Author Topic: Two Vinyl Questions  (Read 1526 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Two Vinyl Questions
« on: January 06, 2018, 09:12:15 AM »
I am wondering about two things, one practical, the other more theoretical.

1. How often should you clean your records?
2. Is LP wear & tear (assuming a good clean record) something of a myth?

Re 1), most people seem to be saying that once you have cleaned a record thoroughly, you shouldn't have to do so ever again. One clean on a respectable cleaner and it's good to go, as long as you brush it before/after playing and store it properly. Your experiences please.

Re 2), I am reading from a lot of collectors that if you treat your records properly, they will barely wear out, no matter how many times you play them (again, assuming proper treatment). I have to say that I'm quite stunned at how good 50+ year old LPs can sound if they're kept in good shape. Your experiences please.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Turner

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 09:41:36 AM »
I am wondering about two things, one practical, the other more theoretical.

1. How often should you clean your records?
2. Is LP wear & tear (assuming a good clean record) something of a myth?

Re 1), most people seem to be saying that once you have cleaned a record thoroughly, you shouldn't have to do so ever again. One clean on a respectable cleaner and it's good to go, as long as you brush it before/after playing and store it properly. Your experiences please.

Re 2), I am reading from a lot of collectors that if you treat your records properly, they will barely wear out, no matter how many times you play them (again, assuming proper treatment). I have to say that I'm quite stunned at how good 50+ year old LPs can sound if they're kept in good shape. Your experiences please.

I´m less focused on sound than many people here, but I rarely clean my LPs. If there´s an accumulation of dust, I do it, swiping the dust off with my fingers and/or a piece of cloth. I do have special chemicals designed for it, which I use in particular if selling an item on eBay.

But I don´t play, buy or keep LPs with any obvious, annoying damages. I´d consider one scratch lasting say 40 secs to be in that category. If I keep such LPs, it´s only because of a rare cover design, it´s not to listen to them.

I´ve solely bought second-hand LPs cheaply for decades and am very rarely diappointed, having checked their surfaces before buying. The main fault that is difficult to discover and will make them practically unlistenable is that of an LP being wrongly centered.

If you have enough of LPs, they don´t really get worn. My absolute favourites I´ve tried to get CD versions of too, or buy a second one as well.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 10:03:15 AM by Turner »

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 09:58:50 AM »
I remember the claim that playing an LP a few times will "erase" all of the high frequency. I never noticed that effect. It was perhaps a problem in the early days when tracking force was relatively high and the stylus was crudely shaped. I got some second hand LPs from the 50's which were unlistenable and I suspect were damaged by extremely crude players. However, I never detected any degradation of my LPs due to playing. This was the late 70's until the CD became dominant (I used a Shure V15 type V cartridge, mostly).

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2018, 10:01:15 AM »
I am wondering about two things, one practical, the other more theoretical.

1. How often should you clean your records?
2. Is LP wear & tear (assuming a good clean record) something of a myth?

Re 1), most people seem to be saying that once you have cleaned a record thoroughly, you shouldn't have to do so ever again. One clean on a respectable cleaner and it's good to go, as long as you brush it before/after playing and store it properly. Your experiences please.

Re 2), I am reading from a lot of collectors that if you treat your records properly, they will barely wear out, no matter how many times you play them (again, assuming proper treatment). I have to say that I'm quite stunned at how good 50+ year old LPs can sound if they're kept in good shape. Your experiences please.

1) I have digitized all my LPs, and do not play them any more. But before that I just brushed them - before spinning them - with a brush made by hairs from a marten.  And I have never had serious dust-problems.
 
2) I store the LPs, I have kept, upright in their sleeves in not to hot surroundings. Earlier, when I played the LPs, I was careful to check the condition of the stylus regularly. I do not remember any LPs being worn so much, that the sound quality was affected.

As Turner writes, the biggest problem with new LPs is, whether they are badly centered - i,e, the central hole not being in the exact centrum.
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heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2018, 10:27:08 AM »
I remember the claim that playing an LP a few times will "erase" all of the high frequency.

