How to Properly Maintain Your Records:
Vinyl enthusiasts will tell you how crucial it is to maintain and protect your records. Although vinyl records are considered by many to produce the best quality sound, they certainly won’t do so forever unless you take care of them properly.
Records are particularly susceptible to scratches, heat, and sunlight. To help you take better care of your record collection, here are a few easy tips.
The first part of your maintenance routine is proper storage. As your records will spend the majority of their time not being played, this is especially important.
First, you should store your records vertically, never horizontally. When stored horizontally (i.e., stacked on top of each other) for a long time, your records can warp. Make sure that you store them away from extreme heat, sunlight, or humidity.
Second, be on the lookout for dust and dirt, as these are two of the most damaging substances for records. The best way to fight dirt is by preventing it from touching the record. Always keep your records in a protective sleeve and inside the cover. If you want an extra layer of protection, consider purchasing plastic outer sleeves for all your records.
+ More on Vinyl Storage Solutions
Your Records: In order to keep your records clean, touch them as little as possible. When you must handle your records, try to only touch the edges and inner label. By keeping your hands off as much as possible, you can prevent any excess grease and dirt on your fingers from getting on your records.
When playing, you should also consider closing the lid of the turntable. This will help prevent any airborne dirt from landing on your record.
Playing Your Records: When listening to your records, there are also steps you can take to extend their playable life. When cueing your record, use a steady hand. This is especially important if you have a manual turntable that requires you to lift the arm and put the needle on the record. If you are not careful, you could easily scratch your records. Try to keep your hands as steady as possible or purchase an automatic turntable.+ Read more on THORENS
You should be equally as careful when removing the needle. Wait until the record stops spinning before you move the needle. Doing so will reduce the risk of scratching.
Cleaning Your Records
Even if you follow every guideline for maintaining your records, they could still use a good cleaning every now and then. There are a few ways you can go about cleaning the records in your collection, though no one way is better than any other. Here are a few techniques that you can use to clear off any dust, dirt, and oil that may have gathered.
Levin Brush: This sort of brush is especially effective because its bristles can easily find the grooves of the record, removing any debris. A Levin brush can also reduce any static electricity that may be attracting dust to the record. You should brush your records before and after each listen.Simply spin the record while you are holding the brush. Just be sure to clean out the brush after every use. Avoid using a towel or T-shirt to clean off your records, as these materials can damage the record further.+ More on Levin Brush
You can purchase a cleaner made especially for records.Spray the cleaner on your vinyl and use a micro-fibre cloth to wipe it off until it is dry.
Vinyl Record Vacuum Cleaner
A product like this will give your records a deeper clean than both the brush and spray. The vinyl vacuum can suck out any dust or dirt way down in the grooves without damaging the record. There are also some vacuums that leave behind a thin layer of cleaning liquid. This will dissolve any oils on the vinyl and add another layer of protection.
The № 515 is a premium turntable designed and built in collaboration with recognized leader VPI Industries. Leveraging VPI’s superior technologies and craftsmanship to deliver unique features, performance, and appearance, the № 515 is the first turntable worthy of the Mark Levinson® name.
World Class Synergy
To achieve the stunning design and performance of the № 515, Mark Levinson partnered with VPI Industries, renowned for turntable innovations and exceptional build quality. The № 515 Turntable is handcrafted in the USA to meet the exacting demands of the engineers and designers at Mark Levinson.
Unrivaled Build Quality
The № 515 is based on a highly damped vinyl-wrapped composite and aluminum sandwich main chassis. The chassis is supported by machined Delrin and Aluminum Mark Levinson feet with a vibration-damping polymer core. The solid Aluminum platter rotates on an inverted bearing, which employs a hardened stainless steel shaft spinning in a phosphor bronze bushing for maximum rotational accuracy.
Peter Mezek is a passionate music lover, who’s been professionally involved with music, hi-fi equipment and turntables for nearly 40 years. Analogue turntables were always his passion, whether it was the famous Linn Lp 12, which Peter distributed until the late 80s, or Well Tempered turntables, which he also distributed for many years.
