When browsing the diverse and rich history of vinyl at Academy Records it may be difficult to discern the quality of a record from first glance. Although the LP jacket and sleeve may be in pristine condition, that may not necessarily reflect how the vinyl will play on your turntable. Here are a few things that you should look for when purchasing your used vinyl records to ensure that you get the best possible sound.
- The appearance of the record in usually the best way you can dictate the health of the record. Light scratches are not indicative of poor quality, as most light scratches are inaudible when on your turn table. Deeper gashes, however, can cause skipping, stalling, popping, and even stylus damage. When assessing if the scratches will cause these issues, examine the area closely. If the imprint cuts into the pressed grooves of the record than the music will be affected. If the grooves remain intact, so will the music.
- Dust and dirt can also negatively affect the sound quality of your record. Examine the groove of the record. If you see grayish/ white residue within, then you are probably seeing fine dirt and dust particles. These are easy to clean and won’t affect the music. However, sticky residue and visible stains may render the record unlistenable.
- Finally the shape of the record can indicate its quality and playability. All records are circles, but when seen from the side, the disc should be flat and smooth. If you see any abnormal ridges, bumps, or distortion in the shape, it is a good sign that the record is worn down. In most cases this does not largely affect the music quality, but it can be further exacerbated by the stylus of your turntable. Be sure to replace your stylus frequently, as dull needles can dig into the record’s grooves and warp the vinyl further
Check out Academy Records for the best selection of new and used records.