Have you ever brought home a new vinyl in a state of excitement to listen to your new addition only to find it sounding warped or even straight out bad? Most of us who own a record player know how poor sound quality can affect a supposedly other-worldly experience. 

So Why Exactly Does Your New Vinyl Record Sound Bad or Faulty?

Here is a checklist of steps you may choose to run through before trashing anything.

1. Check if the Record is Warped

Your new vinyl may arrive warped if it was not stored properly during production or at its retail location. Minor warping is unlikely to cause significant problems but a warped record, on the other hand, may skip or cause tracking difficulties in extreme circumstances. 

In any case, you should return your new record if it arrives warped. If you would like to attempt to revive your warped vinyl, we have written a post on how you may prevent or fix vinyl warping

This video may also come in handy if you’re determined to repair your vinyl and have an oven on standby – the old-school way!

How to fix a warped vinyl record

2. Check for Vinyl Debris 

Take a good long look at your vinyl and check its surface for any excessive surface noise. In the world of vinyl and record players, surface noise is a word for noises like pops, clicks, and hisses that seem out of place when you’re playing a tune. As simple as it sounds, the solution is even simpler and you should be able to fix this one yourself (without an oven this time).

If your vinyl is new, it is likely that the surface has been polluted by its previous environment before arriving in your hands. Grab a piece of microfiber cloth or brush and give your new disk a quick wipe down with your preferred cleaning solution. Need a little more advice? Check out our post for the best cleaning cloth for vinyl records

Your vinyl and record player would benefit from minor cleaning every now and then and here’s a great video regarding vinyl care that explains the best practices for handling, cleaning, and storing your vinyl records. 

Vinyl Care 101 – How to Clean Your Records, Handle, and Store Them

3. Check if the Vinyl has an Off-Center Record Pressing 

An off-center pressing is defined as when the spindle hole in the center of the album is not correctly aligned to the center of the grooves. As the disc spins, slight speed differences will cause audible wow and flutter pitch drift due to this error. 

On longer, more drawn-out notes or chords, you’ll hear it loud and clear. Unless the record is pushed so far off center that you can see the edge vibrating, minor off-center pressing should not a problem. 

However, if your records are sounding bad and you have identified this as the primary cause of your vinyl, the best solution would be to return it and get a replacement if it’s new. Now, if your vinyl is not new or refundable, you may choose to take the risk and fix it by enlarging the spindle hole of the vinyl and then manually center the record each time you play it.  

Here’s an informative video that’ll tell you if your vinyl has ticked off the boxes for being off-centered and ways to fix it:

How to tell if you have an off center vinyl record pressing (and how to fix it)

4. Check the Overall Quality of Your New Vinyl

In any case, if your vinyl is new and the problem persists, we highly encourage that you get a replacement as soon as you can. Quality control for vinyl has been an issue plaguing record player enthusiasts amidst its rising popularity. In an attempt to meet the demands of new community members, the quality of production may often be compromised. 

Check out this cool video if you need a beginner or refreshment course on how you can inspect the condition of records before making a purchase:

How To Inspect Records

If your shopping is done online, it would be great to check out reviews from other buyers before deciding to go ahead with your purchase. Distinguishing the right store that’ll provide you with quality vinyl records will mitigate most problems that can be avoided early on. 

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