Before CDs and Walkman and digital music iPods, records were the primary music storage medium. Phonograph or gramophone records are flat discs with modulated spiral grooves that store music.
The analog sound storage medium was first made in the 1880s. It was initially made from shellac materials until the switch to vinyl in the mid-2000s. Now the medium is popularly referred to as vinyl or vinyl records.
Reasons to Get a Record Cleaner Machine
While manual cleaning is effective, the better cleaning option is powered cleaning machines. Record cleaning machines can be expensive but are worth the in-depth clean they give.
- Improved Sound Quality
Clean records produce the best sound quality when played. When you play a dirty record, it can cause static, which are like cracks and pops in the sound. It is recommended that record owners wash them after purchase to remove left-over grime and agents used while in the mold at the record-making plant.
Vinyl records are made to last for centuries. However, if left unclean or stored improperly, one risks losing the music stored on this analog storage medium.
- Less or No Damage
Playing a dirty record can cause scratches or breaks to the record. If dirt or other debris come in contact with the stylus, it can damage the grooves and decrease sound quality.
- Proper Drying Technique
The most critical step to record cleaning is proper drying. Some record users were concerned when their records received damage after wet cleaning. Now, most realize that improper drying can cause muck and dirt to solidify then damage the grooves. Some record cleaning machines spin-dry, which is the fastest and best drying technique.
- Faster Cleaning Process
While manual cleaning has its place, powered record cleaning gets more done in less time. Manual cleaning usually requires repeating the wet process two or more times when compared to using a powered record cleaner. Record owners can attest to improved sound quality after a power clean, as it gives a faster and deeper clean.
History and Current State of Vinyl Records
Vinyl has remained one of the most consistent music mediums over the decades. Recently younger generations have regained an interest in records, complementing the crisp and clear sound quality it gives to music. They have the same audio channels that are now on digital music storage mediums:
- Stereophonic sounds (stereo for short) eludes to multi-directional sound, which means it gives the impression that the music is coming from several different places at the same time.
- Monaural or monophonic sound (mono for short) uses only one channel to sound as if the music is coming from one place.
- Quadraphonic sound (quad for short) uses four channels, each producing an independent sound that works together to produce different parts of the same music.
- There are others, but these are the main channels used for vinyl records.
Many state the high-fidelity sound quality adds another level to music enjoyment. When compared to modern music formats, music lovers say that the compressed size of MP3 music formats subtracts from the overall sound quality while records maximize the space offered on each side of the disc to give clear audio for audiophiles.
Records can last for centuries but require great care as they can become warped or scratched if stored improperly. Many vinyl lovers emphasize not stacking the records, and not exposing them to high heat, dust, oil, and sweat. All of which can break or scratch the record if left in the modulated spiral grooves.
One can choose from different cleaning methods such as:
- Record cleaning brush
- Manual cleaning with distilled water, cleaning solution and a soft cloth
- Powered cleaning machines