Newbie to the Glorious Vinyl Format? Read This Before You Start on Your Journey
Nothing sounds better than crisp, clear, and warm vinyl – any audiophile will tell you that. The appeal of vinyl is enduring – and thanks to its recent resurgence, vinyl has seen it outlive the very formats that sought to remove it entirely from historical records. They’re durable, big, and charming pieces of the past, that will continue to be with us in the future.
While vinyl records are the most long lasting physical music formats, they require good care and protection from the elements in order to preserve their sound quality, avoid surface noise, warping or scratches as well as prolong their service life. This involves employing the proper storage, cleaning and handling techniques to keep your records in pristine condition and enjoy them for years to come.
Here are useful tips to help you in your record care.
- When storing vinyl records, the following storage tips should be employed religiously:
Store records vertically not on top of each other. There should be no leaning.
- Vertical storage of records is best achieved on strong shelves that won’t buckle easily.
- Ensure that the shelves holding your vinyl records are in a clean area away from moisture and direct sunlight or heat the latter which causes warping. If you live in an area that sees a lot of humidity, you may consider purchasing a dehumidifier, as a dehumidifier treats the dampness present in its surroundings – and thusly perfect for your vinyl.
Records are played on turntables and in order to do so require handling to place them there. Before placing the record on your turn table, ensure the turn table is clean then handle them in this recommended manner:
- Tilt the sleeve holding your record such that the record slides out and hold it by inserting your finger in its centre hole without letting your hands touch its surface. This prevents you from leaving sweat or body oil on the surface.
- Once you remove the finger, hold it using both hands where contact is on the outside edges only then transfer it to your record player.
Proper Care and Cleaning
- Clean your record both on the inside and outside surfaces to prevent damage by dust. Use a record cleaning brush or a soft lint-free cloth that is not static and clean with the groove instead of against it.
- In cases where there is dirt or mould, wet your cloth or brush using distilled water mixed with record cleaning solution and use it to clean the groove avoiding the label, rinse and let it dry vertically before returning it to its sleeve or jacket.
- Remove the shrink wrap and store them in high density polyethene sleeves.
- Replace old sleeves over time.
- Clean the turntable regularly using a dry cloth or a vacuum in case it is made of felt mat. This protects your record from getting dust transferred on as well as plays the records more smoothly.
Using the proper storage, handling and cleaning techniques will help preserve your vinyl records from elements that can cause scratching, warping, wear and terrible sound quality. They instead will keep your records in great condition playing beautiful notes for a long time – possibly lifetimes over.