Cleaning Records

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How do you clean your vinyl?

I used to have a Discwasher set w/ the fluid and brush and kept everything nice, but now I'm lazy and really only go after the deep thrift-store grime. I use a cotton pad and rubbing alcohol, working clockwise from the outside, but I know there are better ways and I don't want to damage the grooves on these dogs any more than they already are.

\edge of the\ Ape Oven (herb albert), Monday, 20 July 2009 16:17 (twelve years ago) link

a hire a cleaning lady.

ian, Monday, 20 July 2009 16:28 (twelve years ago) link

I just pop them in the dishwasher and run it on "pots & pans"

there is no there there (elmo argonaut), Monday, 20 July 2009 16:37 (twelve years ago) link

tbh i use one of those soft cotton clothes as well, though i dilute the alcohol with some distilled water, though i think that's more to stretch the alcohol than protect the record? just don't use alcohol on 78s!

for dust i like one of the soft carbon-fiber brushes. the one with the long soft bristles--very good for getting dust out of the grooves & cat hair off the surface etc.

you COULD invest in a cleaning machine but they're loud & take up space & are expensive, so f it really.

ian, Monday, 20 July 2009 16:46 (twelve years ago) link

i used to just use an alcohol/water mix with a discwasher, but now that i am cleaning, like, hundreds of records a week i use those record cleaning cloths and i usually just dampen them with water. which isn't ideal, but i just want to get the surface crud off and i figure people who buy stuff can clean them better if they feel like it.

scott seward, Monday, 20 July 2009 16:48 (twelve years ago) link

Once I inherited like 15 Dylan bootleg LPs, and they were quite dirty (even moldy in some cases). I used warm water with just a touch of dish soap and a cotton cloth. Once I finished scrubbing 'em with the cloth, I rinsed them to remove soap residue. Our dish rack worked great as a drying rack.

Trickiest part of that for me is avoiding water on the inner labels.

sleeve, Monday, 20 July 2009 17:42 (twelve years ago) link

well known i'm sure, the unemployed OCD enthusiast's guide to vinyl cleaning.
http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=54&page=0

"There is one additional step you can take to make this cleaning regimen even more effective. Obtain a supply of triple distilled water (Triple distilled water, available at some pharmacies, is not easy to come by: when I tried to obtain some in NYC, the pharmacist accused me of being either an abortionist or an intravenous drug user. In fact, it requires a doctor's prescription in New York. Perhaps it is easier to obtain where you live, either at a pharmacy, or a chemical supply house. You could use plain distilled water, but be careful: if it hasn't been properly manufactured, you could leave a residue of noise, depositing minerals in the grooves, thus defeating the entire purpose of this complex, time consuming procedure"

fakeducks, Monday, 20 July 2009 18:04 (twelve years ago) link

i has a loricraft

matt preston's cravat rack (electricsound), Monday, 20 July 2009 23:04 (twelve years ago) link

a hire a cleaning lady.

do you make her wear a uniform?

tokyo rosemary, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 02:31 (twelve years ago) link

i make her wear nothing.

ian, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 02:46 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

haha.

good answer

Death Cabron For Cutie (admrl), Monday, 20 December 2010 03:04 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

Has anyone tried woodglue? I have a record that looks ruined but I played it and it played without skipping but with lots of noise. I ran out of the solution that came with the brush. So diluted alcohol is the best way?

JacobSanders, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 19:56 (ten years ago) link

yep, diluted rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth that won't leave fibers in the grooves. you'll be amazed at the difference, should remove most of the noise except for actual scratches. i've been playing all these records from 1972 that I thought were trashed but now sound heavenly.

llurk, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 20:06 (ten years ago) link

diluted by how much exactly?

sleeve, Thursday, 23 February 2012 04:20 (ten years ago) link

I tired it toady with a very dirty record. I used one third alcohol with the rest water. The record cleaned up nicely, and a lot of what I thought were scratches weren't, but the surface noise is still there. Are some records just lost to surface noise?

JacobSanders, Thursday, 23 February 2012 04:32 (ten years ago) link

i'd use this before wood glue

http://recordrevirginizer.com/

Are some records just lost to surface noise?

yes imo but some people hate it more than others

a proper mechanical clean can totally transform a record though

the majestic ned? (electricsound), Thursday, 23 February 2012 05:40 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, ask around at record stores, see if anyone has a cleaning machine.

