Weird noise on my vinyl records - don't know what else to do.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mnb1979, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. mnb1979

    mnb1979 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Argentina
    Hello guys,

    This is my first post after being a long time lurker.

    I have an issue with my records that is driving me mad, and I don't know what else to do.

    They sound like in this audio rip sample: Sample.wav

    It happens mostly on the inner grooves but it's not Inner Groove Distortion, because it happens on the first tracks as well, although not as much as this.

    This is all what I consider that must be taken into account:

    - The sample is from a brand new sealed record (but it happens on the vintage ones)
    - My TT is an Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB
    - Stylus is new. I have played my records with 2 x A95E (the one that came with the TT and a replacement one purchased on Amazon plus I have also did it with a brand new AT440MLB, still no sign of changes)
    - Tonearm weight & anti-skating are well balanced and several settings and combinations were tested.
    - Cartridge is well alligned
    - Needle is clean, no dirt at all
    - Record is clean, no dirt, no static. An anti-static brush was used and the records are always cleaned too.
    - This happens both while listening with speakers and headphones

    I am exhausted. I have spent a lot of time (endless evenings doing this and that), money (the AT440MLB costed no less than U$S 200!) and I am very frustrated. Sometimes I am thinking about giving up with vinyl records but I just can't stand it, there must be a way to succeed.

    This is a pic of the very same record while being played. It include it in this post because it won't hurt.

    If someone could help me, I would be extremely thankful. I truly hope that there is a solution for this.

    [​IMG]

    THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! ;-)
     
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Not sure what you're referring to, unless it's the slight noise I hear every few seconds? A description of what you're hinting at would be helpful. I've had a couple of older records exhibit that sound. Not much can be done from my experience... again, unless this is NOT what you're referring to?
     
  3. mnb1979

    mnb1979 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Argentina
    Thanks a lot for responding :)

    Yes, I am talking about that “dirty / static / frying eggs / vintage radio” sound that is all over the place. I am not sure if we are talking about the same because you mention “every few seconds” while in my opinion it’s present all the time. It’s quite annoying and IMHO it is not the classic vinyl drops/pops which many, including myself, consider beautiful and nostalgic.

    Once again, so many thanks for responding. ;-)
     
  4. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Sounds to me like a severely scored groove, a damaged groove.
    Advice: do not play another record on that stylus. Have it inspected or simply replace it! I am not 100% it's a stylus defect, but it sure sounds like it!
    You indicated a new record sounds like this, however I have a theory:

    If the stylus is defective, the hiss would be produced on the first play, but not crackling.
    The scoring that occurs on the first play will produce more hiss and now add crackling from the debris. (keeps getting worse with each play)

    If the groove is getting torn up like I think it is, every record played on that stylus is trashed.
    The stylus may be chipped or chiseled or set off-line on the cantilever.
    Try replacing the stylus, set the tracking force, play a good record and let's go from there!
     
    arisinwind likes this.
  5. arisinwind

    arisinwind Well-Known Member

    How did you clean the records? Could it be residue from the cleaning process?
     
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  6. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    That "chalkboard" hiss would not be from any conventional cleaning method, except using a volatile petroleum product like lacquer thinner? :o
     
    arisinwind likes this.
  7. WestGrooving

    WestGrooving Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California, U.S.A
    Hmm... that FM static like noise seems to be only in the right channel. Since you said you tried a different cartridge with no change, it's probably not the cartridge. And, since you said you have it aligned as instructed, it's probably not due to gross mis-alignment. Does this happen even on the first play of new LPs? If so, it's probably not your LPs.
    Are you using the turntable's built in phono amp? If so, maybe there's an issue with the internal amp's right channel? Can you bypass it and test with another phono amp?
     
  8. ArneW

    ArneW Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cologne, Germany
    Have you checked the TT's bearing?
     
  9. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Here are some guesses of things to check. I can't point at any one as a most probable cause, but they're all possibliities.

    Is the turntable level?

    That noise could be caused by an arm, the whole arm, that is tilted. Even if the cart looks aligned to the record, a tilted arm could be exerting a subtle pressure on one groove wall even if everything else seems to be adjusted correctly.

    That noise could be caused by playing that disc with a stylus that was chipped on that side, causing permanent groove damage on that channel.

