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  1. #1
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    Snap Crackle Pop

    I recently acquired my first turntable in 45 years - a gently used Music Hall 9.1 with a Grado Prestige Gold cart. I set it up last night and went to the local thrift shop today to pick up a couple of albums ( I lost all of mine in a flood years ago).

    I also bought a Spin Clean and tried to select albums in what appeared to begood condition. I found one album (Maria Muldauer - Midnight at the Oasis) that was still sealed ( punched corner - I remember these used to be called remaindered). The other was used - Joni Mitchell Shadows and Light)

    I followed the Spin Clean instructions and then played each album.

    I have to say I was amazed at the sonic quality - I never heard an album sound so good. I am hooked.

    But the quiet sections were full of noise, despite the cleaning and what appeared to be scratch free records. Very little on the remaindered album but quite a bit on the other. The level varied as well.

    Did I not clean them well enough? Did I create some sort of static interference (I do not yet have an anti-static brush, but have ordered one). Any advice wouldbe greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    That is a mystery to me as well. Some of it can be record wear, groove damage. You can also play with the tracking weight a bit to see if that helps. Cartridges give a recommended tracking range and depending on your table and equipment where it sounds best can vary. I've got some records that sound quiet and some are noisy the exact reason I'm not quite sure.

    I bought a brand new 200 gram, 45 rpm, high quality pressing. I thought I'd run it through my VPI cleaner to remove any particals, now I'm kicking myself because it sounds worse. On this one I think it may just be static that won't go away for some reason because it's more of a pop than surface type noise. The carbon fiber brush is supposed to eliminate the static but I guess it doesn't. I'm hoping the cleaning brush for the machine didn't scratch.

    It's one of those things us analog lovers just have to live with. I will say used records are usually the worst unless you buy from someone who really took care of them.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Those of us who live in colder climates with furnaces running and the air becoming drier suffer with more static. I find vinyl to be quieter in the warm humid summer months.

    I do not clean new records other than with a dry brush to remove any visual dust and debris.

    It seems the quality of vinyl can also effect the amount of noise. Manufacturing of records such as Mobile Fidelity who did not dehorn the stampers and the records would become quieter as they were played. Welcome to the many variables of vinyl records.

    Yes they are worth all the trouble and frustration.
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Some of it could just be surface or recording noise. It could also be static. I use a carbon fiber brush on all my records when I play them. Similar to this-

    Audio Advisor

    A cork platter mat will also help with static.

    I also keep a can of compressed air by my TT and blow off any dust or lint from the record.

    Invest in a digital stylus force gauge. I bought this one but there are cheaper ones-

    Electronics Stylus Force Gauge for Phono Cartridge | eBay
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael View Post
    Those of us who live in colder climates with furnaces running and the air becoming drier suffer with more static. I find vinyl to be quieter in the warm humid summer months.

    I do not clean new records other than with a dry brush to remove any visual dust and debris.

    It seems the quality of vinyl can also effect the amount of noise. Manufacturing of records such as Mobile Fidelity who did not dehorn the stampers and the records would become quieter as they were played. Welcome to the many variables of vinyl records.

    Yes they are worth all the trouble and frustration.
    Well normally I would say the cold is a contributing factor, but I was in my hottub last night in suburban Boston. Viva El Nino!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Some of it could just be surface or recording noise. It could also be static. I use a carbon fiber brush on all my records when I play them. Similar to this-

    Audio Advisor

    A cork platter mat will also help with static.

    I also keep a can of compressed air by my TT and blow off any dust or lint from the record.

    Invest in a digital stylus force gauge. I bought this one but there are cheaper ones-

    Electronics Stylus Force Gauge for Phono Cartridge | eBay
    What is the benefit of a force guage in this circumstance? Or in general? I have also seen discussions about static guns. Are these worthwhile. So far, I purchased a Spin Clean, a carbon fiber anti-static brush, new replacement inner sleeves and a Zerodust stylus cleaner. The TT came with an Extreme Phono Speed Mat ( material is similar to rubber shelf liner). Are there other "essential tools" I should buy?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjtm View Post
    What is the benefit of a force guage in this circumstance? Or in general? I have also seen discussions about static guns. Are these worthwhile. So far, I purchased a Spin Clean, a carbon fiber anti-static brush, new replacement inner sleeves and a Zerodust stylus cleaner. The TT came with an Extreme Phono Speed Mat ( material is similar to rubber shelf liner). Are there other "essential tools" I should buy?
    Actually the mat is an Extreme Phono None Felt mat

  8. #8
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Mat's can change the sound a bit. A cork mat can help with resonance and static. Rubber and felt mats are not so good for static.

