Record Care

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redcloud
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Record Care

Post by redcloud » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:06 pm

Long post but I'm interested in how others take care of their records.

I own a lot of records. Most of them are from the 60's-70's and most of them have probably never been properly cleaned in their life (unless the record store cleaned them before re-sale).

Now, there are two schools of thought on record cleaning....1. Record cleaning is over emphasized and as long as one keeps them in a sleeve, never touches the playing surface the records should only need a quick wipe down with a carbon fiber record brush at best and never wet washing. Any visible dust will be removed by the stylus.

2. Record cleaning is essential, even with new albums as dust and static build up do not allow maximum sound clarity from your LP's. A vacuum system is best but very expensive. Wet washing with the proper equipment is good to excellent depending on the system, solution and when used in conjunction with a carbon fiber brush.

I grew up using the old Discwasher systems and I always felt it did actually help but maybe it was more psychological as the surface always looked so much cleaner?

Anyway, over the weekend I was listening to records and one sounded terrible (Spirit-'The Family That Plays Together')...lots of snap, crackle, pop but worse there was heavy distortion build up in the vocals and higher parts. Having not replaced my stylus in 1.5-2 years I decided I would do this. Went out yesterday and bought a 10ohm Ortofon cartridge (I had a 5ohm). I have a Rega turntable and the guy installed it for me, checked my weights, belt etc and then we hooked it up. I brought one of my LP's with me and it sounded beautiful. BUT...obviously we were listening to it in their specifically designed acoustic space, on their high-end equip, through their high-end speakers and their even higher end speaker cables. How would it sound when I get home and play it in my living room on my decent Cambridge Audio equipment, KEF speakers running with monster cable (good stuff in my eyes but nothing close to what they have in their show room)?

Anyway, long story short...while there I noticed they had a simple, manual record washer system. I spoke with the guy and asked him if he felt it worked or if it was just another gimmick product. He said it had great reviews and most were saying it was the best and most affordable way to clean ones records (in an ideal world we would all love the record vacuum systems but they are incredibly expensive). Not wanting to spend more money at the time I was intrigued and decided to do some homework. Having done that I found that most of the reviews for the product were favorable and decided to go ahead and purchase one later that day. Later that evening I set myself up with about 30 LP's including the one that had such bad sound just this past weekend, the washer system, its solution and a gallon of distilled water. With the basketball game about to start I sat down and ended up washing records while watching the game. Not surprisingly, the water in the washer basin was very dirty. You could see the effects of years of dust build up settling at the bottom of the tray. After the game, I put that old Spirit album on, had a quick sweep of the carbon fiber brush, sat down and listened to it from start to finish. Amazed....the album had a new found life, which was probably a combination of new cartridge and its recent bath. A clear sound was now coming from the speakers and it actually felt like I had moved my "G" record up into the "VG" category.

How do other vinyl enthusiasts feel about record care? Is it overrated or are some of you even more obsessive about it than I am?

By the way, this is the product I bought and now recommend...http://www.spincleanrecordwasher.com/

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Re: Record Care

Post by Mustard » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:31 pm

I put new records in inners (nagaoka) and sleeves on first playing. Older records are cleaned with fibre brush and then sleeved. Sometimes, if a record is very dusty or messy I'll clean it with watered down Isopropyl alcohol, a clean cloth and the fibre brush. This has worked pretty well but I would say the cleaning machine has got to be better. The removing of the record from the sleeve, brushing, playing one side, brushing again before playing the other side, then brushing again before putting it away has become a religious practice.

redcloud
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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:53 pm

Mustard wrote: then brushing again before putting it away has become a religious practice.
Yes, this must help it from static build up. I remember in the 80's I had an LP static remover..it was red and looked like a gun. You pointed it at the album and pulled the trigger. Never seen anything like it since.

Whether one buys into the benefits of a record washing system or not, a carbon fiber brush is certainly the best investment any record owner should make.

olan
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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:15 pm

(Excuse me while I put my Anorak on and put my trainspotter's handbook down.....)
Mustard wrote: I remember in the 80's I had an LP static remover..it was red and looked like a gun. You pointed it at the album and pulled the trigger. Never seen anything like it since.
I've got something like this. It is a Zerostat 3 made by Milty, and its excellent. If you use eBay they are to be had for $100 new, but are regularly available for $30-40. Seems like a lot of money for what it does, but it is awesome.

As for record cleaners, I used to use the Knosti Disco Antistat Record Cleaning Machine (about $75.00) on eBay. However as a present to celebrate the end of my cancer treatment, my mates clubbed together and bought me an Okki Nokki at the end of January. I've not looked up how much these things cost, but I suspect they are not cheap. As I spend stupid amounts of $$ on second hand records, it has had a thorough work-out already. I makes a big difference, every LP gets a bath (new or old) before it goes on my T/T. It would only take one dodgy disk to wreck my cartridge, and replacing that would be no laughing matter.......

I'm also obsessive about a swipe of the anti-static brush before and after playing an LP, and am guilty of buying swish inner sleeves, storing things upright and trying not to ding the corners and spine of the sleeve......(sigh)

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:06 am

olan wrote:(Excuse me while I put my Anorak on and put my trainspotter's handbook down.....)
Yes, I kinda felt like a dweeb gushing on about cleaning records. Especially when few have replied. Good to know I'm not alone. :wink:
Mustard wrote: I remember in the 80's I had an LP static remover..it was red and looked like a gun. You pointed it at the album and pulled the trigger. Never seen anything like it since.
This was actually me who said this. But that's ok, Mustard is another record cleaning nut so I'm sure he doesn't mind being misquoted. :D
I've got something like this. It is a Zerostat 3 made by Milty, and its excellent. If you use eBay they are to be had for $100 new, but are regularly available for $30-40. Seems like a lot of money for what it does, but it is awesome.

As for record cleaners, I used to use the Knosti Disco Antistat Record Cleaning Machine (about $75.00) on eBay. However as a present to celebrate the end of my cancer treatment, my mates clubbed together and bought me an Okki Nokki at the end of January. I've not looked up how much these things cost, but I suspect they are not cheap. As I spend stupid amounts of $$ on second hand records, it has had a thorough work-out already. I makes a big difference, every LP gets a bath (new or old) before it goes on my T/T. It would only take one dodgy disk to wreck my cartridge, and replacing that would be no laughing matter.......

I'm also obsessive about a swipe of the anti-static brush before and after playing an LP, and am guilty of buying swish inner sleeves, storing things upright and trying not to ding the corners and spine of the sleeve......(sigh)
Is the Okki Nokki a vacuum style washer? I've heard that Gruv Glide is a decent product too. I've also heard it works brilliantly in conjunction with the record washer.

olan
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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:21 am

Sorry about the misquote. Yes the Okki Nokki is a vacuum style machine. It is quite quiet though and does a great job. All the othe vacuum machines I've seen in action make a huge racket, and many cost a large fortune, unlike the Okki Nokki which is only moderately expensive in comparison (I looked the price up last night - I am up for the purchase of many drinks as soon as I really get back on my feet).

redcloud
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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:59 pm

olan wrote: All the othe vacuum machines I've seen in action make a huge racket, and many cost a large fortune, unlike the Okki Nokki which is only moderately expensive in comparison (I looked the price up last night - I am up for the purchase of many drinks as soon as I really get back on my feet).
Yea, that is the cool thing about the record washer. It's affordable and does a good job. It is completely manual though and the water/solution is dried off with the cloths they provide. A vaccum machine would most likely get even more grime, dust, solution residue etc. off the album.

I am also very glad to hear that you are on the mend. Best wishes to you and your health. Keep your spirits high, brother.

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Fri May 27, 2011 6:06 am

Simple but consistent care using only a distilled water dampened brushed-linen (lint free) or carbon fiber brush can keep your recordings sounding fantastic for a very long time indeed. I have collected recordings for almost 40 years, and this simple edict along with replacing the cartridge in toto every 1000-1500 "playing sessions", a vague and frankly undefined number that I have never explained well to anyone but my imagination that will help insure you are NOT destroying your recordings with dust, static or a worn stylus. Noise from the recording can be filth or a damaged stylus; a stereomicroscope is useful. I obtain the finest stylus I can for most of my players; even the simplest or most basic player is attended to; it is easy to get used to hearing "the best possible".

I usually place a new recording in a new antistat sleeve, I attempt to place this new sleeve within the original if it is not too snug, but I keep the original sleeve so to keep the lyrics, or just to keep the original sleeve w/ the recording in which it came.

