About Sound Quality of Vinyl Records
Posted on April 10 2020
Preserving vinyl record sound quality and reducing vinyl record crackle is a delicate balance that requires the right tools. Learn about the ideal sound quality of vinyl records with Big Fudge and keep your pristine collection in tiptop shape for the next track.
Why Does Vinyl Sound Better?
You’ll hear many music enthusiasts brag that the sound quality is better on vinyl records. But is a vinyl record really better than a digital track? It depends. The process of making a record has remained relatively unchanged throughout the decades. Here are the basics.
- A vinyl record is made of an aluminum core and coated with a nitrocellulose lacquer
- Discs are cut in the studio with a lathe
- Creating a master disc is an art, with each tiny groove preserving the integrity of the sound
Preparing labels and pressing the records happens in the final stages. Unlike a digital recording, the sound quality of vinyl records can change over time. That’s why basic maintenance of your records is so essential to good sound quality.
What Causes the Vinyl Record 'Crackle' Sound?
A digital file is the same every time you listen to it. Vinyl, on the other hand, has a character all its own. Here are some easy ways you can keep the integrity of your collection and reduce the vinyl record crackle.
- Use a cleaning kit like this one to remove dust and static that cause the crackling sound and could decrease the quality of vinyl records
- Spray with an alcohol-free cleaning fluid to get rid of tougher spots including fingerprints and other stains
- After rinsing, dry your records thoroughly with a microfiber cleaning cloth for the perfect sound
Your turntable and records need to be cleaned and maintained to enhance and keep good vinyl record sound quality. Storage is an essential part of sound quality too.
How Should I Store My Collection for the Best Sound Quality?
Dust and damage can greatly impact the sound quality of vinyl records. Through proper storage, you’ll reduce the need to deep clean your records. Here are some smart ways to keep your discs running smoothly and sounding great.
- Keep your vinyl records dry and use an inner sleeve to protect them
- Use stackable record cubes or other upright storage systems for your collection to keep it sounding great
- Use outer sleeves for ultimate protection
Music lovers can easily protect the quality of vinyl records through proper care and storage.
How Do You Spot Damage to Records Before Purchasing?
If you love crate-digging, estate sales, and vintage shops, knowing what damage can impact sound quality will help you decide whether to add that record to your collection or leave it in the shop. Here’s what to look for.
- If the inner sleeve is missing, the record may be in very poor condition
- If one or more edges are completely split, you may want to avoid buying this one
- Inspect for signs of water damage which is difficult to remedy through simple cleaning
- Make sure you bring a small flashlight with you to check for major scratches that may be beyond repair
Inspecting the sound quality of vinyl records is a craft. Before paying a premium price, check your record carefully.
What Else Should I Check For?
Your record player or turntable should be in tip-top shape. Regularly inspect the parts of your system to make sure you’re getting the best in sound quality.
- Check the tonearm (the part that swings across the record) and see if it is in good working condition
- Inspect the stylus (the needle attached to the tonearm) as it is one of the simplest replacements you can make
- Look at the platter (the spinning plate where your record sits) and make sure it’s clean
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To learn more about record organization and sound quality, follow Big Fudge on Facebook and Instagram for the most up-to-date tips. Keep your collection sounding and looking great with Big Fudge professional cleaning and storage solutions available online now.