Vinyl records have been ruling the music industry yet again and why shouldn’t they? They are still the most treasured items for the music lovers out there. However, one needs to treat them with a lot of care due to their fragility. Improper handling can easily damage the grooves, affecting the sound quality, which can never be compromised.
In this post, you are going to learn about the things that you should be careful about when you deal with these records. This care and attention will help you throughout your journey of collecting precious music albums.
So, let’s begin digging!
- Don’t Cue Up the Songs Manually?
First and foremost, you need to consider the seriousness of cueing up songs on vinyl record. Here’s how it should be done the right way:
Hands are never steady so you can easily end up gouging the grooves or even breaking the needle on the cartridge, if you cue the songs manually. Instead of manual handling, use the cueing lever which is dedicated for raising and lowering the needle. Cueing lever helps you aim at the right position to drop the needle where grooves are silent.
- Don’t Pick Up or Drop the Needle Abruptly
This is especially true at the places on the record where the sound is fading out. Continuous picking or dropping can affect the grooves and delicate areas of the grooves will gouge out rather quickly. Here’s what you should do:
- Wait for the music to fade out so that you can pick up the needle slowly.
- Use the cueing lever to drop the needle as delicately as possible.
- The best way to play vinyl record is to let it run the entire album in one go.
Your vinyl record will deteriorate with time, but you can always prolong this period with playing the music the right way.
- Avoid Stacking Records
Stacking the records one on top of the other is probably the worst you can do with these valuable items. This the easiest way to warp and crack off the vinyl records.
The reason is, vinyl records have fairly lightweight and they cannot sustain too much pressure. At the same time, they do have a little weight.
- So when you put them flat, one on top of the other, the ones at the lower end will break quite easily without letting you know.
- Vinyl records can easily develop those ring wear and scuff marks when they’re stuck inside the cover without any breathing space.
The only way to store vinyl albums is vertical, just like books.
- Don’t Play the Vinyl Record Wet
If you think wet-play is going to stop those pops and crackles, you’re only making life difficult for your records. The liquid would have already got inside the grooves, and the needle will force it deeper from where it can never come out.
- Once the crud dries up with dirt particles, the record will sound even worse than before.
- The liquid will easily spoil the cantilever as well as the needle assembly. This mess will deteriorate the assembly so much that it will detach from the cartridge.
- The liquid may also move into the parts of the turntable and cause damage to the motor or the platter.
- Don’t Run the Fingers on The Surface of Record
You know your fingers contain a little amount of body oil that can be transferred to the vinyl surface quite easily. This in turn would attract more dust and dirt, impacting the quality of sound.
- The best way to hold the record is from the edged (outer edges)
- If you touched the record’s playing surface, clean it immediately.
- Don’t Use Tap Water for Cleaning
Avoid using tap water to clean the vinyl record surface, as the water may contain high amount of minerals or dirt that can be stored inside the grooves. The best way to clean the record is use the record cleaner liquid, isopropyl alcohol or distilled water. Don’t forget to dry the record before storing it.
- Don’t Use Non-approved Cleaners
Some might suggest using solvents or lubricants, like lighter fluid or baby oil. These fluids are best to cause permanent damage to the record. The reason is, the chemicals in these fluid can react with the vinyl (which itself is an organic compound) and result in a chemical reaction.
- Use D4 to clean the record manually
- Use Nitty Gritty Pure 2 if you’re using vacuum cleaning machine.
- Use cleaners labelled for vinyl record cleaning
- Don’t Use Just Any Cloth
Your natural response to instantly clean the vinyl record will be to wipe it with the first available soft cloth. This is just another way to scratch the record. The least it would do is move the dirt from one place to other, instead of removing it.
Use carbon fiber brush as it lifts dirt by discharging static, and removes the dirt without causing any damage to the record surface.
- Don’t Put/Pick up the Record on the Moving Platter
Wait for the platter to stop spinning before you place or remove the record. This will save your record from getting easy scratches.
- Don’t Use Tape to Fix the Torn Cover
If the record cover splits, do not use scotch tape to fix it as it will damage the cover forever. The aging tape becomes gooey and yellowish, making the cover worse. Instead:
- Place the vinyl record in the inner sleeve inside the record jacket of generic cardboard, to protect and save the original one.
- Use poly outer sleeve to place the record jacket in it. Then use the inner sleeve to put the record inside it.
- Don’t Drop the Record into the Jacket or Sleeve
The sleeve of the record jacket or cover splits because of the habit of dropping the record in it. Instead of that, you can slide the record gently by holding the jacket horizontally.
- Don’t Leave the Record Out of its Sleeve Unnecessarily
This will easily cause dirt and dust accumulation on to the vinyl surface. Exposing the record to light can also cause damage to the sound quality. So, put them back to their sleeve after they finished playing for you.