Deep-Groove Record Cleaning

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Deep-Groove Record Cleaning

Postby thorn10 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:23 pm

One of the things I recently added to my arsenal for my ongoing vinyl restoration project was some deep-groove record cleaner. It's called the Disc Doctor's Miracle Record Cleaner, "For the Sound Your Thought You Bought." When I first came across it I thought it sounded rather like snake oil. But the testimonials I read were quite convincing, and I've been able to obtain encouraging results.

When I first started using it I would record (sample) an LP into the PC prior to throwing the cleaning chemicals on it. This was just in case the cleaner made things worse. I now trust that it does not add any noticeable residue to the disc surface, and does quite a good job of removing debris from the groove. For comparison I compared the number of clicks detected by Wavecor on one side of a record, using a click detection level of 2. The number of clicks was reduced from 4,093 to 2,401, before and after cleaning. That's a reduction approaching 50%.

Unfortunately many of the clicks one hears on a record are flaws and damage to the groove walls. These cannot of course be removed using cleaner. Depending on the quality of the vinyl material, I've concluded that micro fissures develop in the groove over time. I heard somewhere that this is due to the elastomers in vinyl material drying out. Apparently this phenomena is acerbated by the past use of isopropyl alcohol for record cleaning. For about five years I used a cleaning cloth slightly dampened with a 50/50 mix of demineralized water and isopropyl alcohol. I often wonder if this added to the deterioration of some records in my collection. But then LPs I have borrowed on occasion are often just as bad. Clicks also seem to be more prominent in the left channel than the right. This may be because the left wall of the groove is on the outside radius of the record and the right wall on the inside. Thus one is in slight traction, and the other under slight compression. Of course this is just my postulation.

Overall my restoration process hasn't got any quicker, but my results and standards have continued to improve. The improvement is enough for me to consider reprocessing one or two of the early LPs I did. As they say, one pays for education one way or another.

If you're interested in the Miracle Record Cleaner you can visit the Disc Doctor's web site.

I toyed with the idea of purchasing a vacuum style cleaner; specifically the one manufactured by Nitty Gritty. However, these machines are quite a expensive, and I was unable to justify the cost. As it happens the Miracle Record Cleaner seems to work quite well. The only drawback is that one has to air dry the records for at least half an hour prior to playing them. Also playing the record through at least once prior to sampling it into the PC provides a slight further improvement. I now only use isopropyl alcohol to occasionally clean sticky debris off the stylus.
Comments always welcome!

Chris Thornton
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Location: Illinois, USA

Postby chaswin » Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:46 am

I've been using the disc doctor kit for quite a few months and agree with your comments.

The only problem I have is deciding at what point to flush the contaminated fluid from the LP surface. The brochure suggests using tissues to clean off the fluid prior to repeating the cleaning process with distilled water, but I prefer to use a trigger bottle to spray distilled water onto the surface and rinse off. I then use the pads and distilled water and rinse again. Bit more expensive but possibly a cleaner result.

When dry, the velvet pads supplied with the kit are also very useful for cleaning the surface of an LP prior to playing.
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Postby citguy » Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:21 pm

Having finished archiving most of my tape recordings I am now on my vinyl collection. Lots of "boxed collections". Am using up my 'discwasher D4' fluid rapidly. Have made a batch of 'disc-doctor fluid' and will try soon. Don't forget to add the tiniest amount of liquid soap to break 'surface tension'. It doesn't take more than one drop or so to do the trick. You do not want a "soapy solution" just enough to produce a bubble or two when shaken. I have wondered if the "new" 'microfiber' cloths that are on the market not would make good 'wipers' for the grooves. They are cheap and have amazing cleaning ability on glass etc. Has anyone tried them? The material on the original discwasher pads seems to be an early type of microfiber. By the way, after doing hundreds of tapes, vinyl is a nothing if not easy. The new version of WC works flawlessly if the records aren't distressed.

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Postby glangston » Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:51 pm

I have a friend that wanted me to digitize some albums that were done by her brother, (Rhett Sanborn) in Sweden. He was a fairly well known performer there in the 70's but his music had never made it to CD. One record had some foreign matter on it and with just the miracle cloth (micro-fiber) and some distilled water it cleaned up rather nicely. I was so impressed I used it on the other 4 albums and it seemed to do the trick. I'm not a user of the software here but I have digitized quite a few albums and nearly bought one of the record cleaning machines. I now think that the micro fiber and water may do for most purposes.

I've used these micro fiber cloths for a lot of special cleaning and they're very useful. Stainless steel appliances, glasses, auto glass.
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playing distressed LPs

Postby Bruce Comfort » Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:20 pm

In my opinion, the best way to reduce surface noise from dirty LPs is to play them wet! Seriously. I have a small soft artists brush mounted on my tone arm that trails with its tips in the record grooves and I play my LPs for digitising with a thin surface layer of water with a small amount of soft handsoap distributed on them. The needle is lubricated and I can't detect loss of frequency response. I think nearly 80% of the clicks disappear this way. There are disadvantages of course, the records need to be rinsed in clean water and dried (air dried only - no wiping!) and sometimes a small amount of water is flung off the surface onto the deck - but I've been doing this for 20 years (same deck - same tone arm and cartridge) with no ill effects. Long before I purchased Wave Corrector. Not a process for a klutz, but with care it is well worth the effort. email me for photos.
Bruce Comfort
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Location: Oamaru New Zealand

Postby Glenn » Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:39 am


I believe wet vacuum systems provide the best means for cleaning a record. They are rediculously expensive so I rigged my own setup that is simple but works fairly well. One might be able to find a cleaning service locally that uses one of these machines for a reasonable fee. Bang-for-buck though, the deepest cleaning comes at the tip of a bottle of wood glue. I have to admit that I'm doing this treatment more and more. Be careful though, it has to be done right. More info can be found here:

For platter-top maintenance I find the Nagaoka Rolling 152 to be the most effective at removing dust, but it generates quite a bit of static during use. To alleviate this I use my trusty Zerostat. It's a little pricey but good value; mine's over 30 years old (it's 'Made In England'!) and still works perfectly.

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