How Many Times Can a Vinyl Record Be Played? (Tested)
With trying to build your vinyl collection comes a few things. First of all, it's very expensive and second of all, you wonder how often you can even play your vinyl collection. I will explain it to you in this article.
So, how many times can a vinyl record be played? A vinyl record can be played hundreds of times when maintained with good care, it's mandatory to keep your needle and your vinyl record clean to ensure the lifespan of the vinyl record. Playing the record once per time also helps.
If you want to know more about keeping your vinyl clean and how you can extend the lifespan of your vinyl records please keep on reading. I will also discuss what the right needle can do for your records and if scratching damages the record.
Why does playing a record introduce wear?
There are 2 main types of wear that will degrade the quality of a vinyl record and both of them can be minimized.
Sand and dirt will scratch the vinyl
First of all, there is the wear of the little particles that will make grooves in the record. This is easily minimized by maintaining your vinyl record. This is true for the record itself and for the needle. It's absolutely mandatory to keep both clean. If you read on you will find the best way to clean your records.
Avoid overuse of the vinyl
Second of all, when the needle is playing on to rotating vinyl record it's generating heat. This heat will deform the vinyl grooves. This is elastic, meaning that the grooves will go back to their original position over time. This can take several hours to go back and means that the deformation has become insignificant.
If you, however, play the record multiple times you introduce bigger deformations and they may become plastic deformations meaning that they will not (fully) return to their original position. You can counter this by only playing your record once a day or by at least keeping time between each time you play the record.
Doing both of this will ensure you can play your records hundreds of times without noticable wear and degradation in the audio quality so you can keep on enjoying your music collection.
How to keep your equipment clean
The video above explains the best way to keep your records clean. It's important to note that you should always clean the grooves in the correct direction which is in a circle around the middle point of the record. This has to be done this way so you can get into the grooves and not deform the grooves.
Cleaning your record vinyl with hot water and dish soap can be an okay method but isn't the best way you can do it.
Getting a cleaning kit specially made for vinyl record cleaning is the way to go. This is a fraction of the price of a vinyl collection and will pay itself back in no time by enlarging the lifespan of your vinyl collection. This cleaning kit has all the mandatory items for cleaning your vinyl record used in the video above.
Does scratching damage vinyl records?
Yes, scratching will damage vinyl records because you are essentially playing the same part of the vinyl over and over again very quickly. This will introduce lots of friction and thus heat which will deform the grooves in the vinyl record.
If the record isn't cleaned scratching will in turn also accelerate the wear done by sand and dirt on the record because it plays the record with more force coming from the needle because scratching makes the needle go faster over the vinyl record.
There are, however, several ways to minimize wear when scratching that will be explained below.
Minimize your scratching
The easiest way to minimize wear by scratching is to minimize your scratching. Avoid over scratching the same part of the song over and over again. Scratching can often be done on lots of parts of the songs so make sure you are using different spots to scratch. Keeping time between your scratches on the same spot will also help with reducing wear.
Get the right needle for scratching
The second thing that will help you minimize wear and will make scratching a more pleasant experience is by getting the right needle for scratching. The Shure M44-7 is a semi-affordable top quality solution used by many DJs to minimize wear and make scratching a pleasant experience.
Vinyl vs CD
So, for everyone who likes to make a laugh about that vinyl is degradable audio material you should note that vinyl records are easy to maintain and can be played hundreds of times. CD's will degrade too over time and are also sensitive to deep grooves due to the digital notation of how the music is stored.
I love researching and writing about new and exciting things in the world of mixing, including tutorials, reviews on hardware and software, as well as finding the latest and greatest. My goal is to help people become better DJs by providing them with all the knowledge they need to do just that!