Will A Warped Record Damage The Stylus


Can warped record damage stylus?

Can warped record damage stylus? Warping is one of the effects of improper vinyl record storage. It can be reversible, but can you still play the vinyl record even if it’s slightly warped?

 Fortunately, you can still play a warped vinyl record. How come? How does this science even function in the first place?

1.It may be warped, but the grooves are still intact.

2.It’s not the record that can destroy the stylus, but the stylus can destroy the record.

3.It’s not warped to the point of no repair.

If you want to understand how warped records can still play, you’re welcome to keep reading. This information is essential to both novices in the vinyl record industry and experts in the field. 

Can Warped Record Damage Stylus?

No, your warped record cannot damage the stylus. It’s the other way around. A blunt or worn-out stylus can damage a vinyl record, whether warped or not. 

How is that possible? Well, it all boils down to the science of it all. But first, it’s best to get out what warping is and what causes warping. 

What Is Warping? 

Warping is the bending or distortion of vinyl records when you expose them to harmful conditions. Vinyl records are pretty fragile. They require adequate room temperature and dust-free environments to maintain their state.  

Why Is My Vinyl Warped?

The following reasons cause vinyl record warping:

  • Increase in temperature 
  • Inadequate vinyl record storage 

If you’re new to vinyl records and have never seen vinyl warping, you can try two things. Watch a Youtube video where the creator purposefully warps a vinyl record. Or leave a vinyl record out in the summer sun for thirty minutes. You will find your vinyl warped and ready to go, or if you leave it there for much longer, you can find it completely melted.

If you decide to do the latter, kindly use an old vinyl record with little to no value. Vinyl records do have some monetary value. Not all of them, but a small minority do. Nevertheless, this little experiment should give you a better understanding of a warped vinyl. 

Is It Alright To Play A Warped Vinyl?

In my experience, playing a warped vinyl is a recipe for disaster. The record will play, no doubt about that, but you won’t be listening to an album at that point. 

Whatever will come out of the turntable will no longer be sound; it’ll be noise and nothing else. A warped vinyl record still has the grooves, but they’re more distorted than anything, and the noise that will come out of the turntable will be annoying. 

It wouldn’t hurt to try playing a warped record for the sake of science and experience but play it at your own cost. Many vinyl record owners have made mistakes with a warped vinyl; it would be best if you learned from their mistakes and not yours.  

Not only that, but experts do not recommend playing a warped vinyl record. It’s useless, to be honest, playing a warped vinyl because you’ll get nothing out of it, but at the same time, it goes against the unspoken yet still spoken code of vinyl record keeping. 

Storing vinyl records is mandatory for anyone who’s going into vinyl keeping. It’s part of the basics of collecting vinyl records in the first place. To start, the fact that your vinyl warped could also be a sign of lousy storage from your end. 

An inadequately stored vinyl record will warp. As shared earlier, vinyl records are like plants. If you don’t care for them, they won’t dry out or die; they will either warp, accumulate dust, and quite possibly get damaged the next time you want to play them. 

What Damages Vinyl Records And The Stylus?

Dust. If you decide to play a vinyl record without cleaning it first, you will damage both the record and the stylus. Dust, dirt, or any unnecessary matter on the surface of the vinyl record will damage or erode it to the point of no repair.

Apart from that, a worn-out stylus can damage a vinyl record. A stylus isn’t necessarily a needle; it comes in a cone shape that manufacturers polish to perfection. 

The higher the polish on the stylus, the less friction between the stylus and the grooves on the vinyl record, so playing the vinyl record will be a lot smoother. 

Any dust or dirt on the grooves or the surface of the record causes fiction while playing. Therefore, the stylus begins to wear off, and voila, your worn-out stylus can damage the in-coming vinyl record you’re going to play. 

All of this plays back to vinyl record storage. It is a necessity that a lot of new vinyl owners tend to overlook. If a record isn’t cleaned or stored correctly, it will experience some damage while it’s in use. You could say that without cleaning and proper handling of vinyl records, you’re skipping some parts in its circle of life. 

As odd as it may be, the lifetime of a vinyl record is entirely dependent on its storage. You can say the same for sealed vinyl records. They all need to be stored adequately and efficiently. 

Can You Fix A Warped Vinyl Record?

Why yes, yes, you can fix a warped record. In the same manner, you created a warped record; can you also fix it. By using heat and pressure on both sides of the vinyl record, you can quickly flatten it out and, this time, correctly store the vinyl record. 

Experts recommend taking your time with the fixing process. Patience is a virtue, and you’ll need lots of it when trying to CTRL Z, the warped vinyl record. 

It would be best to consult various Youtube channels to get the gist on fixing a warped vinyl record. Most significantly, if you’re new to vinyl record keeping. 

You may also want to take a look at my other article, where I describe my own methods for fixing a warped record. Is It Ok To Play A Warped Record? (Answer Here)

Here you can read even more about warped vinyl records.
Is It Normal For Vinyl To Be Warped?

FAQs About Warped Records

  1. Is It Safe To Play Seriously Warped Records?

Depending on how severe the warping is, it would be best to steer clear of playing warped records. Some sites may recommend using a clamp, but it wouldn’t be in your favor. 

Experts recommend fixing the warping before playing the vinyl record. If the record’s warped state is severe, consult a professional or get a new record if possible. 

Most of the time, severely warped records cannot fit into the turntable, so playing it is setting yourself up for failure. Either fix the warped vinyl record or get a new one. The decision is in your hands.

  1. How Warped Is ‘too Warped’?

Vinyl records, like any other form of matter, have a limit point. What could be a limit point for a vinyl record? It could be too warped to fit into the turntable, or it could almost be at its melting point. 

At either of these two points, the vinyl record is ‘too warped.’ It’s also at these two points that the vinyl record could be beyond the point of fixing. It’s sad, but it’s true. Ensure that you take care of your vinyl records to the best of your ability. 

  1. What Are The Dangers Of Playing A Warped Record?

There are no dangers of playing a warped record. Of course, the sound that will come out of the turntable will be gruesome at most, but it won’t damage the stylus, and the record will remain in the same state. 

It’s just not good practice playing a warped vinyl. 

Sources

  1. Jenna Miles, The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl Records: How to Build, Maintain and Experience a Music Collection in Analogue (Massachusetts: Adams Media,2017) Accessed August 5th, 2021. 
  2. Shure, Stylus Wear, and Record Wear, Shure, https://service.shure.com/s/article/stylus-wear-and-record-wear?language=en_US Accessed August 5th,2021.
  3. Steven Williams, How to store vinyl records, Discogs, https://blog.discogs.com/en/how-to-store-vinyl-records/ Accessed August 5th,2021. 
  4. Levi Sheppard, Guide to flattening warped vinyl records, Vinyl Me Please, https://magazine.vinylmeplease.com/magazine/guide-to-flattening-warped-vinyl-records/ Accessed August 5th, 2021. 

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