BilboroughShirley

Vinyl discs

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I looked at the music threads and came to the conclusion that my question is actually technology.  Hope I am right!

We have a large collection of vinyl discs that had not been played for quite a few years.  The turntable that we bought in the 80s ceased to function and headed for the turntable graveyard at the tip.  Last week we bought a new one and plugged it through a pre-amp into existing speakers.  Wow! It is wonderful! The albums sound better than ever before.  However some are a bit dusty.  I asked the man in the audio equipment shop if he could recommend a vinyl disc cleaner.  He sent me to Maplin where they had none in stock (it was just a small branch) and their website showed only a thing for washing CDs and a thing for wiping vinyl discs.  Can anyone recommend a good vinyl disc cleaner or cleaning method please?  Now we have got the system working so well I need to make sure that I look after the discs properly.  To replace them all using CD or downloads would cost a fortune.  The new turntable has USB output so I can record onto my laptop and put the music onto the flash drive to use in the car.  Got to get that set up next so I can listen to Aftermath while I am driving.  Vinyl disc may be old technology but there is something so nice about having a physical item with an interesting sleeve rather than just digital data!

I hope someone out there can help.

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I'm sure DJ360, or one of the other audio experts will be on soon Shirley. 

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Shirley, as with so many things you can clean records very cheaply, or you can spend a fortune.

 

The best starting point is not to let them get dirty/dusty in the first place, by keeping them in their covers when not being played, and by not touching the playing surface, as this deposits grease, to which dirt will stick.

 

On the other hand, at the extreme end, there are those who claim that even a new record needs cleaning, to remove 'mould release fluid' left by the pressing process.

 

Dust can be removed using a Carbon Fibre/and/or felt brush. Something like this.  I have one which is pretty much identical but branded 'Goldring'.

http://www.juno.co.uk/products/milty-super-exstatic-disc-cleaning-brush-for/299787-01//?currency=GBP&flt=1&gclid=CInI_9u72NACFQeeGwodZoIHjA

 

I just rest it lightly on the revolving record for a few revolutions, then slide carefully off in an outward spiral, to prevent leaving a line of dust.  Don't press too hard as this may stress the turntable drive motor/belt etc.

 

At the other extreme, you can get record cleaning machines, which cost from about three to four hundred pounds upwards and use a combination of fluid cleaner and a vacuum drying process.  They are very effective, but expensive.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Record+cleaning+machines&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&ei=Zv1CWNDCK6_A8ger7JOwCg#q=Record+cleaning+machines&tbm=shop

 

I mostly do little more than using a brush and the care outlined above. I still have the first records I bought almost 60 years ago.

 

I have cleaned really filthy second hand acquisitions by the following method:

 

1. Place record on a flat surface on clean paper, or cloth.  Use a carbon fibre brush to brush all around the grooves with a solution of water and isopropyl alcohol. ( A very weak detergent solution may also work, but I haven't tried it.) Do both sides quickly, avoiding the label.

2. Rinse carefully under a cool/cold tap, again avoiding the label. Place in a dish rack or similar to drain for a couple of minutes.  Most water will follow the grooves to the bottom and drip off.

3. Finish drying any residual water with soft tissue.

4 As soon as dry, place record back in sleeve.... or play it!!

 

Some 'audiphiles' will now be throwing their hands up in horror and claiming that there will be damaging deposits of solids and limescale etc., because I used tap water.  The reality is that most of the water drains off or is wiped off before it can evaporate or leave deposits, but you could always use distilled water.

 

I'm also fortunate in having a couple of friends who own record cleaning machines and are happy to do the odd record for me, but to be frank, most don't need it.  Some of the specialist Audio dealerships have cleaning machines and will do records for you.  For a fee...

 

If the inner sleeve of the record is very dirty putting the record back is defeating the object.  New inner sleeves can be had in various qualities:

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=LP+inner+sleeves&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&ei=g_lCWO6wNbDA8gfMzpH4Cw#q=LP+inner+sleeves&tbm=shop

 

Keep your stylus free of fluff.  I usually just blow on it. Various brushes and fluid cleaners are available but need extreme care as some can damage your stylus/cartridge.

