I have a bunch of old blues and rock records that are 1) uncommon enough that I've kept them in spite of point 2 and 2) scratched to hell.
I normally won't let these records anywhere near my turntable, because I'm afraid of runing a needle, and bacause they tend to sound like garbage.
I have a califone portable table that I use for 45s and 78s, that I won't normally play 33s on fo fear of ruining them with the heavy stylus, plus it's a mono unit.
Today, I'm going through that box and spinng those usually forbidden records on my califone portable.
These are largely mono records, so I don't have to worry about that. The heavy cartridge tracks through the deep grooves without too much issue, even on the records that are heavilly scratched.
The end result is that, for the first time in owning these records, I am hearing them in a surprisingly high quality.
It's not HI-FI, but it's better than I ever thought these discs would sound.
So I'm listening to rare/forbidden records, and they sound better than I could have hoped.
I have a couple of spare needles for the califone kicking around just in case, but so far it hasn't even hiccuped.