Any suggestions for this noisy record?

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BMRR
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Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by BMRR » 26 Apr 2019 17:42

I recently purchased a record from a seller who advertised it as "NM-" or "VG++" according to Goldmine standards, and the seller also proudly proclaimed that it was cleaned with a Nitty Gritty before it was shipped to me (for those of you unaware, Nitty Gritty record cleaning machines are well regarded and cost $800-$1500).

I assumed that any seller who went to the trouble and expense of using a Nitty Gritty on their records was probably a good seller to buy from.

Long story short, this is one of the noisiest records I've ever listened to. It's probably the noisiest vinyl record I own and it's as noisy as some of my shellac 78s.

Visually, it really does look like a VG++ or NM- record. But it sounds like like a G+ or G: the crackling is constant from beginning to end, quite loud between songs, and quite distracting in songs that have quieter passages.

I thought to myself, "Maybe she didn't clean it with a Nitty Gritty after all; maybe she forgot," so I cleaned the record myself, twice, using my Vinyl Vac system. I was very thorough. The result: no improvement. Still noisy as hell.

Returning the record for a refund is no longer an option because too much time has passed. It's a rare and unusual record, so finding another copy will probably take a couple of years (that's how long it took for me to find this one).

I'd like to explore options for importing the record into my computer and dealing with the surface noise there. I have the latest version of Audacity. I know there are some effective methods to remove random pops and clicks, but what about constant surface noise -- constant low-level crackling and "shhhh" sounds? Any tips or suggestions for mitigating that in a way that won't compromise the music? Or should I just close my eyes and pretend I'm listening to the record by a roaring fire while frying a pan full of bacon?

I've even thought about doing a one-time-only "wet play" of this record while importing it into the computer. I know wet playing is highly controversial and that some people say it can cause irreversible damage to the record, but I'm willing to give it a shot if it means getting higher quality audio into the computer and maybe not having to be as aggressive with the digital noise reduction.

circularvibes
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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by circularvibes » 26 Apr 2019 21:37

Do you have a larger stylus to try playing once with? I have a mono single that can only be effectively played with a 2.7 mil stylus. It isn't wear in my case as two copies, one beat and worn, the other a strong VG-. If you have an LP stylus that is close to replacement, another trick is to coat the disc lightly with baby oil or cooking oil to lubricate the grooves and clean off immediately after playing. Another trick is to spray with Armor-All and let it dry over night then buff to a shine and play. The Armor-All will last about 3 plays and will not do permanent damage.

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by Pauw » 26 Apr 2019 22:27

Sadly some records are like that ...have you checked to see if you can find someone else with a copy and see how their copy sounds ? I have a similar record ..The original pressing of Hergest Ridge by Mike Oldfield UK issue....it comes from the height of the oil crisis....Virgin didn't make any quiet copies of this issue. :D

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by circularvibes » 26 Apr 2019 23:36

I am curious what the LP is myself. And my copy of Hergest Ridge came in the 4 LP box set and is a bit noisy too.

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by BMRR » 27 Apr 2019 00:18

circularvibes wrote:
26 Apr 2019 21:37
Do you have a larger stylus to try playing once with? I have a mono single that can only be effectively played with a 2.7 mil stylus.
That's an interesting suggestion! I've got a few 3mil styli but those might be too big. I've got a 2.7mil Pickering stylus but I no longer have the cartridge that went with it.

So far I've tried playing this record with .7mil conical, .6mil conical, and MicroLine styli. It sounded best with the MicroLine but still way too noisy.

circularvibes wrote:
26 Apr 2019 21:37
...another trick is to coat the disc lightly with baby oil or cooking oil to lubricate the grooves and clean off immediately after playing.
I actually thought about that this afternoon just before I posted my initial query. I've heard of people doing this — similar concept to wet-playing, I suppose, but probably even more effective since water isn't as good a lubricant as oil. I actually came across a video on YouTube of a guy using WD-40 for this purpose, but that has God-only-knows how many different ingredients in it and I'd rather use as few ingredients as possible if I go down that road.

circularvibes
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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by circularvibes » 27 Apr 2019 00:30

When it comes to oil for lubricating grooves, if I can't eat it, I won't use it. That way I figger it "should" wash off completely. A single pass with a 3 mil tip won't destroy the vinyl. I used to have Pickering 1 and 2.7 mil tips which helped a few discs out. There are times I wish a 2 mil tip was easy to get and affordable. The only way it might do harm is if the vinyl is soft like an audiophile disc. I have tracked some 12 inch singles with a GE VRII and 3 mil tip before I realised the wrong stylus was on the LP side, no audible harm done.

