Happy New Year Mark [and everyone else ! ]. Great to see you on the boat again !
I totally agree with you on this. This thread raises several points which are seldom discussed. For instance, I worked out in the 80s that back cueing styrene records was a no no and never even consider it these days. Vinyl is normally ok but really for me it all boils down to the availability and rarity of the record in question. For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would be treating their rare recode in this way especially when you see the ever more eye-watering sums which they sell for these days. I can't speak for anyone else here but to me this whole ethos of "it has to be on original vinyl" only really applies to the anal collectors. As Mark quite rightly points out, its never really a problem at most gigs we're doing,whats more important is reading the mood of the night and the crowd and keeping the floor busy. As a rule of thumb these days I too play many things from CDR rather than pointlessly wearing out the vinyl originals,however,I never play anything out that I don't actually own the original of. I have done on one occasion but thats another story. Old habits die hard I guess.
Next point is Its all very well wanting to reconfigure the settings on the turntables but in practise for example when you're taking over from someone else half way through a busy gig the last thing on your mind is messing about with the deck settings. If it aint broke don't try and fix it, it'll only end in tears !
I literally ruined plenty of records back in the 80s by back queuing them and it was a painful learning curve I can tell you. We didn't have the internet back then obviously and all knowledge had to be gradually self taught. However, even armed with this info it doesn't always work out right.For example, I remember about 20 years back at a well known all-nighter playing a brand new copy of J.Jocko "Im Getting Over" [Kama Sutra,its a styrene pressing]. I had played it once earlier at home which is why I knew it was fine. Didn't back cue it obviously, just put the needle on and let it run through. Remember thinking it sounded a bit crackly through the headphones on the night. Got home the next day and played it again at home and was horrified to hear it was ruined beyond repair and distorted horribly. Same happened with some other tunes too. So, one play on a badly worn or damaged stylus can ruin a perfect record. Nightmare…..The main problem with this is that even if you go to the lengths of taking a personal set of cartridges around with you[which is probably the best thing for concerned collector DJs], im not sure it would be failsafe if the arm is bent or damaged on the turntable. When you see the state of some of the equipment at gigs in bars,clubs etc you'll know what I mean. In essence therefore, if it looks dodgy then save your precious vinyl for anther day. Thats what i would do…...