Welcome Licorice Pizza (LP) lovers! Setup guides and Vinyl FAQ.
First, whilst proffering the obligatory apology for the length of this post I do feel that inmates would be unable to offer cogent advice without the benefit of full disclosure here. As such, thank you to those who have the patience to trawl through this.
I have only recently turned my attention back to vinyl after a laps of some years. With a relatively small collection of about 100 LPs (though growing) my analog gear is commensurately modest, i.e. Music Hall MMF 2 TT, Audio Technica AT440ML cartridge and Gram Amp 2 SE. To put things in perspective let me first give you the lay of the land. My listening room is 30’Lx18.5’Wx10’H with the speakers firing down the length of the room (their fronts are 39” away from the short wall behind them and about 5’ from the side walls). All my equipment is placed in a bespoke rack (40”h 21”w 19”d) constructed of heavy gauge hollow metal rods. The top of the rack is MDF but is exactly covered by a 1.25” thick granite slab weighing roughly 10 kgs and the TT rests on this. The slab is my only concession to vibration control as the ‘table stands on its supplied feet with no tippy-toed-ball-bearing-laden-magic-footer-type-thingies in sight. However, as the whole shebang (rack + gear) weighs nigh on 50 kg I figure I’ve managed an acceptable level of rigidity. The rack itself is placed between and behind a pair of front ported Paradigm Studio 100/v.2s – the front of the rack being about 1.5’ behind the plane established by the front of the speakers and each side about 3’ away from the nearest speaker edge.
Turning to playback, first and foremost the ‘table is always used without the supplied dustcover. Second, as I live in a hot, dry, dusty place the significance of vinyl hygiene is not lost upon me. I take as much care of my records as the climate allows and have evolved a dry cleaning regimen followed prior to each side played involving a few swipes of a clean and dry Allsop Orbitrac 2 and then carefully flicking the collected loose dust off with an Allsop carbon fibre brush. I subsequently give the stylus a few goes with a clean, dry velvet stylus cleaner before actually putting the needle down.
However, while reasonably effective, at least from a maintenance perspective (no record has actually got any worse than it already was), dry cleaning never actually resulted in any significant noise reduction. Consequently after much research on the subject (including ploughing through innumerable posts on this Asylum) I was convinced that wet vacuum cleaning was the way to go. So I ordered a KAB EV-1 which duly arrived four weeks ago (this is the one where you supply your own vacuum; I use a 1600w Black & Decker). Then, armed with the accumulated wisdom of countless VPI/Nitty-Gritty/KAB using inmates, I got down to experimenting with this new toy so as to arrive at the most efficient and effective cleaning regimen.
I have tried many combinations and permutations over the last month including using a lint removing coat brush as recommended by an inmate from Australia (I don’t anymore). As of now I have settled on the following process: a preliminary dry cleaning using the Orbitrac/Carbon fibre combo to remove loose dust followed by an application of the KAB cleaning fluid with a discwasher brush working the fluid well into the grooves with a back-and-forth scrubbing motion. A quick vacuum to remove the cleaning fluid is then followed by a distilled water rinse (no skimping on the H2O) applied with the clean KAB supplied applicator brush. The water too is vacuumed off and I repeat the water rinse/vacuum process again just for good measure. The LPs emerge shiny and new looking with a nary a speck of loose dust in sight and the music itself is cleaner and sharper than before. However, the net reduction in groove noise, ticks, pops and clicks as a result of all this effort: zip, nada, zero, dipkus!!!
I have tried out most, if not all, of the advice found on this asylum regarding proper use of RCMs including repeated cleanings of the same record and playing it several times (I recall reading that repeated playing of a cleaned record allows the stylus to settle into its new cleaner groove path thus resulting in a reduction in noise over time). As an example, my reference record is an original pressing of the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” that has been cleaned 4 times and played at least 12 times with the stylus being dry cleaned prior to playing each side to remove any accumulated grunge. None of this has made a blind bit of difference to noise levels. The same is true of ALL my other LPs that have been subjected to this cleaning regimen thus obviating the notion that the aforesaid record is damaged – it’s highly unlikely that my entire collection suffers from groove wear and/or damage. While I fully realize that the quality of the TT, cartridge and set-up has a direct bearing on noise levels, I would have assumed (given all that I’ve read and heard) that wet vacuum cleaning would have made at least a discernable difference to the quality of playback all other things being equal.
Could someone please tell me what I’m doing wrong or at least give me some pointers as to what I could try next re: my cleaning process. I would be very grateful to anyone who takes the time to respond.
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Topic - Record Cleaning: HELP! Vinyl Newbie Requires Urgent Assistance - S. Iqbal 00:36:34 04/22/03 (9)
- Re: Record Cleaning: HELP! Vinyl Newbie Requires Urgent Assistance - Bruce from DC 06:49:16 04/23/03 (0)
- First... - Marshall W 07:58:44 04/22/03 (0)
- Re: Record Cleaning: HELP! Vinyl Newbie Requires Urgent Assistance - srdavis2000 05:15:05 04/22/03 (0)
- Re: The ritual... - Frank Waller 02:49:30 04/22/03 (5)
- new inner sleeves - sberger 11:27:52 04/22/03 (1)
- Re: new inner sleeves - Frank Waller 02:33:51 04/23/03 (0)
- Frank, you are a sick, sick man! I, on the other hand... - Muzikmike 08:33:14 04/22/03 (2)
- Re: Give that man a cigar... - Frank Waller 02:23:38 04/23/03 (0)
- Re: Frank, you are a sick, sick man! I, on the other hand... - bobzilli 08:52:06 04/22/03 (0)
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