In 1985, Peter developed his own first product, Rational Audio TT, designed by Jiri Janda, with a parallel tracking tonearm, which received a lot of attention and got very enthusiastic reviews. The turntable was build in Czechoslovakia exclusively for Peter’s company and featured many interesting and innovative technical solutions.
Since the 80s, Peter Mezek have handled literally thousands of turntables from top manufacturers, discovering the secrets behind the designs and hearing how minute improvements, or tiny tweaks, might improve the performance of a turntable.
The latest generation of Pear Audio Blue, designed by Tom Fletcher, is the triumphant culmination of Tom’s continuing development of turntables and tonearms. Each model is hand-built, one-by-one, by Peter Mezek in Slovenia and undergoes extensive quality control before leaving his artisan shop.
Thorens is the oldest name in entertainment electronics; the brand began in Switzerland in 1883 as a family company. After a brief period of manufacturing music boxes, they produced their first phonograph in 1903. To provide supplementary income, Thorens also produced lighters and harmonicas.
Interestingly, in 1929 Thorens produced the first ever direct drive motor and phono pickup, both in 1929. They also produced the first record changer in the 1940s.
Thorens’ standout year was 1957, when the first TD-124 was produced. This turntable would go on to be a classic half a century later, and provided the regular sales required to fund other projects. During the 60s and 70s, Thorens manufactured many of the turntables that are highly regarded today, including the TD 124, 126, 145, 150 & 160. Thorens also produced the very high end turntables: the Reference (1979) and Prestige (1983).
The brand is still recognized worldwide for its high-quality record players.
Gunter Kuerten, who became Thorens’ new owner as of May 1st, 2018 is a very experienced and successful industry insider. Because of this Thorens will be in good hands and ready for future challenges.
“I am committed to the tradition of Thorens and I see my job in keeping the brands legacy but also in further developing this ‘analog jewel”
Thinking Outside the Sleeve
On first glance, the VSS sleeves look like a regular outer record sleeve with a resealable top, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice the second pocket. This dual compartment design enables you to store and seal artwork from the outside world while retaining easy access to the record from a second pocket.
One of the issues with many traditional outer sleeves is clarity. Over time, outer sleeves tend to cloud up, leaving the record protected, but less appealing to the eye.
All of these sleeves are made from US and Canadian materials, which enables Mike at VSS to have greater certainty and control over quality.
The quality of material used to store your vinyl records (both with outer and inner sleeves) matters greatly. Many standard polyethylene sleeves do not necessarily use the highest grade of material in the manufacturing process, which can lead to impurities that may cause damage. In the case of PVC outer sleeves, long term storage under the wrong conditions can lead to severe damage through chemical reactions that cloud the record surface.
The clarity is clear to see from day one: just take a look at the difference between this old sleeve on the right, and the new VSS sleeve on the left on the picture above.
If you want your records to last a lifetime (and perhaps longer), then investing in outer sleeves is a must.
What is a phono stage?
A phono stage (also known as a phono pre-amp) provides the connection between the record player and an amplifier. When vinyl was the defacto standard for audio recording, the phono stage was built-in to receivers and amps, allowing direct connection of a turntable.
However, as new formats like CDs were introduced and begun to replace vinyl, manufacturers of amplifiers removed or reduced the quality of their in-built phono stages and inputs as they were no longer being used.
A lot of hi-fi amplifiers now won’t let you plug in a turntable directly. You need to connect via a phono stage to make the very small signal from the turntable powerful enough for your main amp to work with.
If your system/receiver has an input labeled “phono,” there’s a good chance this input has a built-in phono pre-amp stage.
One Good Ear represents the following brands which make excellent Phono Stage Pre-Amplifiers:
Arcam (rPhono): https://www.whathifi.com/arcam/rphono
The Goldring philosophy is to promote the accurate replication of the original record production, maintaining the creative nuances, musicality and rhythm the artist intended you to hear. With the versatile E Series, this is easy to achieve with all three cartridges in the range; each is designed to be simple to fit to the majority of budget to medium priced turntables with little or no fuss .
Milty Zerostat 3 Anti-static Remover is a new development of the original piezo-electric pistol. It reduces static on insulating surfaces such as LP records, CD's and DVD's, etc.
