Embracing the sweltering change from Hawaii to Arizona was an unexpected adventure, especially with the mercury consistently hitting record highs. The relentless heat advisories from the National Weather Service served as a constant reminder of this challenging reality. One of the most distressing victims of this ruthless weather was my cherished record collection.

Prior to setting up a PO Box in a climate-controlled building, I had my newly purchased records delivered to my home. The blazing Arizona sun, beating mercilessly on the west-facing cluster mailbox, managed to warp the records, adding an unnatural curve to their once pristine surfaces.

A couple were my recent purchases: Oingo Boingo’s “Nothing to Fear” and “The Escape Team” by They Might Be Giants. The warped records, when played on my Audio-Technical Sound Burger, dragged their edge with each rotation, distorting the sound and rhythm.

Rather than simply replacing these records, I decided to explore ways of restoring them to their former glory. The prospect of building a rig to undo the heat damage was initially appealing, but further consideration made me realize the need for a more controlled and cost-effective process.

This led me to discover the website of The Vinyl Archivist based out of Jackson Heights, NY. Their services, priced reasonably at just $10 per record, offered ultrasonic cleaning, vacuuming, and record flattening. Intrigued by the detailed process and the impressive Orb DF-01iA+ flattening device, I reached out to The Vinyl Archivist.

After detailing the state of my records and how they’d ended up warped, I made the decision to send my records their way, filled with anticipation for their return. Once in Mike’s care, he was wonderfully helpful and friendly, keeping me updated on the progress of my records, and assuring me of their substantial improvement.

When the package arrived, the meticulous care taken in its preparation was beyond my highest expectations. Mike had placed “Protect from Heat” and “Fragile: Handle with Care” stickers on the box, a reassuring nod to my previous ordeal. The 3-inch-thick box contained the records, each carefully sandwiched between a layer of foam and corrugated plastic, further insulated by bubble wrap. The records themselves were outside of their jackets in new anti-static sleeves.

Examining the records was a joy, with the dish shape now completely gone. The real treat, however, was to play them once again. As the smooth sound of Oingo Boingo filled the room, I reveled in the sight of the record spinning perfectly flat, with no hitches whatsoever. The anticipation of playing They Might Be Giants next was exhilarating.

A heartfelt thank you to Mike at The Vinyl Archivist! Any records in my collection that fall victim to the heat will certainly be sent your way for a careful and expert restoration. Your incredible service not only saved my beloved records but brought back the undiluted joy of listening to my favorite music.

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