I place ALL of my recordings in polyethylene or polypropylene outer sealable sleeves. This is to keep the jackets from damage, and to help prevent contamination from particulates. Many shiny "beautiful" appearing records sound terrible because of the abuse given by a worn stylus.

A well kept vinyl recording can sound much better than most available CDs. I have used certain vinyl recordings having great variance in volume, type of sound, etcetera, namely "King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King" (1969) as a demonstration disc that allows me to show that quiet passages and loud passages can be kept intact. A collegue, harping on the quality sound of CDs changed his mind when he heard the well, "tinny" sound of the King Crimson CD as compared with the well cared for vinyl disc.

The disc must be held antiperiplanar to the fingers to avoid oil and soiling, in fact, I wash my hands when playing music period. I know that this might sound beyond nerdy, but I do not want the quality of the recordings to deteriorate when it is not necessary. A note here regarding CDs: The BEST Archivists are now storing rare copies that were placed on CD BACK onto vinyl. The CDs can deteriorate whether they are played or not, and it will be interesting indeed to hear what becomes of our handy, easily played, but flawed CDs over time. Even the Gold discs, as will the aluminum based reflectants, likely deteriorate to some extent over time.

I keep a small container of distilled water, my favorite brushes & cloths along with an antistat gun in a case next to my turntables, along with a (3) pack of a high quality cartridges (w/ styli) per turntable. In the drawer below I keep a variety of inner and outer sleeves, (7", 10" &12") acid free cardboard inserts, (usually for 7" recordings w/ PS) and sleeves for CDs, DVDs, Japanese Mini-Lp CD's, 10" & 12" 78rpm jackets and sleeves, etcetera.

If I see a used recording that I would like to buy needs any more than a gentle wash, I pass them by. Too often there has already been damage beyond repair due to abrasion by dust or other physical method. A damaged recording damages the stylus and a damaged stylus damages the next recording it touches.
Last edited by semisynthetic on Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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redcloud
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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Sat May 28, 2011 5:49 pm

Semisynthetic, I agree with most everything you say and I guess, in philosophy I agree with EVERYTHING you say. But, the below comment seems a tad unrealistic to me:
semisynthetic wrote: replacing the cartridge in toto every 100-150 plays insures that you are NOT destroying your recordings with dust, static or a worn stylus.


Wow, is theory I am sure you are absolutely 100% correct, but realistically this is a drain on ones resources (certainly mine!). But then again, I guess it depends on how often you use your turntable. I replace my cartridge annually and also have the balance on my tone arm readjusted when the new cartridge is fitted (the shop I buy my needle from recommend they fit all new cartridges, balance etc. and they do so for free). Twelve months seems to me to be a realistic life span for a decent cartridge. In those twelve months I will definitely play my record player more than 100-150 times.

I do agree though that bad cartridges are often the reason albums that look relatively clean still sound like shit. Especially on older albums when people may have played them on crappy turntables, resorted to taping pennies, dimes, nickles and even quarters on the arm to stop skips or having been played on old style tables that stacked several records on top of each other. Shock horror on how we all used to listen to and treat our music! But, in the 70's the vinyl also got much thinner and quality of the recording contained on its grooves lacked depth, clarity and volume. The needles easily destroyed many of these albums due to the flimsy, low quality of the thinner vinyl companies were using.

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Re: Record Care, Expectations and Limitations

Post by semisynthetic » Sun May 29, 2011 2:03 am

I agree with Redcloud's assertion regarding the decline of vinyl record quality in the 1970's. The late 1970's was a turning point in that the low quality of US pressings was endemic. MCA led the field in low quality, recycled vinyl. I have a 2nd release copy of "Who's Next" that has pieces of recycled disks, so intertwined in the record that it feels like a 2-lp set in the jacket! I have it beautifully framed along w/ the jacket as a sort of testament for the inferiority of certain pressings at certain times, (plus it looks cool). In order to achieve the best sound from USA recordings, I turned to promotional copies, and I still enjoy their bonus materials and (usually) superior sound. Dutch waxes from the 1970-present are some of the finest quality recordings I have ever heard, and I am always pleased to find a "new" example for the library. I am also a big fan of Test Pressings, which when quickly obtained before they are put to their actual purpose are (usually) quite good in sound quality and are oftentimes also a little bit of history.

I know that 100-150 plays before changing cartridges may be obsessive, and it is no small investment; but I think it is worth it. It is this criterion that I have used for over 30 years that has helped in keeping so many recordings "new". I use (3) turntables, so in actual time between changing all the cartridges, (I alternate turnables depending on what is played), is usually once every 11-12 months. I keep (1) turntable set for 7" 10" and 12" discs at 45rpm, the (#2) turntable for 7" 10" and 12" 33 1/3rpm, and the (#3) turntable strictly for LP's. [A completely different player-amp setup is used for 16" records and another for "modern" 78rpm recordings. Discs from 1908-1949 are played on an "upright" Brunswick player or a prewar (pre-WWII) His Masters Voice; and asst players are used for cylinders, tape(s), reel to reel and DAT. etcetera.

There are examples from various labels from varying countries that show a "low point" in quality. I rarely purchase Italian discs unless they are "new", (still sealed), if they were ever sealed, and even then usually only as a "Archival" library approach to the addition of my Music Library, (i.e. so I have an Italian copy of something I collect). Sand and vinyl dust have issued forth from Italian discs and jackets I've purchased over the years; Italian copies tend to suffer from a real lack of consistency of quality, or even caring. I have many ROIO Italian discs that are quite good; it is amazing to me that the black market can so often outperform regular labels. French discs depend upon the label and date represented; some are great, others are not at all acceptable.

Earlier USA pressings, which I purchased new in shop myself from the early 1960s, (c.1955-1975) are generally quite good, although extreme Audiophile quality pressings were often a special product. In the late 1970's I began buying almost exclusively, Deutche Grammaphon, UK, Dutch, Austrian and Japanese YSL pressings. The USA pressings were terrible for years, but in the 1980's there was a clear turnaround in the positive direction for most USA commercial pressings.

Of course, "acceptable" and "unacceptable" are purely subjective and depend entirely on what the listener expects, and what they can expect from their sound system. Without being tiresome, let me just say that I expect a lot from a recording, regardless of origin, because I can expect great things from my sound system(s).

You are correct that such TLC is expensive. But, consider, a disc may not be replacable, or if it is, the market price can be absurd. In 1982, I purchased (2) Mobile Fidelity "UHQR" recordings of "Sgt. Peppers Lonely....", each numbered in a sealed box w/ excellent packaging. They cost $60.00 each delivered at that time. I opened only one copy. I was offered 10 times the original selling price for the sealed copy just a few years later, (but I never get rid of anything). Even if the monetary costs are not of any concern, the preservation of a recording you like is difficult to put a value on. So, I spend what it takes to keep each recording in my library as new as possible, to keep that original sound; for that is what allows me to "close my eyes, float in space and drift in time". Recordings are like little time machines, and the clearer and crisper their sound, the more enjoyable the trip.

I would simply suggest to anyone wanting to keep their collection intact, or simply be able to best enjoy your favorite recordings, to take the little extra time required to maintain their original sound the best that you can, and the word here is "consistency"; it only takes one sloppy avoidance to increase the likelyhood of hastened deterioration of media ergo sound. So spend what time and resources that you feel you can, or want to. In a few years you can evaluate your choices when you decide to listen to something you really like(d).
"Everything is a Poison; it is the amount or degree that separates one Poison from another"
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Re: Record Care, Expectations and Limitations

Post by MODLAB » Sun May 29, 2011 7:35 am

semisynthetic wrote:
I know that 100-150 plays before changing cartridges may be obsessive, and it is no small investment; but I think it is worth it. It is this criterion that I have used for over 30 years that has helped in keeping so many recordings "new". I use (3) turntables, so in actual time between changing all the cartridges, (I alternate turnables depending on what is played), is usually once every 11-12 months. I keep (1) turntable set for 7" 10" and 12" discs at 45rpm, the (#2) turntable for 7" 10" and 12" 33 1/3rpm, and the (#3) turntable strictly for LP's. [A completely different player-amp setup is used for 16" records and another for "modern" 78rpm recordings. Discs from 1908-1949 are played on an "upright" Brunswick player or a prewar (pre-WWII) His Masters Voice; and asst players are used for cylinders, tape(s), reel to reel and DAT. etcetera.

