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Storing and transporting your records

Vinyl is susceptible to a mechanical process called "creep". This means that it will slowly deform (creep) when a load is transferred onto it. Vinyl can take considerable loads without breaking or permanently deforming, but creep involves prolonged periods of relatively small loads. This is why you have to take care in storing your records properly.

In order to prevent your records from deforming you have to follow these rules:

  • Always store your records upright, never flat, and most definatelty NEVER in a huge stacked pile!
  • Do not store your records near a heat source or in direct sunlight.
  • Never "overpack" record cases or record bags for a prolonged time.

If you store records horizontally the records may bend. This is because most record sleeves are thicker than needed so the pile is supported by the edges of the sleeves. The unsupported centre, where most of the mass of the records is, will sag in. Result: bowl-shaped records. Of course it is no problem if you incline a row of records somewhat to store them against a wall.

One sided heating, whether by sunlight or by a heater, will bend your records because the heated side will expand because of the heat, while the cold side tries to retain it's shape. The susceptibility of vinyl to creep is directly related to temperature. A hotter environment will thus increase your problems.

And finally: if you overpack your record case or record bag, you will inevitably put a mechanical load on your records. This in itself will not be enough to make the deformation permament, but if you leave the records overpacked for a long time, creep will come into play and do the rest. (So, you could overpack for one night, say you have to perform somewhere but can only take one record case, as long as you do not forget to unpack some of the records directly afterwards.)

Buying your records

What works for beginners as well as for experienced (semi-) professional DJs is trusting in the judgement of the salesperson. So, just go to a recordstore and ask if they can select a pile of records within a certain style. This does not have to be limited to Techno or Trance or Garage or whatever. For instance, try asking for records in a style that resembles a certain known artist or producer.

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Choosing your records

Do not limit yourself to one single genre of records. Dare to cross over to other styles/genres. As long as you like it and it reasonably fits in with the records you already have, go for it. This play-what-you-like might sound a bit ego-centric, but it should not be looked at that way. Within the range of styles you like there should always be enough avaliable to please a crowd. Doing a set goes better if you yourself enjoy the tracks as well.

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Combining your records

There is one important guideline for combining records: Avoid making a mix crowded. If you mix one very melodious and sample-rich track into another you run a very big risk of creating chaos. Technically it should still sound Ok, but in practice you get lost among all the different sounds. Similarly, if it is not too crowded, a transition can still be a mess because the 2 themes are played in different chords.

In other words: make sure that the tracks you mix do not bite each other. With that comes another important guideline: Know your own records! Which should of course be the natural result of practising a lot. (hint ??)

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© 1999 - 2002. It is not allowed to duplicate this text or parts thereof without written permission of the author: Geert-Jan Pluijms.