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Tips In Taking Care Of Record Player Needles

By Deborah Hill

A record player is an apparatus for reproducing sounds from a phonograph record disc that is being spun by the turntable at a constant speed. The sound is reproduced by the vibrations picked up by the stylus or needle in the grooves of the vinyl. These vibrations are converted into electric currents and amplified for the loudspeakers to reproduce the sounds.

These parts of the apparatus need to be changed every time they are worn out due to constant use. This is specially true for record player needles because of friction created when it tracks in the grooves. Here are some basic tips in getting the best out from your phonographs to have a good sound quality.

Setting up the player would require an amplifier and speakers but speakers with an amplifier built inside them are already available so they can be used instead. Set the position of speakers according to which side they must be placed and put enough space in between the wall and speakers. Sit them on a foam when placing them on hard surfaces for the vibrations to be absorbed.

Buy also second hand vinyls because they are obviously cheaper than the brand new ones specially those found in garage sales, charity shops and vintage markets. Thoroughly clean your records to have the best sounding music possible when you play them. There are machines that can do this although cheaper alternatives are available.

When not using the player, the dust cover must be down in keeping it clean. Though when it is being used, you have the option to keep it down or take it off and would depend on your preference. The sound may resonate with the dust cover when it is down so there are differences in sound quality compared to when taken off.

Platter mats are materials that looks like a sitting between player and vinyl that made usually from felt. It is used to absorb vibrations and to steadily hold the record for improving sound quality. Felt may be the most common because it is included in the player although cork and rubber are better in reducing static and vibrations.

The cartridge houses the needle and is replaceable because dust and debris can wear the needle down. If playing records regularly, annually changing the cartridge is advisable to keep its excellence in producing sounds. You may also consider upgrading for further improvements rather than just doing regular replacing.

Set the tracking force which is the weight of the cartridge on the vinyl and can be changed by turning the counterweight at the other side of the tonearm. There are guidelines available online or together with the product manual about the suggested tracking force. If the weight is too heavy then the music will be dull to listen to and if it is too light then it will be thin.

Make sure enough space is available in your place for your record player because they are bulky most of the time. Placing them somewhere that does not produce vibrations is important. If not, then the vibration will make the needle to skip and jump when being played.

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