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  1. #1

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    Default Help with some old vinyl

    So you people have corrupted me with this vinyl things has getting my interest.

    I have been able to borrow my friends Technics SL-1200M3D for a while, since he does not seem to want to be a DJ any more. My father says he doesn't want his 500+ records any more, and would be glad to free up the space. There is alot of classical, some rock like the Beach Boys (original release of Pet's sounds), a couple mono prints of the Beatles... Should be fun and get some diversity into my listening. I have also been browsing some of the online shops, and a couple of local stores too. I have gotten a some new records already (and even more on the way), and I am amazed with the sound I am able to get with this entry level setup. It's great! I am also looking into a different cartridge for the table too.

    So the problem is that the old records are noisy/dirty. And I don't know what I am doing in terms of how to get them clean. I know that I could blow $500+ on a record cleaning machine, but I can't do that right after blowing my wad on my lsi speakers and having a wedding coming up in the fall :D I have a carbon fiber brush coming in just a couple of days but I think that is mainly good dry brushing before playing.

    I think many of the old record are in pretty good condition, shinny, no finger prints or scratches. The one things that could have been done to them was played a good bit with a poor needle, I think that's the kinda thing my father was likely not to change/maintain the best. So I don't know if there is much damage to the track.

    So what I need help with is how can I cheaply start cleaning these records to know if they are going to be worth much of an investment to clean them all and stuff? What other tips/recommendations do people have to restore/maintain them?

    Thanks!
    Home Theatre: Epson 5020ub, Elite Screen Sable Frame 100", Onkyo 818, Oppo BDP-103, Tivo Series 3, Xbox 360, Sealed Dual Sound Splinter RL-p 15" DIY sub powered by Behringer EP2500 with FBD, QSC RMX1400 powering LSi15, LSiC, LSiFX sides, and Lsi7 for the back, Technics SL-1200M3D

  2. #2

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    get a new cartridge, new needle, and the four tiny wire leads and replace them all. that's what i would do. then once installed, balance your tone arm to the correct gram weight.. then listen to some of them albums after they are cleaned well.

    Shure, Audio Technica, Orotfon, and Grado make some excellent cartridges and needles.
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  3. #3

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    I use this http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=RRL-DEEP then http://www.musicdirect.com/product/73924.
    I apply each with this: http://www.mofi.com/productcart/pc/v...1&idproduct=70

    I also use a hair dryer on the COLD setting to dry in between applications. Some have had good results by using a vacuum instead.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  4. #4

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    I use the same fluids and brush as Face, but with vacuum assitance instead of the hair dryer. My RCM's not one of the $500 jobs, either. I got one from KAB Audio for about $160. You need to use your upright vacuum cleaner for a suction source, but it's worked pretty well for me. I'll dig up a link in a minute.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  5. #5

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    It's called the KAB EV-1. Here's the link to his site, I can't link directly to the EV-1 page, but you'll find it under record cleaners. Before I got the KAB, I cleaned my records in the following manner:

    solution made of denatured water, the slightest drop of Ivory (Ivory soap is important), and enough dentaured alchohol to make a solution with a concentration of about 10% alchohol. Put that in a spray bottle (unused one).

    Another virgin spray bottle with denatured water in it.

    A brush like Face posted.

    Rinse the record on both sides under the tap to get any dust/big chunks off of the surface.

    Coat one side of the record with a generous dose of the cleaning solution. Scrub with the brush for a few revolutions. Rinse with the spray bottle of water. Repeat for the other side, then let dry in a dish rack.

    This method's certainly not perfect, but it's much better then playing them dirty. Lately I've been using a steam cleaner in conjunction with my RCM. If you're not faint of heart, there's a thread on it by JM1 somewhere in this section. Also, check out his post here. Beween he and hearingimpaired, I've gained a lot of insight and advice on the record cleaning process.
    Last edited by strider; 03-11-2008 at 09:05 PM.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  6. #6

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    Thanks this is sounding like some great advice, I am going to have to look into some of these products.

    I am still have a bit of hesitation about this "scrubbing". That this it's a bit hard to get a good feel for here.

