LP Cleaning Question

I am fairly new to the analog game, but am enjoying every minute of it. I have a VPI Aries TT, Shelter 901 cartridge and a VPI 16.5 record cleaner. My problem is record cleaning. For example, I purchased a brand new re-issue of Coltrane "Live at Birdland". It sounded great right away but over time (10 plays), it began to crackle and pop a little. I put it on the cleaning machine, squirted some VPI cleaning fluid on the record, brushed the record, and then vacuumed it dry. The record looked great, but still crackle and pops during playback.

My question is, am I doing something wrong in my cleaning procedure? I have not cleaned/treated the stylus at all. Could this be the source of the noise?

Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Get a good dry record cleaning brush and use before and after playing a side. Hunt EDA Mk.6 is good IMO. Disc Doctor Stylus Cleaner comes with a brush to clean the stylus. Seems little for the price but only needs a couple drops per use. Anti-static record sleeves also will help. Are you going to get into used records? If so, an Orbitrac, some good record cleaner(ie. Disc Dr., no alcohol, please)to use with soft cotton squares prior to the Orbitrac and then the 16.5 would be good. The Hunt brush will then keep them clean for a long time if used regularly.
You may be hearing static rather than any dust etc. on your LP or stylus. That Zerostat anti-static gun really works! You can get it at Music Direct at www.amusicdirect.com. You shoot a side right before you play it, and then shoot the other side when you flip the LP. Nothing actually comes out of the gun but invisible ions! It sounds like a rip-off but it works great. I had one for years in the 70's and 80's when all I played were LPs, but now it's lost. Recently revived, however, and available at a few of the vinyl web outlets.
Static can be a big problem. It can attract dust particles and then the stylus will embed them into the vinyl. I clean my records every time I play them (wet). It's kind of a pain--but they stay in great shape.
While i'm a relative neophyte in terms of vinyl knowledge, my guess is that an LP should be THOROUGHLY cleaned BEFORE any playing takes place. This is to remove any of the mold release compound and other foreign particles such as dust, paper bits from the sleeve, etc... that would otherwise become compacted or imbedded into the grooves upon first playing. Once the record has been "sanitized for your protection", you should put it into some type of "high grade" record sleeve that will not "shed" paper or other materials into the grooves. Once this is done, a brief cleaning with some type of "non-shedding" record brush can be used prior to each playing. Shooting the disc with some type of anti-static device such as the Zerostat would also probably work wonders, especially in the winter season.

Cleaning of the stylus should be done on a fairly regular basis as ALL vinyl will "shed" on a regular basis. It is cheaper and easier to do this than to listen to discs that have had the grooves "re-cut" or "worn". This would be due to the small amount of gunk on your stylus that has gradually built up "grinding" through the walls of each groove rather than "gliding" through an otherwise clean path. Heavy smokers may have to do this more often than non-smokers.

Following this procedure should minimize damage to discs and your stylus. Waiting to clean them AFTER they've been played or become noisy will only increase surface noise, cause improper tracking due to the stylus NOT riding directly in the center the groove, pack whatever dirt, dust, mold release compounds further down and into the groove walls of the vinyl, reduce the lifespan of the vinyl, etc...

As to the specific chemicals and methods used to achieve "sonic nirvana" and "record hygiene", that is up to the individual. Personally, i use a combination of Hydrochloric Acid and Gasoline with paint brushes and rollers. I haven't seen ANYTHING that can live or cling to surfaces after that combo has been applied and massaged into the grooves. After treatment, the grooves are so clean that you can hardly see their individual impressions anymore. To further minimize contamination of the disc and protect MY health, i "suit up" and use a respirator and gloves during the whole procedure. This also keeps dead skin and other foreign particles such as hair, eyelashes, drool and food remnants from falling onto the otherwise clean surface. I then "seal" the cleanliness into each LP with a thin layer of varnish. The discs are then left to air dry in a "clean room" that is temperature and humidity controlled.

