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Is It Normal to Hear Crackling & Popping on Vinyl Records?

Scratched record

Holly |

Yes, it's normal to hear crackling and popping sounds on vinyl records, especially older or heavily played ones. These noises can be rooted in several causes, including dust and debris on the record surface, imperfections in the vinyl pressing, static electricity, and wear and tear on the record from repeated playback.

While some crackling and popping is expected with vinyl playback, excessive noise may indicate issues with the record or the equipment. Regular cleaning and maintenance of both the records and the turntable can help minimise unwanted noise and ensure optimal sound quality.

What Causes Vinyl to Crackle?

Vinyl records can crackle due to a variety of factors, including dust and debris on the record surface, static electricity buildup, imperfections in the vinyl pressing, and wear and tear on the record from repeated play.

Dust and debris can create noise as the stylus moves across the grooves, while static electricity can attract dust particles and cause them to cling to the surface, exacerbating crackling sounds

Imperfections in the vinyl pressing, such as tiny bumps or irregularities, can also produce crackling noises during playback. Additionally, as records age and accumulate wear from the stylus, the friction between the stylus and the groove walls can generate crackling sounds.

How Can I Prevent My Records from Crackling?

To prevent crackling on your records, we would recommend the following steps:

1 - Keep your records clean

Regularly clean your records using a carbon fiber brush, microfiber cloth, or a record cleaning solution to remove dust, dirt, and debris from the grooves.

Learn more about how to clean your records

2 - Store records properly

Store your records upright in protective sleeves and away from heat, humidity, and direct sunlight to prevent warping and damage.

Learn more about proper record storage

3 - Handle records with care

Handle your records by the edges or the label to avoid touching the grooves, which can transfer oils and dirt to the surface.

4 - Maintain your turntable

Keep your turntable clean and well-maintained, including the stylus (needle) and tonearm, to ensure optimal playback and reduce wear on your records.

Here at Atlas Records, we review the condition and set-up of our record player once a week, to ensure that it stays in good health and will give us the best results while grading our records.


Learn more about our process.

5 - Use anti-static solutions

Use anti-static record sleeves or brushes to reduce static electricity, which can attract dust and cause crackling during playback.

Scratched record
This is a very scratched record. While it is dirty, and cleaning it would help, it is ultimately scratched beyond repair.
Damaged record

Is it Possible to Repair a Record that has Loud Pops & Clicks?

Yes, it might be possible to repair a record that has loud pops and clicks, although the effectiveness of the repair may vary depending on the severity of the damage. Keep reading to learn how to identify whether you'll be able to repair your damaged record.


You will want to have a look at the record under a bright light, having removed the looser dust and debris so that you can only see any scratches or other damage (like paint) that is on the record.

Can Paint on a Record be Repaired?

If there is something like paint on the record, there is a chance that you will be able to remove it and return the record to a playable state. To remove it, use a fingernail or other hard (but not too hard) item, like a credit card, to gently chip at it, making sure to move in the same direction as the grooves.

There is a small chance of causing further damage by doing this, but chances are, the record was already unplayable. So, it’s worth it on the likelihood that it will result in the record returning to a playable state.


You will want to complete this process having had a look at our guide on how to clean your records at home, as this will give other invaluable advice on ensuring you clean your records correctly.

Can a Deeper Scratch be Repaired?

No, deep scratches on a vinyl record cannot be fully repaired. While some say that minor scratches can be minimized or smoothed out using specialised tools or repair kits, deep scratches that penetrate the surface of the record cannot be effectively repaired. These types of scratches can cause skips, pops, and other playback issues that may affect the sound quality of the record.

It's important to handle and store vinyl records carefully to prevent scratches and other damage, as prevention is often the best approach to preserving the quality of your record collection.

More about record care...

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