Vinyl Record

Storage

The storage environment is critical for sound recordings.  Recorded media is generally unstable and therefore the constant monitoring of temperature and humidity is vital.  The following criteria apply to a mixed sound media storage area.

The temperature should be kept at a constant 10-12° C where possible.  Storing at higher temperatures has caused such problems as sticky tape syndrome.  Run the heating 24 hours a day.  Many buildings have their heating on a timer control.  This is not appropriate for recorded media storage as, when the heating system switches off, there will be a sudden fluctuation in temperature which may cause damage to the recordings.

The storage area should always have some form of dehumidification system.  The ideal level is 40-45% RH.  This will reduce most of the problems of moisture adsorption into tape binders etc.

Try and cover all windows to stop direct sunlight from reaching the stored recordings.  Strong sunlight and its resultant direct heat will damage most types of recorded media.  Vinyl discs placed in direct sunlight will warp in a matter of seconds.  Cassette and reel-to-reel carriers also warp easily – not to mention the damage in terms of physical distortion to the actual tape.

The shelving itself can be either metal or wood although both types can be problematical.  Check any metal shelving and uprights used for magnetism.  Most metal shelving does have some magnetism but if it is under one gauss then it is usable for storing recorded media.  Any magnetism higher than one gauss can cause partial or total erasure of the recorded media.  Wooden shelving is in some ways more suitable but check that the wood has been well seasoned and will therefore not seep any unwanted deposits onto recordings and their containers.

When storing discs use metal shelving because of the sheer weight of the material.  The discs should be stored vertically with strong dividers every 25 records or so.  This will stop any lateral pressure from warping the disc.

Although it is not always possible, because of the large costs involved, all sound recorded media should ideally be stored in acid-free boxes or sleeves to prevent any damage to the playing surface.

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