Will the waveform be unbroken? (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Thursday, 23 February 2012 06:06 (ten years ago) link

Has anybody tried this? http://www.spincleanrecordwasher.com/

I'm pretty sure I will end up with one eventually, but my nitty gritty still kind of works. I can't ever afford to spend that kind of money again, even though it makes all the difference.

warren harding (Zachary Taylor), Thursday, 23 February 2012 07:00 (ten years ago) link

i hate them

the majestic ned? (electricsound), Thursday, 23 February 2012 07:13 (ten years ago) link

Some records just suit scratches/noise, in moderation.

VU's "WLWH" mono, for instance.

Mark G, Thursday, 23 February 2012 12:27 (ten years ago) link

I only get mine cleaned if they're totally gunked, and then I go to a second hand record shop and pay a pound per record.

emil.y, Thursday, 23 February 2012 12:29 (ten years ago) link

That's a good idea, I'd never have thought of doing that.

nate woolls, Thursday, 23 February 2012 12:45 (ten years ago) link

If any Londoners want to split the cost of a real record cleaning machine with me, I'm down.

I've done the research and everything.

It appears this is the one to get: http://www.kabusa.com/ev1.htm

Same as the Nitty Gritty but cheaper, even with shipping costs.

TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 23 February 2012 13:23 (ten years ago) link

Has anybody tried this? http://www.spincleanrecordwasher.com/

I'm pretty sure I will end up with one eventually, but my nitty gritty still kind of works. I can't ever afford to spend that kind of money again, even though it makes all the difference.

― warren harding (Zachary Taylor), donderdag 23 februari 2012 8:00 (7 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i hate them

― the majestic ned? (electricsound), donderdag 23 februari 2012 8:13 (7 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I love them. I found one of those in an antique shop 10 years ago, it carries date stickers from 1957 and it works fantastic. It's a bit of a hassle maybe, but it's hassle I like going through. Clamping, spinning your records one by one, then letting them dry "en groupe". I think the drying rack of mine holds 10 records - I went through most of my record collection (a little over 200 back then I think) in batches of 10, sometimes 20, per night. All dust is removed, the records shine and if a record still crackles or plops it's a hopeless specimen. A small percentage of the records has labels that are a little wider than the clamps will cover so the edges of the label will get wet - all were fine again when dried, but maybe some labels are more vulnerable (esp. when they're old?) so be careful.

willem, Thursday, 23 February 2012 14:54 (ten years ago) link

four years pass...

recently bought a Audio-Technica AT6012 brush kit and holy cow, my records love it. This thing picks up 99.99% of surface dust on the first pass. recommended!

brimstead, Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:07 (five years ago) link

well known i'm sure, the unemployed OCD enthusiast's guide to vinyl cleaning.
http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=54&page=0

https://web.archive.org/web/20071008065324/http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=54&page=0

brimstead, Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:15 (five years ago) link

The key to the Orbitrac’s superb effectiveness is its pads which change from pure white to sickly yellow as they absorb groove contaminants. The Orbitrac’s pads are replaceable. Other hand brushes are nothing more than highly effective grease applicators, spreading unwanted substances from one disc to the next.

brimstead, Monday, 15 August 2016 01:02 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

a bunch of my records need a good thorough cleaning due to my former punk rock lifestyle. wish i could rent out a vacuum machine. guess i'll start practicing cleaning by hand on the irredeemables with ye old h20+c3h80

brimstead, Thursday, 17 November 2016 19:24 (five years ago) link

Soap will do ime

niels, Friday, 18 November 2016 17:41 (five years ago) link

I use this now:

https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-CLEAN-STARTER-RECORD-WASHER-SYSTEM/dp/B002UKSZUU

not sure why electricsound hates them, they work for me

sleeve, Friday, 18 November 2016 17:56 (five years ago) link

three years pass...