If I changed my cartridge every 2 months it would total €2100, £1821 or $3000.
That I cannot afford.

I use a Linn Adikt.

B,

M
Design.

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Re: Record Care, Expectations and Limitations

Post by olan » Sun May 29, 2011 8:32 am

MODLAB wrote:
semisynthetic wrote:
I know that 100-150 plays before changing cartridges may be obsessive, and it is no small investment; but I think it is worth it. It is this criterion that I have used for over 30 years that has helped in keeping so many recordings "new". I use (3) turntables, so in actual time between changing all the cartridges, (I alternate turnables depending on what is played), is usually once every 11-12 months. I keep (1) turntable set for 7" 10" and 12" discs at 45rpm, the (#2) turntable for 7" 10" and 12" 33 1/3rpm, and the (#3) turntable strictly for LP's. [A completely different player-amp setup is used for 16" records and another for "modern" 78rpm recordings. Discs from 1908-1949 are played on an "upright" Brunswick player or a prewar (pre-WWII) His Masters Voice; and asst players are used for cylinders, tape(s), reel to reel and DAT. etcetera.

If I changed my cartridge every 2 months it would total €2100, £1821 or $3000.
That I cannot afford.

I use a Linn Adikt.

B,

M
Nice. Obvious cartridge of choice for a Spacemen 3/Spiritualized fan. :roll: I use an Ortofon Rondo Blue which would cost about $1000 to replace.

As for changing your cartridge every 2 or 3 months, seems a bit over the top to me and I'm fussy in the extreme. I would prefer to spend the money elswhere and replace the cartridge when necessary. I'm not sure it can be good for the headshell on a tonearm to be fiddling about so much changing cartridges either.

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Re: Record Care and Individual Choices

Post by semisynthetic » Tue May 31, 2011 2:07 am

Whatever method you devise, utilize, advocate, prefer or can afford is fine with me. Each person must work within their own personal habits, likes and what each feels necessary and proper, and what fits their budget, or how they prioritize what they spend.

Perhaps how I wrote the paragraph or how it was interpreted is at variance with what I intended to share. I replace each cartridge roughly every 11-12 months, based on play. For me, that is 1-2 cartridges per year, or less than a cartridge per turntable trio. I have had the LP cartridge (a Benz Micro) on for well over a year now, it performs very well but I haven't been able to enjoy REAL listening as often as I would like or as often as I have in the past. I should have better defined "play(s)" to avoid creating confusion by being imprecise. I usually listen to 1-3 LP's per "play"; It is not an absolute, although I do keep a concise playlist count. For 7" and 12" singles, a "play" may vary between 1 disc to 5. This jargon is how I have dealt with replacement for many years, and out of an over enthused, but well meaning spirit, I shared my madness without precision. One more point, you can buy multiples of a cartridge you like from a business you deal with on a regular basis MUCH le$$ that you see the same cartridge listed for 1 at a time. "List Price" is basically a deception and often a way of infusing what my audio supplier/friend calls "buyer snobbery". Believe it, if you go into your regular shop and ask for a "pack of 3, what is your best price", the only way that the price will not decidedly fall is if you are not taken seriously.

Of course, the 16" player and all of the 78rpm players (electric) are fitted with lesser, but still good quality cartridges.

I have one of the better quality Clearaudio cartridges on each of the remaining (2) turntables, the ones intended for high quality 45rpm and 33 1/3rpm recordings.


I still believe that anyone who cares about their recordings, whether you have 100, 1000 or 100,000 selections, should develop some consistent method which keeps your recordings clean and undamaged for some future play. There are many recordings in the music room that I haven't heard in 25 years or more, but I am confident of the fidelity I will enjoy the next time that they are played.
"Everything is a Poison; it is the amount or degree that separates one Poison from another"
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Re: Record Care

Post by burningwheel » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:40 am

what's expensive for a vacuum? i used to use my brothers vacuum, think it was $200-300 back in the day
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Re: Record Care

Post by burningwheel » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:43 am

3K for a cartridge HS!. can't you just replace the stylus on some cartridges?
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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:10 pm

On most MC cartridges you can't get them refilled. You return the shell and get a discount on the replacement. Very bloody expensive for semi-annual change.

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Re: Record Care and Individual Choices

Post by semisynthetic » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:35 pm

I remember a cartoon that was placed in the Pharmacy I used years ago,
"Despite the cost of Living, it is still popular".

So it is with the cost of living well.
"Everything is a Poison; it is the amount or degree that separates one Poison from another"
Paracelsus

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Re: Record Care

Post by davedecay » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:06 am

sounds a bit like an old Mercedes-Benz enthusiast, one with a very early model that he fusses over to keep the investment and enjoyment at their peak.

this is not a negative observation - but merely a hint at a very expensive hobby. :)

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:36 pm

I understand your Mercedes analogy, but like all analogies, it is a bit flawed. To keep a single automobile in "pristine" shape, or in music terms, "Mint-Shop New", is very different than carefully aquiring and building, over time, an expansive, inclusive, Archival, Library-like collection.

When I am gone, this Library of music (and music-related Museum Grade items numbering in the thousands) will all remain together. The totality of this collection of recordings, sheet music, equipment for both recording and playback, (along with Libretti dating back to the 16th century, with some of these in the original handwritten scores) is greater than the sum of its parts.

I have enjoyed beyond description the fun of it all over the years; not simply academic aquisition and cataloguing, no; the performances, the one on one conversations with the already famous and those still striving to succeed. Watching a "garage like" low budget operation of a determined, creative person or band see their dreams come true by success of the art they love, create and share with a likeminded audience, or at least an audience that appreciates what they hear (and see) is very fulfilling.

There is also the fun of sharing wonderful finds that somehow got "lost" in the crowd over time; this is a great way to be involved with and to literally "record" the time we are in, or enjoy an earlier time brought to life by the music of the times. This is one reason I like the "Last (5) albums/LPs Purchased" section; I like to see what other people enjoy, and place many of their listed purchases, often new to me, on a "to buy" list of my own.

Besides, I prefer my jeep(s), and pristine they are NOT. :D
"Everything is a Poison; it is the amount or degree that separates one Poison from another"
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Re: Record Care

Post by johnnyboy » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:13 pm

Re-adjusting tone arms etc etc. What's that all about and how do you go about it or know what/why you're doing it?

Amongst such hi-fi geekery (said in the best possible way) I feel like a complete numpty. I've only got a crappy ION USB turntable where the stylus costs £12 to replace. Now, I know if I had better then my records would sound a lot better but to me it sounds fine and you never know what better is until you hear it right? I could splash out on a pricey upgrade but then there'd always be something more pricey that'd make it sound even better. It'd still be going through my 20 year old Technics midi system so that'd need an upgrade too..........and it goes on.

I may be updating to a Pro-ject Debut soon, or Rega, not sure exactly when but I know I need to scrap the ION. Are they easy to set up at home, re: tonearms?

As for record care.........I might invest in one of those brushes. Giving my vinyl a bath has never been considered. Some of the descriptions of record care on here sound like OCD material. I bet you don't loan out your records eh :wink: Bit too clinical for me but I can see why you do it.

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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:26 am

Can't comment on a Pro-Ject, but I used a Rega Planar 3 for about 18 years. They are bullet proof, require little or no setting up, and are widely available on eBay for sensible money. The tonearm, the Rega RB 300 is a classic. You would get a dealer to fit the cartridge for you, so that all the alignment issues are dealt with, and as there is no VTA adjustment you don't need to worry about it. The newer Regas are just as straightforward.

FWIW, I can't be arsed with alignment protractors, stylus guages and the like. I get my turntable serviced about once every 12-18 months and then I just play my records. I regularly lend records out, and sadly sometimes don't get them back. I am more reluctant to lend books as I almost never get them back.

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:39 am

The turntables that I use most often, the three main turntables I mentioned in earlier text, were made to some exacting, and well, boring specifications; but each began with an already high quality turntable which I asked to have (3) things improved. The first was to upgrade the tone-arm even further, allowing for exacting adjustments beyond any true need, really, but the second change was more realistic. I had a much heavier, thicker platten installed, and the third change was in the manner the platten was powered, and by the use of a small belt about that newer and even quieter motor having a device which allows for exacting speed control; AC is not "clean" in many respects, but the inherent "faults" of AC can be eliminated or adjusted.

