record cleaning/restoration

I'm still a bit disoriented on this site and may post the wrong threads in the wrong places. Patience with this neophyte please!
Please read below.

Respects, Ron

I'm very interested in an analogue forum as my special interest is in the cleaning/resoration of vinyl. I'm including my letter below as a way of introduction.


RE: Bernhard wrote about a discussion concerning a record cleaning machine using a microfibre towel to get the record dry after cleaning insted of sucking it dry. No more noise :)

REPLY:

I think the one area where I may have an emerging
degree of knowledge is in the vinylite disk. My
careful microscopic examination and reading feeds my
fascination more and more. Record cleaning and care
presently seems to be my niche, and I look forward to
joining any discusssion in this (and all other
directly connected issues ie cartridges, tonearms and
their setup). Till I find the forum myself, please
forward any of my thoughts (anything that might be
interesting that is, though I may have more to learn
than contribute).

I think the microfibre towel will work fine provided
it has sufficient absorbancy. I think little covers
for sponges would be good. Where is your source for
this fabric? Is it similar to the Discwasher brush
fabric?

I should describe my cleaner and method. I mentioned
the basics: portable vac ("dedicated" -- I don't clean
the car with it : ) and turntable. I've retained the
original mat reversed, coated with an anti-static
floor finish. The central label area is layered felt
to keep the vinyl off the mat. I clamp the records on
with a clear PVC container lid (hole cut for spindle).
The lid protects the label from fluids (I use lots)
and also provides a traction guide for my vacuum
brush.

Then pressed onto the spindle is a carefully drilled
hockey puck. I've done hundreds of LPs and this clamp
has never let go. I'm sure the puck clamp is very
widely used and for good reason. It's amazing.
Records can be turned with puck or, as I prefer, by
the record edge (of course, wearing white gloves).

My vac is powerful, and at first I cleaned with its
full force. Then I realized that this was unnecessary
pressure, and I came to use the leading and rear edges
only (rather than flat on). Really, the vac only
needs to pick up excess fluid. My microscope shows
that my prior brushing when I apply the fluid (I use
something like a big parastat for this) loosens up any
oils or dust, so it's unnecssary and potentially
hazardous to apply too much suction. Professional
units like the VPI are designed so the vac head
doesn't touch the lp, and that's good, but I think my
head works just as well. I've compared results with a
VPI and like my unit better precisely because it's
very "hands on."

I think many soft fabrics can become abrasive if too
much pressure (vacuum suction or other) is applied.
My sister gave me a couple metres of good quality felt
(no shedding), and I change the head every 50 or so
cleanings. I never allow the felt to wear.

Microfibre is great, and I'd like to buy some, but I'd
be very careful about overusing it.

By the way, after cleaning, I rinse the record surface
twice with distilled water using a fine atomizing
spray bottle. It's interesting how fine spray will
highlight any residues missed by the cleaning. I also
finally buff the record well by covering the vac head
with super-soft anti-static cloth, the kind that's
used for dusting and can be found in any store.

Nowadays, there are so many new anti-static fabrics
that I think we are justified in regarding vinyl as a
still viable and wonderful musical recording medium.
I'm sure that someday we vinyl lovers will have to
accept the sonic superiority of DVD, DSD, or whatever,
but I'm dedicated to exploring the potential of vinyl
however I can.

By the way, I bought a couple hundred near-mint lps at
auction some time back. Sadly, some had old PVC
sleeves, which left smears (audible) on the vinyl.
This has to be the greatest cleaning challenge, and I
am testing some rather strong cleaners specifically
for this. I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice on
this or anything else.

I'll be looking for the appropriate forums and will
meet you there, but till then please email anytime.

Cheers, Ron Peltomaa
 
Ron,











looks like noone wants to continue the topic we started on the Analogic Forum thread :(











I take the freedom to repeat my last post here to make it easier to follow up:





<<<<<<<<<<<<<<





thank you for your flattering email and your post, yes, the antiskating guy, that's me.












I too built a record cleaning machine; the thing was an advanced design outperforming NittyGritty and VPI vastly, even outperforming the Keith Monks and equalling the cleaning effect of a high power ultrasonic cleansing tub (because of possible record surface damage, i must warn from using an ultrasonic cleanising tub -- keyword pressing bubble -- even if the cleansing effect is the reference standard). OTOH, my machine was noisy to the extent of being unbearable, and it was ugly, unsellable . So the project faded away. But in case there is interest, i would like to throw in my knowledge, too.






