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Cleaning Your Records


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I can appreciate that ajxd knows what he's talking about, but that's like saying you need to own a ferrari to go pick up groceries (not the best analogy). Sometimes lab grade solution and a $500 dollar machine is beyond the means of the casual listener. And while a RCM would be the ideal, there are economical options that will clean your records, be better than playing a dirty record, and won't trash your vinyl.

My cleaning solution consists of this.

8 parts distilled water. [$3-$5]

1 part iso prop alcohol. Buy the highest % you can (don't by the 70% get 90+%) [~$3]

2 small drops of dye/fragrance free dish soap (I think I use Green Works brand) [~$3]

For the records I use:

An osage record brush [$20] - http://www.soundstage.com/editrl/pics/200805_osage_brush.jpg

A Label Saver [$50] - http://www.stephsrecordsale.com/images/groovmaster.jpg

I spoke with the creator of the osage brush at length about cleaning after reading numerous threads on Audio Karma where the advice ranged from 'soap and tap water' to something ajxd would approve of. With most things you get what you pay for. Obviously cleaning a dirty used bin LP with a RCM and ajxd's solution would be the best way to go, but its not the only way to get a clean record in a manner that isn't going to degrade the quality of it.

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Quality of the record isn't the biggest fear. Damage to the stylus is. Every new record needs to be cleaned due to the fungicide used on pressing plant plates, because that fungicide degrades your stylus in multiple ways. Degraded styli can destroy grooves.

If you own 500 records, you can easily estimate that you have spent $3,000. If you're investing that kind of money, you should invest into preserving them.

Yes your analogy was terrible, here's a better one. Don't buy a Ferrari and get it's oil changed at Wal-Mart.

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I understand dudes a scientist and all but thought it would be much cooler to say "hey, I actually helped develop a solution. Check it out here." Rather than going on and on about lab grade chemicals and such. Not to mention, the point about being beyond people's means. Look, that doesn't mean I care any less about my records or stylus bc I would like to pay for things like car insurance than a $500 record cleaner.

And thanks tankerdesk. That's what I was looking for.

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Sorry dudes! Cancer research > audio research.

Here's the biggest issue with home brewed. You want ultra pure water as a base. Like, distilled, triple deionized, autoclaved water. That's hard to get unless you work in a lab. The second biggest issue is the alcohol you use, you want it to also be lab-grade. 99.9% pure. The stuff you buy at CVS is not good, has a lot of extra to it (its diluted with tap water almost!). The 3rd issue is the surfactant... again, lab grade chemical.

Alright, so I work in a lab also and have access to nanopure water and 200 proof alcohol. PM me details! haha

did some research myself - going to try 80% nanopure water 20% pure isopropanol (whatever I can find in the lab and take and a drop of soap. $1 record bin here I come.

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not interested in $500 machines that's just lunacy.
It's not lunacy, It's called taking care of your records. If you can't afford one, or just don't want to pay for one, that is one thing, but RCMs are the best way to make sure your records sound their best and last a long time. A home brew is fine is you don't want to pay for a RCM, I did that for a year or so, it's OK, but I just broke down and bought a RCM, and I can tell you, a home brew and rinse with microfiber cloths just doesn't compare.

I know it's a tough pill to swallow, but with over 1,000 records, 99% of which are used, a RCM is the way to go.

BTW, if you don't mind me asking, what audio equipment are you using for playback of your records?

And ajxd, your comments on this site are right on, both on this thread and the record space pic thread, but you should consider the site your posting on. I just don't think most people here care enough in the first place to even listen to you. Pearls before swine...

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Sorry dudes! Cancer research > audio research.

Here's the biggest issue with home brewed. You want ultra pure water as a base. Like, distilled, triple deionized, autoclaved water. That's hard to get unless you work in a lab. The second biggest issue is the alcohol you use, you want it to also be lab-grade. 99.9% pure. The stuff you buy at CVS is not good, has a lot of extra to it (its diluted with tap water almost!). The 3rd issue is the surfactant... again, lab grade chemical.

Alright, so I work in a lab also and have access to nanopure water and 200 proof alcohol. PM me details! haha

did some research myself - going to try 80% nanopure water 20% pure isopropanol (whatever I can find in the lab and take and a drop of soap. $1 record bin here I come.

