Dust cover up or down?

Is it better to play albums with dust cover up or down?


Off, not up or down, but off. In this instance, go commando.

Dust covers are for keeping dust away, not to be on the turntable while playing a record. It's like putting a giant unwanted resonating badly tuned  (complex resonances) tuning fork on the side of a vibrational measurement device - called a turntable. Generally considered to be a bad idea.

Theory is one thing:

dust covers can contain/reflect internal microphonics back onto the lp surface, ’corrupting’ what the stylus receives/transmits.

play in up position? double check the deck remains level when the cover’s weight is all on the back when open. The cover can transmit airborne vibration via the hinges to the deck, could be worse. Can be less than ideal visually as well.

lift off? have a designated location, perhaps some felt buttons on contact edges, that’s my preference.

play closed? protects from airborne dust if a potential problem.

Reality is another. Can you hear any difference/detriment either way?

Do it blind first: turn your back, have someone else play it up, repeat the track closed, jump around a bit up/dn? After that do it yourself facing properly, your ’expectation bias’ will be reduced some at that point.


I remove mine - it sounds much crisper and cleaner

I only leave it on while it is NOT playing - it keeps the dust off👍

It's a really simple design that allows me to lift the cover off without having to undo any screws 

Regards - Steve


Mine has not any hinges so it is one way, removed.

Back again not in use. Anyway i remember all my turntables to sound better when it was removed.


Some people have very strong opinions on this but mine is that, as is often the case, it depends. Not all dust covers are affixed to the turntable in the same way and left on during play some can transfer vibrations back to the phono cartridge. Others, such as the dustcover on my VPI TNT III, are completely independent of the plinth, so that's less likely to be an issue.

Back in the '80s, I had a Denon DP-80 turntable in a VPI HW-9 two-arm base. One problem I had with it (and that really took some sleuthing to resolve) was that static electricity from the dustcover was enough to decrease the VTF of either arm. So I always used that with the cover off.

Cleeds, now that is a new one to me (dust cover reduces VTF by electrostatic attraction). How did you figure that out, given that you can’t measure VTF with the cover down?

Or I guess you could, by raising and lowering the cover with the scale in place that you could read through the transparent cover.

@cleeds is right, i remember a Dual having that problem, rub the cover with a cloth till it pulls the headshell/cartridge,arm up. Good game.

Never experimented that on another tt.

Fascinating.  I would not have thought the attraction would be so strong over what would typically be the ~6-inch distance or so, between cartridge and dust cover. So ES on an LP can spuriously increase VTF and ES on the dust cover can lower it.  If you're lucky, the two attractions are equal and there is no change in VTF.  So one other solution is to rub up your LPs with a wool cloth before play with the cover down.

It obviously depends on your TT and your ears.  

Quite from Hoffman forum:

"Bottom line: If you don't notice much of a difference, then down all the way. But just having the lid so at the minimum you can close it when you're not using it will help a lot."

Fuzz, I don’t get the last clause of your quote. Leaving the cover up and hinged to the rear edge of the plinth would seem to be the worst possible choice. Fora couple of hypothetical reasons.

Off. It literally opens up the sound when it's open or removed. If you don't notice much of a difference, you need better gear.

Bottom line: If you don't notice much of a difference

I don't use it at all. In fact my Avid Ingenium does not even come with one. On my Music Hall MMF-7.3, I even removed the dust cover hinges....

People spend tons of money to reduce any adverse effects on their turntable caused by vibrations. Removing the dust cover while playing a record is probably the cheapest way to reduce microphonic vibrations that will cause distortion in sound. Some cheap turntables with cheap cartridges may not make much difference with or without a dustcover because the sound is already pretty bad, but very revealing high quality cartridges may suffer from such vibration especially when you listen to music loud with the dustcover up. The dust cover will pick up the sound wave, however small, which may well cause vibration.

There are no absolutes. It totally depends on the turntable in use. Use your ears.

Don’t have, and don’t use a dust cover. 

Will likely get one made for my TT to keep the dust off when not in use, but seeing as how it is used daily, it will be spending the bulk of its time stored near by. 

Suspect if I get  one made, it will be used if I go away for an extended time.


A friend of mine leaves his on all the time, which is easy as it is hinged. Opens it, puts a record on, closes it. 

Seems to me, as the price of a TT goes up, the presence of a cover becomes a rare thing indeed. Especially one that is hinged. Can’t think of a single ultra high end TT that has a hinged cover? Would love to know if there are any?

I have a Sota Comet I bought used and the dust cover is more or less an afterthought, and looks like it, something they started making because there was a demand for it. There are holes for hinges in the back of the plinth, but it's clearly never had hinges on it. I take the cover off and set it aside while playing records.

My rega RP8 has a surround support and dust cover... After 3 years I removed everything bar the Skeleton inner. Sounds much better... So was looking for large perspex cover for dust protection when not used... But just ordered a michell uni which is sleek and minimal

Will work for a lot of smaller decks like Kumzi rega michell


VPI Classic, custom cover fully off when playing, back on when not.

Pro-ject debut III, cover with hinges, up when playing, down when not.

It really has a lot to do with the design and quality of the TT and cart.


I've used my Linn LP12 since 1984 WITH the dustcover on. I LOVE the dustcover!—it allows me to leave records on the platter overnight. And I cannot hear any sonic problems its causes –  up or down.  



