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Upon researching record players, and especially setup and maintenance of these, I have found information about the "anti-skate" feature of tone arms.

Every online resource I found said that anti-skate applies an outwards force on the stylus to counteract its tendency to move inwards, to reduce wear on the inner groove wall, but without providing any additional information.

This is extremely counter-intuitive: from my understanding, it is the record that pushes the stylus inwards, or more precisely, the outer groove wall pushes the stylus inwards, towards the inner groove wall and towards the record center. The only force pushing the stylus against the inner groove wall is gravity, because of the groove's V-shape.

Why would the stylus naturally push stronger against the inner wall rather than the outer wall? Why should we apply an outwards force on it, when Newton's First Law is already doing so? And in general, what is the point of anti-skate?

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  • It's drag that pulls the arm inwards, once it gets beyond about the middle of the record. I can't find anything other than opinion pieces as to the exact physics of it.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 8:29

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