One of my friends tried out a record cleaning and drying method using modern hightech µfibre fabrics and reported results coming close to what my machine back then was able to achieve. Particularly the drying effect of the ultra-absorptive fabric caught my attention, i always wanted to get rid of the noisy vac. It seems that this towel manages to get one record completely dry. Washing several records in a row would probably require a drying stand for, say, 9 towel cushions while the 10th towel cushion is in use.





<<<<<<<<<<<<<<





now to your post:





I think the microfibre towel will work fine provided it has sufficient absorbancy. I think little covers for sponges would be good. Where is your source for this fabric? Is it similar to the Discwasher brush fabric?




Exactly what i have in mind, µfibre cushions filled with some isopropanole-resistant rubber foam. I have not yet figured out where to buy this towel. But i come back as soon as i know it.




Then I realized that this was unnecessary pressure, and I came to use the leading and rear edges only (rather than flat on). Really, the vac only needs to pick up excess fluid. My microscope shows that my prior brushing when I apply the fluid (I use something like a big parastat for this) loosens up any oils or dust, so it's unnecssary and potentially hazardous to apply too much suction. Professional units like the VPI are designed so the vac head doesn't touch the lp, and that's good, but I think my head works just as well.




Interesting, somehow aligned with my obsaervations. My cleaing machine has a horizontal spinlde and cleans the record on both sides simultaneously. Two vacuum yokes are then pressed against the rotating record to dry it. I used to regulate the air flow with my fingers' pressure; the VPI-lke vacuum slot on the yokes was covered by polyamide velvet, just as the VPI. The more i pressed the less air flew and i learned to regulate the gap to achieve a maximum air flow.



By the way, after cleaning, I rinse the record surface twice with distilled water using a fine atomizing spray bottle. It's interesting how fine spray will highlight any residues missed by the cleaning.



That's interesting! As i plan to wash my records with water after i did with alcohol, the spraying can serve as a final residue check before drying.

I'm sure that someday we vinyl lovers will have to accept the sonic superiority of DVD, DSD, or whatever, but I'm dedicated to exploring the potential of vinyl however I can.


no, disagreed, there is no best medium IMO. But there is a best medium for a given recording and this is the medium the recording was initially intended for! The exisistence of wax cylinders justifies a cylinder phonograph and so it is with any other medium.

By the way, I bought a couple hundred near-mint lps at auction some time back. Sadly, some had old PVC sleeves, which left smears (audible) on the vinyl. This has to be the greatest cleaning challenge, and I am testing some rather strong cleaners specifically for this. I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice on this or anything else.


i'd recommend extended washing with 100% isopropanole on my apparatus. Had very nice successes with "unremoveable residue".
 
Hey guys what kind of solution do you use to clean with. Is it something I can mix at home. I just got my turntable and other than the occasional album I find with a sealed sleeve most come from the goodwill and are in need of a serious cleaning. Thanks for posting this info on a most helpful subject. Maybe one day we'll get a forum.
 
Home brew celaning fuilds

I'am aways interested in good home brew cleaning solutions for use in my VPI LP cleaning machine.

I would like encourage very one to list the things that are known to work with minimal damage to the LP surface.

I have used tile cleaners which had anti fungus additives, distilled water, a little iso alcohol and photo flow solution with good succes. I found some furmulas on the internet after doing a search for record cleaning solutions.

The problem at times is that these mention specific brands or names of products that are not available in all areas. So some fudging may be required.

Just recovering from open heart surgery so I don't have access to any real good details at the present time.

