Are scratch LPs part of the game ?

Hi guys,

I noticed that some of my new LPs after a few weeks of playing gets some fine and medium scratches.
I'm very careful when removing them in and out of their plastic/paper sleeves.
despite of them i can see some scratches on the LP surface.
Is there a technique in handling these so that there will be no scratches at all ?
Although the scratches are not deep enough for the needle to jump or skip. It just irritating.
Is this part of the game or is there proper method of handling them ?
I also feel sometimes on brand new sealed LPs that when you remove an LP back from the sleeve that there is some sort of friction between the LP and sleeve-possibly some scratches happening. Again, is this something that can be done to minimize the scratches or this is part of law of physics (Friction) ?
Hoping some enlightenment.

Yes, scratches are part of the game.

Replacing paper sleeves immediately with plastic sleeves will help. Also, it helps to hold the LP with a finger on the spindle hole and your thumb on the outer edge of the LP and then to guide the LP all the way into the plastic sleeve rather than letting the LP drop into the sleeve. Some plastic sleeves are "soft" and others are harder and "crinkly". I avoided the hard and crinkly versions.
Thanks TVAD. I replace the paper sleeves one with the soft plastic japanese Nagaoka one.
I does help but there are some scratches still visible.
Also, when cleaning LPs with nylon brush, does this also contribute to the scratches ??
Also, when cleaning LPs with nylon brush, does this also contribute to the scratches ??
Nolitan (Answers)
Could be. I doubt it.

I used dry Pledge Dust & Allergen Wipes to clean dust from my LPs. I found brushes mostly moved the dust around rather than removing it.
The answer is yes, its part of the game.

Records are delicate. Careful handling is the best preventive medicine.

Can you hear the scratches? Not all scratches are audible. Also sometime linear dirt smudgies and such resemble scratches but are not. These might be audible as well but proper cleaning will generally get rid of these.
Hello Mapman,

Sometimes i can hear them but again it can be because of the LPs being dirty.
How often do you guys replace the inner sleeves ??
"How often do you guys replace the inner sleeves ??"

Seldom unless damaged or defective. I do not find most sleeves to be a problem if you handle the records and sleeves carefully.

Sometimes I will replace cheap paper inner sleeves with better quality lined sleeves for titles that might have higher value to collectors. i always add a sleeve of some sort to used titles I pick up if they are missing one.
Are these just surface scratches, or are you hearing them during play?

The records really should be OK unless you fumble them badly. Just don't handle them after imbibing too much alcohol or caffeine.

I do replace all inner sleeves with Sleeve City sleeves after the first cleaning.
No, it is not always part of the game. On old LP's that I buy used I will have scratches but they are not inevitable on LP's that don't have scratchs when I get them. I have lp's that I have had for years and played dozens of times and no scratches. I use a cleaning machine, I always use new sleeves, even on new LP's, I never touch the record surface with my hands, I use a carbon brush before each playing and I keep my turntable mat clean. If I have audible scratches on new LP's that are noticable I usually exchange it for a new one.
Thanks for your response Davt , I was wondering how it could be accepted as part of the game. I,m with you , I have 40 year old plus LP,s that are almost flawless under bright light. I clean mine right out of the sleeve new or used (and put them in a new mofi sleeve) before I play them on my turntable and always clean(dust) the platter before an lp sits on it and keep the stylus clean. Might seem anul to some or impossible but when you realize how hard they are to find and replace a mint lp its not that hard to be motivated. That and the fact I feel a responsability to respect the person who owned the lp for decades and kept it in mint shape then shipped it on top of that for me to enjoy, to at least do the same. Cheers!
Its "yes" for me. No matter how carefully I handle LP's I always have some new tick,or pop during the next play. It always pisses me off...just like the always present "sicko" who waits for the quietest, tenderest part of the concert to cough, sneeze, or blow his nose.
I have albums that are 40 years old and no significant scratches.If you live in a dusty area such as unpaved roads,dry ground,the wind my be blowing that sandy dust in your home through air leaks causing a problem.
Not a problem for me.I try to use the best care handling them.
Agree with Davt, Has2be and Hifihvn.

My cleaning/handling regimen is similar to Has2be's. Every LP gets cleaned before the first play, whether new or used. Every cleaned LP gets a new MoFi inner sleeve and an outer sleeve too. Then it's a matter of careful handling.

Of our 4K LP's only a tiny number (probably < 10) have any more scratches than the day we got them, always due to doing something stupid in a careless moment.

