Spending time at home, during the current lockdown for example, provides us with the perfect opportunity to tackle all the tasks we tend to put off. Organizing and tidying are at the top of this list; it isn’t uncommon to put these jobs off until next weekend, then the weekend after, and the weekend after that… The lockdown therefore seems like a good time to give your record collection a new lease of life. Reorganizing your records, cleaning and protecting them: we’re going to accompany you throughout this process to make it a pleasant and productive way to pass the time.
Cleaning your records
It is essential to clean your records to ensure a high-quality listening experience, but also to guarantee that your vinyls last as long as possible and to optimize the lifespan of the stylus. The dust and particles that get lodged inside the grooves can cause the stylus to wear prematurely and can result in a loss of detail. Consequently, regular maintenance of your records is strongly recommended. Using a carbon fiber brush, such as the Pro-Ject Brush It, before and after playing your record keeps them in good condition and allows them to last longer. Even more practical, the easy to use Nagaoka CL1000 vinyl record brush is designed to thoroughly clean your records thanks to its soft silicone roller.
Another very effective way to fight dust and to enjoy the best sound restitution your records have to offer is to use an anti-static gun. Designed to neutralize static charge, which attracts the particles responsible for crackling and noise, an anti-static gun uses a piezoelectric crystal that generates a positive ion charge each time the trigger is squeezed and a negative ion charge when the trigger is released. The record’s electric charge is neutralized thanks to a phenomenon called piezoelectricity. All that’s left to do is to remove the dust by blowing on it or by using a brush.
It is recommended to clean older albums found at a record store, at flea markets, or acquired from friends and family with a cleaning solution and a velvet brush, such as the Winyl concentrate cleaning fluid and Milty Duopad cleaning pad. Cleaning kits that contain both liquid and a brush are also available, like the Rock On Wall vinyl record cleaning kit.
Another way to quickly clean older records is to use cleaning putty. The Pro-Ject Vinyl Clean and Winyl Cleaning Gel are made to remove dust and particles from both the surface of the records and from inside the grooves. After spreading the putty (or gel) across the surface of the record, simply leave it to dry until a film is formed. Then gently remove the film to thoroughly clean your vinyl.
If you’re looking for the best there is in vinyl maintenance, you can opt for a vinyl record cleaning machine. Ranging from the Spin Clean to high-end models designed for audiophiles that own an extensive vinyl collection, such as the Clearaudio Smart Matrix Pro, this type of equipment is ideal for refreshing your favorite albums.
Protecting your records
After cleaning your records, it would be a shame to store them in an old inner sleeve. Inner sleeves are an important element when it comes to protecting your vinyl records and revamping your collection. Changing the inner sleeve is not only a matter of appearance, but it also helps to protect your records, some of which may be over 40 years old. Even better, anti-static inner sleeves are particularly useful as they are specifically designed to keep your albums in good condition for as long as possible and make them easier to clean. The friction created when you take a record out of a paper sleeve is a source of static electricity. This is why the dust and particles that are in the air stick to the surface of the record. Anti-static sleeves are developed to avoid this phenomenon, which helps to keep your records in good condition and improve the sound.
To ensure that your record collection stands the test of time, it is crucial to protect your records from dust. Consequently, it is recommended to use outer plastic sleeves with your records, particularly with those that are of special value to you. Available for 33 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM records, but also double albums and 33 RPM box sets, these outer sleeves protect your albums from wear and tear as well as dust. To top it all off, these sleeves also have the advantage of unifying your collection. Whether your records are new or old, using outer sleeves gives your music library a uniform and seamless look.
Organizing your collection
Once your records are properly cleaned and protected, it is time to think about organizing and storing them. For many music lovers, finding new records is so fun that it doesn’t take long to find yourself with a large collection. Must-have classics, records that remind us of our childhood or youth, favorite albums, new releases, rarities, gifts and even souvenirs bought at a concert: building up a decent collection doesn’t take as long as you might think.
Once you have accumulated a large number of records, it can be difficult to find the album you want when browsing your collection, especially if you let a guest choose which record to listen to. When it comes to organizing, everyone has their own preferences: alphabetically, by genre, by year or decade, etc. No matter which method you choose, using dividers is a great way to find your way around your collection. Want to play a Beatles album? Just go to the Bs. Feel like listening to some jazz? Just go to the respective category. Very often, we don’t take the time to organize our records in this practical and efficient way. The lockdown is therefore the perfect opportunity to do this and make use of your free time, but also to make your listening experience easier and more enjoyable.
Among the different solutions to organize and store your record collection, furniture that is specially designed to hold your turntable, phono preamplifier and stereo amplifier is a practical way to group everything together. There are elegant stands that are easy to incorporate into your interior, such as the NorStone Loft CS or the NorStone Esse hi-fi Vinyl, which enhance your installation while providing easy access to your record collection and allows you to display your hi-fi system and records without making your living space any less esthetic.
If you tend to keep coming back to a specific set of albums depending on your mood or if you spend more time listening to recent purchases, vinyl crates will allow you to keep a selection of records to hand. Some models, such as the Victrola VA-20, have a retro look that perfectly matches the world of vinyl.
It is therefore possible to combine practicality and pleasure by taking advantage of the current lockdown to clean your vinyl records, optimize your classification system or completely reorganize your albums. This way, it will be even more enjoyable to dig through your collection.