He even asked me straight-faced if the tonearm of the turntable moved inwards towards the label.
With the vinyl revival in full swing a lot of first time users are suddenly faced with the dilemma of using a physical medium for playback of their favourite tunes. For those of us who remember using vinyl and didn’t throw away our collections, or did in a fit to keep up with the times, this may all seem a bit obvious. But it was only when I sourced out a turntable for a nephew of mine that I realised that he didn’t have a clue about any of it. He even asked me straight-faced if the tonearm of the turntable moved inwards towards the label. It was then I thought, these guys need a step-by-step guide to playing and caring for this new rabbit-hole they are about to fall into.
So let’s assume you have invested in a turntable, sourced some original or reissue pressing of your favourite album and are about to drop the needle and play.
The first thing to check for is dust on the record.
Dust will inhibit the stylus from doing its work in the grooves of the record (and yes they do move concentrically towards the middle of the album). Too much dust can scratch the record and damage the grooves, creating crackling and popping which sounds authentic and retro but after a while is just irritating (why do you think we all leapt onto the promise of crackle free digital music ). But there is something so organic and authentic about analogue sound that digital just can’t duplicate and that is why we are all going back to the future.
Using a Record Brush
There will always be a little dust on even the most pristine record but with most it is simply a case of using a record brush to move it off. This can be done by making the turntable rotate, usually by moving the tonearm towards the record but not lowering it, then lowering the brush gently onto the surface of the record.
For records in need of a deeper clean you will need to invest in a cleaning solution.
There are many different products surfacing onto the market. I use Melody Mate which is an Australian made product but you can use anything that is suitable.
You will also need to invest in a micro-fibre cloth.
These can be bought anywhere. Even your local supermarket.
Lay the record gently on its cover
Spray the cleaning solution liberally onto the record
Using the micro-fibre cloth, working in a circular motion going with the grooves, gently massage the solution into the record.
Let the solution dry before playing.
And that’s it.
Its not as easy as clicking on itunes but you will be rewarded with a more lifelike experience. Also being so hands on with the medium I think makes you feel more connected and involved with the music.
Plus the album artwork is killer!Suicide Blonde INXS Video