Sounds like your overkilling your vinyl?
18 responses Add your response
You've established your credentials as an analog nut. I would say do what ever you like doing. It sounds like you really like your Okki Nokki . I think that is your best chance of a cure or at least recovery. I would do as many as your can so you will lessen the chances of seeing a less than pristine record, and make you feel better. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
I'm not sure which LAST products you're referring to with the numbers 1, 2, 3; I've always seen the stuff called by names like "record preservative" or "stylus cleaner." In any case, back in the early 1980s I called the LAST company and was put through to the (now deceased) chemist who created the stuff. He told me that LAST preservative is not a coating and it chemically bonds with the vinyl. He said the only thing that could remove it was a nasty industrial solvent that is unavailable to consumers. On the other hand, Duane Goldman who formulated the Disc Doctor cleaners said that his cleaners could remove LAST. I'm not sure who to believe. For whatever its worth, Michael Fremer has been using LAST on his records for three decades.
Yes, an ultrasonic cleaner would be the true hallmark.
But then where does that leave cable lifters, thing to sit on top of your components, and the blackbody ambient field conditioner?
Schippo, why would you say I'm overkilling my vinyl? And what do you mean by that?
Robdoorrack, Last 1 is extra strength cleaner, Last 2 is preservative, Last 3 is the cleaner you use every time you play.
No need to clean everytime. One goo d cleaning and then storage in good MoFi inner liners is all that's needed. Then a carbon brusing to remove surface dust before playing. The thing you don't want to do is buld up any residue, and I decided that LAST products did this years ago. Simply the Super Wash from MoFi(formerly RRL) and you're done.
Dear Intermediatic: The " best " LP cleaner is the cartridge stylus where you have to put attention in a deeper way than the LP. IMHO each time you lift up your cartridge have to cleans it before next LP playback.
No, I'm not saying that's unimportant to cleanse the LP everytime under playback because it's important but not at he same level, the Stevecham advise is very good.
Regards and enjoy the music,
It's not the machine - it's the process. I've been using a Nitty Gritty 1.5 fi since the early nineties. Back then, I used Last preservative on all my new records, but not so much on used albums. I generally vacuum clean every 2 or 3 plays and attach a small post-it with the date to the corner of the inner sleeve. The NG has done a very good job by itself but on many older records (both my own which have been loved and cared for as well as used disks) have continued to have a lot of leftover ticks and pops that I figured are from normal wear over time rather than from dirt. Over the years, I have tried several methods of enhanced cleaning methods and solutions, but never found any that work any better than the standard N.G. process on these older records. The worst ones were from a batch of more than 4 hundred classic rock albums from the 60s that my co-workers dug up to give me as a retirement present that they had all dug out of their closets and attics. All were excellent records but all had so much noise that, after sampling several score, had not yielded a single listenable side. All that changed early this summer when I bought a grounded anti-static brush from Mapleshade. I know that Pierre likes to go over the top about the superiority of all his little innovations and tweaks, but it was only $40. and it looked like it might help me with some EMI-related issues I was having with my phono stage, as the brush is made from ultra-fine gage stainless steel bristles attached to a ground wire that plugs into an unused ground hole in the wall outlet. I thought it might drain some charges out of my wiring. As usual for Mapleshade, even the simplest things come with a 2 page direction sheet that got me to thinking about what actually happens to small particles in the grooves. Pierre suggests brushing the bottom side and the platter top before turning on the TT, then using the circular motion of the spinning disk to clean the side about to be played. Simple and obvious, yes, but then it went on to hype the usefulness all over the rest of the audio system to clean up charges everywhere. Most of the time, I let marketing hype go in one ear and out the other, but it did get me to imagining what actually happens in the groove. We all know that vinyl is easy to charge and really likes to attract junk and hold it magnetically until the charge is neutralized, but then, once the charge is gone, what happens to the dirt? Since they have a 30 day no questions asked return policy, I thought I would give it a real project to test his claims that the brush was a major breakthrough and not just another reord brush to add to my collection (Hunt, Audioquest, discwasher, et al). I grabbed a handful of random records from this collection and found several that I had never cleaned or played. I cleaned a couple of them with the Nitty Gritty and then brushed them with the new brush as directed and played them on my VPI SSM. There was no difference whatsoever to any other cleaning method I had tried and I was about to just pack it up to send back when I got inspired. I rebrushed both sides of the album that had just been cleaned and played and then reran it on the NG for a normal cycle. My theory was that if the Mapleshade brush design really did eliminate the charge by grounding it to earth, There would be no better time to vacuum it, since all the small particles would have their smallest possible attraction to the vinyl, before further touching and friction from use could reestablish the charges. I literally hit paydirt! This combination works so well that I have fallen in love with my record collection all over again this summer. I have tried it on hundreds of records, some being favorites that I had judged to have been "played to death" years ago and were consigned to my "hospital" shelf. All were dramatically improved in eliminating most ticks and pops, but also showed greater detail and silence between notes. As I stated above, I had never found a single disk from my "retirement present" that I could play all the way through without shaking my head at the poor record-care habits of the average American in destroying so many great recs. Now, though, I have not found a single side that is unlistenable - most sound like new. If I had to set a numerical rating to the difference, I would say that approximately %75 of the ticks and pops just disappeared as if the disks had gone to a health spa and come home rejuvenated. And, this 75% figure applies to the amount of cleanup heard after all other cleanup processes have run.
