Certain cartridge and phono stage combinations tend to exacerbate the problem- I don’t know the Ortofon, so others will have to weigh in- I have the Allnic 3000 which I’ve been using for about 5 years and have run Lyras and then Airtight cartridges. No clicks and pops (unless the record is damaged- i buy and play mostly older copies). A good cleaning regime can take care of a lot of the snap ,crackle and pop, so long as it isn’t damage to the vinyl. So, perhaps there is something you can improve in your cleaning methods- I have found a rinse step to be essential, others may not.
PS: cartridge set up is also critical. Can’t help you there, no experience with VPI arms. But you might go back through your set up procedure step by step and see if that helps.
Several things contribute. Verify that your cart. is properly aligned.
Honestly, cleaning records (HUNT brush or something similar) EVERY time you play helps much. I also do an occaisional wet cleaning and vacuum.
One product I have used with much success is Groove Washer for periodic wet cleaning.
When I hit one of those frustrating listening sessions, it usually turns out that the stylus needs cleaning.
After many years, I built my own Ultrasonic record cleaning machine. My vinyl has never sounded as good as now. Records I thought were unplayable now can be played and enjoyed. There is still the occasional click or pop, but not near to the extent as before the Ultrasonic.
The parts were only $200, including the Ultrasonic bath. The parts list and build info can be found at DIY Audio, design given by BBtx.
If you're serious about vinyl, I urge you to get, or build an Ultrasonic RCM.
Thank you for your help. I use wet and dry cleaning method on regular basis. Most of my records are new and from 70s to recent bands. Every time I buy a new record, first it gets a wet cleaning. One out of 3 will play with min noise, two will have pops and clicks regardless how much cleaning process they go through. Since one record does play almost perfectly and 2 others have the noise no matter what I do, it makes me believe that it must be the record making process. The clean records do sound better as well in terms of low, mid and high tones and soundstage. I guess it has to do what master copy they used and possibly how much attention to detail is used when making copies.
You shouldn’t have that many noisy records. I buy quite a bit- say 15 records a week? Many old copies, some new. Sure, the older ones could have been abused (I try to limit myself to M- grading, but that’s no assurance) and occasionally I’ll get a new pressing that is defective. But, leaving aside the ones I reject or return (a relatively small fraction), the vast majority play fine- no clicks, no groove noise.
Ralph @Atmasphere wrote recently in another thread about how phono preamps can oscillate in a way that emphasizes noise. I thought you said you had the Allnic 1201 but I may be misremembering. What phono stage? If decent, I’d focus on the cartridge itself--what do others who own that cartridge say? Set-up- I can set my arm/cartridge well or really, really well if I take the time, so that’s worth revisiting. And the cleaning? If you have a new record that appears clean, try it without wet cleaning -something I don’t usually advocate- see how it plays, then do your cleaning and see if it is worse. That could tell you if something in your cleaning process is causing the problem--
Kind of hard to diagnose stuff remotely, but I’m sure others can weigh in on the Ortofon/VPI set up, on which I have no insight.
Punchline: records aren’t that noisy, click or pop ridden unless abused or badly pressed. You should not have to suffer this- it is NOT part of the vinyl experience for those of us who have worked through it (and you don’t have to be a genius to do this-- it’s partly isolating the problem and then rectifying it). Records can play clean, quiet and without the annoyances of clicks and pops you describe. Static is another potential gremlin. Do the records seem charged when you remove them from your cleaning machine or unsleeve them? FWIW, I quit dry brushing records b/c I’ve found the brushes ineffective, shed and can actually impart a charge (though they claim to be ’anti-static’).
@dgw4tube makes a good point about keeping the stylus clean. I use a cheap 10x jeweler’s loupe which is enough to see if there is crud on the stylus- i dry brush the stylus after each side, just to be sure and do a deeper clean of the stylus periodically.
This is very helpful. I use Ifi micro iPhono2 connected to Cronus Magnum 2.
I also use zerostat 3, but I notice after playing a record it is charged with static when I pick it up. Wow, so much to learn. Amazing and real life experience when vinyl plays as it should, but I guess I still have to learn how to play a record.
