How to Store Audio Equipment
Ask any stereo hobbyist, and they’ll tell you analog is always the way to go for the best music experience possible. For most outsiders, it can seem like an expensive hobby that’s way too loud for an early Saturday morning, but the effort that analog systems take to build, maintain, and use… I get it. I started building out my analog stereo a year ago, and though it is a humble receiver and turntable, it’s my baby.
Whether you’re a long-time collector or a first-time hobbyist, I’m going to walk you through the process of building your own system, why it’s worth it, and how to store the equipment safely.
There are a few things to consider when keeping your precious audio equipment safe, and we can help with storage tips for all the pieces.
What are Analog Stereo Systems?
Analog stereos are designed for getting the best possible sound out of your music collection or home theatre. All systems, no matter the price, should consist of a stereo receiver/amplifier, a pair of matching speakers, and at least one source component. There are a multitude of different source components, and they are extremely important because the audio quality ultimately depends on how they work together.
Stereo systems can be bought as a pre-compiled audio system, or you can buy all the components separately yourself. Pre-packed systems are much easier, but they don’t leave much room for upgrades in the future.
Analog vs. Digital Audio
In analog recording, the sound is recorded directly from the vibrations and onto magnetic tape. This is called the “master tape” and is distributed to reproduce the original recording. Vinyl records, cassette tapes, and 8-track are all different examples of analog audio distribution.
Digital recording uses analog equipment to record the audio, but it is then encoded using digital equipment. Audio is digitized in a process called analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) and it is then distributed to CD, DVD, or streaming services.
If you are considering purchasing an analog stereo system to listen to music, it can be quite an investment. But, listening to records in their original form through vibrations is worth the price to some, and for good reason. Listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” or another top-selling vinyl on your iPhone just isn’t the same.
Preparing Audio Equipment for Storage
Before you pack it up for the road show – or even take your stereo apart – take a picture of the back of everything. Having a reference photo when you eventually put it back together will help you in the long run.
After you’ve disconnected all the cables and cords, make sure everything that has a resting position, (like a turntable or cassette deck) is in its resting position. Also be sure turntable arms are off the platter, counterweights are stabilized, and if possible, the needle is secured.
Picking Storage Boxes for Audio Equipment
Finding high–quality storage boxes for audio equipment can run you up thousands of dollars if you go all the way. Custom cases with foam insulation will keep your equipment protected but cost more than a hobbyist could reasonably spend – at least not me.
Honestly, the original packaging, if you have it, will suffice in keeping your equipment safe and dry. It was designed with transportation in mind. The only downside is that most used stereo equipment won’t have its original packaging. If that’s the case for you, here’s how you can package each of your components to keep the music playing another day:
Stereo Speakers Vs. Mono
Stereo means that there are two speakers, as opposed to a mono system, with only one. Two speakers provide a better listening experience because most audio recordings are 2-channel recordings. With two high-end speakers in your system, you can hear almost every instrument like it’s a live show and experience everything the musician(s) wanted you to hear.
Regardless of the number of speakers, tweeters, or subwoofers, preparing them for storage is simple, just find a cardboard box that fits snug. If the box is a little too big, use packing paper or plastic bags to keep the speaker from jostling around too much. I prefer to stuff the side that has all the input nodules since they’re the easiest to break.
Analog source components are turntables, a receiver with a built-in AM/FM tuner, and phonographs, while digital source components are CD’s, an aux cord, and Bluetooth connection. CDs are generally considered the best way to play digitally, but ask any analog loyalist and they’ll tell you CD’s pale in comparison to the vinyl record. So delicate, so artful, and so easy to store with our convenient storage tips.
Because source components can vary greatly in size and shape, here’s where having the original packaging is in your best interest. If that isn’t an option, try to find boxes that have some extra width for any chords or wires that need to be kept with them. Label the box with a sharpie, so you know which boxes can be stacked (radios) and which cannot (turntables).
Now, for amplifiers or receivers, they are divided into two groups: standard stereo receivers and integrated receivers. Any standard stereo receiver contains a radio tuner, a pre-amplifier, and a power amplifier.
The pre-amplifier is the first component that receives the signal coming from the source and transforms it to the level where the power amplifier can recognize and receive it. This component allows the user to control the volume, switch between source components, and control the gain.
The power amplifier is the most important amplifier component because it drives the speakers. It controls the signal accuracy and eliminates any distortions or imperfections. Integrated amplifiers are like receivers, but they don’t‘ have AM/FM tuners.
To store these components, it’s best to wrap up the receiver in bubble wrap, packing paper, or plastic bags. Then, put the receiver into a snug fitting box, preferably the box it came in.
Transporting Analog Audio Equipment
Wheels are your best friend – seriously. Audio equipment gets heavy quick and jostling it around is a recipe for shorted wires and broken needles. When moving equipment from your home to your car or a moving truck, utility dollies or moving carts will be your best bet.
Once you arrive at your storage location, most will have moving carts and dollies to assist in moving your equipment into your unit. And once it’s there, our climate controlled units will do the rest of the work keeping the equipment safe year-round.
Climate Controlled Audio Equipment Storage
Our climate controlled units are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer to allow for consistent temperatures all year round, meaning they are perfect for storing stereo systems. Other than audio equipment, these units are also great for storing furniture, electronics, art, and more.
- All audio equipment or musical instruments are sensitive to temperature. Many analog stereos and instruments like a guitar or drum set have wood in them that can be warped due to changes in temperature.
- You want to store your equipment at around room temperature (64-77 degrees Fahrenheit), and extreme temperatures can be completely avoided all together with climate control.
- Air Filtration
- Dust is an analog system’s biggest enemy. Because the parts are old and very delicate, regular dusting can do it more harm than good. To preserve your systems longer, store it somewhere with a filtration system that can remove dust and foreign particles from the air.
If you would like to discover more about our climate controlled storage units, please visit our website. You can also check out our Self Storage Calculator to find the perfect size unit for your storage needs.