Care & Feeding — 5 Min Read

Do you suffer from retromania?

Care & Feeding — 5 Min Read

Do you suffer from retromania?

Do you suffer from retromania? Do you enjoy a fetish for anything vintage? If so, the current trend for vinyl records is sure to please.

According to Yamaha Music and Nielsen, vinyl LP sales accounted for 11.9 percent of all “album” sales in 2018 (16.8 million of 141 million). In 2017, the format comprised 6.5 percent of album sales. Clearly, enjoying vinyl records is on the rise.

Many experts agree that analog audio provided by vinyl sounds superior to digital audio — especially when compared against the common compressed digital formats used by streaming services. And while there are better digital playback formats available, such as FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), you’ll have to search them out specifically (and pay more for them), whereas vinyl is readily available from online sellers or at a local record store. And there are excellent turntables available today, many offering superior tracking, low wow & flutter, and low noise levels. Stop in the store and see our selection.

Given this renaissance in vinyl, we offer the following suggestions for the care and maintenance of your vinyl collection.

Care & Feeding: Vinyl Records

  1. Store your records upright, which will minimize warping. Don’t stack them! Bookshelves work well, but you can find record storage boxes widely available from fancy plastic to cheap cardboard.
  2. Use a better inner sleeve than what may have come with the record. Most are paper and can scratch the record and add static. Over time cheap inner sleeves will yellow and tear. A good one will be anti-static and prevent scratching.  MoFi makes a true audiophile-quality sleeve, and it won’t break the bank.
  3. Never touch the surface of the records. Only handle a record by the edges or by the label. And put your record away when finished, to avoid dust build up. And power down the platter when adding or removing a record. Those pops and clicks you are hearing is your stylus dragging across dust and dirt. Playing a dirty record can damage your stylus, so invest in a quality record brush. Click here to see an inexpensive but effective record brush.
  4. And if you have a dust build-up on your stylus, you can clean them provided you keep in mind the stylus and cantilever are very fragile. Use a proper stylus brush, gently pulling the brush from the back to the front. Never use your record cleaning brush! The ONZOW ZeroDust® and the Extremephono Phono Solid-State Stylus Cleaners are simple tools that will improve the sound quality from your records. With these devices, you use the tonearm lift to clean stylus, not your fingers. No liquids or solvents are necessary.
  5. Clean your records. What you may sometimes think are scratches are just grooves in need of cleaning. Sure, you can spend $1,000 and get a professional record cleaning machine (RCM), and there are many devices available, but they are laborious, and you probably won’t use them. Wet cleaning is only necessary after 40-60 plays. Instead, buy your next turntable from Audio Video Synergy. If you are local to the store, we’ll set it up, calibrate the tonearm, and clean up to twelve of your favorite LPs. You will drive it home, plug it in, and begin enjoying your LPs again.

Shown: a turntable from Pro-Ject, from our extensive collection

If you are really into vinyl records…

Are you really into vinyl? If so, you’ll love joining a group of Audio Video Synergy clients the second Friday of every month, where we host a “listening party.” We set up a remarkable system in our sound room and ask everyone to bring favorites from their record collection, based on a theme that changes every month. Recently we featured vocalists, another time we asked you to bring a great pianist. The music crosses every genre, and on the top-of-the-line systems and speakers, you’ll be in awe at the sound quality. Plus it’s a lot of fun.

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