 

Vibrating stylus cleaners and other methods are available.

 

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Electronic+Stylus+Cleaner&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&ei=FfpCWJDdLbDA8gfMzpH4Cw#q=Electronic+Stylus+Cleaner&tbm=shop

 

Good luck and welcome back to the vinyl fold!!

 

Col

 

P.S.  Sometimes, but not always, a 'jump' or 'click' can be traced to something stuck to the record surface.  Without getting too graphic.. sneezing near a record is I suspect often the cause.. :Shock:  Just note where the stylus is when the record jumps, then carefully and with clean hands, feel for anything sticking up from the surface.  If here is anything, you should feel it and can usually flick it off carefully with a finger nail.  If it's actual groove damage, you can't do much about it. 

 

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I second Col's thoughts on this.  Added to this I have a couple of products made by a company called 'Watts'.  The Watts parastat which is a fine velvity sort of cloth cleaner. And another Watts product that actually tracks along the grooves as you play. Just check Mr. Google.  I was surprised to see you could still get them.  I bought mine many moons ago.  I too have vinyl albums fifty years old that still sound like new.

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Analogue versus digital, Phil.  Sounds less brittle and smoother to me even though I'm 'alf def!  :rolleyes:

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#4 Yes, I always used the dust-buster tracking arm, Cecil Watts job, amazing how much stuff it collected.

 

In my early days, whilst I still had just an ordinary record player, I was still very finicky. Often couldn't afford new records and a lot of my albums were second-hand from Selectadisc on Arky, singles from all over, many ex-jukebox. The first thing I did getting them home was give them a wash, a stick throught the hole and just plain warm water in a bowl, as I turned the record round. Fair bit of muck seemed to come off. This was after my first attempts soaking them immersed in the bowl, not good, returned to find labels all bubbled. Dried them off with sister's hairdryer on low. If I'm honest, I never really knew if I was doing good or bad, but they generally seemed to play pretty well and importantly, psychologically I felt they were clean. I know, sad. 

 

Got rid of all my vinyl years ago. Nothing else beats it though and recent talk of records and hifi getting me interest up again. Hmmm...no, get behind me satan...

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Last night I pulled out a vinyl classic..almost mint- Val McKenna - House For Sale from 1968.

Don't know the value,but this song on the Spark label is loud!

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According to the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide (2010 Edition) it's worth a tenner for mint.

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Loppy #4.  I've got one of those 'Dust Bug' things somewhere too.

And a sort of antistatic gun where you pull a trigger and a stream of charged particles shoot out. ( Sadly you can't see them...   :D ) Supposed to help remove static from records but doesn't work for me.  However, if I point it at the telly and pull the trigger, I get 'snow' on the screen. (Doesn't take much to amuse me...)

 

Incidentally.. idea I got from a hi-fi magazine.  If you are holding a record brush in one hand, especially if it has a metal 'case' as most do, you should keep the other hand on something earthed, such as the metal casework of an amplifier, or similar. (I tend to touch the metal armboard on my deck ) this allows static to drain from the record, through you and away to earth.  Seems to work.

 

Col

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I have several hundred LP's and singles from the 1960's on. If a record I've bought is very dirty and finger marked then I clean it with an old fashioned shaving brush and washing up liquid. Rinsing well under running water using the brush in the direction of the tracks until all trace of soap has gone. Drying by patting with a soft towel. Nothing fancy, just common sense and care. Works a treat and I have never had a problem at all and I've done this a lot. I try to avoid wetting the label too much but a bit of water doesn't seem to bother them. Records that have crackled and popped prior to cleaning become much quieter. Also if you have any mono records they will generally play better ie less unwanted noise with the pre amp or amp set to mono rather than stereo.

Do not dismiss the quality of sound you can get from LP,s because it's old tech. They can sound really marvellous.

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#11 A mate of mine buy & sells records I've been round his house when he's washing them in the sink with good old fairy liquid no problem #1 Think it also depends on what your playing them on, some £40-£100 thing from Argos get them in the sink.