Just remember, you can never be TOO careful when it comes to your health or your vinyl : ) Sean
sean: my record cleaning formula is similar to yours, tho i've found significant improvements through the use of an engine cleaning liquid or gel, such as "gunk," BEFORE the application of the acid/gasoline bath. might wanna' give it a try. -cfb
How about Goof Off?
Goliverjr, are you talking about us or the chemical ??? : ) Sean
i yust use mild dish soap, a sponge & luke-warm water. dry w/a soft towel. a zero-stat *does* help keep static down during play. so does a humidifier built-in to the hvac system, to keep humidity at ~40% in the dry winter months. also, a watts dust-bug, used since ~1970, has kept even my older records in good shape. this li'l brush tracks the groove whilst the record is playing - keeps the record *and* the stylus grunge-free. last year i replaced it w/a keith monks record sweeper - an upscale version, w/a grounding wire that actually drains the static charge off the record during play.

not quite as elaborate as kelly or sean, but the results aren't half-bad... ;~)

doug s.

Thank's everyone for your responses. After long debate, I think I will try the Disc Doctor stuff and try to eliminate the static electricity. If this proves ineffective, I will be trying the gasoline/acid method.

Happy Listening.

Sean-The chemical.It took the paint I spilled off the rug.
Sean aren't you using that heavy duty wire brush anymore? Be sure to follow with liberal use of coarse grit sandpaper for a truly "transparent" surface!
You guys are TOO much and probably thought i was joking.... : ) Sean
of "coarse" you weren't:-)
but if you do get too carried away you can always send the record back to the manufacturer for regrooving - ynuk nyuk
I've used many of the products used below and most are pretty good. I have had the best luck with Gruv Glide. Gruv Glide completely knocks out the static, cleans and enhances trackability. There is an audible improvement with Gruv Glide. It's a stereophile recommended product. I've used it for over 10 years treating over 500 records without a single problem. 1 kit does about 125 records. I get it at Needle Doctor & Music Direct who has it on sale now.
Hope this helps.
Hififile, have you ever used a VPI or Nitty Gritty and then the Gruv-Glide or just the Gruv-Glide, etc ??? How do you apply / remove this stuff ? I've seen it but never used it. Sean
Dear Sean,
I've used the nitty gritty. Wet washing completely removes the Gruv Glide product, which is a good thing. It shows it does not 'attack' or alter the structure of the vinyl. That was my big beef with L.A.S.T. (also good stuff). Once the LAST was on, it was on for good. If you didn't like what it did to your record you were out of luck. All of us in our record/music club (informal bunch of guys who love records)
stick with Gruv Glide because it works the best, and is a phenomenal value. Hope this helps.
I forgot to add how Gruv Glide is applied. Gruv Glide is an aerosol product that is sprayed onto a very unique feeling applicator pad (2 come in the kit). The applicator pad is placed face down onto the record which you manually spin on the platter. The Gruv Glide goes on dry. And believe me you can hear immediate improvement in the records sound.
Happy Holidays everyone. As reading this thread i was about to play a BS&Ts lp. So i decided to try something. I cleaned the album with a new sponge and common hand soap from a bar. I turned the water to warm in the bathtub and carefully cleaned the grooves in a pattern consistant with the rotation being careful to not get the inner lable wet. Than put the hairdryer on and shook off the excess beads of water, than wiped dry with a fine cotton cloth. Played the album within minutes and not a snap crackle or maybe a couple of faint pops...!! I don't listen to my CD anymore. The analog just makes me forget about the equipment and is better for my state of health. I just can't see spending hundreds of dollars on an exotic vacumm cleaning machine that is a hassle when some soap and warm water and sponge and a clean lent free cloth works great and only takes a couple of minutes and cost nothing. This is a good album, BS&T's. Let the spinning wheel spin......!! and show you the colors that are real...!! Happy 2002 you spinners -- Mike
Mikec, that is all well and good except for one thing. Once the album is back with the other software, and tells the other titles how warm and comfy your tub is, WATCH OUT.

You may come home and find the bathroom completely taken over, not even a place to wash your hands.