Not a problem at all...spin away!
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They will play fine if they have been stored properly, not exposed to high heat and heavy weight. I have many many albums I purchased new when I started collecting from 1969 to present that still sound fabulous and I am so happy I took good care of them.
If you are really serious about bringing out the best they have to offer I would suggest getting a cleaning machine (Nitty Gritty, VPI) and some good fluid (Record Research). This will allow you to really clean them and get the best sound from them possible. Also upgrading your playback system, if you haven't in all that time, will help considerably. Much has improved in vinyl playback equipment in tha last 20 years and the value has never been better. Plus you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to achieve complete vinyl playback satisfaction. These things will amaze you in terms of lack of surface noise, dynamic and frequency range. And here at agon you are welcomed into a brother-sister hood of devoted vinyl junkies. You are in good hands. I anticipate we are all envious of your collection.
Great question. I know many here will say that as long as you took good care of them, etc., etc., they will be okay. I am here to tell you that I abused my 60s and 70s LPs, only hung onto them for sentimental value...they were stored in our attic (hot Texas heat), basement (one COLD winter in Indiana), moved over a dozen times including from TX to Indiana and back without any sort of special instructions for the moving companies. Bottom line, either I am lucky or these things are more resilient than we give 'em credit for. In 2000, I reentered the vinyl asylum and was incredibly surprised by how good these sounded and their condition.
Fortunately, during the years that I was actually playing them, I took good care of them. My first LP (Help by the Beatles) is ALMOST as pristine as the newest LP that I purchased this week.
Go ahead and spin 'em. Just buy some worthy equipment! Cheers!
I also think that LPs are tougher than most people think. In particular, everyone knows that they should be stored standing up on edge, but I confess to having sometimes left LPs stacked horizontally for a year or more without any bad effect. If the base is perfectly flat this might even prevent, or cure, warping.
Thanx for the hopefull feedback. I had a rule for years that I wouldn't buy a Cd if I owned the LP. Like all my Rules, I bent the heck outta it, but still have about 400 or so that I don't own on CD. Mostly progressive rock, fusion stuff, a few half speed masters. Been having a hankering for some Stanley Clarke fusion stuff, I have most of his lp's. Figure to spend about $1500 on Turntable, phono stage and nittygritty type cleaner. But like all my rules that $1500 might get bent a bit.
A little over a year ago, I was in the same position as you. Upon playing, I found my albums purchased in the 60's, 70's and early 80's were in the same condition as I left them.
Of course like folks have suggested, nothing has hit my tt without a good VPI 16.5 cleaning.
In hindsight, I should never have stopped playing vinyl! In the period of time I've had my tt, I can count on one hand, the number of CD's that I've critically listened to. Vinyl is just so much more enjoyable than digital, and I'm comparing apples to apples in terms of CDP and tt, tonearm quality/cost.
For the first few days of lp playing, I was astonished that the highly resolved, harmonically rich music I was hearing was emanating from my new mechanical/analog playback device!
Im not sure if you've thought about your budget for a cartridge, but if you're in the $200-300 range, you can't go wrong with a Denon 103R.
Also, as soon as you clean them good I always replace the inner sleeve with a high quality rice paper sleeve. This way when you remove them after long storage, the static electricity discharge is greatly reduced. No stick with vinyl, the older, the further you get away from ' stereophonic ' recordings and into that high fidelity unbreakable, micro- deepgroove heavy thick plates of vinyl, the better the sound.
Definitely don't believe any of the answers you have gotten so far. Your LP's are now trash. They will sound like poopy if you try to play them again after all these years. In fact, they might even qualify as toxic waste, so you can't just deposit them in your garbage can. You could get a big fine for that.
Just send them to me and I will gladly dispose of them for you :-)
for the price range you mentioned I would suggest looking at the used market. You can get better bang for the buck that way. If your handy, you can build your own RCM that will work every bit as well as a VPI 16.5 for cleaning. There have been many threads here by people in your situation so search the archives and you'll get lots of ideas.
I'm so good at breaking my own rules. Just my way of stickin' it to The Man.
Good luck and welcome to the nut house.
Some of my vinyl dates back to the 60's and they are still fine. The big threat seems to be damp and mould, which can be tough to deal with, typically if the records have been kept in a cellar(sorry basement) for years. Help is at hand, Michael Fremmer has a couple of recent articles on this very subject, the second in the current Stereophile. These includes advise on intensive care for really damaged Lp's. Some of my older 2nd hand buys have been very scratched, presumably by old worn cartridges, tracking at the higher weights typical of vintage cheap decks