I have LP's that are more than 30 years old that I listen to, and they still sound great. The secret (IMO) is keeping the LP's clean and using a cartridge that requires moderate tracking force (I try to avoid going above 1.5 grams). But whatever cartridge you use, be sure to set the tracking force so the stylus does not mistrack -- that will ruin an LP in short order.
I have also treated most of my LP's with LAST, and have been very pleased with the long-term results. I don't know that there is a magic number for how many times an LP can be played before audible signs of deterioration occur, but based on my experience, I think several hundred times is a reasonable guess (again, assuming the points in the first paragraph are heeded).
From the research and information I have been able to uncover over the years here is what I have found....with a properly set up, good quality analog system, and with clean vinyl (very important), you can expect approx. 1,000 plays prior to loosing the high end of the music. Accidents, poor tracking, and dirty records can shorten the effective life dramatically. I own, and still play on a regular basis, vinyl that exceeds 45 years in age!
Interesting thought...how long will digital formats last?
G_m_c, digital...two weeks, until the next NEW format appears :-)
Thanks guys, this information just about brings me to tears with joy. I would also welcome any ideas on where to get more vinyl. Lets see, if I can gather a 1,000 LP's and play each a 1,000 times I could listen to vinyl for the next 114 years if I listened 24hrs a day seven days a week! Thanks again.
Davt - As to where to get more vinyl, what are you looking for? I've got a few hundred that I don't listen to anymore. (I went over to the dark side). Email me if interested.
I have LPs that were pressed around 1905, they seem to be physically perfect. Still, guess they have not too much play time. Say that about the latest CDs.....the worst annoyance of CD is in their fragility. Skip tracking etc. Though CDs are very convenient.
I think that after you play them once, you should send them all to me. The quality goes downhill very quickly, and I don't mind listening to sub-par lps.
And hey, that's a lot longer than we can expect a lot of digital media to last. I have at least 2 CDs from the late 80s that have completely oxidized. Maybe I should be backing my hard drive up to LP :)... In all serious, a few years ago one of the Comp. Sci. journals I subscribe to actually listed the lifespan of storage media, and included vinyl. I can't recall the exact lifespan, but I think it was 50-100 years, depending on wear and tear. CD ROM was around 5-20 years. Paper naturally had the longest lifespan (500 years), but we can't very well listen to paper. So score one for vinyl.
I have also treated most of my LP's with LAST, and have been very pleased with the long-term results. I don't know that there is a magic number for how many times an LP can be played before audible signs of deterioration occur, but based on my experience, I think several hundred times is a reasonable guess
Sdcampbell, I too use Last. I have several hundred LP's that were treated many years ago and they still play as new.
This afternoon I listened to an original Decca a friend bought in Europe. It was from the 1950's, and the performance and sound were both breathtaking. Amazing that anything can remain viable, still providing excellence nearly half a century after it was manufactured.
I have read somewere that polyvinyl chloride can last 100 years. After that, who cares.
Cleaning them with a VPI 16.5 using Disc Doctor fluid and pads and then treating them with LAST I've had records that have lasted years with no sign of wear or damage. I also use Stylast which I think lowers the wear on your records as well as your stylus.
I totally agree with Sdcambell, also had records 35 years and still play perfect. Beg, steal or borrow the money for a record cleaning machine. As well as longer lasting records, you get better sound.
PS my SACD's on a Shanling still do not sound as good as my LP system.
Agreed. I have 45-50 year old LP's that play fine. Not all of them by any means, but all the ones that were properly cared for.
Proper care means a RCM. Don't upgrade your turntable or tonearm before buying one. Don't upgrade your cartridge first either. Yes, a worn stylus can damage vinyl, but any stylus will damage vinyl if the vinyl isn't clean. Only a vacuum RCM can prevent that.
Last night I spun some magnificent 1966 English pressings of Solti's 'Das Rheingold'. I got them from the original owner, who bought them when they first hit these shores nearly 40 years ago. He used the Discwasher "system" regularly but never owned a RCM. He actually advised me not to buy one. "Won't make a difference," was his opinion.
Well, after seven passes on my Loricraft, using RRL, AIVS, Smart Developments and Micro Care Premier, I believe I've removed all the loose grunge that his stupid Disc Washer repeatedly emulsified and then left behind. Unfortunately, nothing will remove the microscopic bits his stylus ground into the groove walls over the years.
These magnificent pressings are now listenable, but they're noisier than they might have been. The original owner's rig wasn't good enough to reveal the damage he was doing, but the damage was still being done. They sound exactly like carefully handled records that were merely Disc-Washered, no big pops but many low level ticks. Those would not be there if he'd cleaned the records properly before playing them.
Buy a RCM if you care about your vinyl. If you don't, and someday upgrade to a more revealing rig, you'll learn the hard way about the damage you were doing but couldn't hear.