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Dust and static are your record collection’s biggest enemies.
Small popping sounds can be caused by static, especially after removing a record from its plastic sleeve. Another common culprit for skipping and poor sound quality is dust and dirt in the record grooves. This can collect on vinyl in storage, from their paper sleeves, or dust in the environment. But, brand new records can also suffer from a little factory dust or oil from your hands.
If you don’t regularly clean off your records, your turntable needle can accumulate dust and stop working properly.
Clean your records before spinning them — even the new ones.
Start with a lint-free, anti-static cloth to gently wipe down the record in a circular motion. Then try playing the record to see if that simple fix took care of the problem.
If the skipping continues, use a record-cleaning product (a spray) and a soft cloth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you don’t damage the vinyl. Usually, you let the product sit on the surface for a bit, then rinse it off with distilled water. Avoid getting the record label wet. Allow it to dry completely before playing it again. You shouldn’t do this every time you play a record.
This should do the job, but if it’s still skipping or popping, use a magnifying glass to look carefully at the groves of the record. If you see any dirt in there, use a record-cleaning brush to gently remove it.
For a crisp sound every time, gently swipe the surface of your record with an anti-static brush before each spin.
To reduce the amount of static electricity in your listening area, run a humidifier in the room with your turntable.
If you try all of these techniques and your records continue to skip or the sound isn’t clear, troubleshoot the problem by adjusting your record player setup.