Simple and Easy Tips: How to Properly Maintain Your Vinyl Collection
Collecting vinyl records is one of my guilty pleasures. It took me years to have this huge compilation in my home. Well, of course, I cannot just keep them away in a box without listening to each and every piece. I needed a vintage record player and so I bought one for myself.
I love listening to my record collection and a nice record player makes it nostalgic. But since record players, these days, are modernized with additional features, I often end up buying another one and another one until I had a few at home. My vinyl records were also numbered up!
With this major obsession, I know I have to maintain and store my record players and vinyl records properly. I do want to preserve their great quality and condition like the first time I bought them. But with every task, there comes a question that pops up – how? How can I properly maintain my record player and record collection at home?
Why You Should Store Your Record Player and Vinyl Records Properly
If you are facing a dilemma like mine, as a collector, you know how precious your record collection and record players are. You probably would agree how valuable it is to always keep them organized and properly stored when they are not in use. It makes a lot of difference, though, rather than just piling them up anywhere you want to. Some just stack those vinyl records in one corner but, actually, sometimes they just don’t have any choice. The available room or space can be a significant factor.
There is no such thing as slight or minor scratches. Whatever scratch there is, it can be a major damage. Vinyl records are delicate and record players are too. So if you do not tidy them up and store them properly, you might not be able to play that record again. You’ll hear sound flaws such as clicks, snaps, and background hiss, and a lot more unnecessary noise. That sounds heartbreaking!
Improper handling and storage can cause a lifetime damage despite any cleaning efforts and restoration methods. Scratches, dirt, and dust are indeed your worst enemy!
Easy Ways to Maintain Your Record Player at Home
You are only a few steps away to a stunning and systematic vinyl collection display. And if you want to keep that groovy and high-quality sound from all your records, you also need to double your effort for the turntable’s maintenance. It needs careful cleaning and storage.
Manufacturers might have provided all the specific guidelines regarding the cleaning and restoration methods. However, every part of your record player demands extra care. If you think a quick wipe with a clean cloth will do, it won’t.
Take a look at these easy and simple steps on how you can maintain your record player in its good condition.
1./ Inspect the Parts
If you have got an old one or probably the one you inherited from your grandpop, some of its parts might not be as good as they were before. They might have worn out over the years and they will if proper care is not provided. So before you conduct your cleaning and restoration project, inspect first the parts of your turntable. This process lets you know what kind of cleaning your turntable needs – general cleaning or deep cleaning - or if it really needs any restoration.
2./ Examine and Clean the Stylus
The stylus is one of the most sensitive parts of a record player. The cleaning might be a bit crucial. It is the part of a record player that makes a physical contact with your records. Hence, if you got it all wrong, you might damage your turntable and your vinyl record as well.
In that instance, you will need to have it replaced. But to avoid any damages and additional expense for a replacement, it is important to examine the needle or stylus and have it cleaned regularly. However, you cannot just wipe all the dirt and dust off with water and cloth. There are certain methods how to clean your stylus properly and what you should use with it.
3./ Align the Cartridge
The cartridge is the part of record player where the stylus is mounted. Once you’ve cleaned the cartridge, you have to align the cartridge carefully back to its position. The positioning is not just hovering the cartridge over the record. An alignment protractor is needed.
Every model has its designated protractor that provides the approximate positions where the alignment should be done. If it is not available, printouts for the basic positioning will do. It is vital to heed every guideline regarding this task. Proper alignment of the cartridge prevents further damages and any music distortions.
You can also refer to the video below:
4./ Place It on a Stand or Table
You definitely need a record player stand where you can place your turntable. If you still don’t have this at home, you can browse some online stores where this is available. This might be additional to your expenses, but if you really are a collector, you know it is worth every penny.
If you are looking for a proper storage for your record collection, the Crosley turntable stand is a steel wire rack that features a shelf for your record player and spacious spots for your vinyl records. This could be a nice rack to keep your record player stable!
A record player table is indeed a perfect spot to store your record player. Not just because it displays your collection beautifully and neat, it also provides a great support that will keep your record player from wobbling or skipping while you dance and walk around it. If you can spend some bucks for this furniture regardless the hefty price, Vintage House Coruna offers sturdy vintage record player tables.
Some turntables do not require any table or stand for a proper storage. Some are designed and customized with a built-in stand, the TechPlay CTA99 portable turntable, for example. Other collectors, including me, prefer a suitcase record player without the need to buy a bag or storage. The suitcase itself encases the record player! QFX Turn 101 Suitcase Turntable and 1byone portable suitcase turntable are some of the best buys I found!
Keep Your Vinyl Records Organized and Safe
Organizing your vinyl record collection requires time and effort. Keeping them away in storage boxes might be a bit challenging especially when you have a lot to store. That would be a good option, but there are better alternatives to set up a neat and organized storage for all your vinyl records.
1./ Regularly Clean Your Vinyl Records
Vinyl records are prone to dust, dirt, and scratches. Hence, having them regularly cleaned will prevent your records from any major damages. However, there are proper ways to tidy them up. You cannot just wipe every record with a simple cloth and water, rubbing alcohol or any chemical cleaner. You need to strictly follow the guideline on how to clean your vinyl records properly. And while you are cleaning them, always make sure to handle them with extra care.
2./ Inspect for Damages or Scratches
If you do not store your records systematically, they might end up damaged and with scratches. You do not want that to happen with your precious records. That is why it is best to always inspect your records if there are any visible scratches. These scratches can affect the sound quality of your records which can distort the music or produce unnecessary noise. Then again, you cannot just restore its condition just by the procedure that you think is right. You can bring the vinyl records back to its best condition with this guideline.
3./ Use a Vinyl Record Stand or Table
Try storing them up on a record stand or table where your record player is. In this way, you can see all your vinyl records systematically arranged by name, year, artist or album. A record player stand and storage such as the Crosley Turntable Stand and Vintage House Coruna table can shelter all your precious records.
There are a lot of ways to store your record collection. Shelving is also one of the options collectors’ consider. If you have tons to store, a huge record shelf might work for you.
4./ Store Your Records Vertically
Another reminder to keep in mind when storing your records is the position. Store them vertically and do not lay them flat on the floor. Keeping them tight and organized in a container or cabinet minimizes any damages or scratches. It also serves as a protection from dust or dirt.
5./ Consider Bags and Inner Sleeves
Bags and inner sleeves double the protection for your vinyl records, especially from dust and dirt. Remember that these are not just ordinary plastic bags. They are designed for vinyl records. So if you are planning to buy some for your records, these are available in different sizes and materials. Buy sleeves vinyl on Amazon.
5 Things You MUST NOT Do With Your Turntable and Records
If there are certain things that you should do with your record player, there are also things that you MUST NOT DO with it. Keeping all these in mind will help your record player be in the best condition thus save you from unnecessary expenses for damages and repairs.
- Do not play the records while they are wet. Doing this may cause permanent damage to your records and record player.
- Do not touch the records with your bare fingers. Vinyl records are quite sensitive from dust, dirt or any harmful elements your hands might have. This affects the sound quality.
- It may be fun to see your records spinning and I know what you are thinking. NO. You cannot touch the record while playing. Do not force the platter to stop right before the time it should. Your records might acquire scratches that would cause major damages.
- Do not use a rubbing alcohol, baby oil or lighter fluid for cleaning your records. You should only use the cleaners that are applicable for your vinyl records.
- Do not clean the stylus with your fingers.
Keeping your vinyl records and turntable might require extensive effort and time. It is indeed not easy, but if you truly want to maintain them in their best condition, you should strictly follow all the guidelines for proper cleaning and storage.