To be very candid, I have all of the work done on these turntables (other than simple cleaning) performed by the company who made them for me, which had been once a year, but lately, based on use, 15 months since the last work. They will be here later this month, before the 4th of July. It is a remarkable thing to watch these guys do their work. It is like watching a microscopic piano being tuned when the most delicate settings are adjusted. These guys are very good, and they understand the true meaning of Audiophile Quality equipment. You should see what THEY use!

But regardless of turntable, simple things, like, is the platten level?; is the cartridge properly aligned?; and is the cartridge stylus maintained? - even a tiny brush to remove any particulates can make a difference in the life of your recordings, the quality of the stylus and ultimately the nuance and ambience of the sound of your recordings.

For me, the ultimate fun of listening is to replicate, to the best possible degree, the sounds as they were recorded and meant to be heard. Unfortunately, there was a time when practically every home with music had a simple phonograph, and sound reproduction was sort of "elevator" music; to be enjoyed, but not to be reproduced in the manner that many people today take for granted. The problem generated in this era, say the early 1950's tthrough the early 1960's, is that so many recordings were just lathed by a "needle", not unlike the wind-up grammophones of the earlier 78rpm era. Fortunately, there are still a few original releases from this era which were either taken care of, or more likely, never played, but stored well. Believe it or not, I still find cases of recordings dating form 1899 which have never been played. Hearing THESE recordings on a (proper) modern 78rpm player is astounding; These recordings, when heard on modern equipment, really are like little time machines good for a 2-5 minute trip per side, unless there are refreshments. :)

I know that oftentimes a would-be afficienado lays it on the line that this make or that make is the one to own and use.
But beauty is in the ear of the beholder, and I can remember not so long ago when home systems were often custom built based upon the resonances and sound properties of the room(s) in which the music was to be played, but that expense is beyond most music enthusiasts, and that is a shame. The world, our individual countries, and each one of us has so many untapped and wasted resources (and initiative) that we are all, increasingly, being the 'puppets on a string' subjected to designer poverty and the "nudge" of ever decreasing hopes and aspirations, let alone the reality of our situation. The world goes through cycles, people abandon there independence for "safety", and instead of demanding to be Citizens, meekly remain subjects. Sorry to be so tangential.

I hope that you all have a great week ahead. As for me, I will be finishing up writing a chapter section on "Norcaradienyl Intermediates and there Utility in the Synthesis of Lactaroviolin Analogues". I wouldn't blame you for waiting for the movie. :D
Last edited by semisynthetic on Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Record Care

Post by BzaInSpace » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:06 am

johnnyboy wrote:Re-adjusting tone arms etc etc. What's that all about and how do you go about it or know what/why you're doing it?

Amongst such hi-fi geekery (said in the best possible way) I feel like a complete numpty. I've only got a crappy ION USB turntable where the stylus costs £12 to replace. Now, I know if I had better then my records would sound a lot better but to me it sounds fine and you never know what better is until you hear it right?.
Snap! I got one of those beauties the Xmas before last as an awesome gift from the missus-to-be, and y'know what? It's fantastic. My vinyl and CD player setup is basically totally crude and truly lo-fi, I use an old Sony sound system (early 90 vintage!) with only a working tape deck (built-in CD player is fried!) essentially as an amp, where I plug in said ION deck or portable CD player using the device's Sony speakers as an output.

But, like I said, all vinyls sound awesome blasted out of this thing. Given some of the horrors I used to put my records through I know a good, warm, loud sound when I hear it - the Sony 'amp' has a full range of boosts and presets but best of all a five band graphic equalizer, so basically with any recording I can adjust as required.

Did I mention they sound good really loud?

Anyway I've read with much interest this thread so far although I have resisted adding any comment simply as I think some of you would be appalled in the manner I treat my vinyls. I have woken up er....quite a few times to find them scattered around the floor, missing inner sleeves, wrong records in covers that, sleeves bent, usually a Spiritualized album or the ever-popular Spector's Echoes of the 60s till spinning away, next to a half-full glass of something and cigarette ash all over 'em :oops:

I did use to keep my previous, admittedly awesome and rare collection of records in pristine, plastic sleeve condition but in about 5 minutes some years ago I lost the lot and nearly my life so since then I have felt that life is too short and these things are there to be enjoyed. I hope I never have to sell them, I have also managed to recover most of the ones I lost but I no longer worry about the 'legacy factor' - most of my dad's records which he gave to me have his name written over the sleeves - supposedly so he "didn't lose them at parties..." :lol:

Still, a fascinating thread all the same. Johnny, just out of interest, where did you get a replacement ION stylus and how often have you replaced it? Had this thing for like I say about 18 months, never relaced yet and sounds good. I don't play it all the time - just every now and again on a Friday or Saturday night it gets a hammering. :wink:
semisynthetic wrote: Believe it or not, I still find cases of recordings dating form 1899 which have never been played. Hearing THESE recordings on a (proper) modern 78rpm player is astounding; These recordings, when heard on modern equipment, really are like little time machines good for a 2-5 minute trip per side, unless there are refreshments. :)
That is amazing actually. Is the sound all scratchy like you would assume...or?
You have a good week ahead too. Cheers
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Re: Record Care

Post by johnnyboy » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:29 am

BzaInSpace wrote:Anyway I've read with much interest this thread so far although I have resisted adding any comment simply as I think some of you would be appalled in the manner I treat my vinyls. I have woken up er....quite a few times to find them scattered around the floor, missing inner sleeves, wrong records in covers that, sleeves bent, usually a Spiritualized album or the ever-popular Spector's Echoes of the 60s till spinning away, next to a half-full glass of something and cigarette ash all over 'em :oops:

I did use to keep my previous, admittedly awesome and rare collection of records in pristine, plastic sleeve condition but in about 5 minutes some years ago I lost the lot and nearly my life so since then I have felt that life is too short and these things are there to be enjoyed. I hope I never have to sell them, I have also managed to recover most of the ones I lost but I no longer worry about the 'legacy factor' - most of my dad's records which he gave to me have his name written over the sleeves - supposedly so he "didn't lose them at parties..." :lol:

Still, a fascinating thread all the same. Johnny, just out of interest, where did you get a replacement ION stylus and how often have you replaced it? Had this thing for like I say about 18 months, never relaced yet and sounds good. I don't play it all the time - just every now and again on a Friday or Saturday night it gets a hammering. :wink:
Sounds like we have very similar ways. No disrespect to anyone on here at all, and we all have our own ways, but I can't be done being too anal about my record collection. I love it, I love playing it and I love looking at it but I don't feel the need for special sleeves, baths and all that malarkey. Grab a record, stick it on, enjoy it, grab another, make a pile, put it all away when done, give it a wipe over every so often. I try not to scuff the sleeves or anything but if they get scuffed then it's a 'doh' type moment then on with the show. Years back was worse, passing out after a merry night, with sleeves scattered around, waking to find candles burnt down and slopped across various sleeves (hello Elmore James), or scuff marks from credit cards on black sleeves (hello Doors Live). I've got better though so have no fear about buying stuff off me if it ever came to it on here, haha.

My mate who's a vinyl fanatic (no cd's in his house) has all his in plastic sleeves, has a wonderful collection that I'm dead jealous of but the money he spends on new cartridges/stylus, rare records is insane. He loves it though, and I love hearing his stuff, plus he even lets me handle them *shock horror*.

You can get new ION ones easy peasy from amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Turntable-Repla ... B000ZJ0DXA. Have you done much converting to digital? I've had mine a good 3-4 years now and have only converted the Weekender 12", a Love album, some MBV and JSBX Orange. Problem lies in the USB lead being way too short so you have to have your laptop right up near the turntable plus the software is fiddly once you get to the track separation bit. As a turntable in it's own right it does the job just fine for me. I think I've replaced the stylus just the once so far.

Spent the last two days looking up Pro-ject and Rega turntables on ebay. Hoping to grab a bargain at some point. Just feel the need for an upgrade for some reason (my mates influenece I think). Not that I've got the £££'s though but you never know.

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Re: Record Care

Post by BzaInSpace » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:34 pm

Ha ha, yeah we all have our own ways alright.

Every now and again I'll move the deck right next to the PC and have a transfer session - high times! - but mainly for the records I can't get on CD or otherwise. I've grown accustomed to using Audacity - for free software I think it's excellent actually, currently using the beta version of the latest and I really like it - so yeah there is a bit of fiddling with track seperation. You of course can always record each track seperately, which is possibly quicker in some ways...

