Check this out: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1192142257&read&keyw&steam&&st0 Steam cleaning seems to be the best way to get the real nasty stuff.
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It may well be the vinyl is "worn". I have tried cleaning some records using dish soap/water, then on my N. Gritty with Audio Intelligent solution. Still I could not reduce the surface noise.
2 LPs were especially heartbreaking- original pressing of Dylans and an early pressing of Robert Johnson. Both looked clean and pristine to the naked eye.
One day i took them and another (excellent sounding) Lp to work. I looked at them through 3 very powerful microscopes (used for neurosurgery). On the noisy Lps, the grooves were marked with vertical "cuts". It looked as if a sharp knife made shallow cuts every millimeter. Of course, these individual cuts are much closer in proximity to each other. These cuts were everywhere on the LP. The clean sounding Lp was smooth, no marks.
My guess is a damaged stylus is to blame.
Of course, this cannot be "cleaned". Some LPs are simply ruined.
Either 300 or 400.
Again, it looked like cuts made by a knife, on both walls of the groove, in even intervals. My only explanation is that a stylus which was broken, or chipped, perhaps, or, completely broken off the tip of the cantilever and that the cantilever tip created the marks, or cuts.
I have observed, on what otherwise seem all but perfect records, a uniform pattern of tiny radial cracks on both sides.
My theory is that these are shrinkage cracks along flow lines and between flow zones from the pressing. If the puck of vinyl was not blended sufficiently or the record not "cooked" in the press long enough to completely melt adjacent zones it might crack this way as it cools.
PVC has a relatively high coefficient of expansion.
Further, perhaps these records are superficially in good condition because they where unlistenable or even returned as defective.
Oregon, are the "cuts" you describe on both sides of the record? I would take that a supporting this explanation.
I once read somewhere about a guy who drained a can of tuna juice on his records and then let his cat lick them off!!! He reported excellent results when using tuna packed in spring water. ;^)
Just having a little fun.
Many old pressings are dynamic as hell and sound beautiful with exception to an over abundance of pesky surface noise. Unfortunately, it is (sometimes), what it is.
Have you considered that it may have to do with your decks bearing and/or its tonearm/cartridge set up? I know this idea will drive you crazy but since upgrading my platter bearing (overall improvement on all records) and then my cartridge (specific improvement on replay of old vinyl) surface noise wise, I have found we blame the records individually when (for me) more times than not, it is the inability of the deck to transcribe. I've listened to many decks with the same pressings over the years and found a world of difference in their ability to pull the music out of the surface noise.
In other words; lost in translation.