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What Every Vinyl Fan Should Know About Turntable Maintenance

Ask any record hound: Keeping up a solid vinyl collection is hard work. You have to worry about records warping, breaking or scratching, and be diligent in upkeep and care to maintain pristine sound quality.

Denon Staff

Most importantly, you have to take into account the maintenance of your turntable. Vinyl turntables are complicated machines that require their internal components to work together with a great deal of precision. A deviation can throw off performance and negatively impact your audio fidelity. To avoid any sound quality issues, every vinyl enthusiast should know the fundamentals of turntable care and maintenance.

Keep your stylus clean

Depending on your budget and vinyl turntable setup, your stylus may be the easiest component to replace if it wears down. Styluses also tend to be remarkably durable: In general, you should be able to get around 3,000 hours of playtime before needing to replace one, according to Techaeris.

However, that doesn't mean you should neglect it completely. A stylus can easily accumulate dirt, dust and other particulates that prevent it from making direct contact with the grooves in a vinyl record. A carbon fiber brush is a relatively small investment that will help you keep your stylus clear of debris and maintain quality sound.

Check your motor and belt

Every vinyl lover has had a run-in with a bad motor or belt: You place one of your favorite LPs on the turntable, hit play and … nothing happens. Wear and tear can take its toll on even the best record players, so keep an eye on the motor and belt to look for signs of degradation. If you notice that the belt is slipping lower on the pulley, that's a big red flag indicating it's time to replace it with a brand-new belt. Techaeris recommends replacing your turntable belt every few years to prevent sound quality issues.

If you're thinking of putting your DIY skills to the test and trying to simply repair a broken motor or belt, you may be better off buying a new one instead. Vinyl Me, Please noted that it's often easier to simply replace a malfunctioning motor rather than try and fix it yourself.

Remove dust from the platter

One of the most common sound-quality issues that vinyl listeners run into is that famous crackling sound that can sometimes be heard when the needle hits the record. Those crackles aren't necessarily indicative of a problem with the stylus or LP itself; they could just be the result of dust buildup on the turntable. Be sure to wipe down the platter on a regular basis to get rid of any dust that may accumulate between listening sessions. The Denon DP-450USB turntable goes a step further, featuring a removable dust cover that keeps the platter spotless while avoiding any of the vibration-related issues that dust covers often cause in other record players.

Although record players are complex machines, general turntable care and maintenance is a relatively straightforward process that anyone can handle. A high-quality turntable makes maintenance even easier, since you won't have to worry about parts breaking down before their expected end of life. Denon vinyl turntables have been meticulously designed and use only the highest-quality materials, so you can enjoy better sound performance without disruption.

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