Yep - the USB lead is way too short, although maybe you can get an extension - USB to USB?

Done some ace rips actually - this fucking amazing Little Richard Greatest Hits Live record from 1968 came out really good. That was one of my dad's and it looks fucked! Obviously been played a few times but y'know what, the crackles and that adds to the atmosphere for me. Likewise the Spector Echoes of the 60s almost looks like one of those Pickwick comps with loads of tracks on each side (they managed 20 Wall of Sound classics in total!) but it's on Phil Spector International and sounds superb, despite being scratched to fuck. Sounds much better than the Back To Mono versions to be honest.

Cool thanks for the pointer I'll look at replacing that in the next few months.

Yeah... there have been quite a few mornings I can only tell what was played the night before due to what's in the new pile that's lying in the centre of the sitting room. :lol:
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Re: Record Care

Post by johnnyboy » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:18 pm

Yep, I want to do more converting, just need to find the time to sit and do it and that never seems to happen these days. I tend to get lazy and just buy the cd instead which kinda defeats the purpose of the thing.

I've got Echoes Of The 60's on vinyl too. Plays pretty well but jumps on River Deep which is annoying. Now that's one album I need to convert! That version of Proud Mary is HUGE on it.

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:13 pm

I once had a Pro-Ject...I liked it, it was cheap and it had a nice sound. Very basic but it did the job and sounded much better than the JVC linear tracking turntable I had before it.

I now have a Rega, which also has a variety of levels from the intro P1 all the way up to the mega expensive Rega P5 and probably even beyond. I am a teacher and cannot afford the top level equipment so I make do with what my budget can stretch to. I am perfectly happy with my Rega P2 and it is easily the best turntable I have owned. In my opinion, the Rega tonearm beats everything hands down so if I were you johnnyboy I would invest in the Rega over the Pro-ject because it is a better sounding deck.

Regarding readjusting/balancing the tonearm....as Olan said, when I buy a new cartridge I disconnect my turntable, box it up and take it to the same dealer I bought it from. They fit the new cartridge on for me and balance/readjust the tone arm (free service as they recommend it). Doesn't take long and then I am back home and enjoying my records again. The good thing about my P2 is it will only allow me to spend upwards to $100-$150 on a new cartridge. If I go for something more spendy then I will need to totally change the height of the tone arm by adding washers etc. My $100 or so 10ohm Ortofon cartridge sounds great and obviously an improvement on the $50 or $60 5ohm that initially came with it. My dealer feels it is also the best cartridge for the P2 and it is well within my budget. More importantly though, as I only have a P2 I am not spending a lot of money on putting a Rolls Royce engine on what is essentially a Subaru or Honda. You know what I mean? $100-$150 on a new cartridge seems appropriate for the level of turntable I have.

Johnnyboy, I know I probably sound geekish about all the record washing crap but honestly you would be amazed at the difference in sound. Also, it's quite a fun, self-indulgent afternoon/evening. Since buying the washer I have had four or five sessions where I grab 30 or so albums, spread out on the living room floor and wash the records. As the first one dries I put it on and begin my listening session often with a game on the telly. 30 or so albums takes about an hour or so to wash. Personally I have had great enjoyment out of it and I know I am washing off YEARS of muck, grit, dust, oily fingerprints etc. All of which you can hear when the stylus touches the grooves. So, why not clean them better than just a record brush? The first couple washes I chose some of my records that I knew were particularly dirty, scuffed, noisy etc. and was amazed when I played them after a cleaning session. Honestly, it brought new life to them. As most of my records are from 1965-1975 this seems to be an essential way to get the most out of my records. Also, as I do not have the budget to spend on expensive vacuum type record cleaning machines so for $80 or whatever I paid for the washer it fits my lifestyle, I have fun doing it AND (most importantly) it seems to be giving my old records a new lease of life. Seems to be a winner in every sense.

But...to each their own, I guess.

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:21 pm

Regarding the quality of unplayed discs from 1899 onwards:

Early recordings, usually one-sided and often classical, were extremely expensive in their day.
To see a $5.00 or even $7.50 price stamp,was not unusual, the prices then seem to have levelled
off to $1.50 to $3.00 by the 1920's and even through the Great Depression, with a few (RCA RED SEAL, etc.) exceptions.

BUT AS TO THEIR SOUND: In those early times, the heavy sleeves housing these discs were perforated, like a box of oatmeal or box of wax paper is today. If the perforation is intact, the record is effectively sealed, and therefore unplayed. Generally, finding such recordings en masse often means they have been stored well, and kept carefully put away. The sound is extraordinary when these discs are played on modern (c. 2005) 78 rpm equipment. Not at all like you may imagine; the sounds are crisp and clear, and the better grade recordings have a dynamic range that is truly astounding given their age and the relatively primitive equipment used to record them. Since a record literally contains a physical wave generated by sound and pressed (or milled) into the surface, the quality of that analogue wave and how it is regenerated back into sound makes all the difference in the ultimate performance of the disc. Even on very early, but quality equipment, a 1917 Brunswick Upright Cased player, for example, a disc that has been taken care of over the years, and if one has a sufficiency of "needles" to change often, certain sounds, like recordings of large churchbells (Christmastime) can be extraordinary with the volume and quality of reasonance and tone. It has been only within the last few years that CDs have approached what pure analogue can produce; I think most people will agree that CDs of recordings originally recorded in analogue and "translated" into a digital signal are a bit tinny and lack the reasonance of the original. When I have the time to sit down to REALLY LISTEN and enjoy the music, I almost always play vinyl. If the recording is newer, and recorded to be played on digital equipment, I will very often play the CD. I have (stacked) mono Tube amps however, for the primary Stereo speakers along with all digital preamps and additional amps (for the remaining speakers) which give a warmth and depth to the sound that is difficult and way over my budget to reproduce purely digitally to the same degree of satisfactory replication and warmth.

Naturally, those early 78 rpm discs that danced on the platten of grammaphones with unchanged "steel needles" - like small, headless nails, lathed away some of the record itself, and THOSE sound very scratchie indeed, especially those which appear to have been played relentlessly by amphetamine-laced champagne wildness of the 1920's!

A few weeks ago I played original, 78 rpm "Bill Haley and the Comets" recordings purchased "sealed" on the newest 78 rpm equipment I have, and it was fun! Of course the recordings were "monophonic", but the way they filled the room and house was like a crystal clear freight train roaring through my head! I sincerely wish I could share that experience with you who could be bothered to listen; it can only be experienced, not described. Of course, these examples are exceptions to the rule, although I still find unplayed 78's as I've mentioned before, they are usually not in any quantity, or are selections that I would prefer. Besides, I am still buying a sizable number of the latest releases of new music. That is a major reason I enjoy the "Last 5 albums/LPs purchased" section of the site, it is interesting and inciteful to see what (recommendable) music others are buying. I enjoy the Spiritualized site; I believe that what Jason Pierce has done in toto is absolutely brilliant and certainly one of the true artists of the last 20+ years. I am looking forward to the new album, and sharing thoughts of other things with those on this website. I find you all to be intelligent, inquisitive, independent of mind and willing to speak up for what and how you believe. I never did like the idea that "if you don't believe like I do, you must be wrong". I suppose that is why I went into the field I did.

Again, I wish you all have a good week and enjoy what you have; "the time for fun and to get things done is now".
"Everything is a Poison; it is the amount or degree that separates one Poison from another"
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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:15 am

redcloud wrote: My $100 or so 10ohm Ortofon cartridge sounds great and obviously an improvement on the $50 or $60 5ohm that initially came with it. My dealer feels it is also the best cartridge for the P2 and it is well within my budget. More importantly though, as I only have a P2 I am not spending a lot of money on putting a Rolls Royce engine on what is essentially a Subaru or Honda. You know what I mean? $100-$150 on a new cartridge seems appropriate for the level of turntable I have.
I totally agree with this view. I was surprised at what a difference going from the phonostage built into my preamp to a dedicated off-board phono pre-amp made. This kind of change does not have to cost a fortune. NAD, Rega, Pro-Ject and others make phono pre-amplifiers that cost about the same as the $100-$150 cartridge but will make a huge difference to what you hear. FWIW the Pro-Ject phono box range includes a model which has a USB out as well as the usual RCA connections - making vinyl rips a doddle. (Sadly, I managed not to buy a $150 cartridge, nor an $150 phono stage, but that is another story..

