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Thread: Cleaning Vinyl

  1. #1
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    Cleaning Vinyl

    I think I've just had a bit of an epiphany . All the years I have had LP records I always blamed a dodgy sounding one on a worn stylus. The only cleaning I did was a carbon fibre brush before playing.
    I was fed up with sibilance and a bit of surface noise on a Sting album so thought I had nothing to lose by cleaning it. Don't laugh but I used a multi surface cleaning wipe from Tesco. Now it sounds like a totally different record, in a good way. Sibilance is gone and high frequency details which were hidden are now clear.
    I was going to buy a new stylus, now I think maybe a cleaning machine would be a better idea.


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  2. #2
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    Return To Vinyl Experience

    Quote Originally Posted by slartibartfast View Post
    I think I've just had a bit of an epiphany . All the years I have had LP records I always blamed a dodgy sounding one on a worn stylus. The only cleaning I did was a carbon fibre brush before playing.
    I was fed up with sibilance and a bit of surface noise on a Sting album so thought I had nothing to lose by cleaning it. Don't laugh but I used a multi surface cleaning wipe from Tesco. Now it sounds like a totally different record, in a good way. Sibilance is gone and high frequency details which were hidden are now clear.
    I was going to buy a new stylus, now I think maybe a cleaning machine would be a better idea.


    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    I've just come back to vinyl after a 20 year break where I tried to obtain replacement CD's for my favourite Vinyl as well as collecting loads of new music.

    I had, in the past, recorded my vinyl to mp3 and aac before the days of flac and decreased storage cost/capacity and then subsequently ditched my vinyl and the recordings I had made.

    I plumped for the Audio Technica LP5X which has Line Level USB and Phono Outputs and quite a reasonable cartridge but no matter how I align the cartridge the channel levels are not balanced and I need to correct in Windows settings. I had the same record cleaning issues as you and tried a baby wipe which indeed seemed to improve things but I did find that paper residue tended to end up on the stylus on the last tracks of each side. I plumped for a Groove Washer cleaning kit (about ú20.00 from Amazon) which does a pretty reasonable job.

    I use Vinyl Studio on d6dg's suggestion and find this very useful and relatively easy. He's got track clean-up and editing down to 10 minutes but it does take me about half an hour, mainly cleaning up the audio between tracks. I used Cool Edit in the past but it was acquired by Adobe and it's price rocketed.

    Next year it will be 60 years since I bought my first Buddy Holly LP on Rawtenstall Market. I've still got that one but how my tastes have widened, particularly since I bought my first Squeezebox Classic about 15 years ago.
    Last edited by ian_heys; 2021-09-04 at 23:44.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian_heys View Post
    I've just come back to vinyl after a 20 year break where I tried to obtain replacement CD's for my favourite Vinyl as well as collecting loads of new music.

    I had, in the past, recorded my vinyl to mp3 and aac before the days of flac and decreased storage cost/capacity and then subsequently ditched my vinyl and the recordings I had made.

    I plumped for the Audio Technica LP5X which has Line Level USB and Phono Outputs and quite a reasonable cartridge but no matter how I align the cartridge the channel levels are not balanced and I need to correct in Windows settings. I had the same record cleaning issues as you and tried a baby wipe which indeed seemed to improve things but I did find that paper residue tended to end up on the stylus on the last tracks of each side. I plumped for a Groove Washer cleaning kit (about ú20.00 from Amazon) which does a pretty reasonable job.

    I use Vinyl Studio on d6dg's suggestion and find this very useful and relatively easy. He's got track clean-up and editing down to 10 minutes but it does take me about half an hour, mainly cleaning up the audio between tracks. I used Cool Edit in the past but it was acquired by Adobe and it's price rocketed.

    Next year it will be 60 years since I bought my first Buddy Holly LP on Rawtenstall Market. I've still got that one but how my tastes have widened, particularly since I bought my first Squeezebox Classic about 15 years ago.
    Yes I also found build up on the stylus on first play after cleaning maybe due to the microfibre cloth I used as a final stage. I had previously tried cleaning one side of the double album as an experiment without the microfibre cloth and didn't notice the build up. I will investigate the Groove Washer. I have a copy of Crime Of The Century by Supertramp which by all accounts is a very good sounding LP but the final track on one of the sides sounds dreadful. I wouldn't be surprised if it just needs cleaning. That will be the next target.

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by slartibartfast View Post
    I think I've just had a bit of an epiphany . All the years I have had LP records I always blamed a dodgy sounding one on a worn stylus. The only cleaning I did was a carbon fibre brush before playing.
    I was fed up with sibilance and a bit of surface noise on a Sting album so thought I had nothing to lose by cleaning it. Don't laugh but I used a multi surface cleaning wipe from Tesco. Now it sounds like a totally different record, in a good way. Sibilance is gone and high frequency details which were hidden are now clear.
    I was going to buy a new stylus, now I think maybe a cleaning machine would be a better idea.


    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
    What's in the cleaning wipe? Presumably some solvents/detergents? Are these the wipes?

    I once bought several box sets of old 1950s vinyl operas from an Oxfam shop. I decided they needed a bit of a cleanup, and used dilute fairy liquid (applied with cotton wool balls) and rinsed extensively with distilled water. That turned out to be successful.

    I have heard of people who clean LPs immediately after purchase. I wonder whether this would help on the recent RSD release of the 4 LP version of Ocean Songs by The Dirty Three, which has rather a lot of pops and clicks. And can you believe the digital download code was only for 128k mp3.