Zerostat 3 produces negative and positive ions that couple with the positive and negative static charges on an object’s surface, effectively neutralizing them.
The Zerostat 3 antistatic gun will produce dramatic static reduction for periods of time measured in hours, not minutes or seconds. And unlike certain antistatic sprays, the Zerostat gun will not leave any polymer resides behind on the record surfaces. We have found the Zerostat 3 to be equally effective in the removal of dust from plastic dust covers.
Use of the Zerostat 3 gun prior to the playing of a record will often times eliminate, or at least greatly reduce the "snap, crackle, and pop" from electronic discharge of the surface charge buildup that can occur.
Goldring's hand-built Ethos cartridge is individually adjusted to give a smooth, extended frequency response with enhanced trackability . The result is that one becomes simply immersed in the musical experience.... and that's our whole Ethos.
Environmentally inert. 100% recyclable.
Acid free. Contains no PVC.
Excellent optics. Highly reflective.
Moderate WVTR (water vapor transmission rate) barrier against moisture and odours.
Highly resistance to acids, alkaline, grease and oil. Exceptional resistance to corrosive chemicals. Exceptional toughness, wear & abrasion resistance.
Natural living hinge properties, Folds won’t easily crack or crinkle.
Used for archival purposes., such as photographs.
To fully enjoy vinyl, you must keep your records clean. Dirty records don’t just sound bad, they’re also bad for your turntable, as the increased stress on your stylus will significantly shorten its life. This, in turn, will also lead to increased record wear.
You can read more about complete record care in our previous post, but we’re going to focus specifically to keeping records clean. Fortunately for record collectors, there are plenty of tried and tested methods for keeping your precious collection clean and clear for many years you come.
As best practice, you should always use a record brush to clean your records before and after each play-back. This will help reduce build up of dust that can shorten your stylus life and contaminate records.
Record Cleaning Machines:
First up, the easiest and most effective method – using a cleaning machine.
They’re a little expensive; but the fact remains, record cleaning machines are the most effective way to clean vinyl records. The reason they’re so effective is because unlike manual cleaning, record cleaning machines work by sucking up the applied cleaning solution, which in-turn takes all the dirt and grime away with it. Cleaning machines have the added benefit of saving you a ton of time when bulk cleaning large collections.
Ultrasonic cleaning has long been popular in the jewelry industry. This method work by using high-frequency pressure sound waves to agitate a liquid, producing tiny cavitation bubbles. Lots of tiny bubbles produce high forces, helping to gently lift contaminants adhering to the record surface.
Traditionally, Ultrasonic cavitation-based record cleaners are very expensive. In recent years however, a few companies have set up business using standard ultrasonic cleaning tanks, which greatly reduces the cost.
Vinyl Storage Solutions:
Michael Sarazin, the person behind the Vinyl Storage Solutions line of products considered the 3 primary sources of dust which are terrible for records;
He came up with the dual pocket sleeves which help eliminate those sources of dust:Obviously, the dual pocket sleeve takes care of item 1 & using non-paper base inner sleeves would take care of item 2. Unfortunately most inner sleeves are open to the atmosphere (item 3) and he didn't want dust getting inside of the sleeve or part of the record to slide out when inside of the outer sleeve. When he looked at putting a flap as part of the inner sleeve, Michael wanted to avoid the potential of his fingers touching the record, which naturally lead him to making the flap permanently attached to the inner sleeve. So now one could simply slide the record in and out of the sleeve and easily overlap the flap to "encase" the record!Bringing audiophiles premium storage products without the premium price. Made in Canada with Materials from Canada and the USA.
Levin Record Cleaning Brush:
Record cleaning never looked so damn sexy! The Levin record cleaning brush and its matching case handcrafted in Germany using centuries-old brush making techniques; the Levin brushes are made with hand-pulled horse or Chinese goat’s hair, for bristles that remain in place and provide years of use. Models for both wet cleaning and dry dust removal are available in a variety of exotic wood finishes ranging from bog oak, root wood, Karelian Birch Maser, pear wood, walnut or POM.
Stay Tuned for More Information...
AV Showroom interviews Michael Vamos regarding the Levin Brush... Record Cleaning made easy! Your Vinyl will love these brushes!