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Re: Record Care

Post by johnnyboy » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:39 am

Hey redcloud, record washing could actually be an OK way to whittle away an evening, especially when the missus is watching something naff on TV or playing with her bloody iphone and updating her Facebook status with all sorts of guff (yep, it annoys me). Are you able to post a web link to the kind of thing you're using? Plenty of my vinyl is old 2nd hand stuff of 60's/70's albums so they could well be in need of a freshen up.

I think I made it sound like I fling my records around without a care in the world but I do handle them well, no fingers on the playing surface and what not.

I must admit that some of this talk goes right over my head, ie: the need for a pre-amp. I only thought you needed one of these if your system didn't have an input/output for a turntable? I've actually got an old one tucked away somewhere from when I had an old turntable that needed it to work.

If I bought a pro-ject/rega player online I assume I could take it to any local hi-fi dealer specialist for a service or to get it set up, change the stylus and so on? My vinyl fanatic chum was against the Rega for some reason. He was going to give me an 'ES-1' until he realised how much it was worth.

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:18 pm

johnnyboy wrote:Hey redcloud, Are you able to post a web link to the kind of thing you're using?
This is what I have: http://www.spincleanrecordwasher.com/

They say it is bright yellow so you can easily see the dirt that you have cleaned off your albums. Personally, I think it has more to do with the fact that the product is made in Pittsburgh. The yellow and black is a bit to obvious. :evil:

Steelers colors or not....it definitely works. My one worry before I used it was that the labels would get saturated and damaged but that doesn't happen.

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Re: Record Care

Post by toomilk » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:49 am

Incredible thread. I don't think I'm going to play another record until I get a new needle.

Can anyone suggest a good needle to get that isn't too expensive?

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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:58 am

toomilk wrote:Incredible thread. I don't think I'm going to play another record until I get a new needle.

Can anyone suggest a good needle to get that isn't too expensive?
This would really depend on the turntable, tonearm and cartridge you are using.

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Re: Record Care

Post by johnnyboy » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:44 am

redcloud wrote:
johnnyboy wrote:Hey redcloud, Are you able to post a web link to the kind of thing you're using?
This is what I have: http://www.spincleanrecordwasher.com/

They say it is bright yellow so you can easily see the dirt that you have cleaned off your albums. Personally, I think it has more to do with the fact that the product is made in Pittsburgh. The yellow and black is a bit to obvious. :evil:

Steelers colors or not....it definitely works. My one worry before I used it was that the labels would get saturated and damaged but that doesn't happen.
Cheers, it's just the one I was looking at when I googled it. One day, maybe...............

See, I'm so dim with regards hi-fi tech stuff that I've never really known why the need for a new cartridge as well as a stylus. I think it's because I've always gone for the cheaper end of things so have only ever changed a stylus on my set ups.

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:45 am

toomilk wrote:Incredible thread. I don't think I'm going to play another record until I get a new needle.

Can anyone suggest a good needle to get that isn't too expensive?



I know there are all types and all kinds at all prices; I bought a (3pack) of Stanton 680EE/S many years ago for a Philips PLL turntable, and although it isn't the "finest", you certainly could do worse. I think each cartridge was less than $150.00 ( as I remember). But really, you can find all prices. A good friend of mine buys this brand, Stantons, (I don't know what model) and changes them fairly regularly, in a way similar to how I like to do, and chooses these because he likes the sound and they are relatively inexpensive, but are not "cheap"; it also helps insure his recordings are not damaged.
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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:01 am

toomilk wrote:Incredible thread. I don't think I'm going to play another record until I get a new needle.

Can anyone suggest a good needle to get that isn't too expensive?
I'm in the same boat, I have a Project Debut turntable and an Ortofon 5E needle that needs to be replaced, was thinking of upgrading a little but from what I've read they seem to be fine. Any tips for a reasonably priced upgrade? Thanks for all the info here.

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:00 pm

Broc wrote:
I'm in the same boat, I have a Project Debut turntable and an Ortofon 5E needle that needs to be replaced, was thinking of upgrading a little but from what I've read they seem to be fine. Any tips for a reasonably priced upgrade? Thanks for all the info here.
What level Project Debut? One? Two? If it is one of these then I think the best, simplest and most affordable immediate upgrade from a 5E would be the Ortofon Super OM 10. You will definitely notice a difference in sound and shouldn't have to add washers to raise the height of the tonearm.

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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:46 pm

Thanks Redcloud.

I think it's a Project Debut I but the Ortofon Super OM 10 seems to refer to a cartridge and the stylus (Ortofon 10) is just a few quid more than the Ortofon 5E. Do you recommend upgrading the cartridge as well?

Is there much of a difference between these if they're roughly the same price?

If you scroll down a little here you'll see what I mean..
http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Stor ... rtofon+omb

Thanks again.

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Re: Record Care

Post by toomilk » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:26 am

I have a Technics SL-210 with a frequency generator servo. The needle right now is a Shure Hi-Track. The stylus was new when I got it, but I've played hundreds of records since a regular in ye olde abandoned record store sold it to me.

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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:58 am

Broc wrote:Thanks Redcloud.

I think it's a Project Debut I but the Ortofon Super OM 10 seems to refer to a cartridge and the stylus (Ortofon 10) is just a few quid more than the Ortofon 5E. Do you recommend upgrading the cartridge as well?

Is there much of a difference between these if they're roughly the same price?

If you scroll down a little here you'll see what I mean..
http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Stor ... rtofon+omb

Thanks again.
That is pretty good advice. I've used Ortofons for years, you really can't go too far wrong with their budget cartridges.

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:44 am

I agree; I have purchased Ortofons in the past for certain turntables without complaint; plus they were very reasonably priced.
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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:48 am

Broc wrote:Thanks Redcloud.

I think it's a Project Debut I but the Ortofon Super OM 10 seems to refer to a cartridge and the stylus (Ortofon 10) is just a few quid more than the Ortofon 5E. Do you recommend upgrading the cartridge as well?

Is there much of a difference between these if they're roughly the same price?

If you scroll down a little here you'll see what I mean..
http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Stor ... rtofon+omb

Thanks again.
Yes, I personally would replace the entire cartridge and stylus. This would be a good upgrade from the 5....plus you are not putting a cartridge on that is worth more than the actual deck. I do believe you will notice a difference with the 10 on your Debut 1 and you wont break the bank. If you want to spend more on a cartridge then the real question you should ask is whether or not you are prepared to invest in a better deck than the Debut 1. Don't get me wrong, the Debut 1 is very good...but, it is an intro level deck and its tone arm will only be able to offer so much. In other words, don't try to kit it out with something that the deck was never made for.

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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:35 am

redcloud wrote:
Broc wrote:Thanks Redcloud.

I think it's a Project Debut I but the Ortofon Super OM 10 seems to refer to a cartridge and the stylus (Ortofon 10) is just a few quid more than the Ortofon 5E. Do you recommend upgrading the cartridge as well?

Is there much of a difference between these if they're roughly the same price?

If you scroll down a little here you'll see what I mean..
http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Stor ... rtofon+omb

Thanks again.
Yes, I personally would replace the entire cartridge and stylus. This would be a good upgrade from the 5....plus you are not putting a cartridge on that is worth more than the actual deck. I do believe you will notice a difference with the 10 on your Debut 1 and you wont break the bank. If you want to spend more on a cartridge then the real question you should ask is whether or not you are prepared to invest in a better deck than the Debut 1. Don't get me wrong, the Debut 1 is very good...but, it is an intro level deck and its tone arm will only be able to offer so much. In other words, don't try to kit it out with something that the deck was never made for.
This is also good advice. Say you have $150-$200 to spend, you will get far better value for money if you spend $50 on a new cartridge and $150 on a new phono stage. The phono box that Pro-Ject make is superb, and miles better in comparison to the usual rubbish that is supplied as a phono stage with your typical yamaha, marantz etc entry-mid level integrated amps (if they even offer a phono stage) . NAD also make a phono stage that costs relatively little and is great, although the inbuilt phono stage in NAD integrated amps is pretty good for the $$.

Cheapest upgrade for a turntable is to make sure it is away from the speakers so it is not feeding back resonance. Stick it on something that won't resonate. Ikea do a coffee table called Lack (I think) that is perfect for the job and costs $10 in Australia. I've got a mate with a pretty high speck Roksan turntable on one. You can store a good number of LPs under the table too.

