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Vinyl records are one of the most prized possessions one can own. They are expensive, delicate and prone to damage. There is no quick way to fix a warped record and unwarping them can take some pretty expensive equipment, depending on the condition of your record.
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Buying a new one is often not the best option and putting a clamp on the record while playing doesn’t help much. Simply trying to fix a warped record manually is also a bad idea as you can risk breaking it. We have made this guide which will hopefully guide you on how to fix a warped record.
We do advise that prevention is the best measure, so avoid warping your records; however, we have provided some easy ways to do that. Prevention can save you from causing irreparable damage to your records. But first, let get on with some basics so that you can have an idea of why it happens and what you can do to make it better.
Why Vinyls Get Warped
There are so many events or chain of events that can cause your records to get warped, and we have discussed some of them below:
A vinyl record usually gets warped if it is put under extra weight. Make sure that you do not put your records inside or beneath books as it can create pressure on the vinyl surface and they can lose their shape. Furthermore, avoid stacking your records on top of each other as they also contribute to more weight on the records. Stack them parallel to each other as you would do with your books.
Vinyl records are delicate. At high temperatures, they tend to become soft and if they are put under pressure in that state, they can get warped easily. This type of warping can sometimes be permanent. A vinyl record will start warping at about 60 degrees Celsius and melt completely at 100 degrees. Instances like leaving your record in your car that is parked under the sun for too long will definitely lead to your record getting warped.
We would recommend you to always store your records in a proper place. In fact, dedicate a place especially for them so that they are not all over the place. Keep them away from direct sunlight as it can warp your record in just a few minutes.
How to Fix Warped Vinyl Records
Method 1: Do It Yourself
Subject it to Pressure and Give it Some Time
If you are thinking of doing it this way, then expect the process to last for days, even weeks. You basically have to place the record between two large and heavyweight books (like coffee table books) and hope that the resulting pressure does its thing. If you have big bulky books, then this method will suit you the best. The bigger and heavier the books, the more pronounced the effects will be.
Keep in mind that it will take a lot of time and patience for this to work out. It is also important to not keep peeking again and again to see if it is fixed. Just give it some time. We recommend waiting for at least two weeks. Also, if the books are dusty, make sure that you put your record in a sleeve because the last thing you would want is a dust particle scratching your record.
Pressure and Heat
First things first, this is dangerous; and when we say dangerous, we means seriously dangerous. This method (heat and pressure method) can either fix your record or wipe it completely from the face of this earth. Before considering this method, know that it can go very wrong. Here is what you need to do:
- Get two sheets of glass pans that you can put inside your oven
- Make sure that the glass sheets are clean and free of any dust particles
- Place the record between two sheets of glass pans
- Put the vinyl record in the oven with the whole setup
- Turn on the oven for 30 minutes at the lowest heat possible
- Turn the heat off and let it cool down to room temperature then remove the record
- Try and see if it worked
- If it didn’t work, do all the steps again
- If it still doesn’t work, try with a little bit more heat
- Keep on trying with different heat settings until you achieve the desired result
- Make sure not to completely melt your record in the oven
We don’t see this as a reasonable option considering how many risks are involved; not to mention the toxic fumes that will come out of the oven. Vinyls are precious. Some have a value that cannot be ascertained. This method is too risky in such situations so we would advise you to only use it as the absolute last resort.
Method 2: Use a Record Flattener
This method is a more expensive one and, if you think that it is going to be easy, then you are in for a disappointment. First of all, there aren’t a lot of products out there that are professionally used specifically for this purpose. Secondly, they are ridiculously overpriced due to the fact that they are very rarely available. We have found the best flatteners you can use to revive your warped record.
These machines essentially combine the two DIY methods that we have mentioned above and implement them in a more controlled way. They reduce much of your work and automate most of the processes involved in the revival. Therefore, you don’t need to put them inside the sheets of glass pan and go through a tiring process of trial and error. Furthermore, professional machines can cost more than 2500 dollars and you would be better off buying a new stereo altogether.
The Furutech record flattener is professional record revival equipment. This is one of those rare and expensive equipment that is your one-stop-shop for cleaning, maintaining, and reviving your vinyls. It comes in two models that are made for the USA and Europe. It is a high functioning record reviver and consumes a little bit of energy. Operating at 460 W, it ensures that it adequately heats the metallic plates.
