A little bit of crackling or surface noise can’t be a bad thing. Just think, other than the vinyl record, no other music recording tech is lasting this long. Compare vinyl with cassette, CD, 8-Track and say – which have better sound quality? Vinyl or Digital music?
Obviously, it vinyl records. And typically, whatever be the reason, still, people never get tired of these revolutionary vinyl records.
However, vinyl is best known for its sound quality. Hence, getting surface noise/crackling noise can affect your listening experience.
Generally, the cracking sound blends with the music, which might be annoying, and in most cases, people don’t know how to fix it. So what causes the vinyl to crackle, and how to fix it? In this guide, we will explain the vinyl crackle causes and a few ways to limit the crackling.
WHAT IS VINYL CRACKLE?
To put it simply, let’s say, sounds like hisses, pops, or clicks that appear to be placed odd or out of place describe vinyl crackle. In most cases, the cause for the crackling is the dust and dirt that settled on the record grooves. If you play your record without cleaning it, the needle will get rubbed against the dust particles. And ends in producing sharp annoying crackling and popping sounds. Here are some of the common causes for vinyl crackling are,
- Dirt and debris accumulated on the surface of vinyl records.
- Excessive dirt or dust on turntable’s stylus/needle
- Turntable quality
- Using old records that requires a deep clean
- Damaged stylus
HOW TO PREVENT VINYL CRACKLE?
For some music lovers, the little crackles that can be heard are precisely the charm of vinyl and will not be more disturbing. However, most music lovers will try to avoid these crackles to get a clear and precise listening! There are several possible reasons for crackling, and there are solutions to remedy and avoid them. This is what we invite you to discover in this guide.
CHECK THE ADJUSTMENT OF THE TURNTABLE ARM
When loud crackles are heard while listening to vinyl, it is first necessary to consider the correct adjustment of the turntable’s tonearm. Indeed, a bad adjustment of this one (and in particular a too important support force) can cause this kind of inconvenience and harm your listening!
In addition, over the listening and handling of the arm, the settings can also change and eventually cause crackles when listening to vinyl. Therefore, it may be interesting to check from time to time that your arm is still correctly adjusted, particularly if you start to hear small crackles that interfere with your listening.
CHECK THE CONDITION OF THE STYLUS OF THE PHONO CARTRIDGE
If the tonearm is incorrectly adjusted, it can impact the stylus of your phono cartridge. Indeed, too much downforce can damage it, which can therefore explain persistent crackles when listening!
Or dirt on the tip of the diamond can also be the cause of the crackling. If you just observe dust on the stylus tip, cleaning will be the solution to the problem.
If unfortunately, you notice that the stylus is damaged, then the most effective solution to get HiFi sound quality is to change the stylus with a new model or with an upgraded model. In the case of an MM cartridge, this will be simple since the stylus is replaceable, and most cartridge manufacturers offer replacement styluses.
No need to have to buy a complete cell! On the other hand, in the case of an MC cartridge, the stylus is not replaceable; it is, therefore, the complete cartridge that will have to be bought. In any case, a clean and undamaged stylus should prevent you from cracking when listening to your vinyl records
MAINTAIN YOUR VINYL RECORDS
To reduce or avoid cracking you need to maintain the condition of vinyl records. Indeed, a vinyl with grooves free of dust and other impurities is essential for clear listening without cracking. In this case, a good cleaning of the records will be necessary.
Cleaning vinyl certainly takes time, but it is essential to obtain quality sound and make your equipment last. Do not hesitate to clean your vinyl from time to time.
Do you get audible crackles even after your vinyl has been thoroughly cleaned? That might be because, our environment and certain turntable elements, such as a felt, can induce static charges. And these changes may contribute to inducing small crackles. There are antistatic vinyl cleaning accessories (brushes, liquids, interior pockets) that will allow you to overcome this problem.
As you can see, the crackle of vinyl records can be reduced and even avoided. Whether through a simple cleaning of the grooves or the stylus of the phono cartridge. Even going as far as adjusting the tonearm a little more tedious, you can get a solution, and we hope these few tips will help you!