John Fassotte
Alaskan Audio
 
I confess

Record cleaning is an activity that gives me almost endless pleasure. It feels like spiritual cleansing, perhaps an evolved ritual, penance for what I did to my old Beatle records as a kid. I once took my stereo onto the roof of my house and played Yer Blues through the night. Although I upgraded in the 70s and treated my records with considerably more care, buying those nice PVC lined Angel covers (I'm being sarcastic, please) and various brushes and fluids, I didn't quite understand it as a devotional exercise until I visited Japan and witnessed the zen-like reverence practiced by certain Japanese audiophiles, which threw me into a kind of purgatory, causing me to abandon my stereo, put away my records and exist for some twelve years with only a portable cassette player and FM radio turned to the CBC. I taped and overtaped a choatic and unlabelled collection of Bob Marley, Chopin, Puccini arias and Indian instrumentals. Finally I became lost in eastern microtonal music, which I could feel but not really understand. And so I survived the 1980s, feigning indifference to audio technology and the pop music industry, without a CD to my name. In came the 90s, and with it true love, marriage, a move to Montreal, an LP collection inheritance and gradually, my life came back together when I bought my Rega turntable. The rest is now around me in my listening room: my music, my bebop, Mahler and Sibelius and my wife. What more can I say? Please forgive me for using this space to get this out, but now its done. Thank you!

And this is not what I was intending to write about. Cleaning fluid recipes, right! I'll post that soon!
 
record cleaning formulas

The Canadian Conservation Institute formula is, as you probably know, widely quoted on the net:

QUOTE:
Grooved discs are best cleaned using a record cleaning machine
such as the Keith Monks, VPI, Nitty Gritty using 0.25 part of
Tergitol 15-S-3 and 0.25 parts of Tergitol 15-S-9 per 100 parts
of distilled water. These machines allow for an even dispersion
of fluid and can then vacuum the liquid leaving a clean, dry
surface. The discs must then be rinsed thoroughly with
distilled water and vacuumed dry to eliminate any trace of
detergent residue. Records should be cleaned before each
playback.


More aggressive formulas can be made using up to 3 parts isopropyl to 1 distilled water, with a couple drops of dishwashing soap. I have read accounts of a variety of alternatives, including tile cleaner and whiteboard cleaner, though my own experimentation is yet limited and I cannot comment on them. I have heard of mouldy records being treated with a biocide (hibiclens or exidine), but be aware of the probable permanent damage, the result of the mould having actually eaten into the groove walls.

My own preference, what I'm using now, is a mild solution, one part isopropyl (lab grade) to 5 parts distilled (demineralized, deionized) water and a couple drops of clear dishsoap. I am not entirely confident (ie not all-knowing) about isopropyl (hence the mild solution) having read some speculation about the possible effects of this on the various fillers and binders in the vinyl. I think mild solutions and proper rinsing will bring the risk of long-term adverse effects down to about 0%. I advocate thorough repeated rinses to ensure 0% residue, and I use a fine spray atomizer for this that actually reveals in the spray pattern any missed residue traces.

To those who pick up garage-sale records, my advise would be to wash them repeatedly (as necessary) with mild solutions rather than trying to strip off all the grunge at once. Use a vacuum device (an excellent DIY project) or good absorbant material as described elsewhere by Bernhard. Leave no residues!
Test any formula on glass in bright sunlight, and, if you're really serious about clean records, get a decent microscope (or DIY) with a boom or swing armature and a safe (not hot!) light source.

I'll be expermenting with various formulas and will keep posting.
Have fun and please post any other thoughts on this topic.
 
whats a good magnifier?

What is the best CHEAP method of checking the record gooves and the needle? i.e. what type of microscope/magnifying glass can I use?

I'd like to know how effective my cleaning is, and how worn my needle is, but I don't have a lot of money for it. This is as much for curiosity and fun as for music reproduction, so I'm not looking for a discusion on how useful it is..

thanks!

Evan
 
Hello all,

if the record is really dirty, the fluid can be quite strong although i always would recommend to try the fluid out on the deadwax .
PVC is rugged, it is widely used for chemical armatures. There are not many solvents agressive to PVC. My record washing machine was made from PVC completely so i would have seen any solvent agression at once.

Ethanole and isopropanole can be used pure for vinyl records, without being mixed with water. With isopropanole i tried this out very often , no danger. Although i have to report the record can sound a bit "rough" and harsh afterwards, this later disappears. It disappears at once if the record is washed afterwards with pure distilled water.

