Speakers Corner


I received a message this week from Speakers Corner Records. I had asked if they used mold release compound in their manufacturing. They told me they used Pallas as their pressing plant and Pallas does NOT use mold release compound in manufacturing. Since the records sound terrific already, I'm very glad that I won't have to clean them. Now, I'll have to purchase some more.
washline
So which ones you’re purchasing and which ones you’ve already purchased? I have most of their catalog original releases. Any idea how they sound compared to originals or early re-issues? Their catalog is super good, but messy and unorganized and unsorted.
If you've ordered Holst Planets, I have the original UK Decca in premium shape. The original sounds stunning. 

You should clean them anyway. Cheers,
Spencer
Speakers Corner is a good reissue house; Pallas is a good pressing plant. I doubt any plant would say they use mold release compound in their production since the pvc compound, as supplied, contains various things, including thermal stabilizers and material that helps ease removal from the stampers.
I'm with sbank- though largely buying old, used records, I clean any new ones too. 
CZ, I'm gonna send you a PM. 
I haven't yet compared to any originals I own. As for now, I have the two Weather Report discs, the Mahalia Jackson at Newport, and the few releases of Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins. I don't plan on cleaning them unless I hear a reason to do so from playing the actual records. I don't believe the correspondent was lying when he said that no mold release compound is used. Some of the very best sounding records I've heard. 
No one said or implied that anyone was lying.

Do you believe in dust and dirt? Do you believe that the inside of record sleeves are always 100% clean? Do you believe that when center holes are cut that debris has never ended up on a record? If so, God bless, don't clean your new records. Cheers,
Spencer
I believe in minimal stress the records should have in their entire shelf and playback life.
The dust and dirt and spindle hole debris of a brand new record can be swept with anti-static carbon-fiber brush especially if they’re so minimal.

Anyone washes produce with soap in here?
Do I believe in dust and dirt? What is this? The Interfaith Council on Faith in Reality? I simply reported that Speakers Corner stated that Pallas doesn't use mold release compound, so the necessity of cleaning is obviated for those who would otherwise clean the records after purchasing. The reason that I asked the question to begin with was the because the record sounded so pristine already that I didn't want to do anything further to muck up what I was already experiencing. The company confirmed that. I don't believe Pallas would have any incentive to mislead on this question because it would affect future sales if the records did indeed become affected later. 

I have otherwise been cleaning all of my records. I think the mold release agent is often audible as a kind of haze hanging over the recording. I notice a strong difference after doing so, but I also notice on occasion that the cleaning introduces other sonic artifacts, so I'm not always comfortable with doing so.
Washline- if you go back and read my post, you'll see that I mentioned the fact that the so-called mold release is already in the pellets of PVC compound that are used to make the records. So, the notion that Pallas says they "don't use" mold release compound does not really address whether there are mold release agents, or other ingredients  in the vinyl compound itself that make it easier for a record to be removed from a stamper. There are a number of threads on this. I contributed to a couple, so I'd have to find them and give you links. 
I think the whole "mold release" thing is exaggerated, but it is very hard to get to the bottom of this- I did a fair amount of research on older vinyl compounds and found several papers published by the AES and some information in patents that described what goes into PVC for records. The formulations are often proprietary, so it's hard to pin down exactly what is in a given product, and presumably, a label or plant could order something that is different, from a different supplier, or with a different make up, than another record plant. (I don't know if you remember the whole thing about "Clarity" vinyl toward the end of Classic Records' production, but Mike Hobson claimed that eliminating the carbon black--used for antistatic purposes--improved the sound because it had electro-magnetic properties that interfered with the performance of the cartridge). 

As to cleaning, it seems to be a subject that everyone has a different view of- if your Speakers Corner copies play cleanly out of the sleeve, enjoy them. You might also investigate some of the original pressings that they remastered for their catalog. Although some are expensive, others aren't and if you are interested in what the differences in different masterings, tape sources and the like contribute to the end result, sonically, it is actually a fun process to compare pressings. 

Thanks whart. That's a highly informative post. I don't believe I read anything about Clarity vinyl, but that's also quite interesting and I'm surprised that manufacturers haven't followed up on it. I have to wonder though if a mold release agent is already present in the PVC pellets prior to being pressed would this necessarily affect the release of the record from the mold if it lies buried inside the record during the pressing process? Is it possible to clean this agent from the record if it is present during the entire process? Do thermal stabilizers also affect the sonics of the final product? Are those also removed during normal record cleaning?

