When you notice skipping while playing a record, it may relate to a few key factors. By taking measures to address the common factors leading to skipping, you prevent damage to the record and improve the sound quality.
Dust and Dirt
A common reason your records may skip is dust and dirt that gets into the grooves. While it may occur on old records due to storage, paper sleeves or dust in the environment, new records may also have dust or dirt. Other factors related to cleanliness also impact sound quality, such as oil from your hands or other factors.
You want to remove any dust or dirt from the record before playing it to prevent skipping. In some cases, you may need to use more complex cleaning methods to remove the dirt.
Damage to the Record
In some cases, the cause is damage to the record. If your record is scratched or damaged, then it may not be possible to address the underlying problem. A scratch means the vinyl was damaged and it may skip as a result.
The Balance to the Arm or Stylus Cartridge
While the most common factor is dirt or dust on the record, you may also have a problem with the balance. If the arm or the stylus cartridge is not balanced properly, then you may need to improve the balance. Depending on the record player you own, the process of re-balancing your arm or cartridge may vary. You want to evaluate the specific player before determining your options.
Troubleshooting the Problems
Since the most common factor causing skipping is dirt and cleanliness, troubleshoot by cleaning the record. Use a lint-free soft cloth to gently wipe down the record in a circular motion. Try playing the record after dusting. In some cases, the dirt is on the outside of the record and the skipping will stop with simple dusting.
If the skipping continues, then use a record cleaning product and a soft cloth or a record cleaning brush for a deeper clean. The cleaning products may have a variety of instructions, so follow any guidelines set by the product. Usually, you apply the product and allow it to sit before rinsing it away with distilled water. You may also use the brush to remove dirt and dust from the record. Be careful when using any liquid on your records to avoid getting the label wet. Allow your record to dry completely before playing it again.
In most cases, the skipping will stop after you clean the record. If it persists, then use a magnifying glass and look carefully at the record. If you see any dirt lodged into the groove of the record, then use a record cleaning brush or a similar tool to remove it. You may need to use a toothpick or a similar tool for some problems if the brush does not remove the object or dirt.
The final complication is the setting of your record player. When cleaning does not work and you cannot find any dirt lodged into the record, check the balance of your cartridge. Balance the cartridge according to any instructions provided by the manufacturer if it is not the appropriate setting for your player. Rebalancing the arm or stylus cartridge should resolve any remaining problems.
Skipping suggests a problem with your vinyl records, but it is not always a sign of damage to the record. You may fix the problem by adjusting the balance on your record player or by cleaning the record to remove dust and dirt.