How Many Times Can A Vinyl Record Be Played?


Nothing can compare with how delicate vinyl records are. In fact, its lifespan will end no matter how much you take care of it. It leads us to the question – how many times can you play a vinyl record?

If you are taking care of your vinyl record well, you can play it over 100 times. But you will notice minor degradation in terms of sound. Still, you can play your record many times, depending on how well you take care of it.

Vinyl records have a lifespan. For this reason, you need to know the factors that influence how long a record will last.

How Many Plays Can A Vinyl Record Do?

The world relies on digital technology today. So, it is not surprising that not everyone is familiar with old-school vinyl records. But recently, it seems like this vintage predecessor of CDs is making a comeback.

On the other hand, you may be someone who collects vinyl records and display them on your shelf.

But regardless of which way you lean, there is a chance that you do not entirely understand how vinyl records work.

Moreover, one of the most common questions about vinyl records is how many times you can play them. The answer depends on how well you take care of them.

If you take care of your vinyl record well, you can play it more than 100 times. However, it is essential to note that there will still be some minor degradation when it comes to the audio. On the other hand, a vinyl record that is poorly taken care of can be damaged in only one play.

Even the slightest scratch can cause your vinyl record to skip when playing. Additionally, touching its surface with your bare hands can cause the record to accumulate dust, which can also destroy your record.

That said, you need to properly take care of your record if you want it to last. Taking care of a record includes cleaning the record, proper storage, and correct usage.

When cleaning your vinyl record, you should only use products, such as anti-static record brush and record cleaner, mainly made for it. If you use products with harsh chemicals, chances are you will scratch its surface. As a result, the number of plays that your record can do will decrease.

Meanwhile, proper storage and usage include storing your record in its sleeve after using it. When placing your record on a turntable, put it carefully to ensure that no warping will happen.

If you know how to handle your record properly, your record will last for up to a hundred plays. But if you are careless, you will destroy your vinyl record sooner than its expected lifespan.

Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of Your Record

Vinyl records consist of polyvinyl chloride. This material is proven to last for a very long time. But no matter how strong this material is, several factors can affect how long it will last.

Cleaning Method

Regularly cleaning your record is a crucial factor in terms of its longevity. You need to keep your record free of any dirt, fingerprint, and dust. This way, you will be able to preserve the highest possible quality.

The grooves of a vinyl record are delicate. So, any dust, dirt, or foreign object that gets stuck within these ridges will significantly impact the record’s playback and sound quality.

When there is a speck of dirt or dust buildup on record grooves, the vinyl record will start to skip while playing. 

Additionally, your fingerprints are another factor that can render your record useless. If transferred on the surface of your vinyl record, the natural oil produced by your fingers can attract a lot of dirt. The dirt will then settle on the surface and grooves of your records, which results in scratching.

Sunlight Exposure

One of the most common factors that influence a vinyl record’s lifespan is its exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight for a long time will result in high temperatures, something that your vinyl record cannot tolerate. The increase in temperature will cause your record to warp and distort.

Moreover, polyvinyl chloride can only withstand a temperature of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If the heat exceeds this temperature, the vinyl record will lose its resilience. Such will end up in deformation.

You can reverse the warpage if it is minor. However, you cannot expect the record to have the best sound quality still.

Humidity

In order for you to preserve your record, you should store them in places with proper conditions. This way, they will not deprecate or tarnish.

When storing a vinyl record, humidity is one of the significant factors that you need to look at. It is important to note that too much humidity can destroy the quality of your vinyl record.

Humidity results in a static charge, and if your record is positively charged, it will attract a lot of dust and dirt. An anti-static record brush can reverse the positive charge. But if you keep on storing your record in places with 45 to 50 percent humidity, it will be a challenge to maintain static-free storage for your vinyl records.

The problem for some people is that they live in cities with a naturally high humidity level. This factor is something that is out of control. Fortunately, there is one thing you can do to resolve it.

If you live in places with high humidity levels, such as in the South, you can use a dehumidifier in the space where you are storing your records. This way, you will be able to manage humidity levels. As a result, you will be able to reduce static charge and preserve the quality of your vinyl record.

Storing Your Records Improperly

Properly storing your records is essential. It would be best if you placed them on your shelf or box vertically instead of horizontally. If you stack them horizontally, you will end up decreasing the quality of your vinyl records.

Placing your records on top of each other will create pressure. This factor can result in warpage on your vinyl record, which will destroy it entirely. Additionally, the pressure built up due to horizontal stacking will crack your record, a type of damage that is entirely irreversible.

Moreover, several methods will allow you to fix your warped vinyl record. Preventing such damage is still better than fixing it.

For that reason, store your vinyl records vertically and make sure that nothing will cause pressure buildup on them.

You may also be interested in this article:

Can Records Be Stored Horizontally?

Using A Cheap Turntable

If you are planning to start a vinyl record collection, you should know that you need to pay a reasonable amount for a high-quality vinyl record. Never settle for inexpensive record players, as most of them have low quality and will end up ruining your vinyl.

So, it would be best if you were willing to spend at least $1,000 on your turntable. A high-quality record player will allow you to play your vinyl record multiple times without worrying that it might get damaged.

On the other hand, cheap turntables are often undersized and lack some features. For instance, it does not have a counterweight, so you cannot adjust the weight that the tonearm puts on the record. And since these turntables are undersized, records often hang on one side, causing unnecessary movements once you turn the machine on.

Sources

  1. Steve Guttenberg, Do vinyl LPs wear out? The Audiophiliac takes on that myth, Cnet.Com, https://www.cnet.com/tech/home-entertainment/do-vinyl-lps-wear-out-well-bust-that-myth/ Accessed, July 30, 2021. 
  2. How Do Vinyl Records Work?, Victrola, https://victrola.com/blogs/articles/how-do-vinyl-records-work/ July 30, 2021.
  3. How Long Do Vinyl Records Last?, Victrola, https://victrola.com/blogs/articles/how-long-do-vinyl-records-last/ July 30, 2021.

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