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by fifthbusiness » 29 Apr 2019 12:31

I've had a few records that were like this and my suspicion is that they had a drink spilled on them. Take a rum and coke - the alcohol wets and the sugar in the coke will then be deposited in the bottom of the groove once it dries out. The surface mess is easily cleaned but not what is left in the groove.

I've cleaned a few of these and my method involves long-term soaking with warmed cleaning fluid. I used a small support under the record and then applied a good coating of the warm cleaning solution. Then I placed my turntable cover over the record and let it sit. Vacuum and reapply.

I think it took about 2-3 hours a side and finally the records were playable.

On one record I started with a dilute mixture of Mr Clean "multi surface cleaner" as an experiment - same soaking technique. Worked out very well.

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by BMRR » 29 Apr 2019 20:31

circularvibes wrote:
26 Apr 2019 21:37
If you have an LP stylus that is close to replacement, another trick is to coat the disc lightly with baby oil or cooking oil to lubricate the grooves and clean off immediately after playing.
About this: how much oil do you use, and how do you apply it?

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by circularvibes » 30 Apr 2019 15:50

It only takes enough to coat the surface. I use a brush to apply it. I love dollar store nylon bristle brushes for the cost and washability. The stylus will bring the oil into the groove as it needs it.

BMRR
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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by BMRR » 30 Apr 2019 16:04

Do you pour some oil onto the record and then use the brush to spread the oil? Or do you dip the brush in oil and brush the oil into the record?

circularvibes
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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by circularvibes » 30 Apr 2019 17:52

I tend to pour it on, about a tablespoon at a time. Either method will work. A light mineral oil will spread easier than say a corn oil.

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by BMRR » 30 Apr 2019 18:02

Thanks!

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by Sunwire » 30 Apr 2019 20:57

I can't imagine how wet play with water would harm a record. Especially if you have a vacuum record cleaning system to use on it after play. Just use distilled water. Tap water CAN cause damage because it can leave mineral deposits behind. When I was young and stupid I damaged a few records that way.

I've done wet play with no apparent damage, but I'm not sure there was any noticeable reduction of noise.
Probably best to add whatever surfactant you use for record cleaning, at a low concentration. Just enough to break surface tension.

One other stylus option:
Ortofon makes one or more 1.0 mil needles.
The one I have is the D 25 M. I bought it just for this purpose: playing noisy records.
"Recommended for following cartridges: all Super OM, OM, OMP, TM, Concorde cartridges for playing micro-groove records."
https://www.ortofon.com/stylus-d25m-p-376

I really haven't played with it much, yet, so can't report any results.

I believe they make another stylus the same size, but don't remember the details. It was a while ago I was researching this.

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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by Bonzo_Dog » 01 May 2019 00:16

If the problem is that the record is dirty - not worn out - I would try to clean it with different substances.

For the most dirty records I first use 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner: apply with a velvet brush, let is work for a couple of minutes and then rinse with tap water (if its not too bad).

Second I would consider using "L'art du son" for a second cleaning: spray it on and use another brush to spread it into the grooves, let it work for a couple of minutes and then rinse with tap water (if its not too bad).

Third I would do a wash with a mix of strongest possible ipa/alcohol (25%) and distilled water (75%) with a few drops of surfactant followed by a rinse with distilled water. In this third process I use two Knostis.

If the dirt is soluble one of these three substances might help. A fourth cleaning could be an ultrasound cleaner.

If washing the record doesn't help I would consider different styluses that might track the groove differently. I recently experienced much less noise on a record (only washed with the third option) with a lot of strange groove noise playing with AT ART9 than with AT33EV.
Last edited by Bonzo_Dog on 01 May 2019 00:27, edited 2 times in total.

Bob Dillon
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Re: Any suggestions for this noisy record?

Post by Bob Dillon » 01 May 2019 00:24

Mineral deposits shouldn't permanently damage a record if you have an effective wash system to clean the record again, if it's causing noise or whatever. Different places have different degrees of 'hard' water.

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