The world of vinyl can seem intimidating, especially given how delicate they are. Each ridge is carefully crafted to play your favorite songs, and small scratches and dust can ruin the experience. While there isn’t one way to take care of your records, here are a few methods that can help ensure your listening experience runs smoothly and your records last a long time.
How to properly store your vinyl
Storing your vinyl is an integral part of having a record collection. It’s important that when storing your vinyl, you keep them upright so that you don’t have too much pressure on your records, as this can lead to warping later on down the road. The next part of vinyl storage to consider is taking care of the inner and outer sleeves. Outer sleeves can help ensure the longevity of your records, making sure the cover art stays intact and preventing any wear and tear to the vinyl’s jacket. Inner sleeves provide anti-static protection from scratches and dust. It also provides a smoother insertion process, which helps keep your records safe. When storing your records, space them out evenly. If there are too many records packed inside a small storage space, there’s an increased risk of scratching when you pull them out to play them.
How to clean and maintain your vinyl
It’s important to clean your vinyl record once you place it on your record player. This makes certain that any dust that might have collected while your record was in its sleeve is cleaned before you play it. To clean them, use an alcohol-free vinyl record cleaning solution, an anti-static velvet cleaning brush, and a small cleaning brush for the needle itself. Cleaning ensures that your vinyl records last a long time, and it makes a big difference in the sound quality. The stylus on your record player isn’t meant to last forever. After about a thousand hours of listening, it’s recommended you change it. How often you change your needle depends on how often you listen to music with your record player. If you listen to your records for about an hour a day, then you should change it every couple of years. If you hear static on records where there didn’t use to be, that can be a sign. Any visible damage and residue on the needle tip are other signs.
How to safely play your records
Playing your records is the fun part, but you want to do so safely. Put your record player on a surface where it won’t get bumped or nudged because if that happens, your record can scratch. Some record players come with a button that will start the record and move the needle on its own, but it’s not always best to use that, as it can make a lasting imprint on your records. It’s safest to move it by hand and gently lower it onto your record. When handling the records, avoid putting your fingers over the grooves. Fingerprints can affect how the record sounds when it plays. Most record players don’t come with quality speakers. In order to get the best sound out of your setup, invest in a quality pair of speakers. The vast majority of speakers will need to be paired with a stereo amplifier that includes a phono preamp built-in, so they’ll work with your turntable. If your amplifier doesn’t have a phono stage, you can always add an external one to your system. If your turntable is equipped with Bluetooth, you’ll be able to wirelessly connect to any Bluetooth speaker.
Overall, be sure to look after your records while still enjoying the music. Vinyl is a great way to listen to music and truly appreciate music in a physical form. It makes listening to music an experience rather than a passive activity. Treat your records with care and keep collecting.