Keeping a record player in tip-top shape can be inexpensive, quick, and easy, as long as maintenance is done regularly and correctly. Here are five easy ways to make sure those lovely turntables are turning as best they can.
First Off—The Platter
You can start by regularly cleaning the spindle, the small part of the motor shaft that pokes through the middle of the record. To begin, take off the platter, the flat, rotating surface that the record sits on. Once it is removed, pinch the spindle; when you pull it up a bit, you will be able to see the grime that has collected around it, which you can wipe off with a microfiber cloth. Add a drop of oil to the spindle once it is clean before you put the platter back on.
Second of All—Replace Your Belt
If your turntable is belt driven, invest in a new belt every few years or so. When your belt is ready to be replaced, you’ll hear it slide when you turn on the motor, or you’ll see it droop lower on its pulley. You can find a replacement belt for your record player at LP Tunes. We carry turntable accessories and belts compatible with 100+ manufactures. We also provide a free belt matching service so you can be certain to find the perfect belt for your record player.
Thirdly—Find a Firm and Level Foundation
Make sure you have something sturdy to support your turntable. Your stylus relies on incredibly tiny vibrations to translate vinyl grooves into music, so any outside vibrations or unevenness can affect rotational accuracy, lower the quality, or worse, can actually cause the needle to jump around and scratch the record.
Forth in Line—Align Yourself
You want to be sure that your stylus is sitting in the record grooves correctly. If your turntable is off-kilter, you run the risk of your needle skipping, your records wearing down, or the overall degeneration of the quality of your music. At LP Tunes, you can find a variety of tools to check the alignment of your cartridge and your anti-skate counterweight.
Last, but Not Least—Polish Your Diamonds
Perhaps the most important practice is keeping your stylus clean. It is prone to attracting dirt, especially if it runs along dirty records that haven’t been handled correctly. When a record has been held by the grooves rather than the edges or the record, the finger oils transfer onto your stylus, and an oil-coated stylus can collect dust and cram it into the vinyl’s grooves. Vice-versa, Dirt and contamination on the record act as abrasive and also cause stylus wear. Styli that are taken care of and played on cleaned records can easily last 5 to 6 years with no detectable diamond wear.
Regularly sweep your stylus with a carbon fiber brush, or even a fluid polish. LP Tunes offers a Diamond Stylus Brush, which has tight bristles that do not necessarily require any of the additional cleaning fluids.
LP Tunes also carries an extensive supply of needles/styli and cartridges from a number of your favorite brands. The stylus dulls over time, so you should replace it after around 500 hours of use. If you aren’t sure which needle would fit your record player, check out our free stylus matching service. Many manufacturers no longer produce styli for older cartridges, so we recommend you purchase multiple at a time.
All in all, the easiest way to clean a turntable is to keep up with its regular care, especially by taking care of your records themselves. Check out our other article covering Tips to Maintain Your Vinyl Records for some quick and helpful tricks about vinyl maintenance.