    How can I tell if a record is damaged or just needs a good cleaning?
    Home Theatre: Epson 5020ub, Elite Screen Sable Frame 100", Onkyo 818, Oppo BDP-103, Tivo Series 3, Xbox 360, Sealed Dual Sound Splinter RL-p 15" DIY sub powered by Behringer EP2500 with FBD, QSC RMX1400 powering LSi15, LSiC, LSiFX sides, and Lsi7 for the back, Technics SL-1200M3D

  7. #7
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    Congrats on your new found love of vinyl. It is really cool that you had access to two tables and 500 records right off the bat.

    I must be honest with you here, with all you've described plus my experience with vinyl nothing right now is as important as getting them clean, pristine clean.

    Some of the guys above have directed you to some means or another of a wet/vac system and that is the best. If I were in your shoes with 500 uncleaned records that God knows how rare or valuable they might be (e.g. original Pet Sounds) then wedding or no, I would save up $500 and buy a VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine.

    Very clean records with properly set up cartridges and turntables, NEVER wear out.

    Have fun Bro.

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    Honestly? Experience. I've had good looking records that sound like crap, and ones I thought were a waste that ended up sounding pretty damn good.

    Don't be afraid of scrubbing. Your thought process is good; you don't want to clean a record using a lot of "elbow grease", but rather a good method with good cleaning fluids. Let the brush work the solvent into the grooves, allowing it to do the work. Follow the grooves in the record, work deliberately. You'll get a feel for it after a few goes. It may seem like voodoo, but it's not bad once you get the hang of it.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fumoffu View Post
    How can I tell if a record is damaged or just needs a good cleaning?
    Unless the record has a visible deep scratch you can't!!!

    All of your records need a good scrubbing and vacuuming.

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    I also don't have a vacuum system and I just can't get myself to drop the coin for one. I have been using this stuff

    http://www.audiointelligent.com/

    and have had good success with it. I am buying it from from Hawks Music which sells it on Ebay. Is it better than the the other products, I have no idea. The testimonials from (I assume) some reputable folks were rather impressive which is why I chose it.

    You can get pretty darn good results manually without a RCM if you spend some time and get multiple brushes (I use five). I picked up a "vintage" rubberized album cleaning pad on ebay that I use as a work surface, it works great. Cork surface also supposed to be good.

    My process is-
    Important first step: Sit in comfy chair and put an album on to listen to...
    then grab dirty lp and:
    1) dry brush with carbon fiber, sometimes requires many wipes to get rid of "loose dirt"
    2) wet brush (step 1 fluid) with Mobile Fidelity brush
    3) follow up with second wet brush (I use Diskwasher because I have a bunch of em) to remove most of excess step 1 fluid (I wipe brush on clean towel to remove fluid from brush)
    4) lightly wipe dry with clean cloth
    5) apply step 2 fluid and wipe with different Mobile Fidelity brush
    6) follow again with 2nd different wet brush to sop up excess, same process as above
    7) wipe dry again with different cloth
    8) final dry brush with carbon fiber
    Change listening album as nescessary while doing the cleaning.

    May have to repeat couple of times for some particularly dirty records. I have no doubt that a good RCM can do a better job but I have had some good results. Best part is that I listen to albums as I do it and am sampling music that I haven't llistened to in a long time. Its been my morning weekend ritual past couple of months and it has been quite relaxing actually. Those damn RCMs are loud!

    Sounds like you have a very nice lp collection to play with so you could be in music heaven for some time.

    Have fun.

  11. #11
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    That sounds great Ted but I still think you need a vacuum of some kind to get ALL the residue out of those tiny little grooves. There are some used record cleaning machines like manual Nitty Gritty machines with vacuums that I've seen from time to time on for like $150 on Agon and epay.

  12. #12

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    I know, I know, but I'm stubborn (and cheap).;)

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    Make your own. I don't remember where on this forum it is but there is a link to a DIY vacuum machine.

  14. #14

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    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...eaning+records

    This is the link to the best cleaning process this forum has collectively come up with for LP's [specifically, toward the end of the thread]. If you can't get all that you need now, don't worry. Improvise and take your time looking for good deals on record cleaners when they come by.

