Are poor records bad for your equipment?

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Are poor records bad for your equipment?

Postby Christine » Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:00 am

Perhaps this is a dumb question, but are poor quality records, especially those that have skips in them, bad for your records player / stylus ("needle"?).

Yesterday I received two 45 rpm records that are in decidedly bad shape. These two records together are a 1955 album. Apparently in those days they offered double 45's as a cheaper alternative to LP's. These are mono with two tracks per side.

Either way, these have a lot of crackle and several skips. Playing at 33 rpm as suggested by a previous topic does help, and wave corrector and audacity do help in cleaning things up considerably. But I was wondering if the jumping about that the stylus is doing with skips is harmful to it. I would like to do several recordings to choose the best one, or mix and match, but if it degrades the stylus more quickly than would otherwise be the case it isn't worth it.

Regards, Christine
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 10:51 am

Postby Glenn » Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:40 pm

Hi Christine,
Diamond is a pretty tough material yet it still wears out against the relatively soft vinyl. This is normal, but when playing records that are in rough shape keep in mind that the wear is accelerated. Otherwise, I doubt any real damage can be done to the pick-up short of unintended abuse.
The skips are likely due to serious neglect on the part of the previous owner but it could also be an indication of an improper setup within your equipment. I'd begin by washing the records thoroughly and inspecting the grooves for debris. If they look clean, then the skipping is likely the result of scratches compromising the integrity of the groove wall. Try increasing the tracking force and/or adjusting the anti-skate. If it skips forward increase the antiskate; if it skips backwards reduce it.
Worst case, the playability can be restored at the skipping point with an exacto knive to realign the groove and restore a straight path for the stylus. This would be a last resort, but since the scratch has already obliterated the contents, a cut-and-splice will be necessary in either case.
One thing is for certain: The record (and the music therein) is far more precious than a replaceable stylus. I'd go ahead with the recording knowing once it's done, it's done. The music is forever.
Good luck.
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