I found it necessary to add a wetting agent to the water, it also did improve the iso's wetting. I used "genius in a bottle" back then as wetting agent which i am sad to report it is discontinued. This stuff di a fine job when thinned by a factor of 5000 to 10000 and left no residue whereas stuff likee Photoflo or Agepon or the like looses its effect at 1000 or above but still leaves residue. Not recommended. I need to find a new wetting agent. Thom Mackris has sent me samples of Triton X-100. Thom reported good results; i come back with my results as soon as i have them.

Concentrated iso : let's not forget the record has a mould release agent in the grooves. It is there unworn in new records, deterioating dynamics, and it is there in old records, worn/deformed in play direction and adding distortion. This MRA has to come off !!! Concentrated iso does a fine job here; in fact it was the key motivation for me to build a record washing machine.
 
Evan, look for a dissecting microscope.

Evan, do a net search for a 40x dissecting microscope. One can be found for $70. if your look carefully. A stereoscopic version is better, but this will do. I suggest a pillar type armature that provides 6" or more from the outer view field to the post, to allow inspection of the record while on the turntable, or even better on your cleaning platter. How to set it up is easy to figure out. A very rugged and reliable DIY armature can be made cheaply, but because you don't want a discussion on the matter, I won't bother describing it or recommending a specific commercial model. If you change your mind and want to discuss this further, please do.
 
the effect of isopropyl on plasticisers

Bernhard, you may be right about the benign properties of isopropyl. I too have noticed no effect on PVC. However, we have to admit that not all PVCs are alike; plasticizers in particular distinguish the characteristics of PVC fabrics from PVC pipes. The presense of fillers, binders and plasticizers in our records has to be considered, and I have read that isoproypl does affect plasticizers. Though I have not tested the veracity of this claim, it is something to keep in mind as plasticizers have a direct bearing on the durability of the material, which, as we all know is subject to extreme forces at the contact point of the stylus. Anyone who has heard an abused record knows about groove wear, particularly in the amazingly microdetailed high-end, present in the topmost portion of the groove wall. If there is even a minute degradation of the plasticizer, this is where the damage will occur.

Having said all that, you may very well be right, and I'm personally going to try the full strength isopropyl to remove the PVC jacket smears as you recommended before. We were both agreed in an earlier post as to the necessity to thoroughly rinse any formula. I suggest this is absolutely essential, particularly if one is using powerful formulas.

Back to my earlier point, I still think it is prudent to clean several times more with milder mixes than fewer times with stronger. For me, benign is best. Needless to say (I hope) Bernhard, I remain respectful of your opinion, as I know of your experience, and I also know you've been looking into your microscope, like me.;)

Best regards
 
William,





sorry no pixes, one of my machines was sold and i lost track. The other also was sold and still works in a hifi and record shop in Fürth.


I would have to travel there to take pixes (what i will do the day i buy my old prototype back)





What i will do is post CAD drawings from my new unit (like from my tonearm, see my website, www button is right at the bottom of this post). Maybe i also draw the obsolete prototype (only roughly and for display purpose)


From those pixes any of you get the idea how it works and can copy it and build it himself.



Ron,





plasticizers indeed are an issue and different PVC contains them to different degrees. I would limit my 100% isoproanole recommendation to 30 minutes of contact or less. This i tried out myself with a wide variety of records made between 1950 and 1980.





However, even short washing with 100% iso may leave a certain sonic roughness audible by sensitive people. I always washed my most cherished records with 100% water after the iso washing and the roughness was gone.





So, at the moment i muse how to marry the beauties of my obsolete prototype with vac-less record cleaning/drying and one thing is clear already, the new unit has to be easily usable for accidental one-record washing, not only for bulk washing as my obsolete prototype.


And so i sit and examine the different µfibre towels i bought yesterday.


I come back with 1st washing results but the new washing unit will need some musing and time (moreover as 5 other projects are sitting on my table, crying for completion)
 
microscope

Eila, thanks for the info! I will search for a scope like the one you described, and I'm sure I'll come up with a way to mount it so that I can view the record on the cleaning platter.

btw, I didn't mean that I want no discussion on using the microscope... all I meant was that I didn't want someone to chime in with "you're better off spending your money on xyz for better sound .." actually, I'd be very happy to hear a description of what I should look for under the scope for record cleaning and stylus cleaning

Evan
 
cutting-lathe simulator 3D software available?

Bernhard, I agree. I've found reading on the net about common plasticizers used for PVC but haven't gleaned anything of practical application yet. I'll post any relevent links as I find them.

