Dirty vinyl

Why you should always clean records

7 January 2019

The condition of vinyl records has a direct impact on their sound quality. It’s common knowledge that records need the occasional clean; used record purchases especially should always be cleaned before they go anywhere near your turntable and stylus. Dirty records not only sound bad, but they also exacerbate stylus wear and contaminate your turntable – spreading the muck across your precious vinyl collection.

What isn’t always common knowledge however, is that brand new vinyl needs cleaning too – ideally before it hits your turntable. The reason for this is two-fold: static charge & factory grime.

Ever pulled a new record from it’s packaging and have said packaging sticking to it like glue? That’s because it is statically charged. And that’s bad, not just because they stick to the turntable mat every time you swap sides or remove the record, but also because the static charge attracts all dust and particles in the immediate proximity. It only takes one sharp piece of debris to scrape across the record and your brand new vinyl is damaged before it even gets played!

You might think that a shiny new record will be beautifully clean, but factories are typically pretty grubby places and dust and dirt is easily attracted onto the record surface. Also, the record production process can leave gummy release agent residue on the record surface, which can, in turn, contaminate your stylus and ultimately diminish the sound quality.

A typical vinyl record has around half a mile of grooves; any dirt or debris picked up as your stylus makes its long journey through your record will have an impact on sound quality. Also, just like a dirty or bumpy road will wear your car tyres quicker, dirty grooves will inevitably make life harder for your stylus. Some new records will come cleaner than others, but for the time it takes just to give your record a quick pre-play clean, it really isn’t worth running the risk.

We offer a record-cleaning service at Adventures – £3 for two sides, with a new anti-static sleeve included. It’s not our favourite job, but we realise how important it is! Even better though – the Okki Nokki record cleaning machine produces excellent results, is easy to use and relatively cheap at £435. It’s pretty compact and allows you to clean however may discs you feel like, whenever you want, in the convenience of your own home (or shed?).

Email to find out more.