Scratches are not inevitable if you develop a sound routine and practice it rigorously. Boring, but effective.
The best way to inspect a LP is in sunlight. The flaws, dirt, scratches and various marks become visible.
It can be scary to look upon some of them in the naked truth of sunlight.
Elizabeth is absolutely correct. That's why there's more florescent lighting in record stores than, even, incandescent. Often, when I get home and get a good look at what I bought...well, it's only money.
How clean do you keep your house? Your car? Are they always spotless? Do you make certain to remove lint from your suit before leaving the house? Shoes polished and immaculate?

If you answered yes to these questions, then LP scratches will not be part of the game provided you purchased the LP new.
If they are not part of the game then why worry about them or take any preventive measures?

They can be avoided but accidents happen and they are definitely part of the game ie they can happen if not careful and sometimes even if you are and often are the case with used lps.
Sunlight does show up flaws and dirt extremely well, hence the saying "in the light of day". However, a cheap floor lamp with a 100 to 150 watt Phillips Natural Light bulb does just as good a job and isn,t restricted to the day shift. I don,t beleive stores use florescent lights for any other reason than they are cheaper to run and use. Cheers!
"Scratches are not inevitable if you develop a sound routine and practice it rigorously. Boring, but effective."
Thats it in a nutshell. Accidents do happen but almost always when I don,t pay attention to what I,m doing and the routine that works. Mapman, why worry about it, simple to keep them in the shape I got them. Tvad I keep my house acceptably clean, replace furnace filters every two months and have the ducts vacuumed once a year. Not for my LP,s but for my childrens and my health. I no longer park my car in the living room so it,s cleanliness is not an issue. I leave my shoes at the door and don,t use them as a turntable weight or stand on my turntable so thats not an issue. As for lint on my suit, the only lint on my suit is in the pockets because I spent all the money on good LP,s !!! Suits, shoes, cars segway to lps ? Just joking Tvad. I read alot of your responses and realise and respect your a knowledgable guy with good advice given in a non condesending manner . Cheers!
Suits, shoes, cars segway to lps ?
Has2be (Threads | Answers)
Absolutely. Fastidiousness is required to maintain LPs without scratches. Fastidiousness in other aspects of one's life is an indicator of how likely one's LPs are to remain scratch free.
I agree with you Tvad to a degree about being fastidious with most aspects of one's life and how they coralate. But you have to also realise for some that balance does not exist. I have a neighbor who does not maintain his property as well as most would, or keep his house as clean as he should or treat his wife as well as he should but his 1969 Z 28 is meticulous. What some lack in the balancing act they justify with making certain aspects absolute priority over anything else. Who,s right is that persons opinion, rite or excuse depending on perception. I certainly do agree for the most part that the creeping malayze we allow in some areas can effect other areas if we let it. By the way , it,s very sunny here today so I,m off to wash and shine my 10 year old car that looks new! Only one way to keep it and anything else I own in great shape. On a side note thanks for the advice you gave me on the Moscode amp. I got to listen to one finally in my system and it is a great amp and great match with the pre-amp. Cheers!
Well, I'm selectively fastidious, and I as an adult I was fastidious with my LPs. However, I still managed to let one or two slip through my fingers causing scratches.

Sold my LPs...
Wow Tvad.. I thought I was the only one from reading these posts....I DO change my underwear and socks every day....
Yup Stringreen.

Dropping the LPs might have had something to do with the metal tipped speed skating gloves I was wearing.

WHAT ! You mean you did not own a pair of Nagaoka Lp mitts to firmly stick those Lp,s in your hands ! And you call yourself fastidious. Shame on you Tvad.
You guys only change underwear and socks once a day? No wonder your LP's are trashed! take a lamp LP shopping with you? Maybe you just ask record shop owners to put in a skylight before you'll shop there? Maybe florescent is cheaper, but it sure doesn't help identify record flaws before buying. ;-)
Mt10425.... The lamp is for use at home to verify I have done a thorough job of cleaning them and the solution off. I don,t buy too many used records from dealers. I buy them from several people I have known and trusted for decades who live in Canada , the US and England as well as a freind who's job takes him to Japan a few times a year. The few I have found at a certain Dealer not far from home, he does have a nice bright light right at the till to check them over if its past daylight. He is much funnier than you too! Maybe you should try harder !............. Cheers
Has-You're WAAAY too serious for me. I enjoy simple pleasures and normalcy. Oh, and the occasional slightly flawed LP. Enjoy.
Waay too serious ! Did you actually read all I posted for this! Thanks for the compliment ! Never been accussed of that! I laughed loud enough my Daughter asked me whats so funny . I told her someone thinks I,m too serious. Her response, Head Trauma or Crackhead! Cheers!
Yep, read them all. I guess I need to be a crackhead to get a better feel for your perspective. Enjoy the week. We're starting with about 3-4 inches of snow, Yipee.
Inspection lamps?

