Tips on Music 2: Preserving Vinyl Collections

Vinyl record sales are reported to have increased nearly 800% since 2008, and hit an all-new high in record [no pun intended] sales in the US and the UK in 2013.  If you are one of those folks who understand that vinyl is reborn, or have a significant vinyl collection that has historic value, or have kept just those few vinyls that have great meaning in your life or bring that incomparable sound to your ears no digital recording can reproduce, then here are some useful tips for preserving and enjoying your vinyl collection.

  • Store each record upright – exactly vertical – to prevent warping.  Spacers are recommended for every four to six inches of record album space on your shelves.
  • Store LPs with other LPs. Avoid mixing with other sizes such as 10″ and 7″ discs. Never use bookends to hold your records in place.
  • Store vinyl records on metal shelves (as opposed to wood, which expands and contracts).
  • Do not hang LPs over the edge of shelves.
  • Remove shrink-wrap from dust jackets immediately after acquiring a vinyl record.  If any of your vinyls still have removable plastic or cello covers, discard them.
  • Use polyethylene inner sleeves inside album covers. Never use PVC sleeves –  their chemical makeup is too close to vinyl and may cause imprints or fuse to the LP. Replace paper sleeves –  they deteriorate quickly, leaving oil, dust and paper residue on the vinyl.
  • Chill. Keep vinyls at the right temperature for the right use. Store vinyls in active use at temperatures between 65° to 70° F (18° to 21° C). For long-term storage, keep them at 45° to 50° F (7° to 10° C). Though important for dust jackets and album covers,  relative humidity (RH) is considered less an issue for vinyl than for other recorded media.
  • Keep your vinyl clean.  The purity of the sound is better from clean vinyl than from vinyl that has dust, scratches, or warps.  Keeping vinyl clean also means you are paying attention to the whole package –  and that is good for your vinyl!
  • Stay sharp. The needles that touch the vinyl make a big difference in your listening pleasure.  Replace your needles before they go dull, and make sure to carefully place the needle on the insert track, so it takes the weight and pressure of the dropping needle before the needle enters or “hits”  any record groove.  Your sound experience will be clear, full and fab for a long time to come this way.

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