I'm waiting for your comments on the microfibre materials. I'd love to pick up some myself but haven't found a source yet.

I looked at the illustrations of your amazing tonearm but haven't yet gone over the specs and other reading.

I'd like to find software someday that would make precision 3D graphics of record grooves cut to whatever audio is input, like a frontal perspective of a simulated cutting lathe. It's probably already available, but if not, it should be. What do you think?
 
This is a collection of suggestion i collected from the web. I think it might be of help to others for record cleaning.
Mahendra Palesha

RECORD CLEANING
I also have another question. A friend of mine had a Denon which ran without all those poppy noises, nice and smooth, almost cd like (bad recording I think). What is the main attribute to getting that popless sound(I know about the subsonic filter and rumble).

Hey Mark, I don't know if this is what you are looking for, but I really scrub used vinyl before it is played. If you think of the amount of pressure forcing that needle into the groove, then you can realize just how much heat is generated to "cook" the dirt in. I use a cleaner made of alcohol, distilled water, photo-flow, and vinegar window cleaner, and let it soak. Then multiple passes with the paint brush that you would use for corner painting, it is the one with the 3" by 4" surface, and the nylon bristles are about 1/10" long. Then paper towels to wick off the solution.

This takes care of the majority of poppy noises, at least the ones that can be removed. You only need to do this once if you take care of the discs afterwards.
Hope this helps

Nick
PS---Don't ever use alcohol on 78rpm/shellacs or you will be sorry!!!!!!

There's also Reg Williamsons groove masking process, documented in the '81 TAA.

Mix up a gel-like water-based solution of glycerin and PVA, brush it into the record surface, let it dry then peel it off. A good deal of ground-in dirt comes off with it.
Sean Collins [email protected]
==================================================


Nicks' recipe for a record cleaning product is, I guess as good as any, but >I've found using liquid hand soap to be effective too. It also allows me to >keep the Vodka for other applications.

Hey Lee, I've used about everything as well, including hand soap, Amour All, etc. I started deeply into record cleaning solutions when restoring an album a jazz musician friend of mine had made. He only had the 2" tapes
and the single sided vinyl master left (it is all musicians that do things like this?)

Well the vinyl pieces are the ones that the mastering lab sends you back for you to approve if you like the eq, song placement, etc before the actual pressing is done. So this was a piece of nice vinyl over 200 grams that had been played once before, and no other copies were available. The wrapper that it was in left all sorts of "fuzz" on it. I tried Discwasher fluid, liquid soap, the stuff that comes from Nitty Gritty, and vacuumed and vacuumed as well. Nothing pulled this stuff off.

Then I found this formula on the web, tried it, and it works better than anything else I have tried. I told the formula to Paul Butterfield who forwarded the following, it seems many other people use the same basic formula (alcohol based), VPI included:

snip

The market is overcrowded with dozens of magic fluids that promise to be the ultimate solution (pun intended) to our cleaning problems. Normally these magic bottles don't come cheap. So audiophiles all around the World have
started to make their own cleaning fluids at home at a fraction of the cost of the official ones.

Thanks to the Analogue-Addicts mailing list, particularly to the ubiquitous :) friend Steven -Enjoy the Music- Rochlin) and to Bruce Kinch, Editor of the renowned newsletter *Primyl Vinyl Exchange* (PO Box 67109 Chestnut Hill MA 02167 Tel/Fax 617-739-3856) here are some secret recipes for you:

The following recipes are for a 4 liter (1 gallon) solution unless otherwise stated.
Steven Rochlin's recipes
Distilled water Alcohol Detergent
1 part 1 part isopropyl none
1 part 1 part isopropyl a drop of Triton X-100
1 quart (~ 1 liter) 1/2 quart denatured 10 drops Photoflo
3 parts 1 part denatured a few drops
3 parts 1 part rubbing a few drops
4 parts 1 part ethanol some (Genie in the Bottle)

Laura Dearborn's recipe
Distilled water Alcohol Detergent
3 parts 1 part isopropyl 1 drop Triton X-114 or Monolan 2000

Don Roderick's recipe
Distilled water Alcohol Detergent

4 parts 1 part isopropyl 7-8 drops dishwashing detergent w/o (91%) additives

Keith Monks's recipe (TAS) Distilled water Alcohol + Detergent

1 part 1 part denatured alcohol (90% ethyl, 9.5% methyl, .5% pyridine)

Jonathan Scull's recipe (Stereophile) Distilled water Alcohol Detergents

3 parts 1 part NON-lanolin 10 drops Photo-Flo + 10 drops isopropyl *Direct* tile cleaner

I know there are more *solutions* but these are just meant to be starting points and/or examples.

