First turntable, Static Question - AT-LP120

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by catalinawinemixer, Apr 29, 2016.

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  1. catalinawinemixer

    catalinawinemixer New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Florida
    Hi first time turntable owner here- I purchased and setup an Audio‑Technica AT-LP120-USB through line/auxiliary. I calibrated everything via the manual’s instructions and replaced the felt mat with a leather mat (Jake’s Leather Turntable Mat from Amazon.)

    1) While I am very pleased with the overall sound quality, there is a very noticeable and constant static background noise. For example, during the beginning and ending of songs (when the music is low,) you can hear the static over the song. These are brand new records that I purchased and wiped clean with anti-static fluid before playing.

    Any recommendations on what I can do to eliminate some of the static noise?

    2) Should I place the leather mat directly on the platter, or on top of the felt mat that came with the turntable?

    The reason I am asking is because this leather mat is actually thinner than the felt one, and the vertical adjustment on the turntable is already at zero so I do not believe I can lower the tone arm anymore? Is the width difference insignificant enough to where it shouldn’t matter?

    FYI this is the mat- Amazon.com: Premium Leather Deer Hide Turntable Mat: Musical Instruments »

    Your opinions are greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
     
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Are you talking about static as in static electricity, or are you talking about surface noise on the lead-in and run-out groove?
     
  3. catalinawinemixer

    catalinawinemixer New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Florida
    I am assuming it is surface noise? Sorry, I am completely new to record playing. If it were static electricity, would it be present even when the stylus is not touching the vinyl? Because this static I am referring to is whenever the stylus is touching the record... wondering if it is just the records (even though they are new?) Someone else is telling me that new doesn't equal clean.
     
  4. StuJM84

    StuJM84 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    Im also a 1St time tt owner, and had horrendous static build up with my LP's during play when using a felt matt and the matt always came off attached to the records. However it was rectified as I put on a Cork matt on the platter and the records on that for play, the felt one isnt used anymore.

    Are you sure its not just pops and crackles of dust in the grooves? Even new LPs can have that. Do you use brush to give a quick clean before play?

    I wouldn't personally place the matts on each other by the way, no idea if you should or not.
     
  5. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Is this your first turntable? Some surface noise during the lead-in and runout grooves is completely normal. This is true even on a record that is very well pressed and cleaned on an RCM. To your other point, new records are often dirty from the factory, and cleaning them with a velvet brush and a little bottle of fluid isn't going to do the trick.
     
  6. New records in general can have huge amounts of static, dont use fluids, get an 100% polyester microfleece to wipe your records after play.

    Polyester does wonders with static because it gets charged with - static symbol (with friction) therefore absorbing whatever + there is on the record along with the microdust and the chemichals from the pressing that the needle breaks into tiny white dust.

    Just rub the sides once in a clockwise motion and dont worry about scratches because it is safe.

    I have tested rubbing with force on an old record and it doesn't even make lines.
     
  7. Exactly, new records equal very dirty with lots of dust and chemichals from the pressing, and very static, many new records are hard to get out the inner sleeve because they are stuck on it by the electricity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
    patient_ot likes this.
  8. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I don't want to get too far into a cleaning debate here because no one can really agree on the best way to clean records. My take is this: if you're buying vinyl, eventually you will want to buy used vinyl and new vinyl should have a cleaning as well. That means getting a wet record cleaning system of some type, even if it's a Spin Clean, is worth doing. If you can afford a vac-based RCM, get one. There are affordable ones now like the Record Doctor, KAB EV-1, and the Squeaky Clean Mark III. If you can afford to buy a VPI 16.5 or Okki Nokki, get one of those.

    Re: microfiber cloths, I hate those things. No matter which ones you get IME, they will shed fibers onto the record which will eventually end up on the stylus. It can be a pain to clean off as well, even if you have a Zerodust style stylus cleaner or a stylus brush.

