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Temporary record skipping

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Posted on October 7, 2020 at 23:35:30
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
So I was playing a record that I've played many times with no problem, The Wonderful Sounds of Female Vocals, a compilation by Michael Fremer. Both music and production on all the cuts is exquisite. Yet on the last track of the third side, I heard a skip. It repeated about three times and then moved on. I was shocked because my records are clean and very well protected. I pressed a record stylus brush with very short stiff bristles against the grooves as it spun on my turntable. This procedure solved the problem and the track played with no skips.

But why did it develop a skip in the first place? Since I've had this happen on several new and pristine records I'm very concerned. My Sota turntable has a dust cover so leaving a record on the turntable should not cause any sort of dust or contamination to settle upon it. And what sort of airborne contamination would lock into a groove so strongly as to cause a skip? Stylus is clean, too.

 

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Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 00:32:49
alaskahiatt
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Posts: 5605
Joined: December 9, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
November 1, 2005
nt

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 04:11:39
PAR
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Posts: 1326
Location: South London, UK
Joined: June 4, 2019
Contributor
  Since:
June 4, 2019
As Opus 33 1/3 indicated last time around, skipping towards the end of a disc is nearly always caused by the arm lift platform not being fully disengaged from the underside of the arm as the latter traverses the disc. This has two causes:

1. The OP has a wedge shaped arm (e.g. SME ) and the arm lift is set slightly too high so as the arm traverses the disc the lift platform gets closer and closer to the underside of the arm ( or rather, the arm gets closer and closer to the lift platform) until they contact causing a skip.

2. The arm lift platform is not horizontal being higher to the left side ( looking from the front). The left edge is only under the arm towards the end of the side and if not adjusted can make contact. If the OP cannot alter the platform itself then he should see whether just lowering the lifting mechanism by 1mm or so ensures that it is disengaged throughout after lowering yet he still gets enough clearance for cueing.

"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 06:24:41
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Yes we did. But back in July the problem was intractable. Nothing I did would "heal" the skip. This time I was able to make the skip go away by using the stiff brush. So the issue remains: why do spontaneous skips appear on records that are in good condition and not subjected to abuse? Why are some of them permanent and others capable of being cleaned away?

 

check your tracking weight. . . ., posted on October 8, 2020 at 07:11:56
peteSF
Audiophile

Posts: 558
Location: SF Ca
Joined: October 12, 2012
I had some issues at the start of records, and finally re-checked the force with a small scale. It was light, hence the skipping. Adjusted it and now it tracks well.

 

RE: check your tracking weight. . . ., posted on October 8, 2020 at 07:20:22
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Ah! This makes sense. When my expert set up my new cartridge and tone arm he set it in the middle of the recommended range for the Soundsmith "The Voice" cartridge: 1.3 to 1.6 gram. Perhaps moving it up to 1.6 will make a difference. I will try this and report back. But first I have to buy a stylus force gauge.

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 07:52:04
Sondek
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Posts: 6032
Location: Fort Worth
Joined: May 17, 2000
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  Since:
April 5, 2002
Friction at point of contact of stylus tip can generate enough heat to melt any gunk (release agent) resident in the groove. That melted gunk may then stick to and build up on the stylus tip, and hunks of that semi-melted klingon crap may then fall off and become lodged in the groove and cause a skip on subsequent plays.

Dislodge the blob of gunk at it plays fine again.

 

RE: check your tracking weight. . . ., posted on October 8, 2020 at 09:50:06
PAR
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Posts: 1326
Location: South London, UK
Joined: June 4, 2019
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No it doesn't make sense. If your tracking weight was the cause then the skips would appear at any point on the disc. But you say it is only towards the side end. I and Opus 33 1/3 have pointed out the likely reason. Of course if somehow your VTF becomes lighter as the arm tracks the record then adjusting the weight would be sensible. However you would need to do this actively throughout the side as it would start correct at the beginning. Not feasible.

"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 09:50:47
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Wow! I did not know this. I did not realize that the release agent could bind to the record groove. But I always put my brand new records in my Spin Clean and clean them carefully. I have always assumed this would remove any release agent on the record. Are you implying that that may not be true?

By the way I clean my stylus (following recommendation from Soundsmith) prior to every play by dropping it on to Blu Tack on a coin set on the platter. I don't think I have ever had any build up on the stylus.