I clean a record thoroughly, and resleeve it in my preferred aftermarket sleeve (keeping the original inner). I also use a thick HDPE outer jacket ’bag,’ so I’m not sliding the resleeved record back into the jacket, but instead between the jacket and the original inner- like a sandwich. This reduces the amount of friction in pulling a record from the jacket.
Once my records are cleaned and resleeved, they are not static-charged.
I play records and handle them in bare feet (shoes and socks, particularly on carpet create a charge).
Humidity is also a factor- in the winter, with central heating, the relative humidity goes down, making static more likely. What part of the country/world are you located in?
Lot’s of little things - I’m sure others have their own methods.
Many rely on a Zerostat to neutralize the charge on the record. I’ve owned several of them over the course of more than 40 years, but seldom need to use it.
PS: I see that you are using the Zerostat- is the record ’neutral’ before you put it on the platter? I wonder why spinning it causes a charge if it was discharged before you placed it on the platter and played it. Shoes/socks/carpet?
For what it’s worth, check the humidity level in your listening room with a hygrometer. My electric baseboard heat kills the humidity in the winter. It was down to 16% when I finally got a hygrometer to measure it and then purchase a table-top humidifier. Now, I can keep the humidity between 20 and 30 percent, and no more static ’sparks’ when I touch the turntable. My records definitely have less ’noise’ now.
Cigar shops, online and local, carry inexpensive hygrometers. Get a digital one. The analog ones have too much error.https://www.google.com/search?q=cigar+hygrometerhttp://
just my $0.02
I don't use anti-static devices, nor do I clean my LPs with anything other than a carbon fiber dust brush.
But I am very used to no ticks and pops even with older LPs, as long as the LP surface looks OK.
The trick is a stable phono preamp. Phono playback is a bit of a trick as the cartridge and tone arm cable form a resonant circuit which can inject ultrasonic or RF noise into the preamp. If the preamp is unhappy with that, it will not sound right (will need the cartridge loaded to detune the resonant circuit) and it will exhibit excess ticks and pops regardless. Also note that loading the cartridge causes the cartridge to be less able to follow the groove as the cartridge has to do more work by driving the resistor.
The ticks and pops come from actual imperfections that would otherwise be inaudible- they occur in a very short time duration. But if the preamp is unstable, it will exhibit a damped oscillation with each event and so the tick becomes audible.
So this is really worth dealing with!
There really isn't any way to fix the phono circuit except by design.
Thank you. So if my phono preamp (Ifi Iphone 2) is not stable enough, why some records play very clean. Should all play with noise in that case.
What makes some records to play almost perfect clean in the same setup, same day?
Dear Parrot, I have never had the pleasure of listening to an ELP, but from my reading, the laser "reads" not only the signal encoded in an LP but also the dirt in the grooves. The laser cannot differentiate between the two. Therefore, unless the LP is very clean, the resulting signal is contaminated with.... noise. If you own an ELP, perhaps you are in a position to say otherwise.
I would strongly recommend you look at getting an ultrasonic cleaner.
I have used vacuum cleaners in the past and they are useful, but nothing compared to ultrasonic in my mind.
Here is one post on the subject, but you can find much more information here and by searching the 'net.https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/thumbs-up-for-ultrasonic-record-cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning is a must, greatly reduces clicks and pops - however once you get into vinyl - you will not hear them at all.
I was just joking. I've not heard it either - but I assume the same as you.
I will say though that when I use my Townshend Rock it does reduce the effect of clips and pops when the trough is in place
So if my phono preamp (Ifi Iphone 2) is not stable enough, why some
records play very clean. Should all play with noise in that case.
Some surfaces are actually better than others. So you may well encounter LPs that are silent even on an unstable phono section.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have to load a low output moving coil cartridge to get to sound right, the stability of the phono section is suspect.
Interesting topic. I’d rate my vinyl rig mediocre at best as compared to the set ups that many of you have but I’m completely convinced that the choice of the phono preamp makes a huge difference in the amount and intensity of the pops and ticks you hear when playing the same records on the same system. I recently added a Schiit Mani (with an aftermarket LPS) to my system replacing the phono stage in my integrated and I was shocked by how much the pops and ticks dropped.
