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A dust cover may seem like an afterthought once your records are all set up and spinning. But after dropping cash on a turntable, it’s a no-brainer to protect your investment and keep it in crisp condition.
What Does a Turntable Dust Cover Do?
The most clear and obvious function of a dust cover is…you guessed it, protection from dust. Not only does it keep airborne nastiness from building up inside your turntable’s mechanics and on the surface, it’s infinitely easier to wipe off a dust cover than it is to clean your player’s individual parts. The best turntable covers slide easily over your existing unit, to also help keep out moisture and prevent things from knocking into the internal components.
Most of the latest turntable covers can be kept on, even while your record machine is spinning. Lift the lid to place your record on the turntable, then lower the lid keep the dust out. Your record player will work as normal.
Does a Turntable Cover Affect Sound?
Other than being protective, does a turntable cover affect the actual sound you’ll get out of your system? That’s up for debate. A good turntable cover prevents layers of dust from accumulating on the record player and getting inside its parts, which can start to reduce sound quality. It also prevents things from scratching your vinyls, making them sound wonky.
Some users report that after multiple hours of play time with the cover left on, the heat buildup inside could eventually start to affect the stylus, though this seems to be pretty uncommon. Depending on what your setup looks like and the type of cover, having it on during play could help reduce or absorb any unwanted vibrations, but the opposite is likely too – if you’ve got big, booming speakers, a hard cover can resonate from the bass, shaking up the turntable and the tonearm. This seemed to happen more with dust covers that are connected to the turntable unit by hinges, rather than unattached ones you simply place over it each time. In that case, we recommend taking the cover off while using your record player, and then putting it back on afterwards.
Another alternative is a soft cover, usually made from nylon or other fabrics. It’ll do the job of keeping dust away, but doesn’t compare with protection from damage. So if your house has curious cats and kids, or a party guest who places a drink too close, a hard cover is a better choice.
One last thing: covers are all different sizes and setups, so no matter what model of player you have or cover you’re looking at, check to be 100% sure that it’ll fit your unit.
1. Vintage Technics Turntable Dust Cover
A soft cover doesn’t have to mean it’s not durable. This thick 600D, anti-static nylon cover from DigitalDeckCovers is fused with PVC lining, and is the front line of protection against dust, heat, air, water, light, and even floating pet fur.
Cleaning is simple – just wipe it down with a damp cloth and you’re done. Plus it can fold up for quick storage, which is perfect for playing sets on the road or in a booth with limited space.
The material is strong enough to catch unwanted particles from reaching your records, but still breathable so they won’t overheat underneath. Best of all, they’re all designed and made in Denver by a company that truly loves vinyl (and caring for them), and are built to last for years to come.
2. Decksaver Protective Cover
Decksaver designed this while keeping in mind all the inevitable elements of potential damage: vibrations, smoke, liquids, and especially dust or whatever other grossness is floating around and onto your records. Each is made from polycarbonate, a thin but incredibly strong plastic, making it easy to maneuver, and light with each lift.
These are specifically made for Technics and Pioneer players, so be sure to check if it’ll fit yours.
If you’re mostly playing records at home, this is an ideal alternative to the original Technics covers, and is moulded to keep your table turning for the foreseeable future.
3. Stanton CTC-1 Cloth Turntable Cover
When you’re not listening to records, this hefty cloth will keep your player clean and dust-free.
Stanton’s embroidered cover is rugged to the touch, and you don’t even need a Stanton player for a perfect fit, as this is big enough to completely envelop most units.
If your player didn’t come with a cover, or if you’re looking for an extra layer of defense for the front line against lint, dust and dander, this Stanton is tough enough to stand guard and then fold away when you’re ready to spin (and is easily washable too).
4. Reloop AMS-COVER-RP2000-4000 Dust Cover
This hard plastic turntable cover provides tougher protection than a soft nylon cover, attaching to the back of the unit for quick lifting and replacing during sets.
It does require a bit of work to get it attached, since it’ll need to be hinged to the right-fitting record player. For those who don’t want to deal with the headache of screws, tools and hinges, another option may be best. But if that’s no big deal, and if the cover fits, this is a strong and solid choice.