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Answered- Playing vinyl records: Keep the dust cover open or closed when playing?

This is an old old debate, and it’s always boiled down to “it depends,” at least when playing records. Sound pressure levels that can resonate a plastic dustcover are likely to have a much more dramatic and direct effect on the ultra-sensitive electromechanical transducer interface that is your cartridge and stylus with the cover removed than with it closed. At those sound levels, the space under the dustcover is a comparative oasis of calm and quiet! Sound pressure you can feel on your skin can easily vibrate your delicately balanced cartridge and stylus.

It’s true that the most expensive turntables don’t come with dustcovers, but some of the “resonant chamber” explanations sound like marketing magic (in high-end audio? Say it ain’t so!). Many owners end up springing for expensive aftermarket dustcovers to protect their even more expensive decks and also use isolation platforms.

Which brings up an important point: If your dustcover rattles, the problem is far more likely to be vibrations transmitted through surfaces rather than the air. A resonating or rattling dustcover is usually a symptom of a problem that can’t be solved by lifting it during play! Isolating your turntable can be troublesome, but never thankless.

It won’t make a huge difference, much less so if you have a dampened platter. It does have the potential to vibrate more i guess. There are arguments that the dust cover can create static but i can’t say I’ve ever experienced something like this.

Now, this is seldom, if ever, needed. If it’s very dusty were you are it might help a bit. Otherwise you can look at the dust cover as a passive radiator – it’s the lightest thing on the table and will vibrate. I would pretty much guarantee that unless you have the volume massively high and your table is on a light table, stand, or surface, it won’t matter.

The bottom line with vinyl (and audio) is always that every little thing can make a difference, though not always in the same way in every system. Try, listen, repeat — you’ll know before long which way sounds best to you, and it might not be the way everyone else said it should be. But that’s part of the fun! I’ve heard many real improvements in many years in hi-fi, but I’ve also failed to hear many, if you take my meaning. Trust your ears!

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