. i am going to weigh it and get back to you. However, if you place it so the screen part (the heaviest part) is placed against the spindle it should have little effect on measurement accuracy...I'll get back to you with the actual weight (I should have done that earlier).
Michael Fremer's picture
113 grams...my iPhone weighs 203 or so
isaacrivera's picture

This is my experience with belt-driven and even rim-driven turntables. Even with considerable motor torque, belts are elastic. You can actually measure this effect by using a smart phone app to measure the speed. Whatever its accuracy, once it has reached a stable reading, adding even small weights to the platter will decrease the speed. So, for instance, a VPI turntable's speed calculated without the center weight or ring-clamp will be considerably higher than when those accessories are on the platter. In fact, placing the smart phone on the platter itself is biasing the result. This can be proven by dropping/removing another similar smart phone while the first one is measuring. What is more, dropping the needle on the record reduces speed by a few percent points too. For this reason, this device introduces errors on the result unless the motor is of a high torque, direct-drive design that is not affected by its weight and unbalanced placement on the platter.

Eskisi's picture

These last two reader assertions about motor torque are not quite correct. What keeps the speed constant in a turntable is, in the first place, the inertial momentum of the platter and its weight. Yes, the motor brings it up to that speed and provides enough energy to counter the frictional elements of the bearing, the “air” and the stylus (in a no friction environment the platter would spin at a fixed speed effectively forever) but those require very little. In that sense the elasticity of the belt is insignificant.

In fact the only use I can see for a direct drive or high torque turntable is for a DJ who constantly manipulates platter speed and requires fast speed recovery. Otherwise the belt provides excellent isolation from motor vibration, hence its popularity (idler drive is the opposite— no isolation and very dependent on extreme precision. A very poor solution).

isaacrivera's picture

I was talking about real-world results after setting up dozens of tts. Did you try my challenge? It is pretty simple and repeatable.

Michael Fremer's picture
Is absurd as are most of the your comments on this site. A properly designed direct drive turntable can and does provide excellent sonic results. The key to either design is execution.
Neward Thelman's picture

Back in the 1980's, when the record industry was still intact, it was releasing digitally recorded LP's. Soon, reports began to surface that playing digitally recorded - or even just digitally mastered - vinyl records would cause the main bearing of a turntable to fracture.

Reports of this were printed in issue of The Absolute Sound during those days.

Direct drive is even worse than digital. It's an insult to the cosmos, and if not the cosmos, then certainly our galaxy. And, if not our galaxy, then most certainly our solar system. I've heard reports that the use of direct drive turntables is causing the orbit of Pluto to destabilize.

Michael Fremer's picture
Very funny. If you are serious, get help.
UltraFast69's picture

Reads to be cool, would like to see the iOS update first though.

Gojira's picture

It is not without reason why, for example, Marc Gomez (SAT) decided on a direct drive for his XD 1. To achieve this, he had to solve many problems. He only made this decision to maximize the torque of the motor on the records with a vacuum suction. If this is done well, there are no problems with turntables of this type in fact, quite the opposite. I can't retrofit a direct drive on my turntable, but maximizing the power transmission has resulted in spectacular sonic improvements. My plastic belt also helped, but it is right, he transmits more Vibrations from the Motor. I will fix that later. But rubber belts also carry vibration, albeit much less. You put the tonearm on the end of a record, after the music and let the turntable go on. Then you turn the amplifier very loud. One will hear much noise. Then you switch off the turntable but let the system run until the platter stops rotating. The moment you switch off the motor, the humming stops immediately. It's easy to check. If you hear no noise, then you have an excellent turntable.

Anton D's picture

I'm gonna get one and track the data while a record is playing...lots of questions to answer!

Thanks for posting about it, now I want it!

OldschoolE's picture

this thing seems cumbersome as hell. I run vintage DD tables and they are deadly accurate! (I got them years ago in very good condition. Less than that can be a daunting task to fix, but can be done).
I will stick with my stand alone RPM meter and slide rule as those are much easier to me personally. I'd rather spend the $300 on a Wallytool.

Michael Fremer's picture
It's light weight and not at all cumbersome. And I doubt your RPM meter and slide rule produce this kind of information. If all you are interested in is speed accuracy, you are all set.
Dr. Frankenheimer's picture

It would be interesting to see if circumstances where there is an increase in friction between the stylus and record due to the dynamics and frequency of the sound can slow a turntable at all. If it can, maybe that has some relation to people finding that e.g. idler drive 'tables have particularly good "drive," subjectively.

patrick50's picture

Happy to learn about this. Since the Platterspeed tool I used to have on my iPad is no longer operational on iOs, I've missed the ability to check speed and have a clear visual representation of results for wow/flutter. While this new tool seems somewhat less appealing visually, being able to use it without a record and test signal makes it a little friendlier to use. Not sure how to overcome the recalibration problem if such is required ( I don't have another speed assured table to use as a benchmark) but I'd hope this was not needed or the company can provide some other way to achieve this.

Yes, RPM is essentially free but of the many set up parameters we can fuss with, platter speed is up there as super important and over the course of many years, a highly accurate tool that offers a little more might prove to be a reasonable price to pay.

86ed's picture

Or for about $12 you could setup a hall sensor tachometer that measures speed while you listen to... um... albums?

eBay link to LED tachometer and hall sensor.

A super thin magnet for the slimmest clearance can be had for $.20 here.

Mine works great, did have to source a 12v wall wart from Goodwill for $1.99.

Michael Fremer's picture
Does a great deal more than read rotational speed. Sometimes I'm not sure readers can read.
Bernd's picture

I have compared the RPM app with my Adjust+ program and find that there are differences. A speed measured at 33.33 with Adjust+ is measured at 33.2. For 45 there is a similar difference, as the RPM app gives a value of 44.8. Whether the RPM app generally provides an underestimation of speed is unclear, it may well have to do with my smartphone.

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