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Is LP wear a myth?

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reubensm

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Interesting article. From my personal experience, record wear is very subjective. When one mentions records in India, from the 1950s and 1960, in all probability, there were played on record players or changers with "heavy" tracking (VTF usually well over 7 grams). Also since the amplification was generally simple and listening, non-critical, styli would often be in use well after their wear thresholds were crossed. Hence, if you are buying older records in India, you'd generally find a lot more wear on them. Overall, record wear is strongly influenced by how they are played and on what they are played. For example, "Dirty" records wear faster.

But to come back to the context of the article, yes in theory records will wear with each session of play. I have read articles of audiophiles being able to hear an increase in background noise with time, caused by wear. In my opinion, to hear such a minute difference, you'd need to use highly sensitive MC carts and high-end equipment. My dad's oldest record is from the 1950s and to me, it sounds just the way I've heard it playing all these years :)
 
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prem

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I have been into vinyl for nearly 3 years now. So far i have not heard any deterioration in sound quality.

Getting good quality Bollywood records is a real problem. 95% of the stuff available is junk. Almost all of them have pop, crackle and some inner groove distortion. To get ones without any of those problems and to have the dynamics intact, you need to pay big money unless you luck out. I have heard the same title costing from Rs 100 to Rs 300 to Rs 600 to Rs 1000. Between the Rs 100 and the Rs 300 one there is practically no difference. The 600 one sounds a bit better. The 1000 one is a keeper. Immaculate RD Burman titles with no loss of dynamics and pretty much super quiet will cost in excess of Rs 2000.
 

Hari Iyer

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Recently i tried cleaning my records using "Collins liquid soap spray" and found them to be 100% effective in cleaning records. I have noticed that casual cleaning will not help. You need to scrub them with a micro-fibre cloth (similar to how you scrub your utensil while washing them) and VIOLA they sound as good as new.

I have also done the following calibrations / cleaning of my Dual player,

1. Aligned the tone arm to be exactly horizontal with the base.
2. Cleaned the cartridge joining the tonearm with alcohol.
3. Cleaned the stylus joining the cartridge with alcohol.
4. Adjusted the counter weight with precision.
5. Adjusted the anti-skating to prevent drag of the tone-arm using a "Blank" portion of one of the records. The anti-skating markings in the player can be wrong after years of wear and tear.
6. Added the correct weight of around 1.4grams for the cartridge.
7. I have also added a ferrite core to the RCA cable from the TT to my phono input stage to cancel out all RF & EMI noise (if any) getting induced by other heavy transformers close to the TT. There is quite a significant reduction in noise floor due to this.

The above activity consumed almost and entire day on a weekend but the outcome is more than satisfactory. I now am listening to vinyls daily with no hiss, pop or scratches which was not the case earlier.

Cheers,
 

reubensm

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I have also added a ferrite core to the RCA cable from the TT to my phono input stage to cancel out all RF & EMI noise (if any) getting induced by other heavy transformers close to the TT. There is quite a significant reduction in noise floor due to this.
Brilliant innovation Hari, can you share some further light on the design and placement within the chain. What kind of ferrite core have you used? The same type used in regular baluns, I would assume?
 

navinsinha

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Recently i tried cleaning my records using "Collins liquid soap spray" and found them to be 100% effective in cleaning records. I have noticed that casual cleaning will not help. You need to scrub them with a micro-fibre cloth (similar to how you scrub your utensil while washing them) and VIOLA they sound as good as new.

I have also done the following calibrations / cleaning of my Dual player,

1. Aligned the tone arm to be exactly horizontal with the base.
2. Cleaned the cartridge joining the tonearm with alcohol.
3. Cleaned the stylus joining the cartridge with alcohol.
4. Adjusted the counter weight with precision.
5. Adjusted the anti-skating to prevent drag of the tone-arm using a "Blank" portion of one of the records. The anti-skating markings in the player can be wrong after years of wear and tear.
6. Added the correct weight of around 1.4grams for the cartridge.
7. I have also added a ferrite core to the RCA cable from the TT to my phono input stage to cancel out all RF & EMI noise (if any) getting induced by other heavy transformers close to the TT. There is quite a significant reduction in noise floor due to this.

The above activity consumed almost and entire day on a weekend but the outcome is more than satisfactory. I now am listening to vinyls daily with no hiss, pop or scratches which was not the case earlier.

Cheers,
Hi Hari,
Do you wash the records with distilled water after using Colins, or only Colins spray and scrub?
 

prem

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Ferrite cuts high frequency noise at the expense of dynamics. You will hear much less pop and crackle but the life also gets sucked out
 

Hari Iyer

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Hi Hari,
Do you wash the records with distilled water after using Colins, or only Colins spray and scrub?
Collins spray itself is 75% distilled water + 25% alcohol with 1% dish washing soap, so you will not require to again clean with distilled water. You will need to use a good quality micro fibre cloth for cleaning as other materials could cause scratches due to hard scrubbing.
 
