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Visually mint, sonically not

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  • Visually mint, sonically not

    Occasionally I pick up a record that looks stone mint but when I play it the sound is anything but. These records are typically at least 40 years old, not recent pressings, and typical of what I normally buy but not typical of how they usually behave. I've been buying a few cheap singles from the same seller on ebay recently that fall into this category. They are actually being described as mint which, although I was dubious that would be the case on a 40+ year old record, I think is actually true in this case - old store stock I guess. Because they look pristine I don't clean them first and when I play them for the first time a load of crud immediately builds up on the stylus. Cleaning these records typically solves the sound problem.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced this. I'm always curious as to how/why the invisible crud (at least to the naked eye) has built up and what it might be, as it certainly doesn't on most records I acquire. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    sometimes old US 45s from warehouse stock have a strange film/grease on them. Read various theories about mould-release agents from the press and stuff but whatever it is it definitely needs to be removed before playing

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    • #3
      Anything could have happened in that 40 years. A lot of dealers are less than scrupulous with their gradings and it's probably in their short term interest to be so. I'm not sure when the last time I acquired a 40 year old record in mint condition was, if ever, but as I rip all my records as I listen to them, and I'd like to be kind to my stylus I generally knosti everything before I play it.

      I have heard of dealers using unscrupulous methods to make discs "appear" shinier than they would otherwise be, I think in one case by somehow shaving a tiny amount from the surface of the disc, which sounds like a horrendous thing to do to a rekkid.

      I've had covers with all sorts of filth, yes, but not the records themselves ...
      "White paper inner sleeve is pristine ..."

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      • #4
        My rule of thumb is to clean each and every record I pick up. By doing so, I must be never aware of all audio fuck-ups those crud and goo are followed by. So far, so good. Again, there`s so many things to factor in like poor pressings, storage conditions, raw wax quality, to mention a few...
        The most evident issue with Melodiya records, which is my cup of chai, is pressing faults due to abused matrixes and/or low-quality raw vinyl.
        DANCE TO THE RADIO

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        • #5
          I've got a huge backlog of records to clean and have been investigating better/easier methods. I was looking at the Knosti Disco Anti-Stat which seems pretty good although there are a lot of comments about cleaning fluid leaving residue on the record which is picked up by the stylus - may this could be the problem? (The fix seems to be to buy a second bath part of the machine and do a rinse with distilled water)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bongolia View Post
            I've got a huge backlog of records to clean and have been investigating better/easier methods. I was looking at the Knosti Disco Anti-Stat which seems pretty good although there are a lot of comments about cleaning fluid leaving residue on the record which is picked up by the stylus - may this could be the problem? (The fix seems to be to buy a second bath part of the machine and do a rinse with distilled water)
            theyre great , just dont use their cleaning fluid , buy some art du son and a gallon of distilled water to mix with , will last you for years

            https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/LArt-Du-S...IAAOSwBj5c6yAR

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            • #7
              I knosti & make my own cleaning fluid. Works fine. Art Du Son may be better but simple works well for me.
              "White paper inner sleeve is pristine ..."

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              • #8
                Cleaning is the way for sure despite them vinyl conservatists say you dare not clean your records unless you want them lose their genuine self seasoned by time and time and time and whatever. I beg your pardon, Sir. When there`s shit on my pants I`ll get rid of it. Same goes for the shit you happen to find on your records. Simple as that.
                DANCE TO THE RADIO

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                • #9
                  The Knosti works fine, as far as cleaning goes. The main advantage of more expensive cleaners is vacuum drying.
                  The main weakness of the Knosti is the clamp/spindle. It's not watertight, and as it's made of plastic the screw thread is prone to wear & tear, making the clamp even less watertight over time. You can find replacement clamps on ebay. A small minority of labels will leak a little ink if they get wet which will result in streaks down the vinyl when the record is upright in the drying rack. You can prevent this by making the clamp watertight (e.g. use two of those silicone jar openers cuto to label size with a centre hole) and leaving the clamp on until the record is fully dry. So having extra clamps (and drying racks) is handy. Longterm, the brushes inside the Knosti get grubby and full of fluff and dirt, and they're difficult to clean, plus the bristles begin to curl like on a toothbrush you should have replaced months ago. Once this happens, you probably need a new one.
                  Dave Lee Roth, I Too Am Running With This Devil Of Which You Speak (sic)

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