Don't use soap. Use a surfactant. I like triton x.

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not interested in $500 machines that's just lunacy.
It's not lunacy, It's called taking care of your records. If you can't afford one, or just don't want to pay for one, that is one thing, but RCMs are the best way to make sure your records sound their best and last a long time. A home brew is fine is you don't want to pay for a RCM, I did that for a year or so, it's OK, but I just broke down and bought a RCM, and I can tell you, a home brew and rinse with microfiber cloths just doesn't compare.

I know it's a tough pill to swallow, but with over 1,000 records, 99% of which are used, a RCM is the way to go.

BTW, if you don't mind me asking, what audio equipment are you using for playback of your records?

And ajxd, your comments on this site are right on, both on this thread and the record space pic thread, but you should consider the site your posting on. I just don't think most people here care enough in the first place to even listen to you. Pearls before swine...

You are correct. There are some people who care and have nice setups buy 95% of the people here have no clue about audio. We all begin somewhere, and I hope I guide some people into the right path.

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First of all, wow, this site.

Secondly, I didn't sign up for the ajxd class on audio. And I'm sorry but I wasn't finding your posts helpful, but more so "I know better"

Im 33 years old, have been buying vinyl for more than half of my life, and simply thought it was a good idea for this thread to get a discussion going about this. I know plenty of very very serious collectors who themselves don't own a RCM. Does that make them less serious of a collector? Do they apparently not truly care about audio care? No way in hell. So to me I just feel like that being presented as the only logical option was kinda ridiculous.

I love records and care about sound but am not an audiophile and probably never will be. I'm happy you were able to develop a cleaning formula and can afford $500 machines to clean your records, but maybe recognize that isn't something everyone is interested in AND that has nothing to do with the seriousness of their record appreciation.

And with that I think done arguing here.

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That escalated quickly...

There's lots of different solutions I think and I guess it just depends on what level you want to take it to. A RCM is great but hand washing will do the trick. I'm a little scared to use wood glue though like some of you lol

Anyone have good experience with something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002UKSZUU/ref=mp_s_a_3?qid=1337483102&sr=8-3

Seems like maybe a good middle ground

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That escalated quickly...

There's lots of different solutions I think and I guess it just depends on what level you want to take it to. A RCM is great but hand washing will do the trick. I'm a little scared to use wood glue though like some of you lol

Anyone have good experience with something like this?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B002UKSZUU/ref=mp_s_a_3?qid=1337483102&sr=8-3

Seems like maybe a good middle ground

we used something similar at my former college radio station, but instead of manual it had a little motor in it that spun the record for you. worked pretty well, but it doesnt seem like that one would do too much more than just a good cleaning with some solution and a brush.

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You can buy Triton at art stores/hobby shops. It won't be the hugest quality, but it's 1 drop per 500mL.

"Kodak's Kodaflow is sometimes recommended as a wetting agent. Do *not* use this as it contains chemicals in addition to surfacants that would leave behind residues bad for both record and stylus. Kodak recommends against this application." an excerpt from that book.

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Quality of the record isn't the biggest fear. Damage to the stylus is. Every new record needs to be cleaned due to the fungicide used on pressing plant plates, because that fungicide degrades your stylus in multiple ways. Degraded styli can destroy grooves.

If you own 500 records, you can easily estimate that you have spent $3,000. If you're investing that kind of money, you should invest into preserving them.

Yes your analogy was terrible, here's a better one. Don't buy a Ferrari and get it's oil changed at Wal-Mart.

That must be one shit collection if your average record is 6 bucks.

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This thread seriously seems like a place where people have come to show how smart they are and how great they can brag about their chemical knowledge. I suppose it's like that with any hobby, but dammit.

On topic, I have a spin clean yellow thing, and it works great; I use micro-fiber cloths to dry and a mix of alcohol/dish soap/distilled water for really dirty records. It works great for me. I've also got an anti-static brush I use after and before playing records.

In other news, shit's whack.

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People have different ways of doing things, and people have preferences. Lets leave it at that guys.

This thread has been pretty useful, I'm planning on hitting up some craigslist bulk record sales, and I wanted to make sure to clean them correctly so they wouldn't be damaging my needle. Any better suggestions then craigslisting? Ebay perhaps?

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