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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:21 am

Thanks a million Redcloud and Olan.

Yeah I was recommended that Project Debut 1 when they came out (about ~10 years ago) as an excellent entry level turntable. It was cheap enough too. Think I will upgrade the cartridge as you recommended.

Thanks again for all the info/contributions here folks, I definitely learned a few things!

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Re: Record Care

Post by spzretent » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:55 am

1995 Sota Moonbeam very basic entry level high end turntable. Stylus replaced to an upgraded Grado red. Turntable sounds much nicer and I have the breaking in period to deal with too. Very happy. The place I took it to calibrated and made sure the turntable is set up properly. $60 well spent!
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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:23 am

spzretent wrote:1995 Sota Moonbeam very basic entry level high end turntable. Stylus replaced to an upgraded Grado red. Turntable sounds much nicer and I have the breaking in period to deal with too. Very happy. The place I took it to calibrated and made sure the turntable is set up properly. $60 well spent!
Sweet! Yes, it is money well spent. Nice choice on Stylus....Grado make very nice gear. I actually recommended a Grado Silver cartridge to thewarmth.

I also have a pair of Grado headphones...only entry level or maybe one step above but they are very, very nice cans for the price. Wonderful sound.

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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:45 pm

I received my Ortofon Super Om 10 cartridge and stylus today, $69 for the cartridge and stylus and $22 shipping to Ireland so worked out at about €63 which is reasonable to me! Thanks for your recommendation Redcloud!

First up was Spectrum's 'Mary' and I can certainly notice the difference though I'm no audiophile by any stretch of the imagination.

Now I have another issue, there isn't any tracking weight scale on the counterweight! My Pro-Ject Debut III is nearly nine years old so maybe this was before the scales came with the turntable. What I have is a kind of 'see-saw' type thing with a scale of 10/15/20mN and corresponding positions of 1,2 and 3 but I think this is for the anti-skating device. The tracking force for the cartridge says 1.5g/15mN in the specification so I balanced the tonearm at the 15mN spot and the speed of the tonearm descending onto the vinyl seems about right. Pretty unscientific though!

Does that seem OK to any of you experts? Any help or comments much appreciated.

Listening to some 7"s that I've been playing before I changed the cartridge to notice an improvement, I definitely think so but again I'm no expert. Very pleased indeed!

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Re: Record Care and Enjoyment

Post by semisynthetic » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:46 am

I'm glad that you see an improvement in the sound quality of your equipment; the mass and tonearm/ anti-skate adjustments are important, but the main point is that you are pleased with what you hear.

Regarding the stylus balance, I have one very nice turntable with that feature built in; that particular turntable is now 27 years old;
How time flies! I can remember the day that particular turntable was delivered, seems like just last week......... :D

I always found that having a nice copy of something that I liked and that had a wide variance of dynamic range made for an excellent "test record" that I would use on subsequent equipment; the only variable being the new equipment. In this way your impression of what you hear is that of a known, enjoyed piece.

When I had my latest setup completed, I put on a string quartet and the memory of hearing someone gently turning their sheet music is still very clear. The highs and lows, the reasonance of the cello and the complimentary sounds of the other instruments made that particular sound check memorable.

The next recording was a Japanese YSL copy of "The Dark Side of the Moon"; I lost 5 light bulbs in the ceiling before the end. Another useful "test record" that I have listened to of late is a Japanese promo copy of Elvis Presley's "His Hand in Mine"; wide range of softer sounds as well as "layers" of sound- (including Mr. Presley bumping into the microphone repeatedly).

"In the Court of the Crimson King" and/or "Lizard" (King Crimson) make excellent test records as well.
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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:41 am

Broc wrote:I The tracking force for the cartridge says 1.5g/15mN in the specification so I balanced the tonearm at the 15mN spot and the speed of the tonearm descending onto the vinyl seems about right. Pretty unscientific though!

Does that seem OK to any of you experts? Any help or comments much appreciated.
Do you have a downforce scale on your tonearm? I had a Pro-Ject Debut before I got my Rega and I agree there is nothing scientific about it....it is trial and error with positioning the counterweight until the arm balances with the new cartridge. If you have a scale it should help you when balancing the arm. I believe the antiskating should then be adjusted to the downforce of the cartridge, right? So, the counterweight for your 15mN would probably be in the middle notch of the scale as the first notch is for lighter and the end notch (furthest away) is for heavier cartridges. Right?

I have never balanced my tonearm on my Rega as my shop always recommended to me to bring my turntable in when I needed a new cartridge and they would give it a "tune up" and balance as part of the price of a new cartridge. I have watched him do it and it looks pretty similar to balancing a Pro-Ject..

Olan might be able to give more advice on the balancing of your tonearm.

I am glad you are pleased with your new cartridge! 8)

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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:44 am

Sadly, I can't help, I get this sort of thing done for me by my local HiFi Dealer.

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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:42 am

redcloud wrote:Do you have a downforce scale on your tonearm?
No there's just a counterweight and the anti-skating device. It's 9 years old so maybe these early models didn't have this function (well mine doesn't).

So I just balanced the tonearm, then adjusted the counterweight again to descend onto the 15mN spot on the 'see-saw' thing and put the anti-skating weight on the second notch (which corresponds to 15mN). It seems fine and plays well but I think I'm hearing a little more crackle than I used to, maybe it's just me. The last needle was fairly shot really, I should have done this earler.

Thanks guys.

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:28 pm

Broc wrote:

So I just balanced the tonearm, then adjusted the counterweight again to descend onto the 15mN spot on the 'see-saw' thing and put the anti-skating weight on the second notch (which corresponds to 15mN). It seems fine and plays well but I think I'm hearing a little more crackle than I used to, maybe it's just me. The last needle was fairly shot really, I should have done this earler.
Yep, all sounds good with your set up Broc. The crackle you hear is possibly due to moving from a 5ohm cartridge to a 10ohm. But, much of the surface crackle can also be eliminated by properly cleaning the record. If it is just dust, grit and oil then it's easily treated.

On a side note...does your Pro-Ject III have a knob that allows you to adjust to 45/33 or do you manually adjust the belt yourself by lifting the platter and moving the belt? Also, does it have the ability to play 78's? I ask because my Pro-Ject wouldn't play 78's and you changed the speed by lifting platter and adjusting belt. I don't have any 78's but there is that one track tagged on to the end of Moby Grape's 'Wow' album that was cut at 78. I have NEVER heard it because no turntable I have owned has ever had the option to play 78's! Just curious if Pro-Ject III's allowed for that (I had a Pro-Ject I).

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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:21 pm

Broc wrote:On a side note...does your Pro-Ject III have a knob that allows you to adjust to 45/33 or do you manually adjust the belt yourself by lifting the platter and moving the belt? Also, does it have the ability to play 78's? I ask because my Pro-Ject wouldn't play 78's and you changed the speed by lifting platter and adjusting belt. I don't have any 78's but there is that one track tagged on to the end of Moby Grape's 'Wow' album that was cut at 78. I have NEVER heard it because no turntable I have owned has ever had the option to play 78's! Just curious if Pro-Ject III's allowed for that (I had a Pro-Ject I).
No I have to manually change the speed by lifting the platter and moving the belt. Which is a pain in the rocks with all these 33rpm 7"s. No facility to play 78s either. To be honest I'm not 100% sure if it's a Pro-Ject Debut I or III, it just says Pro-Ject Debut on the top of the dust cover, no mention of I or III so maybe it's a I as I got it around 2001 (can't find the instructions).

Also the tonearm doesn't return to the rest at the end of a record, you have to do that manually as well. I'm not sure it has an azimuth adjustment facility either, seems kile these Pro-Ject Debut Is were quite basic. No harm, the sound is great (I have a Marantz amp with Bose Base speaker and two Bose Acoustimass speakers).

Would changing the mat/platter form a felt mat to an acrylic platter reduce crackle? I've read somewhere that it can help.

There is also a lot of cables and speaker cables in close proximity to the stereo, would that have an effect on crackle? Also I've read that it takes 20 - 30 hours (something like that) of playing for a needle to settle, what do they mean by that?

I've only ever cleaned records using a solution of 25% isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol) in deionised water I made up in the laboratory where I work. Maybe I should get one of those record cleaners things as previously discussed in this thread, they look good.