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 10:02:30
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Your suggestion are all valid and helpful. However, in my case I am certain that the arm lift is well clear of the tone arm. On those few occasions when I forget to reset the lift, I know it right away and kick myself for being so careless.

 

RE: check your tracking weight. . . ., posted on October 8, 2020 at 10:03:43
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Well, I have already ordered the pressure gauge and will check out the setting when it arrives.

 

RE: Temporary record skipping, posted on October 8, 2020 at 11:02:31
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 22899
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
There can be a number of reasons for your skipping problem. This answer addresses one possible reason.

You said the skip repeated three times before moving on. This indicates to me that antiskating might be set too high. If there is something in the groove that causes the stylus to jump out of the groove, it shouldn't move backward unless the object is so large that the stylus looses contact for an extended period of time.

What tonearm are you using? If you set antiskating using a test record, you probably set it too high. If you have a high-end tonearm, I would recommend setting antiskating in accordance with the tonearm manufacturer's instructions. For example, I have the SME V tonearm on my Sota Millennia turntable and I set antiskating to the same number as vertical tracking force because that's what the tonearm instructions say.

Another good method for setting antiskating is the one recommended by Frank Schroder and Peter Ledermann. Check the post at the link below for a description of their method.

Good luck,
John Elison.

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 13:44:39
Sondek
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Posts: 6032
Location: Fort Worth
Joined: May 17, 2000
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  Since:
April 5, 2002
The release agent is added to the vinyl formulation, and under heat and pressure it rises to the surface and aids in a clean release from the mold. Washing a record will not effectively remove it as it's a wax-like substance.

BTW, not sure this was a cause or contributor to the problem you had in July, but certainly could explain your most recent issue.

Hey, I just looked at your system details in your profile. Which model of Acoustats do you have? I've got a pair of Monitor IV's.

 

RE: Temporary record skipping, posted on October 8, 2020 at 17:13:29
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Thank you for this suggestion about anti-skating settings. As it happens I use the Origin Live Illustrious tone arm. At $3000 I consider it high end for sureL! All Origin Live tone arms set anti skating with a metal ball attached to a nylon thread. There is only one setting so far as I know and no way to adjust it.

In his literature, Mark Baker, owner and designer, explains that the ball and thread method of controlling anti skating is superior to other methods using springs or magnets. I'm no expert and so accept his opinion.

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 8, 2020 at 17:49:55
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
My goodness, I had no idea! So nice to learn things from those who are more expert. Thanks. But why is common wisdom that brand new records should be cleaned in order to remove the release agents? Is that a misunderstanding? Ignorance? Bad advice?

I own Accoustat 2 + 2s. Have had them since 1983. I did one official upgrade to the electronics in the late 90s and then a fairly recent upgrade with my local tech. They have always sounded wonderful to me and reveal every nuance from changing preamp, amp, cables, and putting all electronics on Rollerblocks.

 

RE: Temporary record skipping, posted on October 8, 2020 at 19:18:00
John Elison
Audiophile

Posts: 22899
Location: Central Kentucky
Joined: December 20, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
January 29, 2004
> There is only one setting so far as I know and no way to adjust it.

That would be very unusual, especially for a high-end tonearm. Skating force changes with tracking force. The higher the tracking force, the greater the skating force. Therefore, all high-end tonearms that I'm aware of have a way to adjust antiskating. You might want to read the owner's manual again.

Good luck,
John Elison

 

RE: check your tracking weight. . . ., posted on October 8, 2020 at 20:51:19
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
I'm afraid that I did not make this clear in my original post: though the most recent skipping occurred towards the side end, I have had other incidents occurring at different tracks of a record. It's not consistent.

 

RE: Temporary record skipping, posted on October 9, 2020 at 10:22:13
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Thanks for your suggestion. I contacted Mark Baker of Origin Live and he connected me to a very thorough explanation of how to adjust "side bias" (his term for anti skating):

Check side bias force is not excessive, too litte is better than too much and the "clamp ball should normally be close to the yoke (arm pivot point) rather than far out along the side bias rod.

Check the side bias wire loop wire is at the correct angle when looking down on the top of the arm. If this is angled too far back it can cause skipping on the end tracks of a record. If necessary you can bring it forward of the template position.

So I did move the clamp ball a little bit and will see if this makes any difference although it will be very hard to discern a difference as the skipping problem is very uncommon, occurring perhaps one play out of a hundred.

It's so nice to have knowledgeable people like yourself offering helpful knowledge about esoteric topics that I rarely contemplate.

