Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

how clean is your house
apastuszak
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Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by apastuszak » 17 Jan 2020 18:16

Went to the record store today at lunchtime. Bought a copy of I, Robot by The Alan Parsons Project. The record looked pristine in the store. Easily a VG+ or higher. Even the outer jacket was perfect.

Then I brought it home. And, with all new-to-me vinyl I run it through the cleaning process. I scrub it with my DIY record cleaning solution (70% distilled water, 30% isopropanol, 2 drops of hypoalergenic dish detergent). I then vinyl vac it. Rinse with distilled water and vinyl vac it again.

I drop it on the turntable and there are all sorts of surface noises. Pops, clicks, at one point there was a slight scraping noise. So, I pull it off and clean the needle. I look at the record, and it has a bunch of scratches I did not see before. And it has what look like mold spots on the record. I KNOW I did not see any of this in the store or before I cleaned the record.

The only thing I can think of is that someone coated the record with something to make it look good and that came off when I washed it. I read a previous thread somewhere about someone coating records in WD-40 and then selling them, and I was thinking that might be happening here, but I don't know if WD-40 would hide mold spots and small scratches.

I have the record sitting with enzyme cleaner now to see if I can get rid of some of the surface noise.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by Tombo62 » 17 Jan 2020 19:01

Your post reminds me of the old "shoe polish" trick from the 78rpm days, and there could have been some coating, but it's possible that it is just the effect of the type of lighting used when the record was examined. If you hold a record directly under a bright light, which is how used records are normally graded, there is often an amazing difference compared to how it looked at the record store.

apastuszak
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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by apastuszak » 17 Jan 2020 19:27

I guess it's time to bring a flashlight with me when I go record shopping.

circularvibes
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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by circularvibes » 17 Jan 2020 20:15

A trick I learned working in my first used record store was to buff the record with Armor-All. It could make them look like new. Mind you, we did that as a trick to get a cleaner pass or two for recording purposes on worn but rare records, not for store stock. My boss also kept this old wine bottle filled with water and a few drops of acetone (and an old cigarette butt for good measure) that he used on some records to buff them up. I never figured that one out. I think it may have slightly melted the grooves to try and smooth out some wear. These kind of tricks are why you should only shop at record stores that you know and trust.

apastuszak
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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by apastuszak » 17 Jan 2020 20:17

circularvibes wrote:
17 Jan 2020 20:15
A trick I learned working in my first used record store was to buff the record with Armor-All. It could make them look like new. Mind you, we did that as a trick to get a cleaner pass or two for recording purposes on worn but rare records, not for store stock. My boss also kept this old wine bottle filled with water and a few drops of acetone (and an old cigarette butt for good measure) that he used on some records to buff them up. I never figured that one out. I think it may have slightly melted the grooves to try and smooth out some wear. These kind of tricks are why you should only shop at record stores that you know and trust.
I know and trust this store. But who knows what shenanigans people selling their vinyl may be up to.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by circularvibes » 17 Jan 2020 20:41

You could always get an LED headlamp from the dollar store to help see your purchases but that won't help if there is a coating on it. I would ask about the stores return policy and always ask if exceptions can be made for good customers. My favourite LRS has an "All Sales Are Final" policy but if you can show that a defect was missed by the store (and yourself in store), they may be a bit lenient. Another LRS in my area that I typically buy my new LPs from doesn't like returns either as the jobbers won't likely take stuff back. I bought an LP I heard on Conan one night and when I opened it there was a chemical burn on the inner sleeve and the disc. It would play through but it was swishy and a bit warped. They took one look at it and ordered me a new copy. I find wording return requests in a pleasant manner and offering to go grab them a coffee usually gets me everything I want. I never demand returns and never ask for cash back. I always ask for another copy of the same which shows I am not taking it home to tape and expeting full credit. Regrettably there have been many returns due to Crosley type owners who are mad because their kiddie phono won't play modern records without skipping. One LRS in my city asks first on returns, "did you play this on a Crosley?" and if they say yes the return is void! Another tip is to see if the store will play a few seconds of the record to see if you will be happy. If you are a regular and ask nicely they usually will. I've had good luck with even the grouchiest of shop keepers.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by apastuszak » 19 Jan 2020 02:28

I'll be damned. It ended up not being the record.