I have 2 records, bought brand new, which have a skip about a minute from the end of the first side. I tried the sandpaper trick, tried using a toothpick, can't get whatever it is out. Does anyone have a technique for dealing with this?

frogbs, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 16:36 (one year ago) link

Oof! If you've been at it with a toothpick I'd wager the skip is permanent. I adjust my anti-skate control on some old vinyls that I know jump; that does the trick.

ringworm, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 19:20 (one year ago) link

mine doesn't have an anti-skate, just the weight

frogbs, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 20:14 (one year ago) link

Try wood glue on the last track.

ringworm, Tuesday, 10 November 2020 22:43 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

this question is really cleaning-adjacent, but i wanted to pick y'all's wiser vinyl-collecting brains and couldn't find a better thread:

i have a pretty decent bunch of records where the spines of the sleeves (and the spines alone) got pretty fucked up by a house fire and the subsequent cleaning process. the LPs themselves are great and i can't really imagine shelling out to replace them all, but the beat-up, grayed, illegible spines really kinda cast a drab pallor over my collection. i long to see it all bright and poppy again as once it was. so.... are there any sellers out there who like, specialize in just sleeves? or an easy way to search sellers for "record grade F, sleeve grade G/VG"? i've had some luck just trawling cheap sections of stores with checklist in hand, but with quarantine that's less appealing. i'm not deluded that i'll be able to replace all of these without shelling out for new LPs but the more that i can accomplish the happier i will be. thanks!!

honk honk honkin' on Bobo's door (Doctor Casino), Monday, 15 February 2021 18:37 (one year ago) link

lol I've seen a few people on discogs selling just the sleeves but it's pretty rare for any record that isn't worth $30+ already. I've bought blank sleeves and just sketched the album cover myself. writing on the spine is real tricky though.

I did try the wood glue trick on the two records with skips in them...no dice. I tried it to clean a particularly cheap & noisy one I have (a $2 copy of "Live at Leeds") and it didn't really work - left pieces of glue everywhere, much of which I couldn't get out. maybe I just didn't spread it evenly enough.

frogbs, Monday, 15 February 2021 18:46 (one year ago) link

i've always been fascinated by the glue thing, anyone can picture how satisfying it would be to peel out this perfectly-separating disc of wood glue that carries with it all unwanted particles....... but i can more easily picture the "stuck-on bits" version and have never been seriously drawn to try it. time to just upgrade to a $5-10 copy perhaps.

honk honk honkin' on Bobo's door (Doctor Casino), Monday, 15 February 2021 19:56 (one year ago) link

XP Obvs the best thing would be to get replacement jackets but that’s gonna be a grind.

I’ve got a few records I was missing jackets for. I’ve taken like a James Last jacket, printed a small replica of the album cover & track listing on sticker paper with spine text, & pasted the two together. Works just fine if you don’t really care about the overall aesthetics. You could probably do something slightly more festive/true to life with 11x17 sticker paper & colour printing.

interesting ideas! if we had a printer at home i might actually get onto the sticker paper approach. might just end up getting much more serious at looking at discogs... shipping cost will be brutal tho. sigh.

honk honk honkin' on Bobo's door (Doctor Casino), Monday, 15 February 2021 21:22 (one year ago) link

I've bought blank sleeves and just sketched the album cover myself.


heh this is a really cool idea. I remember a blog floating around awhile back that was full of people’s handmade alterations to classic album sleeves, some really out there stuff.

rasputin records in Berkeley had a section just for empty sleeves, at least 5 rows worth? my s/o has been looking for a Valley of the Dolls soundtrack sleeve and god knows I have a few things that would be nice to upgrade.

I’ve been thinking of making a basic slipcase out of kraft board for this dan lisvik 4lp set. it needs a slipcase.

brimstead, Tuesday, 16 February 2021 00:36 (one year ago) link

doctor casino, you could also use stamps and make your records all look like Live at Leeds or something... give to em all a cool test-pressing “official bootleg” look

brimstead, Tuesday, 16 February 2021 00:41 (one year ago) link

idk, I think at this point i'd rather the spines just look like the spines of the records they are... giving them all a weathered homemade look might be kinda cool but also feels like letting the fire continue to hold sway over my space, yknow? the fronts and backs are all in great shape, also --- being wedged together in my shelves protected them from the smoke. hmm.

honk honk honkin' on Bobo's door (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 16 February 2021 01:51 (one year ago) link

finally tried the wood glue trick on a junked copy of Nilsson Schmilsson that I bought for cheap. I'm kind of astounded, this really does work. it was downright unplayable, but now it actually sounds pretty good. not perfect...I'd grade it as "VG" or so (though a lot of discogs sellers I've bought from would slap a "VG+" on this no problem)...but much, much better than it was. if you have any records you were going to throw out because they sounded like garbage I recommend you give it a try. just make sure to spread the glue as evenly as possible, first time I did it I left a ton of residue because I missed some spots...you have to use a good amount of glue. but man, what a difference.

