Record Care Tips & Tricks Pt1

Vinyl Record Care Tips & Tricks - Part 1

Vinyl records have many satisfying points in their favour.

For the hi-fi enthusiast they offer excellent dynamic range and a wider frequency response than the majority of digital sources. This means that on good recordings they will give a greater sense of realism to the sound. For the more casual listener the larger size of the record sleeve is a bonus, with it's easy to view images, information and a tactile feel denied the downloader or CD buyer. There is a greater sense of enjoyment to be had from putting a record on to play and a more relaxed approach to listening which comes from having natural breaks at the end of each side.

Although quality vinyl has a more organically rewarding sound than most digital sources, it still needs a bit of work and consideration to maximise the benefits. Given care and attention a vinyl record will last a lifetime and many 50 or 60 year old records are still giving loads of listening pleasure today.

Storage for Records

Proper storage is very important and often overlooked. Records should be kept upright, as close to perpendicular as possible and on a straight surface that supports the full width of the base. They also need to be supported on either side, so for example if there is space for 20 records and there are only 10 on the shelf, then it is important that there is some form of bookend to maintain the upright posture. A sloping record is more prone to warp damage. Records stacked face down on top of each other will become warped in no time and proximity to window sills or radiators is asking for warp trouble.

The storage space also needs to be cool, 20°C or below is ideal and temperatures over 30°C should be avoided. It must be dry, free from humidity and dust free. In other words attics and damp basements are normally very bad for records, sheds and garages are worse still.

Care Tips for Records

Each record groove is smaller than a human hair and tapers to a narrow base. The grooves are normally stamped into a piece of vinyl which is a substantial electrostatic generator, unless properly treated. Static attracts dust like a magnet and dust particles can easily find there way into the tiny grooves, with consequent detrimental effects on sound reproduction and potential damage to both record and stylus.

Therefore one of the first priorities with record care is controlling static. Just the simple action of removing a record from it's inner sleeve can generate static, so always remove the record gently and ideally hold the mouth of the sleeve slightly open to ease removal and thereby reduce the likelyhood of static generation; best practice is to always use a clean antistatic inner sleeve to store your record. In the past many new records were supplied with poor quality static generating sleeves. If possible it is also good practice to regularly treat the record with an antistatic gun such as the Zerostat.

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