When I bought the SL-QL1, it came with a Audio-Technica AT450 cartridge with nude elliptical stylus on it. The previous owner told he hadn't used the stylus for very long before he put the turntable away into storage.

I took the problematic record and dropped it on another turntable and it sounded much better.

I order an AT85EP stylus from Amazon and installed it today. And, everthing is nice and quiet. No surface noise at all.

The record still doesn't look nearly as good as it did in the store. But at least there is no surface noise now.

And this AT85EP sound very nice. Far better than I expected. I'm sure the fact that it's p-mount and linear tracking helps with the sound also. Always set perfectly every time, and no need for anti-skate.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by Ricketts223 » 27 Jan 2020 00:05

circularvibes wrote:
17 Jan 2020 20:15
A trick I learned working in my first used record store was to buff the record with Armor-All. It could make them look like new. Mind you, we did that as a trick to get a cleaner pass or two for recording purposes on worn but rare records, not for store stock.
This is interesting. Do you recall what audible effects this had? I have a few really poor copies of records that I have not been able to find better examples of...might be tempted to try this if it quietens them down

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by circularvibes » 27 Jan 2020 00:31

The records I remember doing this to were Quality label singles of the late 50's and early 60's. They were uncommon titles and not scratched, just heavily worn. They were less hissy for about 3 plays, enough to record onto cassette for myself. I found a slight decrease in high frequency sounds and distortion. It did not restore original fidelity but made them more pleasant to listen to. We sprayed the records with Armor-All, let the stuff dry overnight and buffed with a soft, lintfree cloth the next day.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by Ricketts223 » 27 Jan 2020 00:45

I might try this next weekend. Thanks

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 27 Jan 2020 01:24

Morality aside (you must deal with your own discretions in life), keep in mind two things. One, imagine if you are the buyer of an album that has been cheat conditioned in such a way, only to discover several plays later that you've been scammed and bought a piece of crap....and two, that anything you put on your personally played records will transfer, to some degree, to your cartridge/stylus, album jackets, and platter mat. Kind of a case of what happens in your own play room, stays in your play room I think. The downside of scamming far outweighs any short term gains. [-X

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by Ricketts223 » 27 Jan 2020 01:28

Not scamming. I don't sell my albums. The only albums I have removed from my collection have gone to a fundraising program for our local pet shelter. Only thinking it might help playability of a few I have.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by circularvibes » 27 Jan 2020 03:21

The method I outlined was only for getting a better recording from a damaged record, not to preserve the physical object or to be able to sell it. The store I worked at did a number of things I don't approve of and no longer exists. I did learn a few shady things to look out for though. Any one using the Armor-All method on a record should clean their stylus after. There were similar products marketed in the 1920's for worn 78s as well.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by apastuszak » 27 Jan 2020 12:35

I assume if you wash your records after you bring them home from the store, whatever coating someone may have put on should come off.

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Re: Is there something a seller can do to make a record look pristine when it's not?

Post by Ricketts223 » 27 Jan 2020 12:42

circularvibes wrote:
27 Jan 2020 03:21
The method I outlined was only for getting a better recording from a damaged record, not to preserve the physical object or to be able to sell it...Any one using the Armor-All method on a record should clean their stylus after.
I imagine that there would be quite the buildup on the stylus. I doubt the armor all would damage the adhesive but makes me wonder about people that use wd40 on their records if there is potential to dislodge a stylus.

I have yet to run into any of these situations when I buy a used record, I clean my records before playing them regardless, but have never had a seller (LRS or online) try a trick like that.

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