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views for hobbyists
Page first published on June 29, 2009
There are various methods
for correcting warped records.
Using a special machine that brings the vinyl gradually to a set temperature and
then cools it down overnight.
Making use of time.
Use Time and Patience to Prevent and Fix Warps in LPs.
the olden days of thick flat mono records, warps were brought about through mishandling
a record by the owner.
employee in the pressing plant would lift the fresh pressed record with the index
fingers of left and right hand off the matrix before it was sufficiently cooled
down. This was especially the case when thousands of records had to be pressed
in a short time. On those records there were generally two warps. In modern factories
the pressing process is more automated.
Those warps will generally not be corrected or you will have difficulty correcting them because vinyl has a memory. However most warps you will encounter are the result of temporarily exposing a record to a heat source, be it the central heating or the sunshine. If the room temperature is rather high and the records are laying about or not stored with care, one or more light warps can be the result. Warps can gradually manifest themselves over time when records are packed in a box with too much room.
is difficult to correct warps. The method with glass plates does seldom
work to satisfaction; in my experience it never works! The main reason is that
the vinyl is clamped in between the heavy glass plates and a gradual flattening
over time will be obstructed by the heavy glass plates which do not allow the
vinyl to move/expand/stretch/relax. The only effective method to correct warps
is to use a special component like Clearaudio's Vinyl Doctor or a similar
device. The vinyl record is put into the device, slowly heated to a safe temperature
and then it is cooled down over several hours or even vernight. But such a machine
is rather costly and only pays off if you have too many warped records. And in
some cases it does not have the desired effect.
This is how you can do it.
|Light warps of thin records can generally be corrected on the turntable during play using a Peripheral record ring. But after the record has been played, the warp just stays. To correct more severe warps in heavy records a heavier ring must be used. But then correction is not always possible - this is so in my experience as I have both a light weight peripheral ring and a heavy metal ring as well.|
|So what to do with warped records? First let's have a look at those in a box. Examine what sort of warp you are dealing with. Is there a curve at the periphery at one spot caused by sagging or does the record have the shape of a dish? First of all get rid of the soft plastic foam. Plastic foam was maybe right at the time of production, but after so many years it certainly has deteriorated and has lost its elasticity and consistency. If there is a cardboard filler, it should be sturdy and completely flat. If it is not, throw it away as well or keep it but outside the box.|
Now measure the size of the compartment: height and width.
|Cut out squares of thick cardboard and make sure that they can be placed into the box easily.|
|Cut off one small corner so you will be able to take out the cardboard filler easily if necessary.|
|Use the cardboard sheet as a replacement of whatever filler there was in the box before. See to it that the cardboard is flat and sturdy. You can choose the thickness in relation to the space (room) you want to fill up. In the picture at right you see ordinary cardboard. If you want you can buy a nicer material in the art supply shop. But it should always be completely flat and have no tendency to bend easily.|
|Put the records in the box. See to it that there is no room left for sagging.|
|If there is room left it is necessary to put an extra square sheet of cardboard on top of the records before adding the document (book or inlay). Hopefully the documents have the size of a record and are not the smaller booklets often provided by EMI in Great Britain. Then close the box and store it vertically. This will prevent warping and will help correcting light warps over time. As a matter of fact in this way time is your aid.|
So if you encounter a box containing warped or concave records, do not throw these away. Just fill up the empty space and make sure that there is no room left when the box is closed! A tight fit is necessary. Store the box on the shelf so that it is supported on both sides by other boxes and records. It is better to store records and boxes rather tightly instead of loose. You may discover that after a couple of weeks or a month the records will have flattened.
It goes without saying that the records should be cleaned or at least dusted off with a carbon fiber record brush and with a velver brush as well. And see to it that the paper sleeves are free of dust particles also.
I bought a box with the complete chamber music of Johannes Brahms. The records were hollow shaped like saucers. I did put several sheets of cardboard in the box. And guess what? After 2 months I discovered that the records were flat again and remained so. And it also worked with Mozart's Violin Music played by Henryk Szeryng and Ingrid Haebler as illustrated on this page.
Pressings of 180 and 200 gr can be tough to correct.
A warp in a pressing from the 1950s and 1960s needs some time to be corrected. "Flimsey" 1970s and 1980s pressings can be corrected rather easily, although care has to be taken that the memory of the vinyl is fully erased over time and the record does not "flip back". Warps in heavy 180 and 200 gr. pressings are a different matter. They are not as easily corrected. I have a special section on one shelf reserved for all the records that need correction. Again all these records are taken out of their original cardboard covers and are stored in their inner sleeves in between flat card board sheets/separators. A stronger sheet of card board or even wood devides the correction section from the rest of the records on that shelf. See to it that the records are dust and dirt free. It is best to clean them first and have new inner sleeves before they are stored in this way. The records on that shelf should be in a very tight position so that it is not easy to get them of the shelf. Leave them there for a couple of weeks. You may want to check after some time to see if there is an improvement and to what extend.
Prevent and Correct Warps in 78 rpm Shellac Records.
|The same goes for warped 78 rpm shellac records. For single discs in individual sleeves as well as for albums. Albums can have to much room (separation) between the subsequent Kraft sleeves.|
|Use sturdy cardboard which is completely flat. Cut out square sheets measuring the size of the paper sleeves of the album.|
|Insert these cardboard sheets between all discs as shown in the picture.|
This is how it should look like. Now store the album vertically on the shelf in a tight way so that sagging is not possible. You will see that after several weeks or a month the records have become flat again over time.
It is easier to correct 12 inch discs than 10 inch discs. I used this method for a Deutsche Grammophon box with concave (dished) vinyls. And I used it for the Cortot-Thibaud-Casals album shown above. In both cases the results were very good. The DG Tulips had become completely flat. And the shellac discs were now really playable. I hope that this method is also valid for your warped records and that it will improve your collection and your listening pleasure. That is to say if you have patience.
Page first published on June 29, 2009
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