My first immediate impression was maybe I lost some detail and that washed away the pops and ticks but that was definitely not the case. The same LPs, the same cleaning regiment, never sounded better. I assume this result would proportionally apply to higher end vinyl set ups.
I agree with the effect of the phone preamp; I just switched to a plain-vanilla Pro-ject Tube Box DS and am impressed by the improvement in surface noise as well as the better sound.
I haven't mastered the silent vinyl playback though -- I still have a fair amount. Maybe I need a better record-cleaning system...
I'm using an Ortofon Winfield/VPI 3D arm....my vinyl is as free of noise as my CD's. Careful setup is mandatory.
I’m using a Manley Chinook phono preamplifier. Virtually dead quiet on mint records. On old records, any clicks or pops are subtle. In the noise department, I’m happy as a clam.
Also, I use a brush on each side before playing. I use Onzow Zerodust on the stylus before each side. Onzow is awesome and inexpensive!!
I have Ifi Iphono2 which is my first phono stage. Does anyone have any experience how it compares with 1-2K phone stages, especially with noise.
@kkonrad, I can't answer your question as I've never heard it. But I would think it's fine because Michael Fremer would've mentioned noise if it were in issue. Now, that said, I think the phono stage is super important and one of the easier areas to better a system.
Atmasphere puts it technically, but yes, the phono stage has a great deal to do with noise. the factors with the turntable itself are weight of platter, torque of motor, and bearing. heavier platter, more torque equals less noise.
I'm considering an upgrade to my GAS Thalia Mk I preamp, I never realized that a phono stage could have any effect on noise. I've played with cleaning my records but never noticed any significant improvement.
Anybody have a recommendation for an affordable preamp with a more stable phono stage? I'm partial to vintage gear but would certainly consider new if it represents a good value.
What is the condition of your stylus? I had a Blue Point #2 that was older, and probably well worn. I noticed it picked up noise quite often. I got a new cartridge, and it is much better. Could your cartridge be worn? Also check alignment.
Thank you all for your help.
OK, I have built an ultrasonic record cleaning system, my cost $200 and just cleaned my first record. WOW nothing compares (as far as cleaning machines) to it. It cleaned 90% noise and pops. FINALLY quiet vinyl.
This is just amazing, a little time consuming process, but the results are just WOW!!!!!!
Now I can say it is possible to have awesome, quiet vinyl music!
I just upgraded from a HW-19 mk3 to a prime. Running a Ortofon 2m bronze, and a Denon dl160.
Lehmann blackcube se2.
What struck me was how little record noise I got.
I clean my records with a VPI16.5 wet vac.
Always carbon fiber brush before playing.
I also got a a “dustbug”, that also helped with dust and static.
Having the cart cart and arm setup properly helps as well.
Can you post your ultra sonic cleaner and parts list.
My machine looks very cheap made so I can not post pictures.
1. ultrasonic cleaner 6L ebay $120
2. 2 rpm engine $8
3. spinning bar with screws $2
4 bar bracket which holds the spinning bar made from wood $20-30
5 filter system $50
6 cleaning mix: 95% distilled water, 5 % of 91% alcohol, 0,2 % Triton x-100
I can clean 3 records at the time, takes about 25 min with drying
I have the same cartridge as you. I am using the phono stage in my VAC preamp and rarely experience any ticks or pops. I just use a disc washer brush prior to every play. Records that are 30+ years old still play quietly.
As above, some of the same some differences.
Good phono stage. BAT VK P10Se
Unless there is noise on the surface that can't be removed by cleaning, then there is no noise through the system.
In addition to cleaning your vinyl with the best hardware, there is an electronic device that makes your vinyl as quiet as a CD, but it will cost you. The price on the component varies between $1600.00 and $2000.00 depending who you buy from. The component is called the Sugar Cube SC-1 from the Sweet Vinyl company. Check it out. Heres the link. www.sweetvinyl.com
Noisy records? I throw them away.
Not usually.. I rinse my records in the kitchen sink.
If they are used, I have a old Rega sans motor or arm I rotate the LP on using a carbon fiber brush and a bit of dishsoap, then rinse in sink. Pat dry and vacuum off. Play immediately.
My Lps are quiet.
All 4,400 of them *