    Robert
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ian_heys View Post
    I plumped for the Audio Technica LP5X which has Line Level USB and Phono Outputs and quite a reasonable cartridge but no matter how I align the cartridge the channel levels are not balanced and I need to correct in Windows settings. I had the same record cleaning issues as you and tried a baby wipe which indeed seemed to improve things but I did find that paper residue tended to end up on the stylus on the last tracks of each side. I plumped for a Groove Washer cleaning kit (about ú20.00 from Amazon) which does a pretty reasonable job.

    I use Vinyl Studio on d6dg's suggestion and find this very useful and relatively easy. He's got track clean-up and editing down to 10 minutes but it does take me about half an hour, mainly cleaning up the audio between tracks. I used Cool Edit in the past but it was acquired by Adobe and it's price rocketed.

    Next year it will be 60 years since I bought my first Buddy Holly LP on Rawtenstall Market. I've still got that one but how my tastes have widened, particularly since I bought my first Squeezebox Classic about 15 years ago.
    Maybe the channel balance issue is to do with the built-in phono stage/ADC? Can you bypass this and take the output to an external phono stage?

    The first LP I bought would have been about 44 years ago - Dark Side of the Moon. In the same transaction I bought Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Phoenix Records on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, sadly long-gone. Both those records disappeared in a burglary - I got most of my LPs back, but not the more mainstream stuff.

    Robert
    Home: Raspberry Pi 4/pCP7.0/LMS8.1.2/Material with files on QNAP TS-251A
    Touch > DacMagic 100 > Naim Audio Nait 3 > Mission 752 (plus Rega Planar 3 > Rega Fono Mini; Naim CD3)
    2 x Squeezebox Radios, 1 X Squeezebox 3 (retired), 1 x SqueezeAMP
    Office: LMS8.0.0 running on Raspberry Pi3; Raspberry Pi 3 player with touchscreen/piCorePlayer/IQaudIO DAC and Amp
    Portable: Raspberry Pi 3B/pCP7.0.1/LMS8.1.2/Material, files on Seagate portable drive, powered via power brick

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy Bob View Post
    Maybe the channel balance issue is to do with the built-in phono stage/ADC? Can you bypass this and take the output to an external phono stage?

    The first LP I bought would have been about 44 years ago - Dark Side of the Moon. In the same transaction I bought Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Phoenix Records on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, sadly long-gone. Both those records disappeared in a burglary - I got most of my LPs back, but not the more mainstream stuff.

    Robert
    I haven't got a phono stage to attach and particularly wanted a one box solution. The balance issue isn't causing me any recording problems and I've asked my son if he can dig up any of my old soundblaster cards to see if I can better set the channel levels as opposed to the crude windows balance settings.

    I too lost all my LP's in a burglary, round about the time you bought your first LP. I was living in Gambia at the time having left the "dark satanic mills" behind a few years after I bought the Buddy Holly.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy Bob View Post
    What's in the cleaning wipe? Presumably some solvents/detergents? Are these the wipes?

    I once bought several box sets of old 1950s vinyl operas from an Oxfam shop. I decided they needed a bit of a cleanup, and used dilute fairy liquid (applied with cotton wool balls) and rinsed extensively with distilled water. That turned out to be successful.

    I have heard of people who clean LPs immediately after purchase. I wonder whether this would help on the recent RSD release of the 4 LP version of Ocean Songs by The Dirty Three, which has rather a lot of pops and clicks. And can you believe the digital download code was only for 128k mp3.

    Robert
    Those are the wipes. Probably not the best thing to use. I was pleasantly surprised by the results though.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian_heys View Post
    I've just come back to vinyl after a 20 year break where I tried to obtain replacement CD's for my favourite Vinyl as well as collecting loads of new music.

    I had, in the past, recorded my vinyl to mp3 and aac before the days of flac and decreased storage cost/capacity and then subsequently ditched my vinyl and the recordings I had made.

    I plumped for the Audio Technica LP5X which has Line Level USB and Phono Outputs and quite a reasonable cartridge but no matter how I align the cartridge the channel levels are not balanced and I need to correct in Windows settings. I had the same record cleaning issues as you and tried a baby wipe which indeed seemed to improve things but I did find that paper residue tended to end up on the stylus on the last tracks of each side. I plumped for a Groove Washer cleaning kit (about ú20.00 from Amazon) which does a pretty reasonable job.

    I use Vinyl Studio on d6dg's suggestion and find this very useful and relatively easy. He's got track clean-up and editing down to 10 minutes but it does take me about half an hour, mainly cleaning up the audio between tracks. I used Cool Edit in the past but it was acquired by Adobe and it's price rocketed.

    Next year it will be 60 years since I bought my first Buddy Holly LP on Rawtenstall Market. I've still got that one but how my tastes have widened, particularly since I bought my first Squeezebox Classic about 15 years ago.
    Judging by this thread on the Steve Hoffman forum gunk on the stylus on the first play after a clean is a common occurrence
    https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threa...t-gunk.180849/

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  9. #9
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    Not having to mess with cleaning vinyl was just one of the reasons I adopted the CD format when it came out.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kappclark's Avatar
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    I have tried a damp Mr Clean Magic Eraser for the Stylus -- just enough coarseness... also the vinyl washing does work - I remember trying on a sacrificial Lawrence Welk LP - improved the sound (but not the music)
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