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Wave Corrector Users • View topic - Recording vinyl - wet or dry?

Recording vinyl - wet or dry?

This forum is for discussing Wave Corrector, audio projects, tips & tricks etc.

Moderator: Derek

Recording vinyl - wet or dry?

Postby deadpoirotsketch » Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:21 am

Anybody got an opinion on this?

I record my vinyl wet using a mix of deionised water and iso-propyl alcohol (=propan-2-ol or iso-propoanol). I convince myself that there is less surface noise this way. I imagine that nasties in the groove are loosened and floated free and the passage of the stylus and cantilever is lubricated, resulting in less frictional wear too.

On the other hand, when the vinyl dries there is a possibility that the nasties stick in the grooves. Maybe the apparent decrease in surface noise is simply that the increased viscosity of liquid around the stylus and cantilever makes it less responsive to high frequency oscillations in the groove, damping them out, so all I am really doing is cutting the high end!

Also if the water and iso-propyl alcohol are not completely residue free on evaporation I could be leaving more nasties in the grooves.

Unless I pay out £100+ for a still and make my own distilled water, it doesn't seem possible to buy distilled water these days. Model shops will sell you Hornby Distilled Water at £5 a litre, or you can get deionised water at about £3 for 3 litres from Halfords or smaller bottles from Superdrug. I don't really trust deionised water even when it claims to be residue free - is it really as pure as distilled water?

What are the best mix proportions for cleaning records or playing them wet? Is adding a very tiny amount of detergent a good or bad thing?

If we are digitising vinyl so we can dispose of the vinyl, I don't suppose it matters too much if we damage it once we have got the information from the grooves, but if we want to sell it then maybe we want to avoid damage. Is it true iso-propanol leaches plasticisers out of the vinyl or is it scare story?

Lastly, I read in the news recently that as polyvinylchloride is made using biproducts of olefin cracking to make fuels by the petroleum industry, and there was a change in demand for various fuels, the petroleum industry has given notice to the record companies that PVC will no longer be available for making records in a few years time. Is this really the end of analog disks or will audiophile demand mean records will be made from some substitute material instead? Reminds me of Neil Innes' Recycled Vinyl Blues.... Maybe the expense of playing vinyl will steadily increase when there is no fresh vinyl to be had and a niche market shrinks away...

I hope that lot will stir up some discussion!
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Postby citguy » Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:36 pm

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Postby Glenn » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:02 am

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Vinyl

Postby deadpoirotsketch » Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:16 pm

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Postby bokusman » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:07 am

All these things are wonderful to read, but if I may put in my 2 bobs worth. There has been a lot of discussion about wet playing causing damage, but I must say that my little ear cannot detect any damage to the high frequency nor do I hear any increase in surface noise, quite the reverse. This is after I have put my LP to rest for a couple of years after wet playing and returned it to my turntable. If someone would be so kind and show me the evidence to back up the theory, preferably seen through a high powered microscope. I have been around vinyl since the early 50s and I've been looking into the grooves of records with the microscope of my cutting lathe. I've owned Kieth Monks cleaning machines and used the best audiofile reproduction equipment. I can't hear the damage but then again my ears are starting to roll off a bit as I am a bit older than the first ever microgroove. Can any of you honestly say the evidence is there to match the theory?
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Postby Glenn » Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:51 pm

Hi bokusman, welcome to the fold.

I for one can't say it because my experience with wet playing is quite limited, which is why I rely on the published testimonials of experts who make their living in the field. Referring to the book mentioned in my previous post on this topic, on pg. 889 regarding stylus-groove interactions, the author states:

"If liquids are used to cool the contact area, then the diamond wear diminishes drastically......If the liquid is applied to the vinyl surface, then the temperature of the plastic surface cannot increase and melt; therefore, the scouring of the groove wall can be observed, as shown in Fig. 23-118."

The caption provided for the accompanying photo however, makes no mention of wet playback.

The bottom line for me is simply that wet playback is not recommended at any level in the industry, including the the vinyl and pick-up manufacturers. I tried wet playback once many years ago on one record and observed a reduction in surface noise, but my experience left me wondering what else was reduced. Emperically, these things always involve trade-offs of some kind, and the notion that one can achieve an enhanced level of performance without compromise by applying tricks proposed by lay audiophiles sounds more like a pipe dream to me.

In the end, I don't think the practice is valid if no authority is willing to endorse it, and I certainly won't risk any possibe damage to my expensive playback equipment for the sake of an experiment I see can at best give mixed results. Given that the technology exists as is, and delivers excellent fidelity that way, why would anybody attempt to 'improve' on it, except possibly to make up for some deficiency elsewhere.

I gather you're a proponent of wet playing, and have the experience and equipment to back up your position. I'm curious to know your reasons for advocating it.

Glenn
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Postby bokusman » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:41 am

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