Confused About LP Warps...How Can I Tell??

Hello Good People,

What are the different types of warps you find when inspecting an LP? How do I know which is which??

Is it bad for my cartridge (Dynavector 10X5) to play these??

Most importantly - when I'm shopping for used LP's, how can I detect a warp when I'm viewing the record at the store??

Seems like a lot of the used LP's I bring home lately are making my tonearm "surf some waves" - so I'm trying to avoid this!

Any help is most appreciated - and feel free to call me ignorant!
To check for warps when browsing the used bins: pull the LP from the sleeve (which you do anyway to check for overall condition, right?), lay the jacket and sleeve on reasonably flat surface, lay the LP on top of the sleeve, see if the LP generally makes contact with the sleeve/jacket around its circumference. Any significant warping will be reasonably apparent.

As to playback, I follow Jaybo's advice.
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I've found the only fool proof way to check for a warp is to place the record on a turntable and spin it around - very obvious when you do this. Unless I really want the record I don't buy warped records as they are virtually impossible to dewarp. That said, I do own a few warped records and as long as the warp is not severe they play fine.


Thanx for the playing a slightly warped record is not going to shorten the life of a stylus or do anything else harmful??
No, they are all correct. A severe scratch on the LP would be WAY more harmful than a slight warp. It will not damage your stylist at all, It will just track the LP groove slightly up and down, unless it’s a huge warp! It’s kinda like your car driving up and down hills in the road. The car tracks straight, but a big tree limb in the road would damage your car as a big scratch on an LP would potentially damage your stylist. Was that a good analogy? Only one that comes to mind. You’re good!😃😃
Warped records must be graded as warped by the seller, just don’t buy warped records, instead you can find same release is better condition (almost always).

Put the record on the platter and rotate it watching the edge of the record (side view on the platter) and you will see. Minor warp (a few millimetres) is irrelevant, records are not perfect. If you see more than 5mm warp just don’t buy it.

Cartridge can play warped record, some high compliance MM can play totally warped records without skipping.

You Dynavector can play slightly warped records.

There are warps and warps.....

The nasty ones are what I call ’short wave warps’, usually only at the edge of the record, so a record weight or clamp won’t do you any good. These are hard to detect without spinning the disc on a turntable, but most shops have them around, so you can always check. Some cartridges are better than others in navigating them, but in all cases it puts some stress on the suspension. You should avoid these.

The ’long wave warps’ are more comfortable for most cartridges to track and don’t put stress on the suspension. You can buy these without any worries.

Finally there are the ’dish shaped’ ones. One side can be flattened by a record weight or clamp, so you’ll be fine. But for the other side, when the outer edge of the disc is (much) higher then the centre, you’re in trouble. Both VTA and azimuth are totally screwed up and the only solution here is to use an outer ring to flatten it.

I just stick ‘em in the oven preheated to 150 degrees for 5 minutes sandwiched between two glass panes with some mass loading on top. They come out flat as a pancake. Additional benefits to SQ can be achieved by sticking them in the freezer for 2 days. 🥶