     
  9. I dint say anything about microfiber, i suggested an 100% polyester microfleece (cut from a scarf or from an old shirt), they shed ZERO fibers and the result is so perfect (on records that dont need wet cleaning) that it can make any RCM useless.

    Try it yourself and see what happens.
     
  10. JamesD1957

    JamesD1957 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cypress, Texas
    I have that same turntable. I think you'll like it! A couple of suggestions: 1. Get a Spin Clean. Use it according to instructions, but instead of towel drying, just let the records dry in a rack. I do this with new and older records. One bath usually gets the job done. I let the records dry a few hours. Do not play them right out of the bath! 2. Get a Magic Eraser. Yes, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Make sure it doesn't have additives, just the eraser. Cut off a small square, and with the turntable and receiver off, place the square on the not moving turntable and use the cue lever to just "dip" the stylus up and down a few times. Five or six, really doesn't matter. This will keep the stylus clean. Do NOT try to pull or push with this! Just dip they stylus straight up and down into the eraser. I do this once a week or so. 3. The last thing I do, not really sure if it helps but it sure seems to, I use a carbon fiber brush. I just let the brush GENTLY touch a spinning record. I keep the brush stationary, and after two or three revolutions I lift the brush slowly up, never dragging it to the edge. I do this every time I play a record.

    This method has really worked wonders with my record collection. Noisy, static filled records are now quiet, or at least VERY noticeably quieter. It will not help damaged records, at least not much anyway. It's a very budget conscious way to get great sound. Your mileage may vary! By the way, if you have a lot of records you intend to clean, and you decide to get a Spin Clean, get the one that has the extra large bottle of solution and extra brushes. It'll save you some money in the long run!
     
  11. nolazep

    nolazep I drink and I know things

    (1) Make sure your cart is properly aligned, (2) consider some kind of cleaning device/machine, and (3) consider a Thunderon conductive brush or a Zerostat gun to remove any static on the record before & after playing.
     
  12. RingoStarr39

    RingoStarr39 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baden, PA
    Just to make sure it's not some sort of electric interference, why don't you try turning it on without a record on it and holding the stylus above the platter while it's spinning.
    Is the static still there?
     
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  13. From my experience, such a brush may sometimes create lines on the record surface, i have thrown 2 in the garbage bin.
     
  14. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    No offense, but that stuff definitely sheds. The stuff that comes out of the dryer lint trap is all the proof you need. Just because you can't see it shedding with the naked eye, doesn't mean it's not shedding. As far as that stuff making RCMs useless, I'm not even going to comment on that.

     
  15. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Every carbon fiber brush I have ever seen comes out of the same factories in China. Let's just say that QC/QA on those things varies widely. Many of them end up being shedders, which can cause a problem. I have one that is fine, but I did toss one that shed bristles. If you end up with a good one, it should not scratch records provided they are clean and you are not applying too much pressure. They are not meant for removing anything but the barest amount of surface dust, which is where people screw up. They think these brushes are a substitute for real wet cleaning, when they aren't. I should say that I rarely use my CF brush, because most of my records have been wet cleaned and it's usually not necessary to do any brushing whatsoever. If I notice a couple specs of dust, then I might use the brush. Otherwise I just put the record on.


     
  16. shaneoctane

    shaneoctane Member

    Location:
    Everett, WA
    When i first got an audioquest cf brush i noticed the same thing. i was new to vinyl at the time, and used the brush in one hand while holding the record with the other. When held under a bright light i could see marks that looked like hair line scratches and stopped using the brush.

    Later on i read instructions for the proper use of a carbon fiber brush and when used while the record is spinning the brush leaves no marks at all, and i do drag the brush sideways when pulling it off the record.

    One more thing i noticed is after i got an rcm the records that were "scratched" with the carbon fiber brush, the scratches disappeared with a vacuum cleaning.

    My theory on this is maybe the brushes have some kind of oily residue from the manufacturing process that leaves what look to be scratches but is washed away by a good cleaning. It was also a long time in between when i noticed the marks and when i used the brush properly and It left no marks so maybe what residue might have been on it dried up.

