Since the mid-2010s, vinyls have been experiencing a renaissance that no one could have seen coming. Their warm, authentic sound is a treat for audiophiles and amateur music lovers alike, serving as a brief escape from an increasingly digitized reality. However, vinyl is an extremely delicate material. And that means careful handling of your records is absolutely essential. In this article, we tell you the right way to store and handle your records to keep you enjoying them for years to come.
DO – store your records away from direct sunlight
To keep your vinyl collection in peak condition, it’s important to store them properly. Records fare best when not exposed to direct sunlight because sun and heat are vinyl’s biggest enemies. Even temperatures as low as 35 degrees Celsius can start to deform your favorite records. Indoors, at least in Germany, the risk should be minimal because temperatures rarely reach above 30 degrees in buildings. However, if you’re ever moving or playing records in the back yard, take caution.
On top of that, it is not recommended to stack vinyls on top of each other. Instead, they should be placed side by side like books in a bookshelf to prevent crush damage.
Obviously, you should also store all your vinyls in suitable protective cases. Dust and grime can seriously impede the listening experience as well as cause permanent damage both to records and record player styluses.
Tip: to keep lint from getting into record sleeves, we recommend storing your collection in a sealed container. Better safe than sorry.
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DO – Keep your record player’s stylus clean. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
One of the most common ways vinyls get damaged is by dirty record player styluses. While it can feel like a pain, regular cleaning is the cornerstone of a proper vinyl listening experience. The rule of thumb is to always proceed with caution. Turntable styluses are extremely delicate and any damage, no matter how minor, can ultimately lead to faulty playback. And so, take the following tips to heart for your next cleaning session:
- Get a stylus cleaning kit that contains both a suitable cleaning agent and a small brush. In a pinch, it can also be cleaned with a small velvet brush.
- If you only need to remove large dust particles, you can simply use a small, clean paintbrush.
- Make sure to brush carefully and not be too rough. Also, always wipe lengthwise up and down the needle. Otherwise the stylus may bend or, even worse, break.
- For particularly stubborn dirt and grime, if you do not have a purpose-made cleaning agent, rubbing alcohol will do a decent job. Just wet the brush with as little alcohol as possible and give it a gentle wipe-down.
- If the stylus is too worn or otherwise damaged, it’s best to simply replace it.
For an example of an even more involved, but superior stylus cleaning method, watch this video:
Related article: To get the best sound out of your record player, check out our article on HD vinyl.
DON’T – forget to clean the belt of your record player
Does your turntable already look spotless on the outside? If so, keep up the good work. But don’t forget to clean the inside as well, especially the belt, which should be given some attention once or twice a year. Especially if you notice irregularities with playback speed, it’s high time for a cleaning. A malfunctioning belt can easily damage your record collection as well, so best take care of this sooner rather than later.
And here’s how to do it:
- Remove the coverings
First remove the dust cover, plastic mat, and platter.
- Wipe down the belt
First take the belt off and wipe it clean with a towel. Then touch it up with a small amount of alcohol.
- Let the belt dry
Wait for the belt to be fully dry, then reassemble.
- If necessary, replace the belt.
If the wear is too severe, we recommend that you replace the belt.
DON’T – try scratching records on a conventional turntable
Turntablism, or scratching is a popular stylistic device employed primarily by hip-hop DJs, with its roots in Jamaican music styles like dub. That classic scratching sound from rhythmically manipulating the spinning of a record has a definite appeal. However, if you want to emulate it, make sure you’re using the right kind of records and DJ equipment. In particular, belt-driven players tend to be easy to break in contrast to direct-drive players, which are usually specialist equipment. Conventional records also tend to wear out quickly, sometimes even snapping on the first attempted scratching session. In addition, classic turntables are made with more delicate styluses, which can also be damaged by amateur turntablism.
Related article: Still on the lookout for a new high-quality record player? Learn what to keep in mind in our turntable guide!
High-quality record players from Teufel
▶ THEATER 500 + DENON DRA-800H + DUAL DT 500: The DT 500 USB HiFi record player by Dual is available from Teufel both separately or as part of a bundle. For example, with the three-way THEATER 500 floorstanding speakers and a compatible Denon receiver. Let the THEATER’s sound blow you away!
▶ DUAL DT 250 USB: Little brother of the DT 500, it also has everything you need for a high-quality vinyl listening experience: Audio-Technica magnetic cartridges, high-end tonearm, aluminum platter, and configurable phono preamp.
Enjoy your records in peace with Teufel headphones
Proper maintenance of records and players: essential takeaways
- Store your records away from direct sunlight, as they can start to deform at temperatures as low as 35 degrees Celsius.
- Store your records in appropriate sleeves and do not stack them.
- Clean the stylus carefully with a purpose-made cleaning kit. Alternatively, use rubbing alcohol and a small velvet brush.
- Clean the inside of your turntable once or twice a year. Don’t forget about the belt!
- Scratching requires special records and players. Trying it with conventional ones could cause serious damage!
Title picture: Teufel