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Audio Files: Record Rules

Keep your vinyl sounding great

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RCA Discwasher D4 kit
Nitty Gritty Model 1.0
Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional
Hunt EDA Mark 6 brush

What’s the easiest and most satisfying way to collect jazz recordings? For me, it’s digging through the crates at a used record store or swap meet. Sometimes my finds can be incredible, like a pristine pressing of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s The Inner Mounting Flame with ’70s newspaper clippings about the band stuffed into the sleeve. But sometimes they’re dicey, like a copy of Lee Morgan’s ¡Caramba! hanging filthy and half-naked out of a ripped cardboard sleeve.

Although there’s more new jazz coming out on vinyl these days, many fans are playing decades-old platters acquired from all sorts of sources. With proper care, these records can usually deliver an extraordinary listening experience. Without proper care, they’ll give you muddy sound marred by incessant pops and clicks. The good news is that proper record storage is easy, and deep record cleaning can cost less than a couple drinks and cover charges at a Manhattan jazz club.

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