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Hari Iyer

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Brilliant innovation Hari, can you share some further light on the design and placement within the chain. What kind of ferrite core have you used? The same type used in regular baluns, I would assume?
I have 3 sources with me tape deck, TT, CD Player, Also I am using a pre amplifier to connect to my tubes, I have clubbed all the RCA cables and passed them through the ferrite votes longitudinally. I have not twisted them at all as this is a special kind of locable ferrite core found in High end power supply circuits. You can also try with other ferrite materials found in SMPS or RF/ EMI filters, Will try and post a image later.
 
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Hari Iyer

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Ferrite cuts high frequency noise at the expense of dynamics. You will hear much less pop and crackle but the life also gets sucked out
Not sure about this, I think the pops and cracks vanished more due to TT alignment and record cleaning and the ferrite helped to remove the static noise which was present near the stylus. I t was evident when turning off and this noise is now gone, I implemented the ferrite only last week but the alignments and cleaning were done a month ago.
 

Hiten

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I guess ferrite core only blocks high frequency noise interference which are generally outside audio band. No experience of its effects on sound quality though.
Regards.
 

jls001

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I've been following a thread on diyaudio where Mr Frank Schroder, the famous tonearm designer, mentioned the importance of correct alignment. For example, a 12" arm which is supposed to have inherently lower tracing errors due to its longer length, will have the same tracing errors as a 9" arm, if the offset angle is off by as little as 0.3 degrees.

And that's just one parameter to get right.

Another important point he mentioned was to measure VTF at record surface level, and not higher. I think this is especially true when using unipivots with cartridges that have special stylus profiles that are sensitive to SRA and VTF.

Another critical adjustment to make is to correct the over hang if VTA if raised or lowered by 3 mm, as changing VTA by this much changes over hang significantly.

To get back to the subject, my experience is that records definitely wear and degrade with play. My favourite records certainly have! No wonder I'm always looking out for better copies of these titles. But at the same time, some 50s and 60s records in my collection still sound very good. I think the trick is to clean the records periodically, clean stylus, align cartridge properly, set correct VTA and VTF.
 

Thad E Ginathom

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Re: Is LP wear a myth?

Of course it isn't --- as the article itself states, making it rather a silly title.

How much wear there is depends on variables that cannot known in advance. How much wear is acceptable is also a completely unknowable.

Afterthought...

The incremental wear on a well-cared-for, carefully handled LP, played on a well-set-up and equally well-cared-for turntable, is possible negligible. None the less, it is there, just like we age every day, but no single day is noticeable. (Well, some days are).

It's a labour of love, and it rewards those willing to put in the work. Follow the advice given, and you too may well be one of those who don't notice the wearing.

Lord, I was born a digital man... (Apologies to the Allman Bros). Vinyl is probably the worst medium in the world for people like me who obsessively play the same thing over and over and don't get fed up with it until long after every body else has.


~
 
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sunder

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5. Adjusted the anti-skating to prevent drag of the tone-arm using a "Blank" portion of one of the records. The anti-skating markings in the player can be wrong after years of wear and tear.

Hi Hari, you mean that the 'Blank' portion: Before of the first track of the record? Please clarify. Thank you.
Regards,
Sundar.
 

Hari Iyer

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5. Adjusted the anti-skating to prevent drag of the tone-arm using a "Blank" portion of one of the records. The anti-skating markings in the player can be wrong after years of wear and tear.

Hi Hari, you mean that the 'Blank' portion: Before of the first track of the record? Please clarify. Thank you.
Regards,
Sundar.
I have one original sound track record where there is only two song on side B and the rest of the record is 'Blank'. This portion should be used to setup the anti-skating. When the anti-skating is precise then the tone-arm should also not move when playing this blank section either forward or backward. If it does either ways you need to adjust the anti-skating to make them precise and not to move. There are some videos in youtube explaining how to do this in detail.

If you have contacts you can get 'Blank' records from some DJs in studio.
 

sunder

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I have one original sound track record where there is only two song on side B and the rest of the record is 'Blank'. This portion should be used to setup the anti-skating. When the anti-skating is precise then the tone-arm should also not move when playing this blank section either forward or backward. If it does either ways you need to adjust the anti-skating to make them precise and not to move. There are some videos in youtube explaining how to do this in detail.

If you have contacts you can get 'Blank' records from some DJs in studio.
Thank you Hari. But, as technically, how should we call this type of records when we search for this to get one? Was it available commercially in record stores as the accessory to set up TTs? or these were available only for studios on those days? Thank you.
sundar.
 
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