How to care for vinyl: 7 tips for beginners

Music is not only the sound itself, but also the atmosphere around it. For example, vinyl: care for the player and the collection of records for many connoisseurs - this is a ritual.

But first of all, it is a necessity, because otherwise the records will deteriorate, sound bad, and the collection will look untidy. In this article we will tell you what a beginner vinyl lover needs to do.

Photo soaringbird / CC-BY

Tips, which will be discussed below, are classified as basic. This means that they will be relevant for all fans of vinyl, and especially for beginners - regardless of whether you bought your first player or decided to reanimate the old unit and listen to recordings from childhood. If you follow a few simple rules, the new equipment will last you longer, and old and rare records will not soon lose their charm.

1. Do not touch the plate surface.

No matter how clean you are, taking a record right behind the soundtrack is a bad idea. Fat, dirt and sweat from your fingers will fall into the grooves, and the record will sound worse. You can take a record only by the edges and by the label.

2. Store records in special envelopes.

We listened to the record - put it back in the envelope so that it would not gather dust or you would not accidentally fill it with something. At the same time, if you often listen to the record, get it out and put it back and forth, then the original envelope will sooner or later become useless. In addition, ordinary paper envelopes can scratch the plate. The scratched part of the plate will sound interfered, and if the damage is strong, it may not be played at all.

Photo heidl / Public Domain Mark 1.0

Envelopes are divided into external and internal. External can be anything - as long as you like. And the internal ones should protect the plates from dust, scratches, static electricity accumulation, so you should not choose anyhow. It is best to use plastic or polypropylene envelopes.

3. Fold the plates vertically in a row, not horizontally stacked.

If you lay the plates on each other, then the lower ones will bend over time. On the envelopes there will be round spots, because they are tightly pressed to each other. Therefore, the collection must be stored in an upright position and do not clog the cabinet with plates until it stops.

Photo Cinty Ionescu / CC BY 2.0

4. Away from the sun, heat and moisture

Select a separate room for the storage of records and monitor its microclimate is unlikely to succeed, but still need to comply with simple conditions.

Keep records away from batteries, heaters, and other heat sources. These sources can be the most obscure - for example, cats. Brittany McCrigler told a story about how her cat snoozed on a record, leaving its mark on it. Fortunately, the plate was restored using two plates and an oven .

To prevent fungi and mold on the envelopes, avoid wet places. We understand that you are not going to put a closet with plates in the bathroom, but you should not keep them, say, in a cottage in a wooden house or in a garage. Finally, direct sunlight should not fall on your collection so that the roots do not fade.

5. Do not experiment with cleaning products.

Homemade alcohol compounds, glue, and even dishwashing detergents - tips on how to clean the plates, there is a lot. But self-activity is at your own peril and risk.

There are many nuances here, and there is always a chance to damage the plate, picking up a cleaning compound from the arsenal of household chemicals. For easy cleaning of the surface from the dust and distilled water will fit. For more thorough cleaning, it is better to use certified products.

6. How to clean the plates

The budget option is a microfiber cloth. They are quite possible to remove simple pollution: dust on the surface, dirt and grease from the fingers. On the other hand, particles of microfiber can be hammered into sound grooves. In order to clean the plate more thoroughly and, most importantly, without consequences, you need to use special brushes .

The most advanced option is a vinyl cleaning machine . She, in combination with cleaning fluid , gives the best result, completely removing dirt from the plates.

7. Do not forget about the player itself.

The player also needs care. The fact that you need to wipe it from dust - it goes without saying. Also pay attention to the needle: if it is in poor condition, the plates will deteriorate - particles of dirt from the needle will press into the grooves on the plate, and it will be very difficult to get them from there.

The most budget option is to clean the needle with a cotton swab. Dampen it in the tool that you use to clean the plates, and walk on the surface of the needle. This, however, is fraught with the fact that pieces of cotton can catch on the needle - in this case, cleaning will do more harm than good. You can use sticky sponges for vinyl - they are suitable for both records and needles. Ideally, the needle should be cleaned after each listening.

When the player is working, make sure that nobody touches it. Then the needle can come off and damage the plate. Craftsmen save vinyl and scratches, but it is quite difficult to do. It is necessary to correct a scratch under a microscope with a scalpel. And that is not the fact that it will turn out.

It is important to track how smoothly your player is installed. This will help to avoid unnecessary vibrations, which, in turn, affect the sound quality and the operation of the entire system. Once you have placed the player on a stable surface away from third-party sources of vibration, you need to level it up so that all components of the player are positioned strictly horizontally, and not tilted.

You can align it using a compact level or even an application for a smartphone - such can be downloaded to any model with a built-in gyroscope.

It is worth paying attention to the installation of the cartridge - it also needs to be leveled (for this, there are special metal measuring lines and simpler cardboard ones - they are supplied by the manufacturers). This operation allows you to make sure that the needle will be located at the right angle to the groove of the plate - which will extend the life of both the plate and the player. More about this we told here .

More tricks and tips in our "World Hi-Fi":


All Articles