Why Do Vinyl Records Crackle, And How Can You Stop It? - Vita Audio

Why Do Vinyl Records Crackle, And How Can You Stop It?

All music lovers know of the thrill of sitting back and relaxing with a good record playing. With vinyl records, you are introduced to a whole new level of music, music that does not compare to what we hear on speakers or through headphones.

But although a loved favorite of ours, there is one major downside and that is the crackling.

A vinyl record crackling is not out of the ordinary but is very annoying when wanting to listen to your favorite song. So, why exactly does this happen? And can it be stopped?

Why Does Your Vinyl Record Crackle?

Now that we have covered what a vinyl record is, it should be established why your vinyl record is crackling. It is very common to hear a crackle when listening to your record, and it is more than likely no fault of your own. There are a variety of reasons for this to happen and is an issue very simple to solve.

Dust and Dirt

One of the biggest reasons for a vinyl record to crackle is because of a build-up of dust and dirt. Because of this lodging into the record’s grooves, this leaves less room for the stylus to work. As the record moves, the stylus can hit some dirt or dust which will inevitably create an obstacle and cause this crackling sound.

Poor Quality

You may simply find that the record you have is of poor quality. Many records nowadays are recycled and sold for affordable prices, but with this comes concerns for the quality. It is common for people to find an old record in their attic and donate it to a record store for that company to then sell on – it is difficult to determine the strength in quality. If your record is not brand new and you are experiencing a crackle sound, this may be your answer.

Turntable Stylus

It is common for the blame of the crackle sound to be placed on the vinyl record itself, but have you ever stopped to think about the turntable itself? The most important part of the turntable is the stylus, for without it we would not be able to listen to the music. 

With that said, there is a possibility that the stylus is the main culprit. The stylus is the thing which drives into the grooves of the record, so it is important that this is set up properly. If it is not, you may damage the groove which will end in a crackle sound.

Static

Another big reason for your vinyl records crackling is due to static. Vinyl generally produces a lot of static electricity and this in turn gets picked up by the cartridge which is then amplified by the phono preamplifier. This static is one of the biggest reasons for dust build-up and debris which can get trapped in record grooves. Static cannot be helped so it is not the fault of anybody, however there are plenty of ways to prevent this from happening.

Can This Be Stopped?

With all of these reasons above, you may be wondering if there is anything that can be done to stop or prevent this issue from occurring. Thankfully, there are many ways to stop your vinyl records from crackling and to improve the overall sound quality.

Below, we will be listing some of the best ways to do this and help you to avoid possible mistakes you may be making with your record.

Cleaning

Not everyone understands the importance of cleaning a vinyl record and stylus, but it can make the difference between hearing a crackle and a clear sound. In order to prevent your vinyl records from crackling, make sure to clean the record to remove any irregularities. 

The best way to do this is to get a microfiber cloth and wipe all of the dust off of the vinyl. After this, go in with a cleaning solution to wash and rinse before drying off with another microfiber cloth to finish.

You also need to concern yourself with the cleanliness of the stylus for this is the main component used to play the record. To clean your stylus, take a stylus brush and cleaning fluid and carefully clean the tool (be very careful as this cannot be damaged).

Take Care Touching Your Records

The best way to prevent your vinyl records from crackling is to take care when touching them. It is very easy for dust and dirt to gravitate towards your records which, in turn, creates a crackle, but this can easily be avoided by the way you handle them. 

Make sure you don’t touch the surface of the record, only the sides, and keep them inside their sleeves. It may be a habit to some to leave the record unsealed on the side but this will only attract dust. Always put your record back into its sleeve.

Record Cleaning Machine

Sometimes a microfiber cloth is not enough to clean a vinyl record and something stronger is needed. Luckily, we have the record cleaning machine to solve the problem. Because of the thickness of the record’s grooves, this can make it difficult to clean away all the dust thoroughly by hand. You can find a record cleaning machine in online retailers such as Amazon and they are very easy and quick to use.

Hygiene

This is a point which not all people will have thought about, especially if they are someone who uses records casually and commonly. It is normal when handling your records to talk with them close to your face, but by doing this you are risking saliva particles hitting the record. Another way this can occur is from actively blowing dust off the records. 

Your mouth carries a lot of saliva, and this saliva is constantly spewing from the mouth with every word we speak. If you see dust, it is very important not to blow it off. Use a cloth or machine to do this. When speaking, make sure to keep the vinyl record at a suitable distance so as not to contaminate it and create that crackle.

Anti-Static Inner Sleeves

Purchase some anti-static inner sleeves for your vinyl records. Anti-static inner sleeves work brilliantly to reduce the amount of build-up in your records whilst they are being stored away. Whilst you can choose to use any kind of sleeve, the anti-static inner sleeve is the best choice for those looking for something effective and of high quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will My Vinyl Last?

Vinyl records have a lifespan of about 50 years. However, they should only be played once every few months. After that, they should be stored in a protective sleeve.

Can I Use Vinyl Records In An Audio System?

Yes! Many audio systems accept vinyl records as input media. Some even allow you to connect multiple records at one time. For example, you can connect up to four 45 RPM records to a single turntable using a standard 3-speed phono cartridge.

Do All Vinyl Records Have The Same Quality?

No. Different labels produce different quality records. Some vinyl records are better than others. Check the label before buying a record.

Is Vinyl Better Than Compact Discs?

Yes. Vinyl records are superior to CDs because they have greater longevity and offer much higher fidelity. Also, unlike CDs, vinyl records do not require special equipment to play them.

Can I Play Vinyl On Other Devices?

Yes. Most modern audio devices can play vinyl records. However, some older players cannot handle vinyl records. If you own an older model, check the manual to see whether it supports vinyl records.

Can I Buy Used Vinyl Records?

Yes. You can buy used vinyl records online and in stores. Just make sure that the record has been cleaned properly.

Final Thoughts

If you are someone who loves listening to vinyl records, then you have probably experienced the pain of hearing a crackle. This crackle not only disturbs the flow of the song but says a lot about the quality of your equipment. However, this is nothing to worry about as this crackle you are hearing is experienced by many people and can easily be resolved.

Within this article we have explored the vinyl record, especially centring on the problem of hearing a crackle, the causes for this and the resolution. We have been able to discover the many reasons for hearing a vinyl record from the quality of the record itself to static caused by dust. 

As well as this, we have also come up with a list of handy solutions to help you prevent any issues with your vinyl record, for example, by showing your records care and considering your own hygiene when handling the record.

Before deciding to introduce the vinyl record into your life, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. Looking after a record can be hard work and with thick grooves it is inevitable that dust and dirt will find their way in there, so make sure that you know of the potential risks and know how to solve them.

Despite this, do not let this put you off vinyl records. Records are great to have in the home and make for a pleasant change from listening to music from your phone or speaker. Introduce vinyl records to your life and never look back.

Jacob Stable
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