Vinyl is back with vinyl record storage just as important as ever. Not that vinyl records ever went away but sales were expected to increase by 60% in 2008 to approximately 1.6 million and LP record sales reached 2.5 million for 2009. Well 2010 came in with sales of at least 2.8 million. The figures show that people are discovering the richness of the sound that vinyl records produce. Between record album collectors and the customers that have re-discovered vinyl in it’s purest form it is important that you have good vinyl record storage. Vinyl records hold an important place in the evolution of music listening around the world. We can date ourselves even more if we refer to them as a gramophone or phonograph record.
Although the vinyl long playing record was first produced by RCA in 1930 they were most popular from the 1950’s into the 1990’s. Columbia records started development in 1938 and by 1948 the 12 inch Long Play (LP) 331/3 rpm microgroove vinyl record was available to the buying public. RCA introduced the 7 inch 45 rpm Extended Play (EP) and the battle was on. For about two years the consumer did not know which of these formats would win first place.
Eventually you the consumer decided and the 7 inch 45 rpm EP. Better known as the “single” retained part of the market for a record company who only wanted to release a “single” song on each side of the record. The 12 inch 331/3 rpm LP obtained the biggest share for releasing music albums. Consisting of several songs with about a half hour of playing time on each side. Vinyl plastic is unbreakable and some what flexible with normal use but these records would have a paper sleeve. The LP would also have a printed jacket to promote the album and provide extra protection to the record.
To keep that great sound your vinyl record requires proper storage and maintenance. Vinyl can fall victim to a variety of problems including improper storage, heat, sunlight, dust, scratches and the occasional cup of coffee or piece of pizza. To any person who values their record collection it is important that they be maintained properly.
It does not matter how your store your LP if you do not have a proper sleeve and jacket. So consider this your first step. Make sure you have a paper sleeve and cardboard jacket to protect your vinyl from dust and dirt. These are the two main causes of scratches.
The vinyl of your LP is either pressed or engraved on both sides and cannot be stored horizontally. The weight of the records on top of one another or anything else that could get stacked on top can exert pressure on the grooves and cause sound distortion. Always store your records vertically. This does not mean jammed in a milk crate or leaning over in a apple box. Allowing your records to lean will cause the records to warp. Vertical storage exerts the minimum amount of stress possible. Do not try and squeeze as many LP’s together thinking that they are really vertical now! That pressure on the vinyl can also lead to sound distortion. A little bit of space is good.
Vinyl does not get along with heat and the sun. Whether it is near a window with exposure to direct sunlight, a hot attic or a baseboard heater. The next time you look at your prized copy of the Door’s, “L.A. Woman” the jacket could be faded from the sun and the vinyl will not be the only thing bent out of shape.
Humidity and vinyl are also enemies. A damp basement has the potential to allow mold to grow. Mold and a damp environment can damage your other prized copy of the Rolling Stones, “Sticky Fingers”. Remember paper products love to absorb moisture and that limited edition record cover may become a moldy oldy.
There are some quality products to store that great vinyl LP collection of yours. You have spent time and money investing in your hobby remember you should buy proper vinyl record storage so you can continue listening to those sweet sounds. See you on the flip side.
THE FLIP SIDE
Well for now this is the flip side. A place where I will add snippets of material when I do not have content for a whole article but want to pass on information which I think might be of interest but only two or three paragraphs.
An Opportunity Missed
My step daughter Katie emailed me about two months ago (end of April 2011) wanting my opinion because she wanted to buy a new turntable for her boyfriend’s birthday. Of course this peaked my curiosity and she told me his father had left Jesse quite an extensive record collection after he passed away. Katie and Jesse were invited over for dinner and I asked Jesse if I could interview him about the collection and have an opportunity to see the LP’s and how they had been stored.
The vinyl record collection was being kept in a storage locker and I was not crazy about that kind of LP storage. I suggested that when he got moved into his new apartment I would help pick them up and check their condition. I was looking forward to see what LP’s he had and how the vinyl records had been stored.
I emailed Katie about one week ago to find out Jesse’s mother had moved and cleared out the storage space. In the process she had “thrown out the whole LP collection”. Jesse was absolutely choked that his mother did not even ask him about the record collection considering it was given to him by his Father.
So, needless to say, there was no interview, no record collection to check out, a real opportunity missed.
If you’ve got the idea to invest some money and want something nice, you could look at something like this Boltz two-shelf LP rack in metal or this MusicDirect two-shelf maple LP rack in wood and metal. Finding affordable storage for records is getting harder these days.
The good people at Atocha Design raise the bar in vinyl storage with their “The Record Cabinet”. Finished in American Walnut and fashioned in the form of a bureau.