if you're curious, the glue I used was Titebond II Premium, which I got at Meijer for a few bucks. I've heard Elmer's works good too.

frogbs, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 21:54 (one year ago) link

like, just to drive home how well this worked, there was a small spot I missed with the glue, and on playback I can hear *exactly* where that spot was

frogbs, Wednesday, 24 February 2021 21:56 (one year ago) link

damn. man. maybe i SHOULD try this.

honkin' on bobo, honkin' with my feet ten feet off of beale (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 24 February 2021 22:39 (one year ago) link

I guess it depends what's going on with the record in question. I tried this one with a pretty noisy D-side and it didn't do much - it *did* seem to sound a little better but the surface noise was all still there. Looking at the surface of the LP though it appears there are a lot of scratches which obviously this ain't gonna fix. If anyone knows what you can do about those I'm all ears. Gonna try it on a few more dirty old records and I'll see what I get.

frogbs, Thursday, 25 February 2021 21:09 (one year ago) link

also got some Tergikleen the other day, not to shill but this stuff really does work. I was pretty skeptical it would do much given how little you have to use - you mix like 15 drops into a gallon of water - but I used it in the spin clean and some pretty junked up records came out sounding great. nearly all the surface noise is gone. there's still some but it's fairly minimal.

frogbs, Friday, 26 February 2021 20:15 (one year ago) link

just curious, are these records that already look dirty? i got a spin clean recently and haven’t noticed a difference... but I got rid of most of my “junked” vinyl years ago so I don’t really have much to test it with.

brimstead, Friday, 26 February 2021 20:55 (one year ago) link

I don't examine them too closely but think the noise on records can definitely be something you can't see

the Tergikleen is what I think made the difference. one of the albums I ran through is one I already had spin cleaned at the shop and there was a pretty marked improvement with this

frogbs, Friday, 26 February 2021 21:15 (one year ago) link

five months pass...

Anyone try an ultrasonic cleaner? They are getting down to somewhat-affordable.

DJI, Friday, 6 August 2021 17:56 (ten months ago) link

Which one did you get, PBKR?

DJI, Monday, 1 November 2021 16:22 (seven months ago) link

It's the iSonic with the 10 record capacity.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Monday, 1 November 2021 17:24 (seven months ago) link

Seconded about the ultrasonic cleaner. Records with smudgy fingerprints still need a Spin Clean bath before going into the US machine, but otherwise it so roundly exceeds the Spin Clean (which is itself an incalculable improvement on just a brushing for dust, or using a damp cloth, or whatever) that I now have to put the whole collection through.

PKBR, what are you using for a wetting agent? I’m using Ilfotol & am super pleased with the results.

war mice (hardcore dilettante), Monday, 1 November 2021 17:33 (seven months ago) link

FWIW, this is the one I got. Paid for itself within a few weeks. 7-record capacity = a-ok by me!

https://www.vevor.com/products/6l-ultrasonic-vinyl-record-cleaner-cleaning-machine-complete-w-drying-rack

war mice (hardcore dilettante), Monday, 1 November 2021 17:36 (seven months ago) link

hows it do with scratches? I'm guessing there's nothing that can be done about that but I have a number of records I'd love to try out in one of those, if only someone else I knew would buy one

frogbs, Monday, 1 November 2021 17:53 (seven months ago) link

PKBR, what are you using for a wetting agent? I’m using Ilfotol & am super pleased with the results.

I'm using the cleaning solution that came with the unit, though I've read that people often prefer other ones or homebrew concoction. I will check out Ilfotol.

hows it do with scratches?

Not an expert, but my sense is you have to separate what is scratches from what is dirt. Nothing on the planet, including an ultrasonic cleaner, can fix a scratch. Visible scratches sometimes don't actually produce a crackle/pop and records that look visually excellent sometimes play like a pan full of frying bacon.

This absolutely cleans up the frying bacon/dirt issues.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Monday, 1 November 2021 18:14 (seven months ago) link

Also, after trying the 10 record capacity today, I think I prefer just using it on 5 records at a time. I'm not too quick with the drying and I found that by the time I get to the 5th record it is almost dried (meaning the solution is drying on the record instead of being wiped off).