    A stylus force gauge is useful in dialing in the correct stylus force. It is not something that you have to have.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
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    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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  9. #9
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Cleaning records especially new records can be tough. First....you have to have a very good record cleaning fluid. Then you have to vacuum that junk off. And its best to get some anti static record sleeves to put them in. If you've a spin clean, like I have, then I can tell you....drying them with those cloths aren't helping at all. I also have a record doctor to vacuum the water and all the junk that's still on the record. In my music room, I close the vents as not to get any static from the heat.

    Also, remember...you have to have a properly set cartridge. If not, you will hear noise. I had some noise and went back and re-did everything. You really have to have the over hang just right. You also have to get the VTA and the Azimuth right as well. IF the cart isn't set properly, you will hear record grove noise and you can ruin your vinyl as well as your cart. This is also the danger of buying used records...you dont know if they had the cart set properly when you buy. They you get home and play it and you can hear the wear and tare.

    Also, the phono amp makes a huge difference as well. Some of the better phono amps wont even transfer some of the noise because they have a very dark back ground.

    I know you've just got the table, but that arm can take some very nice cartridges. You might want to spend some time over at Vinylengine.com and learn about turntables and proper set up if you need it.

    As great as some of the best DSD DACs cost and as great as they sound...you can get better sound from a great TT setup at half the cost of some of the expensive dacs out there. The trick is to get the cart set up correctly....make sure you have a great cart as well, then you must get a great phono amp. Once you get those, then you can't be shopping at good will or thrift stores for vinyl and hope to clean it up with a record machine like a lot of guys....no, if you can buy new vinyl...perhaps 180G and make sure you learn how to clean them properly and put them away into anti static record sleeves so they wont get static. Once you learn the ART of vinyl, you will enjoy it even more.

    I've just purchase a new phono amp, the Musical Surroundings Phenomena ll+ and I have a 2M Black cartridge on a Music Hall MMF-7.1 turntable and the music is just outstanding...its like I have a new record collection.....I only buy new albums and its like all high rez sounding.

    Good luck to you in your new journey into vinyl.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Cleaning records especially new records can be tough. First....you have to have a very good record cleaning fluid. Then you have to vacuum that junk off. And its best to get some anti static record sleeves to put them in. If you've a spin clean, like I have, then I can tell you....drying them with those cloths aren't helping at all. I also have a record doctor to vacuum the water and all the junk that's still on the record. In my music room, I close the vents as not to get any static from the heat.

    Also, remember...you have to have a properly set cartridge. If not, you will hear noise. I had some noise and went back and re-did everything. You really have to have the over hang just right. You also have to get the VTA and the Azimuth right as well. IF the cart isn't set properly, you will hear record grove noise and you can ruin your vinyl as well as your cart. This is also the danger of buying used records...you dont know if they had the cart set properly when you buy. They you get home and play it and you can hear the wear and tare.

    Also, the phono amp makes a huge difference as well. Some of the better phono amps wont even transfer some of the noise because they have a very dark back ground.

    I know you've just got the table, but that arm can take some very nice cartridges. You might want to spend some time over at Vinylengine.com and learn about turntables and proper set up if you need it.

    As great as some of the best DSD DACs cost and as great as they sound...you can get better sound from a great TT setup at half the cost of some of the expensive dacs out there. The trick is to get the cart set up correctly....make sure you have a great cart as well, then you must get a great phono amp. Once you get those, then you can't be shopping at good will or thrift stores for vinyl and hope to clean it up with a record machine like a lot of guys....no, if you can buy new vinyl...perhaps 180G and make sure you learn how to clean them properly and put them away into anti static record sleeves so they wont get static. Once you learn the ART of vinyl, you will enjoy it even more.

