How to Tell if a Record is Warped

We'll show you how to tell if your record is warped, and what you can do about it!

Updated October 2022

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Warped vinyl records are unfortunately a common occurrence, especially for those who love our collections and want to keep them in the best condition possible. But don't worry, in this blog post, we'll learn how to identify a warped record.

You might have purchased a new album, or haven't played it in a long time. If you suspect that your record may be warped but you're not sure, there are a few telltale signs that you can look for when trying to determine if a record is warped. These are the two easiest ways to know:

1. Visual inspection 

The best way to spot vinyl warping is to pull your record out of its sleeve and take a close look. Hold it at eye level and check to see that it looks flat and even. Usually, you can see warping pretty clearly because of how thin vinyl records are. It might be obvious to see the curve or bent in any way. If you hold the record up to a light source, you should be able to see if the light shines. If you see any light shining through where there shouldn't be any gaps, that's an indication that the record is warped.

2. Playing your record to detect anomalies

If you have a turntable, try playing the record on your turntable and see if you notice any sound anomalies. The sound may be distorted or muted. If you hear any skipping, crackling, or popping sounds, then the record is definitely warped. It doesn't matter if you have a high-quality Victrola or Crosley turntable, if the record is distorted you will hear it

 

Warps can cause mistracking, tracking force variations, vertical tracking angle variations, and pitch and harmonic fluctuations. Depending on the degree of the warp, these sound modifications may be slight or extremely obvious. If the record has only an edge warp then you might not notice the sound quality issues. But if the warp is too much then you will hear it right away.

Vinyl records should be stored upright. One of the best ways to prevent your records from warping in the first place is to store them properly! Keep them stored upright in sturdy sleeves or boxes, away from heat sources and direct sunlight. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your records stay in great shape for years to come.

 

If you have a warped record, there's no need to worry too much. While it's not ideal, it doesn't mean that your entire collection is ruined. Warped records can still be played, although with some issues. We recommend fixing warps with the Vinyl Flat.

We hope this blog post helped teach you how to spot a warped vinyl record! Remember, if you think your record might be warped, the best thing to do is take it out of its sleeve and give it a close inspection. If you have a warped record you can fix it by using this guide. And if you want to prevent your records from warping in the first place, be sure to store them properly upright in sturdy sleeves or boxes. Thanks for reading!