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gabdx 23rd December 2012 03:53 AM

playing bad recordings or bad vinyl
I am new to records playing.

I am posting this to get suggestions from experience vinyl players.

I encountered a big issue of high frequency clipping with many old or used and new records.

Does anyone knows how to fix such records beside using the noise reduction button on the amplifier?

Exemple of unplayable new old record : BOHM BPHO Mozart: The Magic Flute DGG SIS GERMAN PRESS | eBay

Thank you.

MrPig 23rd December 2012 09:49 AM

The 'clipping' you are hearing is distortion which is almost certainly caused by the cartridge failing to track the high-frequency grooves properly. To fix it you want to sort out that stylus/record interface.

The first issue is simply one of quality. A poor quality turntable and cartridge will not be able to track as well as a better one. That doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune but if your turntable and cartridge are old and cheap they're not going to work very well.

Is the stylus clean? It won't track well if it's carrying a ton of crap along with it. If the stylus is worn it won't be able to track the tighter, high-frequency, undulations in the groove properly. If your is old consider a new stylus or maybe a whole new cartridge if you can move up to a better one.

A turntable is a precision instrument and it has to be set-up like one. The cartridge has to be aligned correctly in the arm, so that the stylus is sitting in the groove correctly, and it has to be playing at the correct tracking force. The anti-skate, the dial or string that applies side-pull onto the arm to stop it pulling into the centre of the record, has to be in the ball park. There is often a dial with numbers that correspond roughly with the tracking force dial but you can tune the anti-skate by ear. And also the turntable/platter has to be level.

Some cartridges are kinder to old vinyl than others but your problem sounds maybe too severe to be that.

Apart from the turntable itself the only other big issue might be that you're using the wrong input on the amplifier. Phono cartridges vary a great deal in the level of signal they put out. Some can be less than a millivolt while others can be a few volts. If you were to run a moving-magnet cartridge, which typically has a high output, into a phono stage that is set for a moving-coil cartridge, which usually put out a low output, you can overload the phono-stage. That would give you a lot of distortion, but not just on the high-frequencies.

gabdx 23rd December 2012 06:40 PM

I am glad you aswered back, you seem to got all issues in place.

I have two phono but both clips equally. Also 2/3 of my new records play flawlessly.
All my old records have completely distorted high frequency clipping so the problem lies probably in the tracking/anti-skate, level of plater. The cartrige is new and installed by the store where I bought it.

I will try to use different anti-skate forces and tracking forces, as well as clear the needle with a sponge.

sofaspud 23rd December 2012 06:47 PM

No sponge. It will surely snag. Use a small brush.

MrPig 23rd December 2012 07:13 PM

Your old records may be damaged. If they were played using a wrecked stylus they might be. They also might just be dirty. They get dirty even just sitting in the sleeve! Sounds crazy but the things pull dirt out of the air like magic. See if any record stores near you offer a record cleaning service and try a few records.

Usually though, even old, worn records will sound ok on a good turntable. The better the turntable the less of a problem you'll get. I use a Denon DL-103 cartridge. It is a very old design and was specifically designed to make as many records as possible sound good, it was designed for use on the turntables in radio stations. As a result it is very kind to old records, it can make anything sound good. I like it so much I'm on my third one and I'm in no hurry to try anything else.

indianajo 23rd December 2012 08:23 PM

Ha. My Mother's 1963 RCA ceramic cartridge wonder record player she bought with Top Value stamps, would rip the highs off a record in two plays. Even with a 2" speaker and a 1 tube amplifier, I could tell something was wrong, just by listening. I (and she) was buying $5 Mercury Living Presence LP's, this was a great tragedy. Totally irreplaceable vinyl. I replaced the stylus at one point, no improvement. I bought an AR turntable as soon as I had money (age 19) and became a hifi nut because I like to listen to good music more than once.
I wouldn't buy used records for years, but have found that the people dying now that their collections are going to resale shops, some of them had some good equipment. By contrast, any popular record usually is totally destroyed, because kids that buy pop records had the cheap stuff. Pop records aren't even worth $.50 unless the artist was totally in outer space and the record wasn't played.
Follow Mr Pig's instructions about squaring up the cartridge with the groove, both flat to the record and axis of cartridge aligned with the tangent to the groove. I set my weight without a tool, by finding the balance point, then dialing back that number of grams (I use 1.5) from that point, whatever the lines say in absolute weight. I set the antiskate spring by listening. My turntable cost an enormous $69, (BIC 940) and the cartridge a Shure M97 era IV, about $80. So cost is not the last word in quality. This rig outperformed the "legendary" AR turntable, even with a new motor, cartridge (Grado FTE) and belt, that I sold off about 1981. I've been running the BIC/M97 for 33 years, the last 4 pretty frequently.
But don't expect much from pop or country used records, just buy the CD and hope the "engineer" didn't remaster it to compress the **** out of it and punch holes in car radio speakers.

gabdx 24th December 2012 02:29 AM

Hi Indianajo! Interesting story, and also MrPig, ill clean this NOS record!

I will use the sink with detergent, followed with alcool + water, followed with warm water spray, then more alcool...

MrPig 24th December 2012 07:36 AM

You can wash records in the sink. The only problem is that it doesn't work!

Unless you have some way to suck the dirt and water out of the groove all you tend to do is move the dirt around. Also, if you can't dry the record properly, which is harder than you might think, it's going to get even more dirt stuck to it and will probably go mouldy! Try it on an old record, not one you like a lot.

pdm4606 24th December 2012 01:06 PM

I have found over the years that there is well recorded music but poorly mastered to vinyl.
Poorly recorded music but very well mastered to vinyl.
Poorly recorded and poorly mastered to vinyl.
And of course very well recorded recorded and very well mastered to vinyl.
Guess which one I am bound to get after I hear that a recording is good?
Probably number 3.
Just to let the newbies know that not every lp is going to sound great. You will have your favorites and your not so favorites. And there will be the ones that "if only it could sound better".
There is a difference.


indianajo 24th December 2012 04:05 PM

My own records bought new, I keep clean, under a dust cover or put away. I wash old used records with dust on them under the faucet, no soap unless there is animal material stuck on. Then I use Ivory soap, no oils (moisturizer) in it. Rinse under faucet, tip up against the plaster wall, let dry one hour, shake to knock the water droplets off, dry 8 more hours. Major improvement, usually. Certain brands (RCA Red Seal and Dynagroove, Colombia, Mercury Living Presence and Olympia, Telefunken, Mobile Fidelity, Telearc) I will rinse with de-ionized water if the record wasn't scratched up by the previous owner. These brands are the high quality brands that deserve extra care. They didn't have filler particles in the vinyl mix to give like new pops and crackle. They used real microphones, not old garbage. A lot of brands were designed for the back bins of the discount store, and sound like it. PIckwick, Rhino, Soundstream, Spinorama, Premier etc. Some brands like Capitol and Atco, had great artists and horrible production standards. Capitol always came with a ton of dirt from the factory, I think their plant was an open sided shed in the Mojave desert. The new EMI pressing of Abbey Road was much better. Atco had noisy vinyl and the cutting velocity was too hot, my first 1961 cartridge couldn't cope with the speed. A&M records started out cheap and got better over the years. Middle quality LP's were RCA Camden, Dot and Liberty,Decca.
I've an 7' tall 3' wide double sided display shelf full of records, modified with steel shelf supports. Painted up to look like the monolith in 2001 a Space Oddessy. With LP's at $.50 each at the charity resale shop, the collection is spilling out into storage bins on the floor. Some of the best artists, I've paid $.50 for. My favorite recording engineer is C.R. Fine of Mercury.

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