    Good things come to those who wait. ;)
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    "The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction". - Kenneth Swauger

  15. #15

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    Ugh, I despise cleaning vinyl even though I have a DIY RCM. Still requires a good amount of work by hand. However, clean vinyl makes all the difference in the world and all the vinyl I sell I clean each and every one of them before I ship them.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...eaning+records

    This is the link to the best cleaning process this forum has collectively come up with for LP's [specifically, toward the end of the thread]. If you can't get all that you need now, don't worry. Improvise and take your time looking for good deals on record cleaners when they come by.

    Good things come to those who wait. ;)
    Hrmmm... I'll get back to you maybe on Thursdays about that thread :) I am very apprehensive to try steam cleaning records seems to risky and dangerous to me! But I'll read through that.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    Make your own. I don't remember where on this forum it is but there is a link to a DIY vacuum machine.
    I found this poking around, it also has a DIY cleaning solution that seems reasonable too.

    http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/cleaner/cleaner.html
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumoffu View Post
    Hrmmm... I'll get back to you maybe on Thursdays about that thread :) I am very apprehensive to try steam cleaning records seems to risky and dangerous to me! But I'll read through that.
    Don't let it scare ya' bro. Done correctly, it will not eliminate......but get rid of 95% of the unwanted "snap, crackle, pop". Dynamic range, stereo separation and a slew of other "noticeables" come shining through.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    "The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction". - Kenneth Swauger

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fumoffu View Post
    I found this poking around, it also has a DIY cleaning solution that seems reasonable too.

    http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/cleaner/cleaner.html
    That's the one I was referring to.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fumoffu View Post
    Hrmmm... I'll get back to you maybe on Thursdays about that thread :) I am very apprehensive to try steam cleaning records seems to risky and dangerous to me! But I'll read through that.
    I felt the same way. Now I'm steaming new records too. It's just like mounting a cartridge, once you get past the fear of it, your ready to do it anytime.

  21. #21

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    Ok, I am convinced that I am going to need a vacuum to do the job right. I was looking at the VPI and the Nitty Gritty, they seem surprisingly different. What are people's opinion of the two? The Nitty Gritty puts me off a little because it seems to lock in on some of there products, with the brush that is uses. But the VPI's suck from above and have a platter the record rests on which could contaminate a clean disc.

    It probably going to be a bit before I get either one. Right now I am just getting a new light traveling elliptical cartridge. And going to spend some time setting that up correctly and playing some of the new records I bought.

    The steam cleaning doesn't seem so crazy after reading through that thread now.

    One more questions. After the records are clean they should be put into a new sleeve. What should be done with the old sleeves? Also what do people thing of putting the record in a "bag". Some of the ones I am going to be getting are like 40-50 years old.

    Thanks
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  22. #22

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    A vacuum is definitely the way to go. Mine is a knock off of the Nitty Gritty design; I apply the fluid and scrub the record on an old turntable, then flip it onto the RCM to vacuum. I like this design because the only contact the RCM has with the record is on the label. Gravity also helps get the stuff out of the grooves, if only a little bit. Watching a VPI in use, I think they had a better interface between the vacuum pick up tube and the record surface compared with mine. It also spun the record at a consistent speed, I've had concerns that the hand spinning needed with mine might leave a build up in the groove when the spinning stops for a moment. When it comes down to it, I think the Nitty Gritty design, at least the one I have, does a very good job for the cost. The VPI is better, but costs more.

    I keep my old sleeves; I've run out of Mofi sleeves so it's nice to have one handy when I get a record without any sleeve.

    Bags are fine, but I wouldn't get the sealed kind. They can harbor moisture and promote the growth of mold.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumoffu View Post
    I found this poking around, it also has a DIY cleaning solution that seems reasonable too.

    http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/cleaner/cleaner.html
    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    That's the one I was referring to.
    That crevice tool attachment worries me. It doesn't look like there's anything between the plastic of it and the record surface. If I were going that route, I think I'd buy one of the replacement pads for the Mofi brush and cut it to fit around the opening in the side of the tool. That way you could have the vacuum ride the surface of the record, allowing the vacuum to do its job better.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

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