    I've just purchase a new phono amp, the Musical Surroundings Phenomena ll+ and I have a 2M Black cartridge on a Music Hall MMF-7.1 turntable and the music is just outstanding...its like I have a new record collection.....I only buy new albums and its like all high rez sounding.

    Good luck to you in your new journey into vinyl.
    Thanks for the input. I have decided to principally stick with new vinyl. I am trying to be selective and purchase albums that are noted for their pressing quality. Fortunately, much of the music I like seems to be on good vinyl.

    Word got around in my office about my TT acquisition, and I recieved 7 new albums as Christmas gifts (plus another 8 used), The weekend was tough on my wallet as I ordered another 15. As much of the Dylan and Rolling Stones catalogue are on SACD, I am limiting the LP versions, but did buy both Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street as 180G LP's. Other artists include Jack White ( has his own vinyl factory), Seasick Steve, Miles Davis, Roseanne Cash, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin, Boz Scaggs, Richard Thompson, Neil Young, Black Keys, Michael Hedges,and Funkadelic. Also a couple of classical recordings. This should hold me for a week or so.

    I understand the need for proper cleaning and have been using the Spin Clean on all records before playing. I do not have a dedicated vacuum, but was planning to make one of the DIY vacuum attachments I have seen on youtube. I did by the MOFI inner sleeves and have replaced all paper sleeves. Currently I just dry with microfiber towels.

    Not sure if you think the Spin Clean cleaner is adquate or if there is something better. I have read about mold release agent, and not sure if Spin Clean gets this out.

    Given the variety of lp thicknesses ranging from 120g to 200g, I am not sure how to address this with cartridge setup. Do I need to adjust VTA each time to account for this? (seems overboard). With my eyesight I can barely see the stylus so setting it up accurately is a crapshoot. I was told by the fellow I bought the TT from that it was set up properly, and he was a pretty fussy guy. But he also had not used it for a while.
    Last edited by sjtm; 12-28-2015 at 09:22 PM.

  11. #11
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Good Morning! I've been up from about 6am playing records in my 2 channel room!

    I don't want to send the wrong idea about buying used. Some places have a grading scale, but no one is on the same page. So pretty much its all new unless I buy from Dusty Grove Records. https://www.dustygroove.com/ I've gotten a lot of near mint from them. Also Acoustic Sounds has some great used/preowned records. Preowned Vinyl Record|Acoustic Sounds But these little mom and pops stores selling used...I stay away unless I can eyeball them before I buy. With the right angle and light, you can see record grove distortion.

    Some guys complain about the Spin Clean. But actually, the SC is very good if one has a method. After about ten washings, I dump the water and rinse out the SC. If I've let it sit to long, I dump the water and rinse it out. Keep the brushes and rollers clean. Also, get one of the best cleaning fluids you can get. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Super Deep Cleaner (16 Oz) and also Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Pure Record Rinse (32 Oz)

    There are some others on that page you might want to look at.

    IF you have the Spin Clean...you might also do great by adding the Record doctor cleaner/Vacuum machine. Record Doctor V Record Cleaning Machine US 115v-Audio Advisor

    I have both and they server me very well. A good bath in the spin clean, then a quick scrub with the Record doctor and vac and its all done. I can do one album in less than 3 minutes.

    I play 120, 180 and 200G records. No need to change unless you can do it on the fly. I can't do it on the fly and I have no problems with sound quality or cartridge problems. Most of my vinyl is 180G, but as I said no issues whatsoever.

    IF you have a Music Hall I can assure you, the measurement from the arm to the spindle is set already, so no need to worry about that. What you do want to worry about is the way the cartridge is sitting in the head shell. You want the over hang as well as the balance to be correct with the proper tracking force for the cart. You may want to invest into a good magnifying glass as well as a clip on light for those times you have to deal with cartridges and the needles. Once you get a little more skilled with the carts,,,you can invest into a microscope.

    What phono amp are you using and whats the rest of your gear/room?

    Byron.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    W10 i5 Quad core processor 8GB RAM/Jriver 20/ Fidelizer Optimizer/ iFI Micro DSD DAC-iUSB 3.0/Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/MS Phenomena ll+/Canton Vento 830.2

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