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Cleaning vinyl

Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:34 pm
by Dave
A few years ago I experimented enough to be able to create a modern "available-ingredients" version of a classic record-cleaning system: the "film peel" originally developed by some smart guys in BBS's sound-archive department. A slightly-modified version of the BBC formula was popularized by Reg Williamson in Audio Amateur magazine, some decades ago, and a kit with the necessary ingredients was sold for a while by Old Colony Sound Labs.

One of the critical ingredients in the Williamson mix is very difficult to purchase (unless you're a manufacturer interested in a 55-gallon drum full of the stuff). I was able to figure out a substitute which isn't hard to acquire.

I had posted notes about this at the time on one web forum, but only now got around to writing up a good summary and recipe for my own server.

if you're into vinyl (especially old, cruddy, thoroughly-out-of-print vinyl with wonderful music on it), this is the best way I know of to clean said vinyl for play or digital capture.

Re: Cleaning vinyl

Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:28 pm
by AnotherFairportfan
I've been acquiring vinyl on and off lately - just got a copy of ex-Bonzo Roger Ruskin Spear's "Electric Shocks"

Couple years ago i scored near-mint copies of both of Cathy Chamberlain's "Rag & Roll" albums for like $20 - including shipping. Been looking for them for YEARS; i wish i could remember how to contact a guy i chatted with on one audio forum about the hunt - he said if i ever found a copy of the first {the VERY rare one, on Buddha} he'd like a copy.

He didn't have a copy.

And he'd played bass on it.

Prior to their divorce.


If you ever come across a decent copy of the video of Alex Call's "Just Another Saturday Night" {NOT the one that's on YouTube that's been redubbed with a different version of the audio that doesn't synch} - we wants a copy!

{Oddly enough, i also discovered that Call himself - as of a few years ago - didn't have a copy of that one, and he was looking, too...}

Re: Cleaning vinyl

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:10 am
by Typeminer
Very cool.

I used to tape my LPs so as not to wear them out. Still have the LPs, but the receivers and speakers died.

Never yet figured out what's supposed to replace the old component systems. Seems like everything is geared for video or MP3 singles.

Re: Cleaning vinyl

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2020 7:15 pm
by Dave
Yeah, it's true that the bulk of the market has moved in the direction of "AV" amplifiers... 5 or 7 channels, lots of A/V inputs but no phono section, and (unfortunately) often not capable of driving 4-ohm speakers. At the big-box stores that's probably all you're going to find.

There are still some stereo receivers on the market, but you may have to mail-order. Crutchfield has a few. You may need to add a separate phono preamplifier unit if you want to play vinyl, but those are not hard to come by.

CraigsList can be a decent source for some vintage gear in some areas... both stereo receivers, and integrated amplifiers (no tuner) do show up.

I recently picked up a used Onkyo A/V receiver for all of $40, and just turned down the bias setting on the center/side/rear channel amplifier sections I don't use (this reduces power usage and heat). Not a procedure I'd recommend to everyone, of course. I also installed a USB-to-SPDIF module, and cross-wired it into one of the digital-audio inputs, so I can stream my CD collection from my home media server through the PC in my work-at-home area. (My collection also includes a bunch of my out-of-print LPs that I've cleaned up and digitized).

For speakers - as you suggest, the big-box package deals are usually tailored towards A/V, with one or two subwoofers and a bunch of satellites. Often not the best arrangement for stereo, and the sound quality often isn't great. Good stereo-oriented speakers are definitely still available through audio-oriented dealers (they do still exist!) but you may find that the selection leans heavily towards the high-end market where price is little object.

Once again, looking around on CraigsList and FreeCycle and etc. can be fruitful. I was recently given (free) a set of Mission bookshelf speakers, and a Cerwin-Vega subwoofer by a family in my neighborhood, The speakers were in need of some refurbishment but not hard to put back into good working order.

Another approach is to go the kit or semi-kit route, from dealers such as Madisound or Parts Express. You can buy a set of extremely good drivers, plus crossover and accessory components, and build a cabinet yourself... or, in a lot of cases, buy everything including the cabinet components. Madisound has a kit for a modernized version of the classic Dynaco A25 two-way aperiodic design that looks really interesting... if I had any conceivable need for another speaker system I'd be really tempted to buy-and-build this one.

Re: Cleaning vinyl

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2020 1:57 am
by TazManiac
See, it's stuff like this that have my little cell Phone's web browser tab count showing the Infinity symbol [past99]...