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:36 pm

You may have the Debut I...I think the III's had the tonearm scale....but, due to the age of your table it could have been introduced later.

If your turntable is too close to your speakers there could be an audible hum but you would only hear the hum when you first switch it on or on quieter moments or when using headphones. In my first apartment, which was a studio flat I was constantly battling this...it took me forever to work out what was causing it. Eventually a buddy suggested I moved the speakers further away and walla....problem solved.

Yes, the felt pad could also definitely affect the sound. Might be worth picking up a new one at your local shop or ordering one online.

Careful with using isopropyl on your vinyl. I used to use isopropyl when cleaning the heads on my tape deck but I have read it makes vinyl very hard and brittle. Also careful with using tap water. The impurities (chlorine etc.) probably aren't great for the records either. However, if you dilute the isopropyl enough with distilled water it might be ok. I wouldn't use more than a capful in the tray/bowl of water. I remember once in college buying an armful of old, dirty records for .10cents each and taking them home and washing them with normal dish soap. Again, I am sure if it is diluted enough it is ok but it definitely left a film on them!

My Rega too does not have an automatic arm return...so you have to do it manually. It too is basic but it sounds brilliant. Also, with less moving parts then there are fewer things to break or go wrong on it!

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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:02 pm

I don't hear too much of a hum Redcloud so maybe it isn't too much of a problem. Must listen more carefully again though.

I rarely use the alcohol mix to clean records, just with a lot of 7"s I got on Ebay years ago that were filthy and the very occasional grubby one. I've only ever used de-ionised water produced in the lab for trace analysis of micropollutants so that isn't an issue. I've never used detergent for the reasons you've described, leaving that film on the vinyl. Alcohol will evaporate but maybe I should use a weaker solution. What's in those commercial cleaning fluids apart from alcohol? Seems like a bit of a rip-off really but I could be wrong.

I've read the same thing about less moving parts we well, I suppose you get used to it!

Thanks for your help Redcloud (great username btw)!

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:47 pm

Broc wrote: What's in those commercial cleaning fluids apart from alcohol? Seems like a bit of a rip-off really but I could be wrong.
Well, your guess is probably as good as mine. It says it has no alkalines or soap.... but of course, they don't tell you on the bottle what it is because one could probably make it at home for a lot cheaper than what a new bottle retails for.
Thanks for your help Redcloud (great username btw)!
No problem, man. Glad it has helped. Let us know if a new felt mat helps eliminate the surface noise.

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Re: Record Care

Post by toomilk » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:14 am

So a new question for you all:

What's the best way to transport vinyl?


I'm moving soon and I have about 300 records more than when I first moved into this place 4 years ago. I'm just moving a few blocks away, but still would like to know how everyone else does it.

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Re: Record Care

Post by redcloud » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:33 am

toomilk wrote:So a new question for you all:

What's the best way to transport vinyl?


I'm moving soon and I have about 300 records more than when I first moved into this place 4 years ago. I'm just moving a few blocks away, but still would like to know how everyone else does it.
Movers boxes. I have moved my records several times over the years and have always used movers boxes. In fact, they even have special sized boxes made specifically for records. They are heavy duty and can hold close to 100 LP's. Careful though....that weight can be back breaking!

Call your local Mayflower or Allied Moving firm and ask how much their boxes are.

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Re: Record Care

Post by semisynthetic » Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:54 am

BAGSUNLIMITED.COM

I have used there products for many years; they sell boxes that are heavy-duty, with lids, DESIGNED to move and store records. These boxes arrive flat and you fold them into very strong boxes. The lids also fold from a flat.

They also sell all manner of what they refer to as "collection protection"- poly bags for LPs CDs etcetera etcetera.

The people there are very friendly, and if you are purchasing some certain $ figure, they pay the freight.

You can store recordings in these boxes and since they are MADE for 12", 10" 7" and so on, your recordings will arrive undamaged.
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Re: Record Care PURE WATER ONLY

Post by semisynthetic » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:44 am

Any type of soap or surfactant will itself present a residue that will attract dust and particulates. I only use distilled water, not drinking water.

(For many years I used triply distilled water from the laboratory); but I now use a pH and ion meter to make certain the distilled water I purchase is pure enough for this purpose.

Many times "distilled" or "drinking" water are tap water with a misleading label and contain dissolved salts.

Water is an excellent solvent. Look at the Grand Canyon. :D Even organic residues, like oil from the fingers will, with patience, be removed. Linen cloth, or better yet combed linen is an excellent nonabrasive cloth.

Isopropanol can damage some recordings by solvating a material within the disk and cause brittleness or a "whitening" of the disc indicating damage; there are also often traces of stronger solvents contained in the alcohol that can cause even greater damage the recordings.

Commercial detergents-I am very wary of; unless they are part of some complete cleaning solution/machine cleaner like VPI has for example, I would never use it. I would use only water with a cleaning machine anyway; it may take longer, but you will not be putting a potentially glue-like substance on your recordings that will ultimately attract more gunk.

If you have a total cleaning system, that is multiple washes following the initial "cleaner", this might be OK only IF you know the contents of the "cleaner" and these compounds are easily removed by water and leave no residue.

Unfortunately, the few solvents that do not damage recordings are no longer available to the general public.

I hope that you find this useful.
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Re: Record Care

Post by Broc » Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:27 am

What solvents are those semisynthetic? carbon tetrachloride? benzene? Non-IUPAC nomencalture please :)

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Re: Record Care and Contaminated 2-propanol

Post by semisynthetic » Sat Jul 02, 2011 10:42 pm

To answer your question:
Included were dichloromethane, bromochloromethane, 1,2 dichloroethane 1,1-dichloroethane, ethoxyethanol, acetone (2-propanone), a variety of pyrans, di-and -tetrahydo (furans), mixed xylenes, 1-propanol, 1-butanol, 2-butanol, mixed pentanols, decanols, undecenes, different phthalates, varying amounts of benzenoid compounds and even substituted naphthalenes and high molecular weight "greases"! (c. 1995-96 by GC and FAB Mass Spectroscopy).

I have seen a Beautiful Dutch Blue Wax visibly damaged by a commercial record cleaner.

So, I opt to use pure water; it removes dust, particulates and static. I hope this was helpful. :D
I wish you all a Happy 4th of July and "Independence Day", or just a wonderful weekend.
"Everything is a Poison; it is the amount or degree that separates one Poison from another"
Paracelsus

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Re: Record Care and Contaminated 2-propanol

Post by redcloud » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:29 am

semisynthetic wrote: dichloromethane, bromochloromethane, 1,2 dichloroethane 1,1-dichloroethane, ethoxyethanol, acetone (2-propanone), a variety of pyrans, di-and -tetrahydo (furans), mixed xylenes, 1-propanol, 1-butanol, 2-butanol, mixed pentanols, decanols, undecenes, different phthalates, varying amounts of benzenoid compounds and even substituted naphthalenes and high molecular weight "greases"! (c. 1995-96 by GC and FAB Mass Spectroscopy).
Are these not the same ingredients found in most kids snacks and candies? :wink:

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Re: Record Care and Tangential Thoughts

Post by semisynthetic » Sun Jul 03, 2011 5:51 am

Yeah. No doubt. :wink:
Take a look at the ingredients in shampoo and hair products; amazing. The trick is, of course, the low concentration of each component in these "hair products'; and the way the human bodies deals with poisons.

Paracelus (paraphrased): "Everything is a poison, it is the only by degree that separates one poison from another"

Years ago, aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene being the archetypic example was (and still is in high concentration) BAD.
A Carcinogen; a Teratogen; but aryl hydrogenases, enzymes that "breakdown" these aromatic hydrocarbons have been found in the human body. Benzopyrine, the black residue on a well done steak, is such an aryl hydrocarbon. I like steak, and a little benzopyrine doesn't bother me at all. :D
Last edited by semisynthetic on Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Record Care

Post by toomilk » Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:54 am

is the thesis of this thread to buy cds instead?

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Re: Record Care

Post by olan » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:58 am

toomilk wrote:is the thesis of this thread to buy cds instead?
HA Ha ha...

Why would anybody want to do that? New vinyl and a turntable will show a clean pair of heels to a CD and CDP costing the same price. The thesis of this thread is that if you take care of your software and hardware, you will hear better music. This is true of CD too.....

Just bought a new turntable, arm and cartridge - much excitement here waiting for everything to arrive and get set up.....Old T/T is off to eBay.

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