Caring for your CDs and Vinyl 

Once you have made a purchase from Linn Records, you will want to keep your album in pristine condition so that you can enjoy listening to it again and again. 

Here are some helpful suggestions for the best ways to care for your vinyl and CDs.

How to take care of vinyl

Many discerning Linn customers maintain that vinyl is still the format of choice. When used properly, there is something very special about vinyl and applying effort towards a high quality, analogue sound. There is also the aesthetic factor of large scale cover art and the potential value of a record in the future.

Contrary to popular belief, it is a format that is very much alive and available today on specialist websites (including this website) and in stores. Very often it is the only format certain music is released on.

Whatever your reason for choosing vinyl, there is no doubting the importance of  good record care in terms of lifespan and sound quality.

Linn Records recommend the following simple guidelines:

Your record collection should be stored in a clean, dry area away from windows or humidity. Vinyl should be kept in a vertical position with no leaning. Otherwise, you can use horizontal stacks of 15 - 20 albums. Another common-sense measure is to avoid heat sources such as direct sunlight, heaters or amplifiers.

Records should be kept within both sleeve and jacket when not in use.  Plastic sleeves are not a good idea, especially in warmer climates as they can create permanent damage. Plain, inexpensive white paper sleeves are recommended with cut corners to allow records to be removed and returned to the jacket much more easily. Replace the sleeve in the record jacket and turn the open end toward the closed end of jacket to form a dust resistant seal.  Polythene-lined sleeves are also a good option as they serve to keep static down on your recordings.   

When removing a record from its sleeve always handle with care at the edges. Avoid touching the actual recording surface to reduce the possibility of scratching it with your fingernails.  Fingerprints are less of an issue and can be removed.  

If your turntable has a lid, keep it closed while in use.  

On no account use your fingers to wipe dust from your needle or stylus. A quality stylus cleaner or light brush is recommended to ensure longer life for both records and stylus.   

It might sound simple but keeping your records clean is the easy, inexpensive method of preserving your vinyl.  If your records do accumulate dust, use a fine record cleaning brush, always clean with the groove, never across the groove as this can damage the surface of the record.  If there is stubborn dirt or mould then it is recommended that you wet-clean your record.  

Wet your cleaning brush (or a soft cloth) with a mixture of record cleaning solution diluted with distilled water, which is available from chemists.  Again clean with the groove using the brush or cloth, after a few turns check to see if the record is clean, rinse any deposits from the brush or cloth before restarting a wash cycle.  Once the record is clean, leave it to dry naturally in a vertical position, a plastic dish rack is quite useful here.  Do not put your records back in their jacket until they are dry.  When cleaning with distilled water be careful to avoid getting any on the label as this may cause the printing inks to run or smudge.  Using tap water is not recommended as it often contains mineral deposits which may damage the surface of the record. 
 

There are a number of inexpensive disc cleaning solutions/machines available which are which simplify the above process, while more expensive record cleaning machines feature a vacuum to suck the dirt and cleaning solution from the records grooves.  

An option to consider protection of album artwork is to use plastic sleeves. These slide over the outside of the jacket and protects it from outside elements plus the wear and tear of sliding a cover off the shelf. 

To reduce the build up of static, which attracts dust particles, use an anti-static gun following the instructions supplied with your gun.  
 

How to take care of CDs

The common misconception when the Compact Disc format arrived was that they were impregnable - it would be impossible to damage them. All of us will be aware of how untrue this became in reality and although more robust than vinyl and audio-cassette, they should be handled with a good degree of care.  A deep scratch will cause your disc to skip, stick or sometimes eject altogether and that can be infuriating.  

As it is a digital format, repair kits don't work particularly well, so it's a good idea to look after your CDs from the off.

In terms of cleaning, a good option is to use plain round wipes made specifically for CD cleaning.  It is recommended to wipe the CD from the center hole to the outer edge and not to wipe in a circular motion as this will leave marks.  It may sound simple but to guard against scratches on your CDs, keep them in their cases when not in use.

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