I think this claim came from the quadrophonic era.  Surround sound was encoded above 20 kHz and required a Shibata stylus for playback.

Otherwise, I say play your records as often as you like.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2018, 10:46:12 AM »
Here's a comment I found on an audio forum:

FWIW, I once set my Denon DP-47F turntable on "Repeat" and ran it all night using an Audio-Technica AT440ML. I recorded the first pass and the last pass to the PC and couldn't measure or hear any differences. High-frequency response and noise levels were the same for the first and last passes.

Yet the conventional wisdom was that "every playback degrades the vinyl." I'm not taking this one guy's experience as normative, but based on my own experience and that of others, LPs that are properly cared for should degrade very little or not at all.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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Baron Scarpia

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2018, 11:02:44 AM »
...with a well set-up cartridge. I think if you year audible distortion/mistracking your stylus may be bouncing around the groove and doing more damage than if it is tracking properly. I remember that the main selling point of cartridges used to be how low a tracking force could be used, but I never found that they worked well at the lowest specified tracking force. I always adjusted them to the high end of the specified range of tracking force and was happier with the results. (Maybe my tonearm wasn't adequate.)


Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2018, 03:29:23 PM »
Here's an odd one. Has anyone heard of the "24 hour rule"? According to some vinylists, you shouldn't play an LP more than once every 24 hours, because the vinyl has "memory" and will get warped or overheated (or something) if you play it too often. I have no idea if this is true.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 03:49:26 PM »
I think I have heard of the 24 hour rule. Sounds like utter nonsense to me.

Online XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 05:42:59 PM »
I don't think cleaning needs to be done (or should be done) very often. I always clean new acquisitions whether they are new/sealed or used. Sometimes, new/sealed LPs are the worst offenders, as mould release compound and tiny bits of vinyl remain (or become) lodged in the grooves. As for used, I have no idea what they've been subjected to by their previous owners--judging from the scratch marks on the paper label, it appears many people place LPs on their 'table in total darkness.  ::)  Regardless, even after a thorough cleaning, and storing in a high quality inner sleeve, DUST is ALWAYS an issue. Therefore, a light/gentle cleaning with a record brush (I use an Audioquest brush) happens before every playback. Otherwise the dust will quickly accumulate on the stylus and affect playback in a not-so-subtle way! If you want to be extra careful, buy a rocket blower and blow air over the surface first.

As for frequency of playing, I have so many records, so many new acquisitions, and relatively little time (and lots of CDs to listen to!), that every time I play an LP, it is also getting recorded in Audacity, saved as an .aup file, and exported to FLAC.

It does stand to reason that every playback will cause some degradation, as you obviously have a tiny stylus being dragged through a plastic disk. Regardless of the tracking force, the area of contact is tiny, so you have enormous pressure on the disk. I have also heard the 24 hr, rule, but not in terms of "memory", but in terms of the grooves heating up and liquifying temporarily. I have no firsthand knowledge of whether this is true or not, but I have always played it safe in this regard in any case. I would advise that if you have LPs you love a great deal and play frequently--DIGITIZE them, and play the FLAC file frequently. Save the LP itself for a special treat.

Having said that, if you have a decent quality 'table, arm, and cartridge that are set up correctly, you should not have to worry too much. If you are using something ghastly like a Crosley with ceramic cartridge, then, yes, you're screwed--but I doubt anyone here would use something like that!
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 05:55:56 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline aligreto

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 04:13:50 AM »
Vinyl is a delicate medium but with some basic rules for handling, care and storage [in no particular order of importance] they will outlive you:

Like others here I clean all acquisitions on purchase, and rarely after that.
When cleaning vinyl I wear cotton gloves.
Handle with care. Do not leave fingerprints anywhere to be seen.
Once cleaned, store vinyl in anti-static inner sleeves.
Always store vinyl upright and in moderate climatic conditions.
Replace your stylus when you hear the need.
Set your equipment up properly.
Wipe the record with appropriate tool prior to playing to remove any built up static.