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Monday, 1 November 2021 18:16 (seven months ago) link

I guess I'm just curious if this is going to get anything off that Tergikleen through a spin clean wouldn't. a lot of the noise on my records is from scratches but I have a few which click and pop and scrape for no visible reason

frogbs, Monday, 1 November 2021 18:21 (seven months ago) link

The records I referred to in my original post yesterday were all previously put through a spinclean, which did not really change how they played. I would never deter someone from using something they like, but the spinclean gave me marginal if any results. The ultrasonic cleaner was night and day.

If the record is otherwise quiet and you have isolated pops and can see a scratch, the ultrasonic cleaner might not help. Otoh, if the record looks clean but plays with near continuous crackle, that is likely dirt and the ultrasonic cleaner is going to do wonders.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Monday, 1 November 2021 18:29 (seven months ago) link

Update: two records that I had noted skipped no longer skip after being cleaned with the ultrasonic cleaner.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Monday, 8 November 2021 17:43 (seven months ago) link

Damn, that's a pretty strong sales pitch right there.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Monday, 8 November 2021 17:50 (seven months ago) link

Yeah, both records were visually pretty nice (no large scratches or anything that would cause the skip), so it must have just been a large piece of dirt caught in there.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Monday, 8 November 2021 18:31 (seven months ago) link

Which model did you get? The one hardcore dilettante posted looks nice - but the reviews worry me a bit. It looks like the thing is often not sent with the right parts. It's certainly within my budget, though.

Ultimately, I'm at sort of a dead end with the cleaning system I have - it works for stuff that's obviously scuffed up and has improved a number of records but there are a lot for which it just has no effect at all, including stuff that's brand new. These look fine, visually - no scratches or obvious defects I can see - so I wonder if there's just something in there that the spin clean can't get out. It seems like this may be what I'm looking for??

frogbs, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 19:43 (seven months ago) link

I got that Vevor thing a couple days ago and it came with the correct parts. So, far, I've cleaned the playa dust off a couple of breakbeat records and also cleaned up this old recording of my mom DJing at WCOP in Boston when she was 10 (1950). I had to use a bunch of processing (Acon Denoise, declick) to further clean it up, but here it is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMGkuWWIZtw

The "drying rack" thing that came with it is confusing. I just use my wooden dish rack.

DJI, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 19:49 (seven months ago) link

DJI, that's fantastic.

I Am Fribbulus (Xax) (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:00 (seven months ago) link

That's adorable.

peace, man, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:11 (seven months ago) link

whoa, thats super cool

frogbs, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:23 (seven months ago) link

those who have the Vevor cleaner: is there something to protect the labels from getting wet? are there clear instructions on how to assemble the thing? do you still have to run them through a spin clean to wash the solution off?

frogbs, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:37 (seven months ago) link

They come with these label-sized circles of plastic that fit between each record. I just used distilled water with a couple of drops of soap in, and then dried the records in my dish rack. No spinning or rinsing. I'm sure you can find audiophiles who require special cleaning fluids and other steps, but just the basic cleaning worked fine for me.

DJI, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:55 (seven months ago) link

Also, so cute that she took requests... By mail!

DJI, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 20:56 (seven months ago) link

DJI, your mom sounds great. She doesn't sound self-conscious at all.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 21:04 (seven months ago) link

Her dad was an old-time radio guy for VoA and other things (maybe he was a spook - we don't know). This was his way of "helping" her get over her crushing anxiety.

DJI, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 21:10 (seven months ago) link

I have the iSonic with the ten record capacity. It's admittedly pretty pricey still, so if the Vevor gets good marks from DJI and others I would go with that.

There's not a lot to these things and the base units are not that expensive. More of the cost and engineering seems to go into how it deals with the records (motor, spinning, keeping labels dry, etc.) and how much they want to fleece audiophiles ;)

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 21:19 (seven months ago) link

I wouldn’t use straight soap on a record, especially without rinsing it. That’s going to leave some sort of residue. Spin Clean fluid has something in it that does not leave a residue, and it has a deflocculant in it which reduces the viscosity of the water so the funky stuff sinks to the bottom instead of mixing with the water and making a soup that goes back onto the record.

I don’t know anything about Vevor cleaners or what you are supposed to use with them, but soap and water doesn’t sound right.

