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Audio Equipment Maintenance – Keep Your Hi-fi Singing

Hifi amp circuit board repair

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It’s one thing to own the best hi-fi speakers or headphones out there; it’s entirely another to keep it well-maintained.

The goal is not only to improve the current performance and results but also to make sure that the equipment lasts for years to come! After all, you did spend a small fortune on the audio equipment, right?

On many occasions, proper maintenance of my hi-fi speakers and headphones has allowed me to feel a marked difference in the performance of my audio equipment.

The problem is that you may not know when your equipment needs a thorough maintenance session. It is only after the fact that you realize how dire the need is.

With the high-priced purchase, I didn’t really focus that much on maintenance in the first few months of my road toward becoming an audiophile.

Of course, I didn’t really notice much of a difference, as the fall of quality is rather gradual. A friend of mine, however, did.

He told me that the result wasn’t the same as the last time he tried my speakers. And that’s where it hit me. I needed to clean out and maintain my equipment.

In this article, I will go over the importance of keeping your hi-fi audio equipment well maintained, what you can expect, and the steps you’ll need to take for the best results.

Of course, you can’t always help thermal aging, but you can do your best.

Denon HiFi Amplifier full body
Denon HiFi Amplifier | Make Life Click

Audio Equipment Maintenance – Why Is It Important?

As with any electronic device, your hi-fi equipment will degrade in performance over time. The moving parts inside the speakers and headphones will start to accumulate dust, dirt, and other particles.

This can lead to diminished sound quality, as well as decreased functionality overall.

Not only that, but the build-up of grime can also lead to physical damage to the equipment. The dust and dirt can cause the moving parts to wear out more quickly, as well as potentially short-out circuits and other sensitive components.

In short, by not properly maintaining your audio equipment, you are essentially guaranteed that it will not perform as well as it did when you first purchased it.

In some cases, the deterioration can be so severe that the equipment may become unusable altogether if left unchecked.

So how often should you clean and maintain your hi-fi equipment? What should you do? What are the primary components that need maintenance? Let’s take a look. 

How Often Should I Maintain My Hi-Fi Equipment?

Cleaning and maintaining your hi-fi equipment is not something you need to do daily or weekly. In most cases, it should be done every few months – at the very least, once per year. 

Of course, this all depends on how often you use the equipment, as well as the environment in which it is kept. If you live in a dusty area or if you have pets that shed hair, then you may need to clean your equipment more frequently. 

Likewise, if you use your hi-fi equipment daily, it will likely need to be cleaned more often than someone who only uses it occasionally. The bottom line is that you should inspect your equipment regularly and clean it as needed.

What Are the Primary Components That Need Maintenance?

The four primary components that need regular cleaning and maintenance are the speakers, the headphones, the amplifier, and the turntable (if you have one). Let’s take a look at each of these in turn. 

Speakers

The most important part of any speaker is the cone, which produces the sound. Over time, the cone can become covered in dust and other particles, leading to diminished sound quality.

In addition, the build-up of grime can cause physical damage to the cone itself. 

To clean the cones, simply use a soft cloth – avoid using anything abrasive, as this could damage the cones.

Gently wipe away any dust or dirt, being careful not to damage the cones in the process. 

I find that a regular going over with a Swiffer duster from Costco, or wherever, is a great solution. 

Swiffer Dusters Cleaner Starter Kit
Swiffer Dusters Cleaner Starter Kit | Swiffer
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Swiffer Duster Refill + 1 Handle (28 ct.)
Swiffer Duster for HiFI Speakers

It’s soft and light but the dust really sticks to it. It won’t pick up old dust that has set but if you do it regularly you won’t need to worry about the dust that’s stuck.

Headphones

The build-up of grime can cause physical damage to headphones and decreased sound quality.

To clean them, simply use a soft cloth – avoid using anything abrasive, as this could damage the delicate components inside the headphones. 

Gently wipe away any dust or dirt from the outside of the headphones, being careful not to damage them in the process.

