Vinyl static - why it’s dangerous and how to fix it
We’ve all been here before. You buy a new record; race home and stand in eager anticipation in front of your record player. With gentle hands, you slide the disc from its sleeve… or at least, you try to. The inner sleeve is sticking to the disc. Almost as if there were some magical force at play.
That magical force is static - and it’s very bad for the disc.
Not only does it make your music hiss and pop (which is bloody annoying), but it drastically increases the chances of your disc getting scratched.
Quick science lesson
Remember old TVs? The big CRT ones that took up half a room? If you ran your hand over the screen after they’d been on for a while, you could feel the static electricity on the backs of your hands.
Staying with those big TVs, did you ever notice how dusty the screens got? If you watched a lot of TV, you could find yourself dusting the screen every day. This is exactly the same as what’s happening on your static-y record.
Static electricity is positively charged. Dust particles have a positive and negative side. The positive charge of the static electricity attracts the negative side of the dust and the dust flies towards the source of the static (your CRT tv or static-y record).
Hang on, there’s a positive side to the dust as well! That would repel away from the static, surely?
It does. But thanks to a phenomenon called the inverse square law, the pull towards the screen is stronger than the repellent away from it.
Back to that dangerous static electricity
Because dust is attracted to the record, it settles in the grooves of the disc. As the stylus (needle) moves through the grooves of the record, the dust particles rub on the walls of the groove. This wears them out, decreasing the quality of the record and can eventually make them impossible to actually play.
So how do we get rid of the static?
Glad you asked! There are two main ways:
- Use a static gun. These are fairly expensive devices that counteract the static charge on a record.
- Clean it using good quality record cleaner. We recommend this one.