Starting now, I’ll be putting out a weekly post focusing around “Millennial Problems”. Otherwise known as obscure issues that some of us out there may or may not have. These posts will be full of lighthearted tomfoolery. They’ll also provide tips to you readers for dealing with featured Millennial Problems, if need be. Enjoy.
Today’s Problem – Turntable Needle Fail
Call yourself a master of vinyl? Brand new to the best music medium out there? Either way, you might possibly relate to the following feeling:
After putting a hurting on your local record store (as my fellow contributor Randy would put it), you rush home anticipating the sweet melodies that will soon be flowing off that smooth vinyl. You already know what your first selection will be as you leap into your residence. This isn’t some beat-up bargain record (although vinyl with character is solid). No, this is a clean, brand new, 180 gram beauty. This ain’t yo granddad’s vinyl.
At the edge of the turntable you rip through the record’s packaging, unsheathe it, and lay it down prepared for some tuneage. As the needle creeps downward toward the record, you can’t help but color yourself tickled. Harmonies begin to protrude from the speakers. Out of nowhere, unexpectedly, comes a sort of popping noise. The noise rears its ugly head again.
The needle to your face-
Solving the Problem
As a listener of vinyl myself, there is nothing worse than this dreaded needle pop. It’s best to stop the turntable as soon as this noise is heard. It usually indicates a skip, and could lead to damaging the vinyl. The skip is caused by the needle slipping over one groove into another. Unfortunately, new high quality 180 gram records contain grooves that are closer together than older records that are composed of less vinyl. The closer groove proximity can increase the likelihood of skipping if the needle has been worn down enough. There are a couple of solutions to this dilemma:
- Invest in a diamond needle: May sound a bit extreme/expensive, but diamond-tipped needles tend to have a finer point, while also lasting significantly longer than other needles
- Alternate needles: Switch between needles depending on what you’re listening to. Use a newer needle for newer vinyl, and an older one for used vinyl.
- Stick to the oldies: As I said before, most older records utilize less vinyl, resulting in wider grooves. Considering the lower price of the used vinyl, this also makes growing your collection more affordable.
About 180 Gram Vinyl
180 gram vinyl is known for its high quality sound, and is the staple of most records being made today. You’ll pay more for this type of record than others, mostly because it costs more to produce it. More vinyl material equals higher production costs. Be careful of overpaying though. Some sellers will up the price on 180 gram simply because it may be put out by a newer artist. Anywhere from $15 to $25 is usually a good deal price-wise.
In my opinion 180 gram vinyl is the cleanest of the clean. If you have the disposable income available, I highly recommend purchasing some.
Some 180 gram recommendations from my personal collection-
Also, some Oldies recommendations (in case you go that route)-
- Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory (Side 2 is absolutely legendary)
- Paul and Linda McCartney: Ram (“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, ’nuff said)
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”