I would never use the Spin Clean machine itself as the rollers exerpt way too much pressure and any grit left unchecked would spell disaster to your LP collection,I wrote a Blogger titled ''How to clean vinyl LP's the right way'' I recommend LAST mold release applied to the first cleaning process,I think LAST's products are outstanding.
I have a zerostat that is still functional; it can reduce the magnetic attraction in a feather duster picking up 1/2" squares of plastic bag, but has never given me much sonic benefit. I did try it instead of the Mapleshade brush before vacuum cleaning, but the effect was no great shakes. Subsequent cleaning of the same side after brushing removed a significant amount of noise while subsequent use of the Zerostat after a clean cycle with the brush was just wasted effort.
I have some thoughts about why it works better. I think the design of the bristles gives them a better chance to actually touch tiny - even microscopic - particles and sludge that has attached itself to various areas of the groove walls through a combination of electro-magnetic attraction and the extremely high temperatures caused by friction at the tip of the stylus. These particles are likely a mix of molecules of vinyl scraped or melted during play and a collection of dust particles that are caught in the powerful magnetic pull that static charges in vinyl surfaces cause. These air-borne molecules easily attach themselves to records even when stored in good sleeves and jackets, unless they are vapor sealed. Some of it is organic such as pollen and micro-spores. Some is normal household dust. Some is chemicals dispersed into the air, some of which interact chemically with vinyl. When I was a teenager, most of my income from after-school and summer jobs went for records, and I loved them and took good care of them. But, after a while I noticed that some of my records picked up a lot of noise after a few plays, but always on just one side. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, figuring my cartridge was probably the culprit. Experiments with trying to replicate it by replaying the same side dozens of times got me nowhere. A real head-scratcher for a budding audiophile. It came to me when a brand new album that I had only played once went bad on me the very next day after it sounded fine and had been left on the platter overnight. Ticks and pops had arrived overnight on a brand new rec. This time, I got out a magnifying glass and flashlight and looked at the grooves themselves. They had developed hundreds of tiny bubbles that were hard to see even with the glass. I figured out immediately that I was the general that caused this airborne attack on my record collection. I was in the habit spraying room deodorizer around my bedroom to disguise my illicit smoking, and little molecules of this garbage was settling on any record that was on the platter at the time, and degrading the groove wall surfaces. All this crap is routinely gets into the groove walls and causes the stylus to waste its energy tracking them as well as the undulations we know and love.
