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Vinyl users-looking for tips about cleaning records

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,927
1,259
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I recently dug out my old turntable-it and my records have been sitting in the basement since the late 1980s. Replaced the belt (the old one was basically goo stuck to the underside of the platter and the cartridge. I pulled out a half dozen of my LPs, grabbing ones that looked in good shape-and specifically included one I never liked which looked basically new. Tried a few-didn't sound good so I gently cleaned them-using lukewarm water with a few drops of dish soap in it, heavy rinsing afterward with tap water (fine here, good well) dried gently with a new microfiber cloth then let dry in open air for at least several hours.

The records sounded a lot better but there is still a lot of crackling noises. With a visual inspection the records look very good, with a few having some very light surface scratches.

Admittedly these records are used but I was always pretty careful with my records. My google searches on how to handle the crackles wasn't too fruitful. Main suggestion seems to be a dozen or more wildly different ways to clean the LPs or alternatively perhaps static electricity. I'm doubting the static theory-it's been 90%+ humidity more often than not since spring. Also my setup is near a copper pipe and I touched the pipe and the tonearm, and then the pipe and the record edge immediately before playing. No change.

Any ideas? I have some records which are hard or even impossible to find on CD.
 

solidsnake1298

Senior member
Aug 7, 2009
204
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116
I'm not a big vinyl guy, but I happen to watch a video some time ago about various record cleaning products and techniques. And the consensus was that you are never going to get 100% to the original quality and will never 100% rid yourself of cracks and pop. But you can get pretty close. There are cheaper devices a bit into the video. It isn't just about the super expensive device.

 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
33,140
11,389
146
My father had one of those roller vacuum devices. I still have my Discwasher. Probably some fluid too. Never play my records any more. *sad*
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,927
1,259
126
Doing some more research tonight. Ran across a youtube video where a guy smears wood glue all over the record, lets it dry overnight then carefully peels it off in one piece, supposedly dirt and all. Truly amazing the things people think of.

I'm leaning towards trying a DIY vacuum (small shop vac and wand made out of PVC pipe) before giving up. I expect some pops but I'm amazed at the near constant pops and crackling I current get on nearly all records.
 

Thump553

Lifer
Jun 2, 2000
11,927
1,259
126
An update: I changed my (homemade) cleaning fluid and probably more importantly, changed what I now use to clean the LPs-I'm using a disposable edger paint pad from Home Depot (has very soft, short bristles). I've recleaned a couple of LPs and the results are now much better, about what I was hoping for.

Also I basically rebuilt my 20 yo Sennheiser HD 600 headphones (new ear pads, head pad and cable and cleaned it all up) which sound great just plugged in the "vintage* receiver I'm using. I'm in audio heaven now for a total outlay of maybe $130. I had forgotten how much loved listening on good headphones.

*vintage receiver is a Kenwood Ar-304 found in my basement. Probably something one of my kids used in college and left for storage here-I don't recall ever buying it or using it before. Speakers used are some Cambridge Audio ensembles which sound fine but are so beat up I'm not allowed to bring them near my wife.
 
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Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
21,142
398
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A spray bottle with clean distilled water. Spray the record lightly and play while wet. I've been doing this for decades.
 
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