It also packs quite a lot of weight. It weighs 12 kg and thus cannot be moved around easily. It automatically adjusts the temperature based on the condition of your record so all you have to do is put the record inside, sit back, and relax. This is not just a leveler but an all-purpose vinyl reviver; so, unlike levelers where you have to manually clamp and adjust the pressure, this equipment makes everything automated.
- Rated to work at 115 V ± 10% with AC Line 5 A fuse (European model works at 230 V ± 10%)
- Max Energy Consumption of 460 W
- Heating plate reaches a maximum temp of 57 ℃ ± 3 ℃
- Dimensions: 445 mm / 17” W x 117 mm / 20” H x 547 mm / 7” D
- Weight: 12 kg / 20 lbs.
- Temperature: 5 ℃ / 41 F – 35 ℃ / 95 F
- Professional record reviving equipment
- Avoids any flat tone and gives a realistic sound reproduction
- Improves focus and stereo image
- Stabilizes the sound and sound image
The Nobsound STB-0 1 LP Vinyl leveler is a disc stabilizer that fine-tunes your warped record to give back the original dynamic sound to your records. With its high quality discs, it can retain the original resonance vibration which helps reduce that flat sound from your records.
The leveled disc rotation system also helps stabilize the rotational speed and the rotations themselves. This helps to effectively reduce the noise floor. The pure signal retrieval technology sucks out every type of signal from the stylus and gives an improved signal quality. It comes in two versions: the gold version is built from pure copper while the silver version has a zinc alloy built.
- Retains the resonance vibration
- Stabilizes the rotational speed
- Lowers the noise floor significantly
- Pure signal retrieval technology
- Gives improved signal quality while burning CDs from LPs
- Pure copper built on gold version while the silver version is made of zinc alloy
The Wewu CB-03 is not a traditional record leveler, but it’s a label saver and you can use it to unwarp your vinyls. This is more of a preventive measure that you can take up against your vinyls.
The CB-03 makes your labels dry and clean. Keeping them inside this can help them retain their shape and prevent them from getting warped. This is fit for 12-inch vinyls and can provide you with clean flat labels in seconds.
The WEU has airtight chambers sealed with O rings and is made from industrial grade materials that make it highly durable and strong. The material used makes sure that there is no flex in the leveler disc itself so it can effectively level your record instead.
It provides a tight and secure grip, allowing the vinyl to produce cleaner sounds. This is also good for your stylus as it doesn’t put a lot of effort into it.
- Fit for 12-inch LPs
- Provides clean and dry labels
- Comes with the airtight chamber with sealed o-rings
- Industrial grade materials used to make the handles to provide a tight and secure grip
- Allows cleaning the vinyls with touch-free operation
- Produces cleaner sound
- Puts less effort on your stylus
- Compression disk made from acrylic
Top Tips to Take Care of Vinyls so They Won’t Warp
- Don’t put too many records on top of each other if you choose to stack them. We will advise you not to put them on top of each other at all. Most of the shelves lack any kind of support drivers and the weight will build up to the last record in the row.
- Stack your records vertically like books. When you stack them horizontally, the additional things inside your record sleeves like extra bonuses and cover art books can build up excessive pressure and warp your records.
- Avoid exposing them to a lot of heat. If used correctly, heat can actually tame and fix your warped records but if you leave your records just like that in a hot car or on your outdoor door mat for delivery, then it can be bad for your vinyl.
- Avoid sunlight at all costs. Long exposure to sunlight can potentially destroy your vinyl records. Most of the time that records are exposed to such conditions, is when they are either in your car standing under direct sunlight or they got delivered to your doorstep when you live in a hot area. Keep these situations in mind to avoid any potential harm to your vinyls
Vinyls are delicate pieces of engineering that are prone to damage if they are not dealt with care. The most common cause of warped vinyl is exposure to extreme heat or pressure. This can be taken care of by applying preventive measures first so that they don’t get warped in the first place.
If, however, your record is in bad shape, you can try our easy DIY methods mentioned above. If you don’t get satisfactory results, you can try the leveler machines that are built specifically for this purpose. Our list includes some of the very few available high quality record levelers that are almost impossible to find in departmental stores.