I wish I knew. This problem seems to plague the same lp's while others seem to be immune to it. I believe the problem is caused by certain types of vinyl.
Ground the turntable bearing housing.
Mot I have the same problem with static buildup; it definitly occurs during playback as I too use Zerostat, followed by a blast of canned air for final dustoff before cueing up. Also I use a dab of Last stylus cleaner. I know that my arm is grounded & there's metal-to-metal contact from the arm base to the metal TT deck, which connects to the metal bearing carrier. I'll consider trying the direct grounding approach, but I want to verify (with an ohm-meter) that the bearing is in fact already grounded as I believe that it should be.
Really makes you wonder when you go to remove the previously-neutralized LP & the TT mat then clings directly to it, releasing with mega pops & crackles as the record is lifted away. Surprised that I don't hear static-discharge-distortion pops & crackles during the actual playback.
Make sure your drive belt isn't rubbing against anything.
Providing a drain wire to ground (should probably be the same gound as the cartridge employs, such as the phono preamp ground post) from the platter bearing, as TWL suggests, may be of some help, but I'm guessing the mat might effectively insulate the record regardless. As to the question of why, after thoroughly treating both the disk and the TT prior to playing, there is still a mighty "kling und zap" to behold upon side's end, it's simply the result of the record's spinning motion having caused the static charge build-up to re-form anew when atmospheric conditions are favorable (read: dry). Just don't go experimenting with that stuff you add to the clothes dryer, though...
Zaikes, yes I do not have a turntable mat that could do exactly as you say. Mine is a bare platter that makes contact with the record. If the mat is electrically isolating the record, grounding the bearing housing will not cure the problem. Perhaps a humidifier would be in order in this case.
Interesting question to post. I would think that the stylus running over the vinyl is causing a static charge to build up. The cartridge windings might be providing enough isolation so that the static does not disharge back through the phono section. Out of curiosity, I would try connecting a multimeter, set on DC, between a freshly played LP and a good ground. See if you can read a dicharge voltage down to zero volts. Grounding an LP during playback might bleed off the buildup. You could try some copper "tinsel" like you see on printers. But I don't think you would want it to contact the grooves. More likely the center section of the LP.(very softly) Then run a drain wire to a good ground. I've run into static problems with lift trucks, water in PVC pipe and double insulated power tools. It can be a challenge to cure. Humidificaton is the best cure. But I doubt you will want your listening room to smell like a gym locker room. Good luck, I'd be interested to know how anybody makes out. Bob D
Thanks for the input. I have tried grounding the spindle sump to no avail. Will try a dehumidifer, but I do not get any discharge from touching anything else metal so I am skeptical that it is atmospheric conditions in my home. I will also try Mrderrick's thought and change cartridges to see if that makes a difference.
Which cartridge is used probably shouldn't make any difference, as the cart connection is always grounded if your ground lead from the TT is properly terminated. As for why conductive objects around the area may provoke no static discharge when touched, this is because of your relative lack of motion before touching them (in this type of case, it's not the object, but the person which is exhibiting static charge - the metal object being the ground drain). Just like rubbing a balloon on your shirt, scuffing your shoes accross the carpet, clothes tumbling in a dryer, or driving your car's tires down the road can all produce static build-up, it requires energy input in the form of relative motion to separate the charged ions in the air between + & - on the respective nonconductive surfaces, creating the voltage potential that attacts dust,or is released in a spark or a shock when grounded by a person's touching a conductive surface like a car door handle. I frankly am not sure if the static build-up on a record is solely due to the friction of the needle in the groove as it spins, or if the record's motion through the air alone is enough (in the car example, they say it's the road friction, but I wonder whether moving through the air is also a part of it, since I do believe that airplanes can develop a wicked static build-up in flight - but they also have rubber tires that come into play on take-off and landing, so who knows?). You may want to experiment by "playing" a record without the needle being in the groove for 20 minutes and checking the result. It's also possible there may be some difference in the severity of the problem stemming from the use of a dust-cover, if one is present, so try removing it as well if this applies. But a little added humidity (just a little, not enough to cause condensation), as TWL suggests, will always help and probably couldn't hurt if employed conservatively. You might simply try placing a bowl of steaming water in the listening space to produce some humidity silently. Good luck!