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 10, 2020 at 02:56:36
Monchi
Audiophile

Posts: 554
Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: June 4, 2007
My understanding is that wet cleaning on a vacuum type RCM will not remove mold release agent per se, but ultrasonic cleaning will. In my opinion, it is best to carry out both types of cleaning on all types of records, existing/used and brand new out of the shrink vinyl purchases.

 

Agreed. +1 ~nt~, posted on October 10, 2020 at 06:19:21
Sondek
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Posts: 6032
Location: Fort Worth
Joined: May 17, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
April 5, 2002

 

RE: Didn't we just go through this on July 27th?, posted on October 10, 2020 at 06:48:24
Sondek
Audiophile

Posts: 6032
Location: Fort Worth
Joined: May 17, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
April 5, 2002
Four panels per side is a sweet spot IMO. More than four and room size becomes an issue.

A good friend has a pair of homemade Monitor 8s in a room that's same size as my room. It sounds really good, but my setup sounds better. His setup is too much for the space and it just doesn't sing like it should. Although in a room half again as big or bigger, and he'd smoke me. Bass down in the upper 20hz range. And not wump, wump, thump bass either. Very fast, tuneful bass. Like it's supposed to be.

Acoustats are still one the biggest bargains in speakers going.

 

RE: Temporary record skipping, posted on October 10, 2020 at 07:17:54
Sondek
Audiophile

Posts: 6032
Location: Fort Worth
Joined: May 17, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
April 5, 2002
FYI. If you like the Female Vocals release, its counterpart, Male Vocals, is also outstanding.

Music selection is all over the board in terms of style, but the recording and pressing are outstanding. A real showcase for what Chad and his company are capable of.

I've been enjoying my copy since it showed up last week.

 

Anti skating & stylus force, posted on October 15, 2020 at 11:45:48
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
My stylus force gauge arrived. It is the Riverstone Audio Record-Level Turntable Stylus Tracking Force Gauge/Scale, 0.005g Resolution which purchased from Amazon. It comes in a very cute little metal box with foam cut outs for the parts which include 5 & 20 gram calibration weights. The gauge seems to be accurate to the thousandths of a gram if the calibration weight is that accurate. Anyway, the force setting was 1.545. I raised it to 1.595. The max recommended force is 1.6.

I also set the anti skating to the minimum value. My settings were confirmed by Mark Baker of Origin Live via the picture I sent him.

So now I will wait and see if another one of those spontaneous skips pops up. They are rare so I don't expect to have any feedback for a while but will let you know whether or not the problem persists.

 

RE: Anti skating & stylus force, posted on October 15, 2020 at 11:47:17
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004



Here's the picture of the anti skating setting.

 

Stylus Force Gauge arrived, posted on October 15, 2020 at 11:50:12
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
As I mention above, I did receive the stylus force gauge and was able to up the force from 1.545 to 1.595, the maximum recommended for my cartridge (1.6 gm).

 

Accoustats, posted on October 15, 2020 at 19:52:58
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Of course I agree with you. I love my Accoustats 2 + 2s. I have them set up incorrectly because I have no choice. My living room is rather small so I have them much closer to the walls than they should be. But even so, they sound great. Sometimes we just have to accept certain limitations and be happy.

Interestingly, though they are near eight feet high and two feet wide, they blend in with the room which is painted white. My Acoustats are also white. Most people who see them assume they are pillars and part of the architecture. I'v had people attempt to lean against them!

 

Partial Solution with LAST stylus brush, posted on October 18, 2020 at 16:57:56
LaszloPhoto
Audiophile

Posts: 104
Location: Central California
Joined: June 15, 2004
Once again I had a spontaneous skip on an old favorite record. I tried applying a Last stylus cleaning brush to the bad track. This is an extremely stiff brush with bristles about 1 mm long. I put a lot of pressure on the brush head as the record spun and, lo, the skip was fixed! I was so happy. Clearly something had been stuck to the groove (perhaps record release agent that bubbled to the surface as one of you suggested); but the stylus brush cleaned it out. There was a faint "pop" where the skip had been.

(Just reread my initial post and realized I have already used the stylus brush with success. I certainly recommend a try with this brush for anyone having a skipping problem on any record that appears to be pristine.)

Filled with confidence I decided to try the expensive audiophile record that had developed a skip, Dire Straits "Money for Nothing." Sad to say, no matter how hard I pressed the stylus brush on the bad track the skip remained. Sigh.

 

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