Buying your favorite vinyl records is one thing and playing them properly is another thing. In order to get the most enjoyment from the vinyl records, you need to make sure that they are handled properly every time you play them. To be able to play vinyl, you will need a turntable. This is an important device that you can use to play all kinds of music. There are certain mistakes that you need to avoid when playing your music using this device. Some of these mistakes may end up affecting the efficiency of the record or turntable if you do not do something to correct them.
Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Vinyl Records
1. Incorrect Cueing
This a common mistake that most people, especially those who are new to vinyl and turntables, usually make. Cueing the records can affect them greatly regardless of their quality. When you are cueing them manually, make sure that you do it properly. A simple mistake could cause the needle in the turntable to break. The best thing to do is to use a cueing lever that is specially designed for moving the tone arm below and above. It will help you put the needle at the desired place very easily.
2. Removing The Record from The Spinning Platter Suddenly
You should never remove the vinyl record suddenly from the spinning platter. When you switch off the turntable, you should wait for the platter to stop spinning completely before removing the record from it. If you suddenly remove the record from the platter while it is still spinning, the quality of your record may be affected. The record may become scratched or totally damaged.
3. Frequently Taking the Needle Up and Down
There are some users who drop the needle frequently without realizing the damage that they are causing. When you drop down or pick up a needle, the sound at the particular place will get faded, something that will cause the region to become sensitive. This mistake can be avoided by using the cueing lever whenever you need to drop or pick up the tone arm. You should be very careful when removing the needle from the record. Try your best to remove it at the end of the record because removing in the middle will negatively affect the system’s effectiveness.
4. Touching Records with Bare Fingers
Using vinyl records with bare fingers should be avoided by all means. This is because the surface of these records is very sensitive. Since human hands are prone to dust and oil, using the records with bare hands will cause the dust and oil to stick to them. The dust can penetrate into the grove when the record is spinning and reduce its sound quality. If you have to touch the vinyl records with your bare hands for some reason, make sure that you touch the edges.
5. Failure to Clean the Record Before and After Use
It is very important to clean your vinyl record before and after using it. By doing so, you will prevent dust particles from getting into the groove of the record. Failure to clean the record this way may lead to sound quality problems. The quality of the needle may also be affected if you play vinyl records that are dusty. So, every time before or after using the record, make sure that you clean it completely. You should use a specially designed carbon brush or vinyl recorder cleaning mat to clean the record for the best results.
6. Cleaning the Vinyl Record with Tap Water
While cleaning the record before and after use in the turntable is very important, you need to know the right way to clean it to avoid damaging it. Soap mixture can be used to clean the vinyl record. You just need to take a small amount of soap solution and then mix it with a large amount of warm water. Do not make the mistake of mixing the soap solution with tap water because it is not a great choice for a cleaning liquid. Distilled water can be used for cleaning the record. If you are skeptical about the use of water to clean your vinyl records, there are special and prescribed solvents that you can use.
7. Failing to Clean the Turntable
Just like you are supposed to clean your vinyl records from time to time for them to continue working properly, you also need to clean the turntable. The magnetic field and vibrating motion of the turntable causes dust particles to get attracted to it very easily. If you do not clean it, this dust can get stuck on the stylus, cartridge and platter. The dust will in turn stick on your records and affect their performance.
8. Cleaning the Turntable Needle Wrongly
The turntable needle is also referred to as a stylus. You need to clean and maintain it properly if you want your turntable and records to continue working well. To clean the needle, you will need to look for the best stylus cleaning product. When using any cleaning product on it, you need to keep in mind that it is incredibly fragile. You must treat it with care at all times. A good cleaning product should come with a magnifying glass that you can use to inspect the stylus while cleaning it. If you use your turntable more often, you should consider cleaning your stylus once every week. Your first line of defense against having a dusty stylus is making sure that your records are always clean before and after using them.
9. Putting a Wet Record on the Platter
Most people that have turntables tend to make this mistake most often. You should avoid putting a wet record on the platter by all means because it will reduce the function or effectiveness of the turntable. It may also damage your vinyl records completely. When you clean the vinyl record, you should first of all put it in a clean place to dry. Only put the record on the platter after making sure that it is completely dry.
There are some people who play wet vinyl records in an attempt to quiet pops and crackles. If you are one of these people, you need to stop because what you are doing is causing more damage to the record and turntable. The wet record forces the sludge deeper in the grooves, something that may result into irreversible damage. Your record will start sounding even worse because the crud will dry and embed the dirt or dust throughout the record.
10. Leaving a Record Out Of Its Sleeves
If you are one of the people who make this mistake while playing the record, you need to stop. Leaving the record out of its sleeves while putting it in its position can damage it severely. You need to be careful whenever you are placing the vinyl records. Once you are done with a record, you should always put it back into its sleeve. This is something that even the advanced vinyl enthusiasts can forget from time to time. What you need to know is that leaving a record out of its sleeve increases its risk of being exposed, to dirt, dust and sun rays. All of these elements can damage the sound quality of the record.
When placing the record back into its sleeve, make sure that you do it correctly. Simply taking the record and dropping it into the sleeve can damage it or cause scratches. The best way to do it is to slightly bow the entrance of the sleeve and slide the record into it.
If you avoid the above-mentioned mistakes, you will make your vinyl records and turntable more effective and durable. Other things that you should avoid doing include using shaky hands to cue up records, using a T-shirt or towel to clean the records, marring the album cover with tape and leaving records out of the sleeves for too long. When you avoid this, you will avoid playback issues as well as damage to the records. There will be accurate sound reproduction since dirt and dust will not interfere with the contact between the stylus and the record grooves.
You should not only avoid mistakes in handling your records, but also in using your turntable. The two need to be in good shape for you to be able to enjoy the best music listening experience. Use a high quality cleaner whenever you are cleaning the turntable and make sure that the needle is kept clean. The needle should be cleaned with a soft brush to prevent build up from damaging records or sound quality. It is also recommended to keep the turntable in a climate controlled environment if you want it to continue working effectively. If anything seems to be wrong with it, do not take it upon yourself to do the repairs. Always take it to a professional whenever you come across an issue.