It could be the slippage of the record against the mat. Record clamp makers claim that the record travels less rotational distance than the platter/mat does during playback, because the record slips slightly if not firmly coupled to the rotating platter. With a felt mat, especially, this sort of friction might be a considerable source of static electricity buildup. Does a sorbo-gel mat provide better traction for the disc? I've never used or touched one, so I don't know. I know they are primarily sold for absorbtion dampening characteristics, but maybe they provide better traction at the same time.
Have any of you with record clamps or sorbo-gel mats experienced less static as a result of using these tweaks?
this is getting interesting: I've considered the insulating properties of my extremely thin "analog survival kit" mat & agree that is probably aggravating the situation. I do want to try spinning the platter for ~20 min. without the stylus engaged simply to determine the mechanism involved here. Also want to try out playback once without the mat in place (record then contacting the metal platter directly) but I do like to use the mat because it improves the sound. A conductive mat would be interesting - possibly carbon impregnated for conductivity? I'll try to research some alternatives. This is the VPI Aries platter & bearing on an HW19MK4 table. Thick & springy mats are not recommended for this rig.
Dust cover is always in the raised-hinge position during playback, but removing it altogether could be someting to try anyway.
There could be some negilgible platter-to-record slippage but I do use the 2-piece VPI delrin clamp which holds very tightly. VPI suggests applying talcum powder to the belt, so I might as well try that too. Interesting idea trying to measure the static potential (I'll use my scope which has 10 M-ohm input impedance) that should tell whether the charge is building up on the record as I highly suspect, or the platter.
Household humidity is normally 55% to 60% which should be plenty good enough.
Lots of good interaction & ideas here - sorry Mot for jumping in; I'm really not intending to hijack your thread.
Not a problem, Bob. A solution for one may be a solution of all. On my Nottigham, I am using the foam pad that is supplied. Funny because Nottingham as recessed the label area and beveled the edge of thier platters for reasons discussed in some detail elsewhere. Then they go and give one a foam mat which seems to defeat the purpose of the bevelling and the recessed "center". I have used the platter both with and without the mat and find no great difference, though it does sound a bit more detailed WITH the mat. Go figure. Anyway, with or without the mat does not effect my static problem.
I had my wife queue up an LP then stood still in front of the TT on a rubber mat while the side played. Upon completion, I had her mute the pre via the remote. I reached straight out and "unqueued" the LP. Same static. This would seem to negate the presence of static generated by my movements around the room. Will also try to the "non stylus engaged" mode. I will also go on to say that this does seem to be much worse with certain LP's, as Lugnut mentioned, so it must be a combination of factors.
Static electricity is quite amazing. You either need to prevent it from building up, or find a way to bleed it off. Almost any insulated object traveling through the air will build up a static charge. What material it's made out of will help determine how much charge it will hold. In the lift truck example, operators were being "shocked" when they reached to pick items from metal bins. I had to install a copper wand bonded to the lift truck. They had to touch the bin with the wand to discharge the static. The water flowing through the pvc pipe supplied a water trough for livestock. The animals stopped drinking from the metal trough. I had to actually bond the pvc every 10 ft and drive a ground rod to bleed the static charge off from the water flow through the pvc. We make sure that we bond ourselves with a wrist strap when using double insulated tools around static sensitive equipment. The spinning cutting tools can cause a very large charge to build up. You really don't realize just how well insulated your body is. So I would suspect that an LP spinning in the air, just might build up a static charge. Maybe someone could build a system to blow humidified air on the LP? Just an idle thought......Bob D
Okay, how about a totally different way of attacking the problem, globally, not locally. Mix one part liquid fabric softener to four parts water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the carpet around the rack from a height of about four feet. Cover your gear with a cloth to avoid getting any in. You will not be shocked at the improvement (pun intended).
