Having a little trouble with your records? We've pulled together some common questions which we hope will help you get the best out of your collection.
Answer: This can sometimes occur if your tonearm is not weighted properly, and you may need to make a slight adjustment to your turntable’s anti-skating mechanism, which is usually a weighted knob or spring mechanism at the back end of the tonearm. If this is occurring and your turntable does not have an anti-skating mechanism, you can always try taping a penny to the top of your stylus – it actually works!
Also, try and make sure your turntable is on a level, non-resonating surface prior to play. Do not place the turntable on a receiver or speaker. It is also not recommended to place your speakers on the same shelf as your turntable. Even though new records are essentially scratch free, they can sometimes come with residual dust from the plant, particles from the paper sleeve, etc., that cannot always be seen with the naked eye. You can use a dry carbon fiber or anti-static brush prior to play to help eliminate any dust or particles. This can improve performance and greatly reduce skipping.
Answer: Your turntable speed is likely set to the incorrect speed. While veteran LP buyers are aware that turntables typically have at least two speeds, 33 1/3 and 45 rpm, it may not be common knowledge to music fans that are new to the vinyl format. Most 12” and 10” vinyl records are cut at 33 1/3 rpm, but not always. Some LPs are actually cut at 45 rpm and contain fewer songs per side and usually more albums per set. The LP jacket or a sticker on the record usually indicates if a 12” or 10” LP is cut at 45 rpm. Smaller 7” records are cut at 45rpm and usually have one song per side. If you play a 45 rpm 7” or 12” record at 33 1/3 on your turntable, it will sound too slow. If you play a 33 1/3 12” or 10” at 45 rpm on your turntable, it will sound too fast.
Some direct-drive turntables also have pitch control so you may need to adjust the pitch variation on your record player. This is usually a slider on the surface of your turntable, but may be a small knob near the back, or underneath your turntable. Simply adjust to find the desired sound quality.
Answer: Vinyl records with heavier weight are often more desirable simply because they are more sturdy and are less likely to warp. The size of the grooves is the same. Records come in three standard sizes: 12", 10", and 7". There are some other odd-sized and die-cut records, but all should play on most turntables.
Heavier weight vinyl simply feels more substantial to hold, is less flimsy, and thus is psychologically more appealing to the music fan. The quality and care put into mastering, pressing, and plating has more to do with the sound quality of a record than the weight. Pressing plants will normally put more effort into quality control of heavier weight records as they realize anyone ordering 180g or higher is likely looking for an “audiophile” product.
Answer: As with any manufacturing process, there are always going to be some oddities. Variations in the colour of your coloured vinyl is normal, and will not impact the playability of your record.
Answer: Purchasing a slightly more expensive inner sleeve such as rice paper or poly-lined sleeves can reduce scratching, static, and dust/particle attraction. Never store vinyl records directly in their jackets without an inner sleeve as this will cause damage to the record and the jacket over time. With new records, a wet cleaning method is not always needed. A good dry carbon fiber brush applied prior to play can help eliminate residual particles, dust, hair, paper, etc. that can cling to LPs.
Answer: Some minor scratching on the surface of a record can occur from placing or removing the record in its paper sleeve and does not impact playability. If there are more significant scratches that are impacting playability on a brand new record, please reach out to customer service.
Light, scratches you can see but cannot feel on the surface of the record can occur over time, but normally do not affect playability of a record. When handling a record, do your best not to touch the playing surface with your hands, do not lay the record down on anything other than the turntable, and return it directly to its inner sleeve and jacket when finished. Storing records outside their jackets or stacked is another way to increase scratches on the surface of vinyl.
Answer: The fragile nature of the medium, temperature fluctuations, the way and location you store your vinyl, and even the manufacturing process itself can all cause warping in vinyl. Minor warping will, in general, not impact playability; however, more significant warping may impact playability. If you’ve purchased a brand new record and there is significant warping, please reach out to customer service. Vinyl should always be stored vertically, never horizontally. To repair warped vinyl, there are a few methods that may work. One is to place the record between two heavy books for several days. Another method is to place the record between two pieces of glass and place it in an oven set to warm for a couple minutes. Allow the vinyl to cool down before removing it from between the pieces of glass. Please note: these are just suggestions, and there is no guaranteed method to fix warped vinyl records, any tests or these methods are done at your own risk!
For some turntables, there is an option to purchase a record clamp or weight that can improve playability of a warped record by holding it down tight against the platter during playback. It does not fix the actual warp in the record, but can help fidelity issues during play. Extreme warping of a record can happen if your record is hit with direct sunlight for an extended period of time, so don’t keep your albums in a hot car for too long!
Answer: If your vinyl record skips in one specific location, there may be dust or debris stuck in the groove of the record. First try cleaning your album. If the problem persists, or is occurring on a brand new album, this may be indicative of a manufacturing defect, at which point please reach out to customer service.
Answer: You should always store your records in a cool, dry place, standing up vertically. If you stack them horizontally on top of one another, you run the risk of warping the vinyl.
Answer: Correct handling is vital to ensure the longevity of your vinyl. Dust and dirt are the most common causes of playback defects. Ensure you only handle the outer edge or inner label of the record.
Answer: Your suspicions are correct - it is a scientific fact that vinyl records literally attract dust! Too much dust can create various issues with your vinyl, from pops and crackles to more serious needle jumping and record wear. Win the fight against dust by removing records from your turntable as soon as playback has ended, and always store in both the dust case and the main cardboard sleeve.
Answer: Day-to-day cleaning of vinyl is a straightforward process - simply find yourself an all-purpose carbon fibre brush and use to remove any surface dust after playback.
Occasionally, with embedded dirt or older records, wet cleaning is required. For this, you will need three lint-free cloths and some vinyl cleaning solution. Never use regular tap water to clean vinyl – it can contain limescale or other deposits that can damage your record.
Place your record on a lint-free cloth, apply the solution and then gently clean with a separate lint-free cloth, wiping in the direction of the grooves. Finally use final dry lint-free cloth to dry the record.
Note that wet cleaning can improve audio quality, but will not restore damaged records.