Self-Storage for Audiophiles and Their Vinyl Collections
It seems that the advent of the self-storage industry has coincidentally arose alongside the vinyl record renaissance, both surging over the last 15 to 20 years.
It made us at Real Storage think, “Well maybe we should supply those audiophiles with some helpful pointers on how to store your vinyl collection properly.” And so, we present tips below for how best to utilize self-storage for your record collection.
The advent of vinyl
First, let’s have a quick look at how vinyl has had a sudden surge in popularity, and how its demand has led to an increase in physical space for music just as music has become digitalized.
What’s amazing about this resurgence is the fact that is not from the perspective of nostalgia: it’s not baby-boomers, nor their children who may have experienced vinyl second-hand who are buying records; it’s actually millennials whose parents missed the boat on vinyl themselves.
The new-found fascination with vinyl is really more a reaction to the digital landscape of music. Today’s music is digested via computers, tablets, and smartphones, and provides access to a near infinite amount of music with a few taps of a button. What’s missing from the equation here is a physical object to relate and identify with – to hold in your hands to inspect and love. Vinyl allows the listener a more immersed experience with their music; a proper engagement that cannot be rivaled by any digital format.
The other side to this, as any audiophile will proclaim, is the quality of the sound: vinyl supplies a more accurate representation of the musical performance because digital files must compress the sound to save space. In an audiophile’s words, the sound is “warmer” than digital music.
Self-storage for vinyl records
With this new-found popularity (and for good reason if you’ve read above), audiophiles and vinyl collectors need to be sure they know how to store their vinyl properly. Unlike digital music, which avoids any and all physical effects, vinyl is something that can of course degrade, and this means ruining the sound of the record.
Collectors need to store their records in a safe environment that will keep the life of their vinyl intact. Those with particularly large collections should probably consider storing their records in a climate-controlled self-storage unit to not only save space at the house, but to also be sure that their collections remain safe and in peak condition.
Storing your vinyl flat is the first mistake for any record collector. Vinyl is a soft, malleable material that can warp easily with any pressure: never mind a box of books on top, even one record on top of another can cause the bottom one to warp! In fact, the pressure from gravity can effect a record that is lying flat.
Store your vinyl upright in wooden crates, and, after every 8 to 12 records, include dividers that cover the entire surface of the record, helping to keep the vinyl standing straight. Using dividers has the added benefit of creating markers to organize your records as well.
Temperature fluctuations can have detrimental effects on vinyl, causing them to warp, and deeming them unlistenable. Storing vinyl in attics or the basement are usually bad places for vinyl, as temperatures can fluctuate to larger degrees in such spaces.
The best temperatures for vinyl storage are between 15 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius. Much higher or lower could degrade the vinyl.
Like temperature, humidity too can cause vinyl to warp. When storing your record collection then, keep them in a dry space (again, basements prove to be a bad space for vinyl), and aim for approximately 35-40 percent humidity.
Vinyl needs a consistent air flow. Sealed in a container without air flow will see the environment your vinyl is being stored in create a micro-climate that can be damaging to their condition. Avoid plastic bins or tapped boxes; wooden crates are best.
Avoid storing vinyl near any direct light sources. UV rays especially can damage vinyl in mere minutes, so setting up your turntable in front of the window is one bad idea – but so is storing them permanently or even temporarily near a window or any light source.
Vinyl can also be damaged by vibrations, so avoid storing your records close to loud speakers or buzzing appliances, such as washers and dryers.
Static too can harm vinyl. The best trick here is to put the vinyl record itself into a static-free polyethylene liner, and then put the record cover into its own liner, doubling up on the protection. Again, a wooden crate is the best conduit for vinyl, as it reduces static; plastic will only increase the static levels.
While not exactly a storage factor, keeping your turntable well-maintained is also important for the life of your vinyl. Keep it clean, and replace your needle as soon as it starts to splinter, or your records may be affected by your lack of maintenance.
A large vinyl collection has an excellent home in a climate-controlled self-storage unit. As long as you can follow the advice above, and bring some sturdy shelves with you to the unit, we at Real Storage will keep your vinyl in the same condition you brought it to us.
Take a look at our size calculator to determine the size of unit that might suit your collection, and then if you have further questions about vinyl storage or any of our services, speak with your Real Storage agent today.