Seriously guys, I'm telling you that some of my LP's are made out of voodoo vinyl.
I don't think you can measure a static charge with a scope. It will just drain away through the probe. The straps used to prevent static build up in manufacturing enviroments and by test technicians are just wire with a large value of resistance in series.
Could be wrong. Let us know what you find out Bob.
There are several devices that drain away the charge as you play the record. They look like a tonearm with a brush of some sort instead of a sylus that drains away the charge through an attached wire that is grounded. Picks up dust too. I believe Audio Technica made one as well as some others. George Merril had some for sale recently at Underground Sound.
Not sure abut voodoo Lugnut, but I know that my double re-release of Miles Workin' and Steamin'will pick up more static than any other I've ever noticed. POPS within the first two inches of play (AFTER Gruv-Glide and without coming within 15 feet of the TT), I "tripped" my preamp off twice before a side could be played through and am not using it at all until I get this issue solved. Relegated to listening to "Surry with the Fringe on Top" on CD - :-(
Ya know, the anti-static treatment that RCA touted in their vinyl formula back during the 50's & 60's really does seem to work. Is there something missing from newer vinyl formulations that should be reconsidered? It does seem to me that my most susceptible records tend to be the more recent editions.
P.S. - BTW, Bob B, I have always considered raising the dustcover during playback to be the most problematic position for this necessary evil. If you play your music loudly, it can really be set in motion up there, and it's wobbling mass transmits straight to the plinth. Better to remove it and all it's attendent resonances altogether during play, but if you have a dust problem like I do, you may want to try my solution of damping the closed cover by resting the bottom edge in front on a couple of sorbothane-type 1/4" washers, and then damping the top surface, which I accomplish using a spare soft rubber platter mat laid on top. A closed cover does also have the theoretical virture of somewhat attenuating the music's SPL within the confines of the stylus's working environment.
OK I did some testing last night. Zaik's theory that static builds up simply via platter rotation turns out to be correct in my case - after a 20 minute spin without the stylus engaged I still get that static cling. I then neutralized with Zerostat & per my wife's suggestion I applied Endust for Electronics (an antistatic cleaner/spray) to the platter top & sides with a lint-free paper towel. After another 20 minute spin, the static was back again although the charge was not as strong as before, so at least that helps.
Measuring the spindle-to-ground resistance I get an infinite reading, so I'm going to run a separate ground wire from the bearing-carrier back to the phono stage ground. This may help despite the use of insulating mat; the spindle contacts the record's center hole tightly enough that this could theoretically do some good. Then again this grounding didn't help Mot's problem, but I'll try it anyway & cross my fingers.
Herman's suggestion regarding the static drain-brush is certainly worth trying as well; nice idea.
Zaik I must agree the cover-issue is certainly problematic; this VPI is a suspended table with the cover hinges fastened to the base which is spring-isolated from the deck, so may or may not be an issue. I'll have to experiment with sonic comparisons of cover-open, cover-removed, & cover-damped per your suggestion.
Thanks to everyone for chiming-in here with their theories & suggestions; much appreciated.
Unfortunately I do not have a TT to experiment on. I was wondering, if Endust for Electronics helped a little, would it be too off the wall to try a dryer sheet under the LP? Bob D
Neither the dryer sheet, nor the Endust -nor anything like them that would leave a residue - should ever touch the record, Mr. D. But what about everyone here's getting together to develop a vacuum chamber for LP playback? No air, no static - and no dust if there was! (And I just thought now, no airborne vibration reaching the stylus...Rockport is probably already at work on this - might only cost $100K or so...) Nighty-nite, champions all...
A vacuum is perfect for developing a static charge, not preventing one. Here are a couple of sites that have some info.
So it seems that static pervades the universe...