If you own a vinyl player, you’ll need a few turntable accessories to keep it running properly. Turntables are made of delicate pieces of machinery that break down over time. Vinyl record also require a bit of love if you want to enjoy them for years to come.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most common turntable accessories.
Must Have Turntable Accessories
Record Cleaning Brush
You’ll need a brush to clean your records so that they spin as intended and produce crystal clear sound. A cleaning brush is inexpensive but necessary. Use your brush to clean your records in between plays so that they stay in pristine condition. It’ll eliminate large particles and animal hair from the surface of records. It’ll also clean the dust out of the record’s grooves. Check out the AudioQuest LP record clean brush.
Let’s face it, turntable needles break more often than we’d like. In order to always have music on hand and ready to play, you’ll need multiple replacement needles. Before buying replacement needles, ensure that you are purchasing ones that work at the proper speed and stereo / mono phonograph applications. You’ll be able to choose between needles made of magnetic, ceramic and other materials as well.
If you don’t use your turntable on a regular basis, you should clean your records with a simple anti-stat cloth. Just keep these cloths in an enclosable baggy style container to keep them moist. Never try to clean a record with a dry anti-stat cloth. Throw the old dry ones out and use a moist new one to wipe your records. Check out this anti-static cloth.
Disc Stabilizer Clamp
A disc stabilizer clamp clamps a disc onto the turntable’s platter and reduces the vibrations caused by heavy tracking forces to create clear sound. Make sure that your turntable suspension is capable of additional weight before applying a clamp. If your turntable won’t support more weight, consider reducing vibrations with a product like the SorboGel Q-Foot Isolator. It is a pliable rubber like substance that cures record skips and prevents acoustic feedback. Check out this record stabilizer clamp.
Stereophile magazine recommends isolation feet for turntables as they cut down on the amount of noise produced by vibrations. You place these little stabilizers beneath the turntable to keep it steady and operating as designed. Most isolation feet can support upwards of 50 pounds so the majority of turntables can be paired with them.
A turntable mat will absorb vibrations created by external forces while simultaneously protecting your records. It’ll also dampen the ringing of the turntable’s platter. Check out this turntable mat.
Caring For Vinyls
Cleaning the record
If you leave your vinyls in storage for a long period of time or if you spot any mold or dirt on them, you’ll need more than just a record cleaning brush to get them ready to play. Yet it is not necessary to pay upwards of $300 for an advanced record cleaning machine like the Nitty Gritty.Consider washing them with a couple of drops of dish washing soap along with a soft cloth. Apply a couple small drops onto the record, clean it with the soft cloth or handiwipe and rinse it under running water. A handiwipe has no wood pulp so it won’t harm records. Take care to not get water on the record label. If you do get the label wet, don’t panic to much as it will dry with time. Once you’ve cleaned the record, dry it with a soft cloth or a high quality paper towel. This should eliminate all the dirt, dust and mold. Once the record is washed, use an anti-stat solution like Allsop or Discwasher D4 on the record to eliminate any static.
You can also use diluted alcohol to clean your records. Most commercial record cleaning products have a substantial amount of alcohol in their solutions. Yet straight alcohol will damage the record. It should be heavily diluted with water before being applied to the record’s surface.
Storing vinyl records
When storing your vinyls, always keep them upright. When you lay them in a stack formation, they’ll warp over time. Take care to not leave space between your records as they’ll lean and could warp in result. Here’s how you should store your records:
Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash
Vinyl can also warp when exposed to heat sources so be sure to store your vinyl in a temperature controlled environment. Just be sure to not leave them in direct sunlight or right by a furnace vent.
Never use the plastic sleeve that is put on used records. Once you buy used records throw this sleeve out right away. Plastic sleeves can stick to the vinyl and possibly leave blemishes on it. Instead, use a plain white paper sleeve that has its corners cut. The cut corners will allow you to slip the record in and out of the sleeve with ease.
No matter if your player is an inexpensive one or one that comes with a hefty price tag, you need to take care of it. Both the device and records tend to deteriorate over time, so caring is necessary if you want to enjoy them for the years to come. Especially, if you’ve bought a vintage turntable.
(Featured photo credit: r. nial bradshaw / https://www.flickr.com/photos/zionfiction/ )