"Can’t think of a single ultra high end TT that has a hinged cover? Would love to know if there are any?"

The VPI HW-40 comes with a hinged dust cover. The price new of the table is $20,000. Is it considered high end? I would think so.

I think with a fully suspended table like a Linn LP12 the dustcover is less likely to color the sound, but with a non-decoupled plinth it’s much better without the cover or at least with cover up. I have seen the static attraction effect at work myself so that’s another reason to go up or off. My WTT/TA has an unhinged “cake cover” so it gets removed for playing every time. I once had a Technics SP12 with a heavy rubber plinth and the dustcover really degraded its sound quality when down. 

It is inconceivable to me not to have a dust cover. Seems absurd to leave a tonearm with super-fine manufacturing tolerances, precise movement subject to dust or any airborne substance, often invisible when not in use. Irresponsible of OEM's not to provide them IMO.

Owning a Rega P8 takes this decision away.

  • Dust cover on when not in use
  • Dust cover off when in use

Prior turntables I took the dust cover off because my older brother told me to.

Depends whether the dust cover has been cryo treated or not. Zap with your Zerostat just to make sure. Use a green marker around the edge of the cover for extra protection. I just use a dirty old handkerchief that has to be taken off before I start up the platter.

This question reminds me of a previous statement. "I keep a Polka Greatest Hits" LP on the TT when not in use.  It's great for keeping dust off the platter. 🤣 

I have a Technics 1200G...I don't notice a difference. I guess it's just really bad gear...lol.

Elliot, did you ever inspect the underside of your cartridge after playing several LPs? Do you think a dust cover can prevent the Schmutz?

It is true the cover may transmit air-borne vibrations to the stylus/disc interface.

But it may also be true that it shields that interface from those vibrations by acting as a a barrier whose micro flexures absorb them.

Anyhow my TT has no cover so I can't hear it.   Plus it doesn't seem to become inordinately dirty.

I think many audiophiles over-analyse.  That is ANAL ise.


And hands up please anybody who has observed any tracking weight variation at all with lid up or down using an electronic scale that measures to 0.01 gramme??

So let's kill that one right off.


As with most things in life the answer is……it depends! I have a VPI HW 40 with a dust cover and it works and sounds the same with the cover up or off. If you want that extra bit of assurance that the dust cover won’t negatively impact the sound, you could attach a piece of bubble wrap on the underside of the cover and away you go. My VPI HW 40 is used with a Kisiki Purpleheart and Sutherland phone stage.



Post removed 

Clearthinker, I think you ought to add a denominator to your survey. “How many have measured VTF with the dust cover up vs down, and did you detect a difference?”

so far, 2 maybe 3 contributors here have both done the comparison and did detect evidence of an effect.


I've just re-read the thread and as I thought, no-one said they had measured a difference in VTF.  Two said there might be a difference.

So far then the score is nil posters have measured any difference.  We've all got those digital scales, so why not get down to it - a minute or two's effort.  I would certainly try, but I don't have a dust cover.

The subject is interesting because this is one pretty stupid tweak where a scientific measurement can easily be made, and proven by weighing with cover off and then doing it again to test the scale is true.  I'm putting my money on 'no difference'.

Art Dudley was one of the nice guys and a great writer, but an arch-tweaker and inclined to believe the voodoo.

I’ve got a digital VTF scale, and I do have the dust cover from my Victor QL10. It sits on the floor under a table near the QL10, but for me there are other more major reasons why I don’t use dust covers so I won’t be participating. Moreover, it is clear to me that you would have to do something with the dust cover in order to build up a charge on its inner surface. I am not sure what that is, short of rubbing it with a cloth or something of that sort. Anyway, I could not care less. On the other hand I believe those who report a difference. I don’t know how you interpret those posts, but obviously we disagree on how to interpret them. If you would prefer to think the score is nil, then it is nil divided by nil, and we all know what that is.

I have an old SONY PS 7 and in the instruction manual it says close the lid and enjoy the music

If the manufacturer provides a hinged dust cover, they must be saying down when playing. A non-hinged one or one like my Rega P8 is saying off when playing but on when not to keep dust off. Some like the big ones over everything not hinged to be on while playing that don't touch the plinth or base which might be better at eliminating air borne vibrations and accumulating dust while playing, but what a pain moving them on and off when flipping a record - double worse for 45s. Unfortunately in our hobby there is no perfect solution....to anything. Just keep trying to get as close as possible.

My experience is, it all depends.

With my Belt drive Music Hall MMF-5 I had to play a disc with the dust cover off.

With my direct Drive Technics SL 1210 GR it does not matter which way, closed, off, half way open, it's all the same. No effect on the sound.

soko, I don't agree with your interpretation.  There was a time in the history of audio per se as a hobby, let's say since the mid-60s,  when the dust cover was an expected part of a turntable, and many manufacturers provided a hinged attachment for convenience.  I never took that as an indication that the manufacturer was recommending anything.  It was just a feature that might seduce a buyer.  In many cases, where there is a hinged DC, the hinges are designed such that the cover can be totally disengaged from them to allow for their complete removal.  I wouldn't over-interpret that, either.

Down. To prevent dust settling in the record.

If you are in a fairly dust free environment, then, you could leave it up for convenience.

For me in industrial Singapore, I see benefits from keeping it down.

I have a Technics 1200G.  I've always played with the cover down.  For my own satisfaction, I'm going to try with it up and off to see if I can hear a difference.