On the same vain when my Father-in-law was landlord of a very popular pub that was renowned for its real ale before it became popular, every morning you have to draw off a couple of gallon off the hand pulls the Castle Eden went in the Pedigree, the Pedigree went back in the Castle Eden, when all these quaffing real ale aficionados turned up, speaking of how good the beer was, you had to chuckle inside. 

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Vinyl is better than any form of digitised music. Everything that was on the original master tape is on the vinyl. When a CD is made the peaks of the soundwave are lost. MP3 is even worse.  The same applies to electric keyboards. The sound is digital, so the peaks of the soundwaves are lost and also there are no harmonics. The only thing that can be better than vinyl or the original master tape is live music on ACOUSTIC instruments.

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Big, big thanks to everyone for all your great advice.  I will try out the cleaning methods.  My records are just a bit dusty but I want to keep them in good condition.  My dad worked at the Evening Post in the 1960s and they had a hi-fi club.  He bought a lot of records through this club and I have them.  One of his friends used to slit open the paper covers and when he put the record away he laid it on one half then covered it with the other before sliding it into the cardboard.  I have not gone that far but every one of the records is kept in the paper cover and then the cardboard sleeve.  

#13 The Pianoman I agree with you about the live music on acoustic instruments.  A few years ago I put the case to a consistory court to stop our Church throwing out the pipe organ.  They wanted an electronic one.  We stopped that!  This year I found out that they were not maintaining the organ so I letter to the DAC using the words "contempt of court" triggered some repair work.

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Letsavagoo #1.  Never thought of using a shaving brush...  Mind you, I don't think I have one anymore as I've had a short beard for decades and only shave under my chin..

 

Yep.  Mono records better listened to in mono if there's a button for it.

 

Apparently.. (Though I've not tried it.) they sound even better with a mono cartridge.  Such things are still made, but the ones I've seen in the mags tend to be expensive.  Some people have record decks fitted with two arms. ( see below) so that they can have a mono or stereo cartridge handy.  Deck shown is similar to mine.  You just move the motor from its normal position at rear left and use the space freed up to position another arm.  Obviously you would only use one arm at a time.  Unless you had two phono preamps and wanted to switch between cartridge/arm combinations for comparison, but that IMHO is taking 'audiphilia' a bit far..

 

Image result for Gyrodec with 2 arms

 

Also, it seems to me that a good quality modern cartridge usually has a much finer stylus.  This sits lower in the groove and avoids much of the surface damage, scratches etc.

 

Col

 

 

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Shirley #14.  I worked for a few years in a Lead refinery where we turned scrap lead piping, old victorian plumbiing etc., into nice clean blocks, or ingots of pure lead.  Interesting processes, but not really for this thread...

Anyway.. it always saddened me to see loads of organ pipes coming in to be melted down.  They were typically made from a tin/lead alloy.

Some of the smaller ones could be picked up and blown by mouth.  But I was saddened that these pipes had sometime been part of a beautiful instrument with a sound which even the best hi fi systems can only reproduce in shadow form.

 

Col

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Yes!  There is nothing quite like a real pipe organ.  The church where I take my lessons have a top of the line electronic instrument and it is truly a fine instrument.  With eyes closed it is hard to believe you are not listening to a pipe organ, but there are definitely some subtle differences.  I have access to the pipe organ at a Presbyterian church in town and the differnce is quite noticable.  The high pipes make my ears tingle. The sixteen foot bass pipes are almost felt as much as they are heard.  I come out of there exhilerated even after all the wrong notes I play. :rolleyes:

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20 hours ago, radfordred said:

#11 A mate of mine buy & sells records I've been round his house when he's washing them in the sink with good old fairy liquid no problem #1 Think it also depends on what your playing them on, some £40-£100 thing from Argos get them in the sink.

On the same vain when my Father-in-law was landlord of a very popular pub that was renowned for its real ale before it became popular, every morning you have to draw off a couple of gallon off the hand pulls the Castle Eden went in the Pedigree, the Pedigree went back in the Castle Eden, when all these quaffing real ale aficionados turned up, speaking of how good the beer was, you had to chuckle inside. 

