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Topic: Another Vinyl Playback question. (Read 4279 times) previous topic - next topic
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Another Vinyl Playback question.

I hardly ever play vinyl these days, but every now and then I find an old record that I haven't heard for ages and feel like listening to. Usually I figure if I'm going to play it I might as well record it add it to my digital collection.

Anyway the question in this thread relates to surface noise, some of which I think due to my old records not being very clean. Often these records have been sitting un-played for 20 years or something and I think maybe they've got kind of "baked on" grime or something.

I don't have much in the way of a cleaning setup either, just some old yellow cleaning cloth (that's prolly also about 20 years old and a bit dried up) that I give em a wipe with, but I don't think it really does much. I know I really should try cleaning this stuff a bit more before recording but the problem is that I'm lazy.

One thing that I think I've noticed though is that if I play the record a few times before I record it then it seems to sound a little better. Now I'm not sure if I'm just imagining this (like perhaps just getting accustom to the noise and not noticing it so much) or if playing the record several times actually helps clean it somewhat?

Does anyone know if this is a known phenomenon or am I just imagining it?

Another Vinyl Playback question.

Reply #1
A couple hifi firms (Rega?) agree with you: the stylus can be an extremely effective way of cleaning a record. In fact, I just noticed that a side I played yesterday seems to be a bit quieter than a side I played a few days ago. Some vendors of record cleaning machines recommend that you play a record at least twice after cleaning, so that any small gunk that's left over gets pushed aside.

That said, you must clean the stylus regularly for this to work. Fortunately that particular problem is much easier nowadays - most people in the know use Magic Erasers; look on AA for how to use it with a stylus.

I'd imagine that if a record was subjected to smoke or pollen or any other kind of ultrafine particulates that might break down, and the small particles would simply become embedded into the groove if you played it.

Another Vinyl Playback question.

Reply #2
Thanks for the info axon. I'm not sure what a "magic eraser" is, it sounds like some sort of household cleaning product (sponge of some sort). is that right?

Currently I clean the stylus before playing with the head of a small art brush. I dont really know how well that works but it gets rid of any visible junk that I can see hanging off the stylus.

Another Vinyl Playback question.

Reply #3
I find a Carbon Fiber Cleaning Brush (by Stanton and others) works well, much better than a cloth.
You won't believe how much crud comes out of the grooves.  Also, after cleaning it with the turntable motor turning the vinyl, turn the motor off, spin the record backwards and hold the brush to the vinyl for a second time--this can shift even more crud.


Another Vinyl Playback question.

Reply #4
Since I hardly ever play vinyl (and my collection is a bit old and crappy) I've been resisting the idea of going to an audio store and buying any specific vinyl cleaning products but I think you've convinced me it's worthwile.  I'll probably head off to the music store tomorrow and look for a decent brush or something.

Another Vinyl Playback question.

Reply #5

Here are some rather interesting before/after shots:

Carbon fiber brushes are reasonably effective for the small stuff, and they're cheap at $10. Just don't try to clean them with water.