After washing the record with one of these fluids it is wise to rinse it with pure distilled water. This way any remaining particles of dirt will be washed away from the grooves. Then you can dry the record using a soft chamois leather or a soft cotton cloth.
Esoteric drying can be done by clamping the record to a drill and turning it at the highest speed possible. Seriously :-

The bottom line is: keep your records as clean as possible, use antistatic inner sleeves, try to remove dirt with brushes or rollers and do some home-washing once they get very dirty.

© Copyright 1997 Lucio Cadeddu - Translation supervisor: Earl Dunbar

This brings back somewhat blurred memories. A few years ago there >was a suggestion spreading around the world of tweakery (here in the UK it was promulgated by Ken Kessler in Hi Fi News, but I gather it started in the US of A), that by treating CDs with ArmorAll one could somehow improve the sound quality. I never read how exactly it was supposed to work, but if there were any advantages I would guess them to be from improving the optical
qualities of the plastic surface. Anyway, a few months later, KK - in alarmed tones - reported that long-term damage had been discovered by people who had tried this earlier on, with some treated CDs failing to play at all after a few years.

Yeah I can agree about the Amour All stuff, it doesn't make it into my car either. Now something I found for CD that does come from the auto world is a plastic polish that is originally made for plastic convertible windows.
I have only used the Eagle One version, and it works good here without leaving any residue like Amour All does. I have been doing it for about 4 years or so with no problems as yet.

Nick
 
William,









I´ve already admired your tonearm. Are there some "real" pics instead of CAD drawings somewhere?




thanks. But sorry, no real-life pixes; i remember i stated the thing is in the design phase. Such a project requires considerable investments and as i am not forced by a schedule at alll and do them on my own risk, i start ordering components the day i finshed my manufacturing drawings. Which i have not even started, testing the airbearing comes 1st.
Sorry, no concurrent/simultaneous engineering here.







AS soon as i have pixes, i will show them on my website. As is with the record cleaning machine.







Ron,



I'd like to find software someday that would make precision 3D graphics of record grooves cut to whatever audio is input, like a frontal perspective of a simulated cutting lathe. It's probably already available, but if not, it should be. What do you think?






You are dreaming of rapid-prototyping a vinyl record :) . A record is a terribly complex solid. CAD usually approximates such solids by merging simple shapes like bars, cylinders, wedges, pyramids/tetraeders, spheres, cones. No matter how complex and intelligent the solid-generating algorithms are, when it comes down to simulate or protoype solids, the result always is said approximation. Stipulated it may be precise enough, but the resulting solid will be probably complex enough to make any supercomputer of today run out of memory or crash against some number range limit, if not let's hope that your grandson lives long enough to await the result.
:)




A year ago, i designed an exponetial horn funnel for automotive use and we rapid-prototyped it for try out. It was a simple straight trompet-style funnel and it took the RP-postprocessor more than 2 hours to calculate the tetraeder pattern and another 4 hours to "3D-print" the funnel. Now guess how long a record takes.




As a CAD oldtimer, i still strive to solids as simple *** possible and avoid to model chamfers, threads, torus surfaces, radii that are no essential; if it comes down to draw the final part, they all are in it, but handling assemblies with detail-modeled components freeezzes handling. BTW, it doesn't hurt to "keep it simple, sweetheart" :)




Mahendra,


thanxalot for collecting the recipes, they went into my collection.


However, i would recommend by any means to stay away from inferior detergents/wetting agents like Agepon or Photoflo. not that they damage the record, but one needs too much and concsequently will find unwanted photoflo residue on the record.


From what i heard, Triton is fine.


I still mourn for the discontinued "Genie in a bottle". Never found adequate replacement for that. Anyone in the semiconductor industry suggesting superior wetting agents?