The development of convenient CDs and later, online streaming, led to the discontinuation of mass vinyl production. However, vinyl records didn’t completely disappear, and in fact, interest in them has been steadily growing over the past few years – no other medium provides the same audio quality as vinyl. Unfortunately, vinyl records are not immortal, so it’s essential to take good care of them.
Does playing a record frequently damage it?
The sad fact is that each playback of a vinyl record contributes to its wear and tear. This doesn’t mean that records should be stored on a shelf and only taken out on special occasions because they are meant for enjoying music. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to remember that vinyl records age. The loss of the initial sound quality is typically noticeable after around 500-1000 playbacks. This number depends on both the quality of the record itself and the quality of the audio equipment used for playback. Additionally, it’s not an immediate drop in quality where the record becomes completely unusable.
Unusable records are those with numerous scratches where the needle constantly skips, as well as warped records with a distorted surface that makes proper playback impossible. The sound will also deteriorate due to worn groove edges – such a record can still be listened to, but even an untrained ear will notice that the vinyl no longer sounds as it should.
Caring for a record’s longevity
Records pressed by XDiSC are known for their high quality, but they still need to be properly cared for; otherwise, it will affect the lifespan of the medium. Key is protection against scratches, so the record should be kept in its original packaging, or alternatively, in a cardboard sleeve. It’s absolutely essential not to leave records loose on the floor, table, or shelf. Records should be stored vertically to prevent warping. Additionally, it’s crucial to clean your vinyl before each playback. Only special vinyl cleaning solutions should be used; regular detergent or even water will damage the record.
Another important factor is the turntable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive equipment; calibration is more important. You should ensure the optimal needle pressure on the record, the stylus shape, and the adjustment of anti-skate force, which will prevent premature record wear.