How To Care For Your Vinyl
Unlike your Spotify or Apple Music subscription, owning a collection of vinyl means protecting your LP to make sure it sounds its best. True music lovers enjoy listening to their vinyl, not just using them as décor props and taking a few important steps can make sure you both have a long and happy life together. Records are designed to be played, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need some TLC. Whether you are a veteran or just starting out, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to caring for your collection.
Storing Your Vinyl
Your records won’t be in use all the time, so finding the right place (and way) to store them on their down time is key. Ideally it needs to be somewhere clean and dry with no extreme temperatures or humidity. This will avoid your records warping, as will storing them vertically so stacking them horizontally is a big no no. The Apollo Storm 6 two shelf vinyl storage module makes a stunning centrepiece for storing vinyl. Record sleeves are important too. In general, vinyl records are positively charged with static electricity which can attract dust and grime onto the disc groove, meaning unwanted noises and deterioration of the stylus. Anti–static sleeves like these ones will safely protect your vinyl inside the outer sleeve.
Cleaning Your Vinyl
The two most popular methods of cleaning vinyl are dry cleaning and wet cleaning. Of course, a quick google will probably offer you 100 other suggestions but sometimes, the simplest solution is the best.
Dry cleaning as part of your regular maintenance routine, gently sweeping a carbon fibre brush along the grooves on your record both before and after playing, will prevent a build-up of dust and other dirt. It might sound obvious, but don’t forget to clean the brush regularly too.
Wet cleaning for a deeper clean every once in a while, mixing some record cleaning fluid with distilled (not tap) water works well. Clean the record with a microfiber cloth and dry with another microfiber cloth. The Spin Clean record washing kit has everything you need to give your collection a thorough cleaning too.
Even the most cared for vinyl will sound off if the stylus is past its best. The stylus acts like a conductor, picking up the vibrations from the grooves in the vinyl and transmitting them to your amplifier so it makes sense that the better the signal, the better the sound. Keeping your vinyl clean (as indicated above), will prolong the life of your stylus but it will also need some one on one maintenance too. Using a dedicated stylus brush regularly will keep on top of any extra dust or dirt build up but just like tyres on a car, the needle will wear down with use so watch out for a drop in sound quality or a well maintained record skipping as these are signs that your stylus may need to be replaced.
Replacing Your Turntable Belt
Last but not least, replacing your turntable belt when it has become worn or stretched will mean your turntable (and records) continue to sound as they should. The rubber on a turntable belt becomes brittle and stiff over time (thanks pollutants) and depending on how often you are using the turntable, eventually the belt will start to slip. On average, belts need to be replaced every 2 – 5 years but again, this depends on the usage. Basically, you should look at changing your belt if;
- Your records seem to have a deeper tone
- You notice a difference in speed when the needle touches the record
It’s good to note too that if you don’t play records that often, consider giving them a spin once in a while to keep the belt in good condition.
As always, feel free to Contact Us today and we can answer any of your vinyl or turntable questions.