Cow_Art, Wednesday, 10 November 2021 22:11 (seven months ago) link

Totally agreed. I use the cleaner that came with it but there are tons of recommended concoctions to be found on the internet.

One recommendation I've read is to follow the ultrasonic cleaning with a rinse in the spin clean with distilled water only before drying to get rid of any cleaning residue. I haven't tried this yet because I'm too lazy and it seems to be working great without it. Makes sense though.

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Wednesday, 10 November 2021 22:19 (seven months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agSC-dLNXXg

Cow_Art, Thursday, 11 November 2021 04:09 (seven months ago) link

omg

Hannibal Lecture (PBKR), Thursday, 11 November 2021 12:39 (seven months ago) link

Vevor machine arrived today. first of all, LMAO at these instructions. you get one beat up sheet of grainy out of order photos. I think I have it assembled though, but what are all these leftover plastic parts for? I have these two plastic sheets with holes in them and a bunch of rods & wingnuts.

also, what temp do y'all set this to? I assume you wanna keep this low?

frogbs, Thursday, 18 November 2021 15:10 (seven months ago) link

oh wait. that's the record drying rack. LOL

frogbs, Thursday, 18 November 2021 15:58 (seven months ago) link

I don't have the Vevor, but mine has a stop that it only gets to 95 degrees. Heat helps the cleaning action, but you don't want it to actually be hot as that could damage the records.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Thursday, 18 November 2021 16:03 (seven months ago) link

I set it as cold as possible. Anything warmer than room temperature I assume is gonna start softening your vinyl & run the risk of warping.

(A warning about the Vevor unit: when you turn it off or unplug it, the temperature frustratingly resets itself to warm - mine defaults to 45°C - warm enough to warp the crap out of what I was cleaning cuz I didn’t notice… good thing I bought a Vinyl Flat!)

war mice (hardcore dilettante), Thursday, 18 November 2021 16:52 (seven months ago) link

alright so I cycled through about 15 records on this thing. on some records (which I'd already used the spin clean on) there wasn't really much improvement. granted, these are the ones that were pretty scratched up and probably unsalvageable. a few did sound notably better, despite already having gone through the spin. but it didn't fix the ones that skipped.

the real test was Green by Hiroshi Yoshimura's Green and the Kankyo Ongaku comp - bought both these new and I thought I'd taken good care of them, but over a dozen or so plays they've accumulated some surface noise. obviously both of these are fairly quiet ambient records so I figured they'd be a good test. definitely a reduction of surface noise on both, but it didn't entirely go away. it's at a level where I'd probably not notice if it were, say, a rock or technopop record.

one thing I did notice is that the music itself sounds better - I put through Trilogy by ELP and Seventh Sojourn by the Moody Blues and though some of the clicks and pops are still there (again, these are mostly scratches) the music itself sounded fuller and more dynamic than the last time I played them. so it definitely did something.

another thing is that some of the modern pressings I put through which had clicks and scrapes weren't really improved at all. I think a lot of stuff that gets released these days is just a bad pressing. like 25-30% of the new vinyl I buy has some kind of noise on it which you can't see and you can't get off. for example my copy of Tri Repetae has a scraping noise through a bunch of "Overand". was this a big problem in the 70s?

frogbs, Friday, 19 November 2021 20:28 (seven months ago) link

Hope you like the purchase. I agree records sound a lot better even if I've encountered plenty of records that weren't dead quiet post-cleaning.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Sunday, 21 November 2021 22:40 (seven months ago) link

so far my impression is that it doesn't work miracles but there's enough of a noticeable difference between this and the spin clean that it's been worth the purchase.

it doesn't get rid of the clicking that you can hear on every rotation...I was hoping that maybe it could because sometimes those clicks are invisible on the surface. it does seem to make them a little quieter though. mostly what it's good for is getting rid of all those random little pops and clicks that become irritating on quieter records. for example my copy of NTS 4 by Autechre was unfortunately riddled with a bunch of surface noise, which is odd because the other 3 are excellent. the spin clean helped a little but not much. ultrasonic got it pretty much dead quiet though, outside of a few sections that click here and there (if only for a few seconds). I'm guessing it just had a bunch of shit getting into the grooves when it was pressed. either way I was mulled buying a new copy so it saved me $30 there at least :)

frogbs, Monday, 22 November 2021 20:26 (seven months ago) link

one thing I am curious about though is how many records you should be stacking on this thing. for me I find you can get 8 records on the spindle and it all fits pretty tightly with the dividers. I've heard though that you actually should only be running 2-3 at a time though for the best effect. But I'm not sure how exactly the extra space is gonna help, as even with 8 the ultrasonic pulses are clearly getting to the full surface of each album. Plus I'm afraid that doing less might cause the dividers to not fit so tightly, which could get the labels wet.