 I have used some fairly exotic decks, not a £50 Argos special. I did own a transcriptor as in clockwork orange but the temptation to sell,it for daft money on eBay was too much so it went and it wasn't that good imho. I use a Thornes now which sounds quite good. The point I want to make is  a clean record will sound better whatever you play it on. Without going to some silly hifi phoolerie it's a pretty good way to clean up your vinyl.

DJ 360.  I've never tried or had a mono cartridge but would think a stereo connected as mono is about the same. Perhaps the stylus is more suitable.

I saw recently that someone is selling audiophile mains leads to connect your amp to the mains to 'improve' the sound. Cost a zillion £'s. Trouble is you need a really long one to reach the power station to eliminate all the 'bad' wire between you and the power station and then make sure the generator is wound with non polarised oxygen free copper. 

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Yep.  I'm with you on the mains leads.  I've a friend who spends literally thousands of pounds on 1 meter long 'fancy' mains leads.  Up to him as it's his money and he has plenty of it, but I don't hear any difference.  It seems to me that the best you can do with mains leads is try to stop them affecting signal leads and interconnects, by properly 'dressing' your cables so thay aren't touching. Mains leads can cause 'hum' in interconnects.

 

Regarding 'exotic' decks.  My first decent player was a Goldring B55 in a Bush music centre.  Now used for playing 78s.  Then I had a Rega Planar 2, followed briefly by a beautiful Ariston RD 90 with a bronze platter, which was bankrupt stock after Ariston folded.  Sadly it never sounded much good and I got a Linn LP12 which I had for about 20 years before switching to the Gyrodec I have now.

 

My advice to anyone wanting to purchase a good quality 'budget' record player now would be to look at the Pro-ject range.  I think they now do a version of their entry level 'Debut' turntable with a USB output as well as the traditional analogue output.

http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?prod=debut

Col

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I always thought a lot of those exotic cables were rather 'emperors new clothes' lol, only for those with money to burn. Anyone remember using 30amp cooker cable to wire up their speakers.

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When I got my first pair of 'bi-wireable' speakers. (Pair of Tannoy 603s)  I used my existing Linn K20 cable for the bass drivers and runs of flat twin and earth lighting circuit cable for the tweeters.  Sounded OK.

 

Recently I just got new cables from Mark Grant Cables.  Have been using my current Rogers Studio 3 speakers bi-wired,mostly because a long time ago I 'bi amped' with two sets of ION Obelisk amps. (Wish I'd never sold them.) But I decided to try reverting to single wiring and to these ears it works better. Very solid 'Studio Quality' Van Damme Blue cable, nicely terminated with quality plugs.  Also using little jumper leads also by Mark Grant.  Sounds fine to me.  Cost about £150 for two 6M runs.

 

https://markgrant.co.uk/69-speaker-cables

 

Of course, you could always opt for Kimber 'Black Pearl' cable at £1000 per FOOT!!!!  :)

 

Col

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WARNING - HI-IF BUFFS DO NOT READ

 

You do not need to spend a bomb to enjoy, picked this up last week £44 quid off Amazon 2 minutes to plug in, pile of of records out the garage washed in the sink, when done folds up into a small case, chuck it in the spare bedroom ..... sorted.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steepletone-SRP030S-Detachable-connection-Smartphones/dp/B016LB4YTO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484738851&sr=8-1&keywords=Steepletone+SRP030S+Attache+Briefcase+Retro+Style+Vinyl+Record+Player+Turntable+with+Built+In+Amplifier%2C+2+Detachable+Speakers+for+Real+Stereo+Sound+a

 

P1140622_zps29cm5w2f.jpgP1140623_zpsenmcz1w2.jpg

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If it satisfies your needs RR, I would not knock it.  It is giving you an opportunity to go through those old disks without needing a bank loan.  Enjoy!

 

Col.  Re cables.  I have always had a problem with the idea that speaker cables are a major factor in overall sound quality.  Granted, they should be of a reasonable gauge, especially for longer runs.  In my own experience I have always found decent quality lamp cord to be quite adequate.  For those who have the money and desire to buy high priced fancy cables its up to them.  I'm inclined to think that the difference they think they hear may be psychological based on what they paid rather than any real improvement.

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RR............Love the Lurpak butter on the window sill...........watch it don't melt..............2/6 half lb in Marsdens   1960

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