Vinyl is one of the pleasures of Life.  8)
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 09:51:35 AM »
I don't think cleaning needs to be done (or should be done) very often.

Like others here I clean all acquisitions on purchase, and rarely after that.

This appears to be the general consensus, although I suspect cleaning every couple of years or so might make sense. Dust and dirt have a way of invading spaces over time even when you take precautions against them.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline aligreto

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2018, 02:41:15 PM »
This appears to be the general consensus, although I suspect cleaning every couple of years or so might make sense. Dust and dirt have a way of invading spaces over time even when you take precautions against them.

The frequency of cleaning will obviously depend on usage/playing time but in reality static is the enemy as it attracts dust and dirt.
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Online XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2018, 06:35:36 PM »
What do you use to combat static? My audio dealer had a $100 anti-static gun for sale, but even he seemed to think it was a bit of a ripoff. I am sure cheaper versions are available online, but I have never investigated this much. A small minority of my LPs do have static issues, and I would like to treat them with something and then give them another spin.


Vinyl is one of the pleasures of Life.  8)

Indeed. It is kind of like mechanical watches (of which I have a few). They certainly require care and some expense, and are not as accurate as quartzzzzzzzzzz timepieces, but what a soul they possess!

As for LPs, I actually enjoy cleaning them. My audio dealer lets me use his Keith Monks or ClearAudio machines (Each about $6000, which I would never pay!). I make a day out of it--drive up there, clean a dozen or so (takes well over an hour), visit my watch dealer (same neighborhood), have some haute cuisine (Waffles actually!!), coffee, etc. Makes for a very nice afternoon. Sometimes my wife comes along and goes shopping for her stuff (watch and/or audio equipment acquisitions do not happen in this case)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 06:47:13 PM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 06:47:17 PM »
What do you use to combat static?

Just a brush.

Quote
As for LPs, I actually enjoy cleaning them.

Me too. I enjoy running them thru the Spin-Clean, which is a "hands-on" method in the most literal sense.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2018, 09:31:48 AM »
What do you use to combat static?

I use the standard carbon fibre brush before I spin each side





But I also store my vinyl in anti-static inner sleeves and use the Nagaoka brand


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Offline aligreto

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2018, 09:38:58 AM »
Just to make a seperate point I use an Okki Nokki record cleaning machine which, at least in Europe, is reasonably priced and from my experience performs well





The cleaning fluid that I use is L'Art du Son


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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2018, 09:57:07 AM »

But I also store my vinyl in anti-static inner sleeves and use the Nagaoka brand


This is a nitpicky question but I will ask it anyway because aesthetics matter.

Do these high-quality inner sleeves (of whatever brand) fit completely in the LP jacket? I ask because I have a bunch of paper sleeves that stick slightly out of the jacket - not an appealing look in my view.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 10:08:05 AM »
Oh, and as long as we're nitpicking, what do you guys think of the Magic Eraser (cost: a couple of bucks) as stylus cleaner?

http://high-endaudio.com/Magic.html

I use it and it seems to get the job done.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Two Vinyl Questions
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2018, 10:10:19 AM »
This is a nitpicky question but I will ask it anyway because aesthetics matter.

Do these high-quality inner sleeves (of whatever brand) fit completely in the LP jacket? I ask because I have a bunch of paper sleeves that stick slightly out of the jacket - not an appealing look in my view.

Not a nitpicky question at all and I know those larger inner sleeves drove me nuts.
The answer, in the case of the Nagaoka is yes because of the shape of the bottom of the sleeve which is made to fit the vinyl snugly. If you have a very small jacket you can cut the top of the inner sleeve to fit.
However, I store my vinyl slightly differently in that all of my vinyl is also stored in an outer sleeve with a sealed flap. I first place the LP jacket [empty] into the outer sleeve and then I place the vinyl [in its inner sleeve] into the outer sleeve, behind the jacket. This prevents ring wear on the jacket.
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.