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Can you leave a record player on all night? People who enjoy music at night may find this habit safe. However, you need to know that there are consequences to leaving your record player running all night.
You can leave your record player on all night only if it is once or twice. Doing this out of a habit will waste the life of your turntable since most styluses only have 1000 hours of playback time. Leaving a turntable running all night may also scratch your vinyl record.
Sometimes, you turn your record player on at night to relax before sleeping. However, music can be too relaxing that it makes you fall asleep. If this happens, you will leave your turntable playing all night.
Moreover, a turntable is a delicate device. For this reason, you sure want to give it the best care that you can. So, you might be wondering what will happen if you leave a record player on all night.
You can leave a record playing all night, only if it is a one-time thing. However, the problem with leaving your device playing overnight is that no one would keep an eye on it when the record ends.
The reason is that record players have moving internal parts that will not stop operating even when a record ends playing. For instance, the turntable’s stylus, needle, and internal mechanisms will wear out if you always leave the device on overnight.
In addition, most needles have 1000 hours of playback. So, leaving it spinning all night without music will waste many playback hours.
It is safe to leave most record players on all night; once or twice that is. But regularly doing so can harm your turntable. It might also pose a fire hazard, depending on the conditions. The reason is that many things could happen as you sleep. Most of them can damage your record player, needle, and the record you are playing.
For instance, the stylus can loop in the same spot overnight, causing it to ruin your record. If this issue happens, the stylus will scratch up your record grooves.
The stylus arm could also get stuck up halfway on the return. As a result, it would repeatedly try to return to its position, thus damaging the needle, gears, and internal mechanisms of your turntable.
More than that, old record players could overheat if you leave them running all night since they have outdated wirings. So, leaving them playing overnight can cause a fire danger. While the chances are slim, the possibility is still there nonetheless.
That said, you should never leave a record player on all night unless by accident. (source)
Music enthusiasts witness how huge the comeback that vinyl records did. The vinyl record industry recorded 16 million sales in 2018, just when everyone thought we had moved to the digital music format. (source)
That said, it is safe to say that many homes own one or more vinyl records. But one concern that some record owners have is at what temperature a vinyl record could catch fire. Of course, such a concern is understandable since no one would want their records to cause danger to their home.
But are vinyl records flammable?
Vinyl records melt and burn on the fire. However, they would not ignite if you tried to light them up. For this reason, vinyl records do not pose a significant fire hazard by simply sitting on your shelf. In fact, the only flammable part of the vinyl record is its cardboard sleeve. Not to say vinyl isn’t flammable, but it won’t light up light cardboard, that’s for sure.
So, even if you leave a record player on all night, your vinyl record will not ignite if you have a modern model.
Vinyl records will start melting at a temperature of more than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, it is safe to store them anywhere in your house since the temperature inside does not reach that high. For comparison, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and nail polish remover are more flammable than vinyl records. (source)
Your vinyl record will begin to warp if you accidentally leave your vinyl record where direct sunlight touches it for a long time. However, it will certainly not burst into flames. If such a thing happens, your record will not play as smoothly as it does before.
But even if vinyl records are not flammable, letting them melt is bad for your health. The reason is that vinyl records are made from plastic, fossil fuel, chemicals, and other harmful materials. So, melting them means vaporizing the toxic chemicals that they contain.
In addition, a vinyl record’s surface consists of PVC, which is relatively difficult to recycle. And since the record surface is made of PVC, it will acquire scratches if you leave a record player on all night. (source)
Every record player has a plastic lead called a dust cover. Its purpose is to protect your record of every mechanism on the top of the platter when it is not in use. It prevents the record player’s surface from accumulating dust, compromising the device’s parts, such as the cartridge.
In addition, it is a lot easier to clean the dust cover than every component of your turntable platter.
Just like you should never leave a record player on all night, you should not leave the dust cover open when the player is not in use. This way, the cover can serve its purpose of preventing your turntable from collecting airborne dirt and dust. Needless to say, you should keep your turntable close every time you are not using it.
However, it is not ideal to leave your turntable’s dust cover closed when the device is in use. You do not need to worry about dust getting onto your record platter. The reason is that there will not be a significant amount of dust accumulation when the device is in use.
But if you leave it down while listening to your records, chances are the record will skip when you raise it again.
Moreover, record skipping can be harmful not only for the record itself but also for the stylus. Even worse, if you turn your volume high with your turntable closed, the dust cover can pick up the bass resonance. As a result, your tonearm will vibrate, and your record will skip.
As mentioned, dust can be detrimental to a record player. But what exactly can it do to your turntable?
You are sacrificing sound quality if you leave a record player on all night. Similarly, your cartridge will sound bad due to dust buildup. The reason is that the cartridge needs to be in close contact with the record grooves and stylus to produce accurate sound. But with dust interfering with this contact, the music produced by your turntable becomes scratchy or muffled.
The dirt, dust, and airborne debris that touch your vinyl record are abrasive, no matter how tiny they are. Such is especially true if this debris gets caught between the record groove and the stylus.
Dust and dirt will wear down your vinyl record little by little the same way if you leave a record player on all night. But if your stylus also has dust buildup, it will accelerate the process, thus leading to poor sound quality. (source)
Discipline is the key to achieving your vinyl record’s best possible sound quality. Unlike digital music form that does not need maintenance, vinyl records are delicate. For this reason, you need to exert an effort to take care of them so they will remain in their best state.