Whoa Nellie.

Surface imperfections/scratches are a part of the game. So long as they do not affect play, it really doesn't matter.

I've dropped a few (maybe 3 or 4?) of my LP's...way bummed out but they happened, and the records are out of print so I'll just have to live with it.
I'm with Audiofeil and those who say minor scratches are part of the game. Those who say they have 40-year-old records without scratches perhaps interpreted this question differently from the yes camp. It's rather impossible to prevent any imperfections from getting to the record surface with use. Virtually every brand new records right out of the sleeve will already have some minor imperfections and lines that are extremely fine and do not affect the sound. With use, they will only become more pronounced but still not significant enough to negatively impact the sound with proper handling and care. This is how I interpret the original question. I challenge anyone to a direct light test of their "perfect" records. If you tell me there is not even one blemish or a line on the surface, you're not looking hard enough.
I said 40 plus year old LP.s that were ALMOST flawless . Of course some come with some minor imperfection and don,t effect play and still can and are enjoyed. The poster stated he is puting medium scratches in them just by handling them. Well I don,t feel that is part of the game. Why then are records graded both visually and play grade. Visual inspections are usually done under a bright light or sunlight. Play grade is the most important but according to what is posted "With use, they will only become more pronounced but still not significant enough to negatively impact the sound with proper handling and care." Thats the point you make yourself that you disagree with in the same breath. Anyone who owns or owned lps has had accidents and dropped a few but the poster stated he was putting upto medium scratches in the lps after a couple weeks by handling them. According to some you feel thats normal. Well if it is there wouldn,t be any early or out print lps worth owning and Audiofeils 7000 plus lp collection would be worthless. The poster does not feel its normal or he would not of asked. They do come with some very minor imperfections but anything after that is a direct result of the user. Isn't that why used lps are graded . There is no such thing as a mint used lp but I and others here have bought them NEAR mint with superfiscial flaws and kept them that way. Cheers
Has2be, I don't quite understand what you mean about me making a point and me disagreeing it with at the same time. In fact your second sentence paraphrases the sentence of mine you quoted in your post to a degree and it seems we actually agree! I think where the misunderstanding perhaps lies is in our interpretation of a "medium" scratch.

I'm a perfectionist by nature and handle all my records with extreme care. Also, because I'm relatively new to vinyl, I own and have been buying almost exclusively brand new records, both to build up my collection of "essentials" and to insure scratch-free, worn-out stylus damage-free records. Despite all of this, I noticed that the records have scratches that I would define as fine to medium based on their physical size/length but do not whatsoever appear to affect the sound. I have no idea how they got there in the first place, but as mentioned in this thread, the paper sleeves might have something to do with it and perhaps my cleaning regimen with 3 brushes on a VPI RCM.

In that sense, the original question precisely echoes my particular experience with records: no matter how carefully I handle my records, I notice fine to medium size scratches (increasing with use) that do not affect the stylus tracking or sound quality, but seem impossible to avoid. Hence, my response yes, it's part of the game. I'm not talking about dropping records or scratching them through carelessness. And I don't think the original poster was either. Cheers.
Hi Actusreus, I think your right , its more an interpretation differance. To me a medium scratch is something that would effect play. I'm wondering now that you say your new to vynil and are buying mostly new lps if it is more an issue with the quality of vynil that some are being pressed on. I just never had that much of a noticable differance in the records surface condition and especially that quickly. Do some of the new records seam to mark more than others or is it relatively the same with use ? I admit I have not bought many new Lps compared to used but its more of what I want not being re-issued as of yet. I have bought some classic records re issues and a few of their box sets cut at 45 rpm and a few too expensive but good sounding blues lps but I haven't had any issues with them easily scratching from handling. Other than handling and how their stored and if thats all done properly makes me wonder if the actual quality of vynil used might have something to do with it. I remember in the latter seventies the quality of vynil on a lot of domestic lps was poorer than it was previosly. Thats when I started buying alot of Japanese and German pressings. Cheers
No, but a vacume record cleaner is an essential part of the game. IMO if you rank the importance of TT, cartridge, arm and RC machine, the RC machine is #1 for quality sound. I use a Loricraft today but any good alternative including homemade (which I used for many years) will get you far better results than just wiping. I also use new record sleeves for all LP's