Should My Turntable Dust Cover By Open Or Closed When Playing Vinyl?

Should My Turntable Dust Cover By Open Or Closed When Playing Vinyl?

Craig Walker |

Ah, the age-old question that has had vinyl enthusiasts scratching their heads for decades.

Should the dust cover of your turntable be open or closed whilst the magic of vinyl is spinning?

It's a debate that has been spinning around longer than your favourite record.

So, let's get stuck in, shall we?

The Great Dust Cover Debate

Some vinyl aficionados swear by leaving the dust cover open, while others are adamant that it should be closed, or removed completely.

But why such a fuss over a seemingly simple question?

Well, as with most things in the world of vinyl, it's not as straightforward as it may seem.

Those in the 'open' camp argue that having the dust cover closed can trap sound, creating an echo or resonance that can affect the sound quality.

On the other hand, the 'closed' camp believes that the dust cover serves a crucial purpose in protecting the record and stylus from dust and other particles that could potentially damage them.

The Sound Science Behind the Dust Cover

Before we delve into the specifics of the open versus closed debate, let's first understand the science behind the dust cover's effect on sound.

It's time to put on your lab coats and goggles, folks!

The dust cover, particularly when closed, can potentially create a micro-environment around the record player.

This environment can trap sound waves, causing them to bounce back and forth between the cover and the turntable.

This bouncing can create an echo or resonance effect, which can subtly alter the sound of the record being played.

However, it's important to note that this effect is usually minimal and may not even be noticeable to most listeners.

The degree to which this occurs can also depend on factors such as the material and design of the dust cover, the acoustics of the room, and the sensitivity of the listener's ears.

Protecting Your Vinyl and Stylus

Now, let's turn our attention to the other side of the argument.

The dust cover, as its name suggests, is designed to protect your turntable and vinyl records from dust and other airborne particles.

Dust can be a vinyl record's worst enemy. It can settle into the grooves of the record, affecting sound quality and potentially causing damage over time.

Similarly, dust on the stylus (the needle) can also affect sound quality and cause wear and tear.

By keeping the dust cover closed while playing a record, you can help to minimise the amount of dust that settles on the turntable and record.

This can help to prolong the life of your vinyl and stylus, and maintain optimal sound quality.

Read More: How To Clean Vinyl Records

Vinyl record player playing record with dust lid open

So, Open or Closed?

After all this, you're probably still wondering whether you should leave your dust cover open or closed.

Well, the answer is... it depends.

Yes, I know, it's as satisfying as a scratched record, but hear me out.

If you're a serious audiophile who is sensitive to the slightest changes in sound quality, you may prefer to leave the dust cover open. This can help to minimise any potential echo or resonance caused by the cover.

However, you'll need to be vigilant about keeping your turntable and records clean to protect them from dust.

If, on the other hand, you're more concerned about enjoying some casual vinyl listening whilst protecting your vinyl and stylus from dust, you may prefer to keep the dust cover closed.

This can help to keep your records and stylus in tip-top condition, but you may need to live with the potential for slight changes in sound quality.

Experiment & Enjoy

Ultimately, the choice between open and closed comes down to personal preference.

So, why not experiment with both and see which you prefer?

After all, the joy of vinyl is in the experience, and part of that experience is finding what works best for you.

So, whether you're an 'open' or 'closed' advocate, or you switch between the two depending on your mood, the most important thing is to enjoy the music. 

So, pop on your favourite record, sit back, and let the music play. Whether your dust cover is open or closed, the magic of vinyl is sure to shine through.