In any case, I am going to investigate more of what the label offers in my areas of interest.
Wash- it’s all part and parcel of the compound. With modern plants, as I understand it, the pellets are melted and extruded into nuggets/biscuits and that is what gets put onto the press. It’s not like the mold release is a liquid blob inside the nugget, it is all mixed together with various other materials that all perform different functions. I’m not a chemist or materials scientist, so the best I can do is tell you what I can glean from the old papers or patents- issues like "flow," stability, surface noise, evenness of heat application, discoloration- I can point you to some of the papers- some are only available through the AES by paid download or subscription to their library. One scientist was at RCA, and had written extensively on what was necessary to make a "modern" LP circa the ’70s. That wonderful JVC formulation used in the old MoFi’s was originally developed for Quad LPs.
There are clearly some sonic differences I would attribute to the vinyl used, but couldn’t tell you what role the constituent elements played. And no, as far as I know, none of this stuff would (or should) get removed by cleaning. The biggest issue I can think of-- which isn’t all that common, but occurs- is a chemical interaction between certain plastics and the record- for example, PVC outer record sleeves, which have plasticizers in them to make them soft. Those plasticizers will leach (through the cardboard jacket, the inner sleeve and onto the record itself) and in some cases, create a haze on the record that you can see and will affect sonics. I suspect it is also exacerbated by heat, i.e. storing the records in an attic. Cleaning won’t get rid of that- but that’s a chemical reaction- it’s like the off-gassing of the stuff in car dashboards that makes your windshield hazy.
Speakers Corner is one of the last great Lp reissue companies.

There are threads on mold release compound, what it is, if it exists at all, etc.

Do a search!

IMO it is nothing to worry about. 

If you clean before first play, its up to you.  I do not, except if the Lp is used.
OK. Here's the email I received from the representative of the company:

"thank you very much for your inquiry.


Our records are being pressed since more than 20 years at Pallas in Diepholz (Germany), no exception. Although our productions feature both longer pressing and cooling times plus a manual inspection of every single LP, the manufacturing process does not differ from other LPs made at Pallas - and they do not use any kind of release compound. Therefore there is no need to wash a LP made by Pallas.


I have heard from customers having removed static charge of the LP by washing it. Admittedly Pallas pressings are prone to that since they use a very clean vinyl without any additives, but if the turntable is properly earthed, this is not an issue.


To cut a long story short: there is no benefit in washing a factory sealed release from us.


Thank you very much for your interest in our productions and best regards,

Kai Seemann"



"Very clean vinyl without any additives"


"They do not use any kind of release compound"

"I can point you to some of the papers- some are only available through the AES by paid download or subscription to their library."

Thanks again Whart. I think that would be too much information for me to need. I'll take the general overview on the issue without too much technicality. I have far too many other topics that I need or want to know with a great deal of technicality.

Dear Washline,

If it is of any reassurance, I have plenty of Pallas pressings and have experienced no static issues with the material at all, nor has there been any necessity to clean them.

They have been exemplary and results have been perfect every time.

Kind regards,

Good to know. I wasn't worried about static since static is always an issue when playing vinyl, but it was interesting to get this bit of information from SC. Your experience with these records mirrors mine as well.

The reason I mention this is that for reasons best known to themselves you can get the odd disc that seems to magically materialise lint out of nowhere e.g. the HFN/RR Test Disc. I've owned 2 of the HFN/RR and they persistently do this despite being regularly zapped by Zerostat (the heavily modulated grooves probably don't help but I think there's more to it than that).

Deeply grooved Pallas discs are a shining beacon of good behaviour by comparison, even at low humidity values of 40%. You literally won't see any lint, just as would happen with a freshly RCM-ed LP.

Hope this helps ;^)

I've got no idea about whether they use mild release agent our not. All I can say is that the pressing quality is excellent and the SQ very good too. What I can also say is that i wet clean EVERY LP, which I buy - new, second hand, whatever. Apart from the mild release agent issue (which is a non-issue for many records), wet cleaning also reduces static considerably. This cuts down the dust, which can get into the regenerator assembly and gum up your cartridge. That happened to my Allaerts MC1B - Jan Allaerts told me that when he rebuilt it for me. Lesson learnt now for me.