Everyone knows there’s been a vinyl boom in recent years and it shows no sign of slowing, with global vinyl sales expected to hit over £820 million this year. Turntables are also flying off the shelves as a new generation discover the joy of vinyl. Since 1971, Danish brand, AM have been leading the market in products to clean your vinyl and analogue gear.
With the resurgence in the popularity of vinyl, they’ve redesigned and relaunched their original range from the ’70’s with the aim of showing the new generation of vinyl lovers how to look after their records properly. With this in mind we thought we’d ask AM CEO, Jacob Moesgaard, to give us his top 5 tips for getting great sound from your vinyl…
Keep ‘em clean
That was also the idea behind the design of our website: Clean. It made sense, that’s what we do, that’s what our products do. It’s definitely worth investing in a good record cleaner for deep cleaning and a carbon fiber vinyl brush to remove static and give your records a quick brush before and after playing. Those are the basics.
I’ve definitely got a “records are meant to be played mentality.” To each his own though. I’m not knocking or talking down on these kids starting to collect records who don’t listen to them—that’s what they wanna do. But for me, it’s like, play them, enjoy them, they’re made to be listened to.
I’ve been brought up on vinyl; it’s been a family business for over 45 years. My father started AM back in ’71, so I was taught from a young age how important it is to look after and clean your vinyl. Being a vinyl lover myself, I knew what the culture wanted, I knew what was missing. So I had this idea to take things back – I went through the archives and saw these black and white designs for one of the original AM Record cleaners, that was it – AM Clean Sound was born.
And then I wanted it to be safe – no harsh abrasives. Safety was the number one priority. If you’ve camped out in a line that snaked around the block to drop a few hundred quid on some soul jazz, you want to protect that investment. You want your kids to be able to listen to those records.
Make sure you have the right cartridge
It’s nice to think that kids are tearing up record stores searching for these analogue jams that they can’t find online, but then many of them are going home and playing them on these entry level record grinder turntables.
Cheap, faux-retro record players, fitted out with ceramic cartridges and heavy-tracking plastic tone arms might be cheap off the shelf but in the long run will cost these kids their records. The problem is that they don’t know that infinitely better and only slightly more expensive turntables exist.
Store them properly
Obviously the best place for your records is on your turntable but if you’re putting them away you definitely want to store them vertically and never lay them on top of each other. If vinyl records are left lying flat and horizontal, over time they’ll begin to warp.
And since you’re going to be keeping your vinyl records vertical, you need the right kind of container to hold them. We’re actually working on some Crates for storing vinyl in now, they’ll be out this year hopefully. In the meantime, wine crates also do a pretty good job too.
Sleeves also give your vinyl records a bit of extra protection, keeping them free from dust and dirt. However, sleeves can become damaged over time, so if you notice that one of your sleeves has been come a bit mildew-y or otherwise isn’t in great shape, just replace it – it’s a small cost for a big difference. Just make sure you get the anti-static ones.
Getting the balance right
Often overlooked, setting the tracking weight and balancing your tonearm may sound dry, but it’s about the single most important adjustment you can make to the way your turntable sounds, and will save both your needle and your records in the process.
Just don’t rush it. You have to be patient with this deceptively simple process.
Record shop vinyl sounds better
It’s true. A record that you’ve bought from a record store just sounds better.
When you listen to that record you’ll remember the rainy bus ride to get there, staring down at Google Maps on your phone as you tried to find the right street, and the twenty minutes that you spent digging through crates of vinyl until you found exactly what you were looking for. Or maybe it wasn’t what you were looking for but you got talking to someone who recommended an album you might like instead. You don’t get that from a vinyl you bought from Amazon or Tesco.
We need to protect the record stores on our high streets. If they go, the biggest losers will be the small recording labels and those of us who love music.
Check out the full AM range at https://cleansoundam.com/