    Anyway this is just my experience and that being said be careful when using a carbon fiber brush and inspect your records under a bright light after the first few times you use one. YMMV
     
  17. Well, i haven't used mine for nearly 4 months now...

    But i also haven't bought any second hand record during this period.

    But when i do ill go with the microfiber wet method and then the polyester after play, out of curiosity.
    I got bored of liquids and the usual time consuming process.

    May i ask, what do you use for dry cleaning?
     
  18. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I use a carbon fiber brush, but the majority of the time I use nothing. Most of my records were cleaned on a Spin Clean until I got an RCM awhile back. Pretty much everything gets cleaned, even new records. The records are cleaned, put in new inners and stored in boxes with lids, so very little maintenance cleaning is required.
     
  19. What you say seems logical, but back in the 90s i didnt have an rcm and was also new to records, so when i first saw those lines i got disappointed because these brushes do a good job.

    Truth is though that they cannot remove all of the microdust that is inside the grooves, if you look closely you will see the particles springled around in the grooves.
    Of course they are so tiny that they dont affect the sound a lot, but still, it is dust and this brush is not the perfect dry clean for my taste.
     
  20. ashulman

    ashulman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Utica, NY
    This doesn't sound normal to me at all. A constant static you can hear over music on a new LP? I doubt it. That sounds like some kind of electronic problem or sever alignment problem. I haven't owned a usb table in years but I wouldn't be shocked if it was some inherent flaw or defect. I don't want to discourage you, but I would seriously think about taking back to where you got it and saying whats up.
     
  21. @patient_ot

    Please keep an open mind to try the method that i suggest at some point, if you come across at this particular cloth.

    I bet that it will save you a lot of time on cases where a wet method is not absolutely necessary (but we do it anyway since the machine is ready) and it is wayyyy better than any other dry clean i've used.
     
  22. shaneoctane

    shaneoctane Member

    Location:
    Everett, WA
    Agreed. I wouldn't suggest a cf brush as the only cleaner. I just use mine for maintenance after an rcm cleaning.
     
  23. shaneoctane

    shaneoctane Member

    Location:
    Everett, WA
    To the op:

    The difference between mat thickness affecting your sound is dependent on how revealing your system is.

    The question here is was your vertical tracking angle set right to begin with. Is/was your tone arm level with your records? If you have the leather mat on and to get your tone arm level you need to go even lower then yeah maybe put another mat underneath it.

    As for the "static" noise, i think we need a little more info. What your describing could be normal surface noise, clicks or pops that can be heard over quiet portions of the record such as lead in and out grooves and quiet passages in the music just made worse by dirt and pressing issues.

    Could you give some more description...

    Is it a general hiss with the occasional click or pop?

    Would you say its more of a hiss, crackle, buzzing or a rumbling?

    How is your player hooked up?
    Are you using a phono stage (either seperate or the phono input of your amp or receiver) or the built in preamp?

    Is your ground wire connected?

    Have you checked to make sure there isnt any dirt or dust on the stylus?

    When listening very carefully or through headphones can you hear the noise during louder passages?

    Any info you can give us will help since we cant hear the noise for ourselves.
     
  24. JamesD1957

    JamesD1957 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cypress, Texas
    I won't argue that point because I haven't looked at my records under an electron microscope as some have, but I think the key word that I used is "gently". I think some folks, not saying you, use a carbon fiber brush as part of the cleaning process, which it wasn't designed for. It is for static only. No force should be applied, and in my opinion, the brush shouldn't be drawn toward the edge of the record. If I see a speck of dust or something on the record I do use a vintage Discwasher brush (dry) to remove it before using the carbon fiber brush. That's a fairly rare occasion. I know some folks on this board are fairly (okay, very) opinionated about their procedures as far as record cleaning, but I'm not one of those. I was merely stating what works VERY well for me. :)
     
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