frogbs, Monday, 22 November 2021 20:31 (seven months ago) link

outside of a few sections that click here and there (if only for a few seconds)

I apologize in advance for making a "how do you know that isn't just Autechre" joke

Communist Hockey Goblin (sleeve), Tuesday, 23 November 2021 18:54 (seven months ago) link

(in reality I am following this discussion with interest but I'm not convinced I need anything aside from my spinclean because I can just pay 5 bucks for a VPI cleaning at my local store in the rare case I need it)

Communist Hockey Goblin (sleeve), Tuesday, 23 November 2021 18:55 (seven months ago) link

PBKR, what was the brand and/or model of the ultrasonic cleaner you bought? I'm in exactly the same situation. Thx.

Lee626, Tuesday, 23 November 2021 20:04 (seven months ago) link

It's the iSonic P4875II with the 10 record adapter. As I stated upthread, the adapter that allows you to add the extra 5 records feels a little fiddly and 10 records was too many for me to dry quickly at one time.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Tuesday, 23 November 2021 21:04 (seven months ago) link

Thanks!

Lee626, Tuesday, 23 November 2021 22:10 (seven months ago) link

FYI, older versions (not the II) did not have the heat regulator so it could get much hotter than you would want for records.

Also, do some research, because after I bought mine I saw references online (possibly dated) that you can save some money by buying the cleaner and the record apparatus separately.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Tuesday, 23 November 2021 22:37 (seven months ago) link

Another ultrasonic victory: I had bought a new copy of Greg Foat's The Mage that was unplayable - it sounded like it was underwater and I assumed it was a pressing problem or they used a corrupted digital file. I couldn't return it because I hadn't been able to listen to it for several months after I got it. I ran it through the cleaner for the heck of it and it completely took care of the issue, which must have been residue from the pressing process.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Sunday, 5 December 2021 18:37 (six months ago) link

OK that's pretty wild

chaos goblin line cook (sleeve), Sunday, 5 December 2021 22:04 (six months ago) link

I've heard new vinyl sometimes has a residue but never experienced it before myself.

hocus pocus, alakazam (PBKR), Monday, 6 December 2021 02:03 (six months ago) link

yeah I'm wondering if it's good practice to just run everything through the cleaner before I even play it. I feel like half of the new vinyl I get has some defect on it...a pop here, a scrape there, etc. a lot of times it goes away after a cleaning, but sometimes it doesn't. I think when records are pressed it's pretty common for stuff to just get lodged in the grooves and a lot of times it's hard to get out.

frogbs, Thursday, 9 December 2021 17:26 (six months ago) link

Yeah, I prioritize my oldest, dirtiest records, but any thing that shows a problem goes through now. I cleaned 60 this week so far. Hoping to get through everything this winter so that I can just clean new purchases going forward.

ma dmac's fury road (PBKR), Thursday, 9 December 2021 17:39 (six months ago) link

how often do you change the water out? I ran like 20 through, decided to just leave the tank full and do another batch the next day, but I'm not sure if that's a great idea

frogbs, Thursday, 9 December 2021 17:47 (six months ago) link

It probably depends on how big your tank is, but I do up to 60 (in batches of 5) in one tank. I usually top up the tank during the cleaning as some of the water comes off on the records.

ma dmac's fury road (PBKR), Thursday, 9 December 2021 19:05 (six months ago) link

The instructions for my tank says not to leave the the water in the tank for an extended period of time. No explanation of what that means, but I figure 24 hours probably won't hurt so I will do a run of 30 and then a run of 30 the next day. The water looks kind of rough after that many.

Not as rough as the spin clean I saw in use at a record store one time where the water was pitch black.

ma dmac's fury road (PBKR), Thursday, 9 December 2021 21:16 (six months ago) link

Ok, so I miscounted. The most I would do is a run of 15 and another run of 15 the next day, so a total of 30 in one tank.

ma dmac's fury road (PBKR), Sunday, 12 December 2021 16:54 (six months ago) link


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