One way to reduce this sludge may be by reducing friction at the point of stylus/groove interaction to reduce the heat build-up and lower its effect in creating the environment that keeps dust on the vinyl surfaces. This is where the last products for record preservation and stylus protection may help. The other way to reduce the amount of dust in the grooves is to eliminate the static charge so the vinyl no longer pulls the particles to itself. In this area, the design of the Mapleshade brush is far more effective than other products designed for the same role. For example, proper use of the zerostat gun was a controversial topic way back in the 80's and 90's when they firat came to prominence. whether they worked at all was an occasional topic for the trolls of the day in the Absolute Sound and Stereophile reader letters pages, and even the elite reviewers piped in from time to time. The general consensus was that it may or may not help, but seemed to do no harm so go ahead and buy one. Or not. I vaguely remember some of the discussion concerned how to use it properly. How many squeezes? Short or long duration squeezing. How far from the record surface should the nozzle be? Maybe I never go it right, but could today. Basically, these questions are all variations of "when should I stop if I really want to make my records sound better?" The brush is designed to make it fast and easy to use to positively (pardon the pun) discharge everyhing any one of its tiny steel bristles touches immediately to ground. These bristles are so tiny and soft that it is hard to believe that they are actually steel. They are so soft that I use it to clean the dust (and charges) from my stylus before every play as well. These little guys get down deep into the grooves when brushing radially around the records playing surface, and every molecule they touch sends its charge to ground. Followed immediately by wet-washing then gets this mixture of pollen, dust, spores, chemicals and accelerants,and vinyl scrapings cleaned up before the vinyl gets recharged by normal handling to attract more.
Personally, i don't think even Pierre at Mapleshade knows how good this thing works when used in conjunction with a good cleaning machine. Before trying it out his way, I had already decided to keep the brush rather than return it for its $40 price, but I had made that decision based only on its usefulness as a record brush, but had not heard any sonic improvement over any other record brush. For me, a good record brush was essential to get rid of the plague of tiny dog hairs that rains indoors chez Mcbuddah. Its stiff, yet soft bristles and simultaneous static discharge properties make routine dusting of all the nooks and crannies of my set-up a lot easier and safer around delicate wiring, cantilevers, anti-skate strings, etc on my table. Pierre himself probably thinks of it like I did - that it is a very good and useful tool that does its job very well. This is reflected in his choice of a product name, which I think is so lame that I have not yet mentioned it, The Phonophile Brush. The first time I saw it in a catalog, I misread it as "pedophile." If he knew what an improvement it can make to so many older records used in tandem with serious immediate record cleaning, he would have at least mentioned it in his product descriptions, instruction sheets and newsletters, which are also of unusually high quality and well-worth the read for any audiophile. I definitely do not want to disparage Pierre, and plan to draw his attention to these postings as I have done before for many vendors, but anyone who has ever looked at his products or purchased any knows, he is not known for humility.
I am not recommending this brush per se. I am recommending a procedure that includes effective static discharge of as much of the vinyl surface - including the groove wall and undulation surfaces, as possible performed immediately before robust record cleaning that has, for me, restored nearly every record I have tried to near-new condition, provided no other imperfections such as scratches also occur. Many of the records I have loved long and often have come back to life after I had given up on them. Fortunately, I never throw records away.
I don't know, Intermediatic. How much do wish to listen? When I am in a listening session, I don't want to interrupt the flow of things with cleaning.... it's an emotional thing. I want to LISTEN. I clean my records thoroughly with the Audio Intelligent 3-step process using my Nitty Gritty. Then I apply LAST preservative. After that, it's just my trusty Statibrush on each side for a long time. When a dozen plays occur, or something happens to make me think a record is 'dirty', I hit it again with the cleaning process. Maybe depends upon your available free time, and if the interruptions bother you. The interruptions would kill the experience for me.
Dear Intermediatic: Yes, Zerostat it works very well for the " same " results.
Static is a different phenomenon than the LP nedds to clean up. You have to remember that the cartridge is an electromagnetic device that reacts in presence of a static/electrostatic phenomenon and sometimes what we heard trhough our system is not because the stylus or the LP are dirty/dust but because that phenomenon.
This depend on the audio system room enviroment and mainly on its level of humidity as lower the more. In the other side friction between two surfaces could produce that phenomenon and obviously the cartridge stylus and LP have that friction level.
I don't haqve that kind of problem in my system room but I had years ago and that's why I bought Zerostat and I still own it, works fine.
Now, I want to insist that the cartridge stylus is really good LP cleaner and we have to mantain it in pristine condition everytime.
Regards and enjoy the music,
I don't use tweaks like wood blocks, wood stands that look like candelabras, I don't change jacks on my electronics, no bells or mini pots or whatever they are on my walls, no Stillpoints, I think all that stuff, and I've listened, represents nothing but a way to pickpocket gullible, hopefull, addictive people. But the Audio Desk ultrasonic cleaner is the only cleaner I've ever heard that makes a repeatable, easily discernible difference. If you are a fanatic, you need one. If you are a masochist it might not suit your needs, it's too easy to use.