Record Care Tips & Tricks Pt2

More Care Tips for Records

Turntables

Keep your turntable covered when not in use and be sure to clean any dust off the platter before use. Always handle the record by its outer edges and/or the inner label to prevent oils from the fingers getting onto the vinyl. Only keep the record out of it's sleeve long enough to play it and then return it straight away to minimise dust and airborne contamination.

Brushes Cloths & Solvent Cleaners

It is always best to use a dry carbon fibre brush to clean the record - most felt based brushes, like cloths, are more likely to push dirt further into the groove and generate static. Avoid using solvent fluids whenever possible - unless they can be completely vacuumed off afterwards. This helps prevent build up of residues in the base of the groove.

Cleaning Machines

A lot of budget cleaning machines (and some very expensive ones) use solvent cleaning fluids. Unfortunately some of the solvent will often get left in the base of the groove - even when a very good vacuum system is in place. Any deposits of solvent left in the grooves will almost certainly lead to further contamination problems in the long term. It is preferable not to use solvent fluids at all if they cannot be completely removed. Some vacuum processes are said to cause static build up, so proper control of static is strongly recommended after vacuuming.

Any cleaning machine that doesn't use ultrasonic can never give a really deep down clean. An ultrasonic cleaner needs careful programming or it will damage the very finest detail in the record grooves and this destroys the all important high frequency information which contributes so much to successful sound staging and gives the harmonic nuances necessary for quality hi-fi reproduction. 

If your interest is long term preservation and high quality sound we strongly recommend you have your records professionally cleaned and treated with a thoroughly researched non-contaminating antistatic process such as the one we offer. 

Cleaning Arms and Clamps

Dust bug type devices were very popular at one time but fell out of favour following the publication of an article that said they introduced lots of undesirable resonances into the sound when used with hi-fi decks. The technical side of the article is a little complicated but the question is this - are the resonances more of a disturbance to the sound than the distortion caused by the debris that will often collect on a stylus tip in many everyday replay situations? This is a very subjective question which can only really be satisfactorily answered according to individual circumstances.

If you are using a dust bug/cleaning arm we recommend using one with a carbon fibre brush and making sure it is properly earthed to prevent static build up. We also recommend using a record clamp with it. The clamp will stop any tendency to slippage caused by the extra friction from the dust bug and will also significantly reduce resonances from the record surface being transmitted to the stylus, with a beneficial effect on the final sound.

There is more information about record clamps in the 'Record Player Set Up' section.

Summary

A groove with cleaning fluid residues in it is better than one full of dust and dirt but it is still far from ideal. In the short term this might not matter much but longer term it probably will; until eventually the gunge in the bottom of the groove grows fungus or acts as a repository for more accumulations of dust and dirt. All these things - left over gunge, dust and dirt - are ultimately bad for the stylus tip and will promote more rapid wear, with the potential of permanent damage to the record itself. 

The moral of all these tips is to keep the record and it's inner sleeve dry, properly clean and free from static. When these conditions are met, along with proper storage and turntable set up, records will last for decades and still sound good as new when being played many years later.

A range of our recommended cleaning products is available from this website here: Cleaning Products >>>.

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