In addition, you should also regularly clean the ear cups – these are the parts that come into contact with your skin and, as such, can become quite dirty over time. 

To clean the ear cups, simply remove them from the headphones and wash them with soap and water. Allow them to air dry completely before putting them back on the headphones. 

For earbuds, you can use cotton tips to get into tricky places. Usually, if they are just a little moist it’s enough to get things off. 

A touch of soap to break down grease can also be a good idea if you need it.

Nothing too strong and don’t get the drivers wet! (although my apple airpods pro have survived many a trip through the washing machine.)

OneOdio Monitor 80 Headphones sleek design
OneOdio Monitor 80 Headphones | Make Life Click

Amplifier

The amplifier is one of the most important components of any hi-fi system, and as such, it needs to be properly maintained.

Dust and dirt can cause physical damage to the delicate components inside the amplifier, as well as decreased sound quality. 

To clean the amplifier, simply use a soft cloth – avoid using anything abrasive, as this could damage the sensitive components inside. Gently wipe away any dust or dirt from the outside of the amplifier, being careful not to damage it in the process. 

I damaged a handful of amplifiers back in the day by damaging the thin membrane that gets exposed once you unscrew the casing. If you see this, stop cleaning immediately, as going any further could cause costly repairs!

You can use a can of compressed air to get anything really tricky blasted out.

Contact spray can also help keep circuitry optimised.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner Spray, 11 oz.
Contact Spray for Electronics

Turntable

The turntable is another delicate component that needs to be properly maintained. Dust and dirt can cause physical damage to the delicate components inside the turntable, as well as decreased sound quality. 

To clean the turntable, simply use a soft cloth – avoid using anything abrasive, as this could damage the sensitive components inside.

Gently wipe away any dust or dirt from the outside of the turntable, being careful not to damage it in the process. 

As with amplifiers, I have also damaged a handful of turntables back in the day by damaging the thin membrane that gets exposed once you unscrew the casing. If you see this, stop cleaning immediately, as going any further could cause costly repairs!

Again, compressed air is good here.

Audio Technica Turntable
Audio Technica Turntable with dust cover | Make Life Click

Step By Step For Hi-Fi Speaker Maintenance

  1. Inspect your speakers regularly for any dust or dirt build-up.
  2. If you see any dust or dirt, use a soft cloth to gently wipe it away. Avoid using anything abrasive, as this could damage the cones.
  3. In addition, regularly clean the air intake.
  4. Follow the same process for your amplifier and turntable (if you have one). These are also delicate components that need to be properly maintained. Dust and dirt can cause physical damage to the delicate components inside, as well as decreased sound quality.
  5. To clean the amplifier or turntable, simply use a soft cloth – avoid using anything abrasive, as this could damage the sensitive components inside. Gently wipe away any dust or dirt from the outside of the component, being careful not to damage it in the process. 
  6. Enjoy your clean Hi-Fi system and listen to your favorite tunes!

Step By Step for hi-fi Headphone Maintenance

  1. Inspect your headphones for dust and earwax. This is especially the case for in-ear hi-fi headphones. 
  2. If you see any dust, dirt, or earwax, wipe it away. For earwax, use alcohol wipes for effective cleaning.
  3. Clean the ear cups – these are the parts that come into contact with your skin and as such, can become quite dirty over time. To clean the ear cups, simply remove them from the headphones and wash them with soap and water. Allow them to air dry completely before putting them back on the headphones. 
  4. Make sure you also clean the headband as well, or it could damage your hair and scalp. Headphone users often complain of losing hair as a result of dirty or grimed-up headbands. 
  5. Finally, store your headphones in a safe place when not in use. This will help to prolong the lifespan of your headphones and keep them looking new for longer. 
  6. And you’re ready to continue listening!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, audio equipment maintenance is important in order to keep your hi-fi system sounding its best. In addition, regular cleaning and maintenance can also help to extend the life of your equipment. 

So be sure to inspect your equipment regularly and clean it as needed – your ears will thank you for it!

Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

This post was last updated on 2022-12-08 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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