If you are new to using vinyl records, chances are you tried leaving them on your vinyl record. However, leaving a vinyl record on a record player can harm it when it is not in use.
Moreover, the only time you can keep your record on the turntable platter is when using it. Leaving it on the platter for a long time will expose it to dust and dirt, which can scratch its surface.
If you leave a record player on all night, you increase the chances of ruining your vinyl record. Similarly, leaving the vinyl record on the platter can harm it even if the turntable has a dust cover. A vinyl record has a record sleeve to protect it. For this reason, make sure to put it in its sleeve right after listening to some good music.
Knowing that you should not leave your record on your turntable is one thing. However, it is only the first step to keeping a vinyl record in an excellent state. So, here are the other habits that you need to avoid to ensure that you will not damage your record:
You may think that stacking your records horizontally on a shelf will let you save space. But while that is true, you need to avoid this storage method as it can do more harm than good.
Stacking your records on top of each other can render them unplayable under extreme circumstances. The reason is that the vinyl records at the top will apply so much weight to those stored underneath. The records will warp and permanently damage the record and its sleeve.
If you leave a record player on all night, you will undoubtedly scratch the vinyl record spinning on the platter. The same thing can happen if you pick the record up while the platter is still spinning. This habit can scratch the other side of the wax, which will decrease its sound quality.
Flipping the vinyl record as soon as the music stops playing can be tempting. But your patience will prevent any damage to your record and prolong its lifespan. (source)
You need to avoid using household cleaning products when cleaning your vinyl record. The reason is that most of these chemicals contain harsh chemicals. So, using them on your record will damage its surface, thus rendering it useless.
For this reason, make sure that you have the following record cleaning materials:
Anti-Static Record Brush
It lets you remove dust from the record grooves while ensuring that no static will occur.
It is soft enough to remove dust and dirt from your vinyl records without scratching them.
You can find a cleaning solution online. Alcohol-free cleaning solutions will allow you to get rid of stubborn dirt without putting too much pressure on wiping.
Like the scratch that can occur on the vinyl record if you leave a record player on all night, a dirty stylus can do the same. For this reason, you need to use a stylus brush to remove dust buildup before they can even damage your record. (source)
Some people place their vinyl record inside its sleeve carelessly. But what they do not know is that this habit can damage both the vinyl record and its sleeve.
Habitually letting the record slip into the sleeve will punch a hole on the bottom of the sleeve. Even worse, you will scratch the record surface.
For this reason, make sure to open the sleeve wide enough. This step will reduce the contact between the vinyl record and the sleeve. (source)
There will always be confusion regardless of whether you are new to turntables or not. For instance, you might not know that you can scratch a vinyl record if you leave a record player on all night.
But another thing that might confuse you about record players is the turntable mat.
A turntable mat or a platter mat is a thin, disc-shaped object covering the platter. You place the vinyl record on top of the mat before turning on the power. This way, you can prevent the vinyl record from getting scratches while playing.
Moreover, a platter mat is about the same shape and size as the platter. It is also usually 1.5mm to 4mm thick.
The primary purpose of a mat platter is to dampen resonances. It also minimizes other vibrations from the surface where you place your turntable, the platter, and other record player parts.
When used correctly, a platter mat can provide a higher quality of music experience. As a result, there will be lower skip rates, and the music will be more integrated with the system. This way, you will be able to create a more natural sound.
However, it is essential to note that a turntable platter will not help you protect your vinyl record if you leave a record player on all night.
There are four significant types of turntable mats, and each of them can create different sound qualities.
Felt is the most aesthetically pleasing type of platter mat. But apart from aesthetics, this material reduces friction, thus allowing the vinyl record to spin quickly. The only downside is that felt attracts dirt and static.
This type of platter mat is lightweight and firm. For this reason, it provides an extra grip on the platter. This additional grip lets the record stay isolated from vibration by ensuring it sits completely flat. However, it is worth noting that the rubber platter mat is useless if you leave a record player on all night.
Moreover, rubber platter mats create a more profound and warmer sound.
Cork provides the most significant sound difference out of all platter mats. It is inexpensive, yet it can create a smooth contact between the platter and the record. Additionally, cork dampens resonances more effectively than other materials.
What makes leather an excellent material for a platter mat is that it can dampen sound and enhance its quality simultaneously. It is also popular for people who love bass, as leather can create a warm sound. This material is also soft and smooth, making it easy to remove the vinyl record when the music stops.
Leaving a record player on all night can harm the vinyl record and the device itself. You will increase the chance of scratching your vinyl record as the turntable’s needle may get stuck on the record grooves. Leaving your record player on all night can also damage the stylus.
In addition, most record players only have 1000 hours of playback time. So, leaving it running all night will waste this time, thus reducing the lifespan of your record player.
- Brule, Steve. “I Accidentally Fell Asleep Listening To A Record And Left The Table Spinning All Night With The Cartridge On The Disc. Did I Just Completely Ruin My Cartridge?” Reddit
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- Sam Sauls, Craig Stark, Audio Production Worktext: Concepts, Techniques, and Equipment. UK: Focal Press, 2013.
- Jenna Miles, The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl: How to Build, Maintain, and Experience a Music Collection in Analog. Massachusetts: Adams Media, 2017.
- ” How To Take A Record Out Of Its Cover Without Scratching It.” Popular Science, August 1957, 158.
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