    Are you going through the AT LP120's own wiring and preamp? Or are you going through the AT LP120 with the preamp turned off, going through a different preamp? Still that sounds like record noise, not preamp noise, but I would want to rule that out.

    Next step: carefully remove the leads on the cart - all four - don't pull out the terminal pegs on the cart and I'm not responsible if you do - switch the left and right channel leads. The audio of the channels will be reversed, but if the noise stays on the right side, it's the preamp or the AT 120 wiring which affects it even if the preamp is switched "off".

    Next step: antiskate. How did you set the antiskate? Play a record and just adjust the antiskate through the range available, and listen as you do it. It might be that the anti-skate is internally misadjusted for what the dial shows, or inoperative, or anti-operative making things worse than no antiskate at all.
     
  10. Mugrug12

    Mugrug12 Member

    Location:
    San Francisco
    The sound is only on one channel. I think it's the right channel. Does this turntable have a built in pre-amp? That would maybe be my first suspect. I would flip the rcas around and see if the distortion goes to the other channel. If it's still on the right that means it's your stereo not the turntable. or can you check other inputs on your stereo for the sound?
     
  11. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Member

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    You are hearing HF noise which means a high friction especially in the right channel. High friction is caused by uneven vinyl surface/debris/salt crystals stuck into the groove. Clean the record with balsam schampoo and lukewarm water at least 2 times, rinse with pure water/20 % IPA. You need also to vacuum away the liquid for best results. It could also be stylus imperfections, but the best guess is that there is debris that is hard stuck into the vinyl. Sometimes it is just bad quality of vinyl having a rough surface.
     
  12. anorak2

    anorak2 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    It sounds like debris deep in the groove, as is typical from a record that was played wet or cleaned using undistilled water. You can check by playing the same record on a different turntable. If it exhibits the same problem, you know it's the record and not your hardware.

    If it turns out to be so, the old wood glue treatment can help, and never play it wet again after. You ruled out everything else I can think of.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  13. anorak2

    anorak2 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Yes it does. Unpurified tap water will do just that.
     
  14. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    My next step would be to bypass the internal phono, after that I’d get a new turntable. I don’t think I would get too deep into a repair project on an AT 120. I’m not saying it’s bad but buying a new one would cost less than a trip to a repair shop.

    If was somthing with the cleaning process, I doubt it would be more prominent in on channel or on every record in the same way.


    Also...I doubt this is it but put a level on the table to make sure it is. If it is running way out of level that can cause some weird noise.
     
    nosliw likes this.
  15. mnb1979

    mnb1979 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Argentina
    Hello guys,

    I am as thrilled as happy by getting all your help and support. I really don't know what to say. I am deeply moved.

    I will try to respond to everything that has been said and if I forget to respond to someone, please accept my apologies, it's not my intention to disrespect anyone and I really appreciate the time that you have taken to help me.

    I consider myself an amateur and I don't have the skills to practise surgery within the TT, so I won't play with the built-in preamps, simply because I don't want to take the rist. Consequences might be worse than the defective results I am currently getting.

    I don't think that the problem has to do with the right channel only. Surely that is the worst of both, but I have isolated the left channel and even if lower, the annoying noise is still present.

    I have already attempted with three different styluses and have played the records with the whole range of anti-skating. Nothing has changed. Yet, I have ordered another stylus from Amazon and will give it a final try.

    The TT has a built-in preamp. The the RCA's go directly to the mixer and that has its output to the headphones / speakers. The mixer is in perfect conditions because I also play BluRay's, CD's, DVD's and Smart TV and the sound is crystal clear.

    The only thing that hasn't ever been changed are the wires that connect the tonearm to the cartridge. There could be some interference, but I doubt that that could be the reason. I will also try with a level today but I think that that's not the problem. I think that the problem is the style hitting the walls of the groove, but even if I allign the stylus one way or other, the problem remains. I have been playing with allignment in many positions, several, including random ones, and also perfectly matching the grid.

    This is giving me a terrible headache and instead of enjoying the music, I am suffering it. I guess I will play vinyls occasionally and will stick back to CD's. Vinyls are lovely and the sound is paradise, but this is too much hassle for me. I am in love with vinyl records but perhaps those are not for me in this lifetime. Not the ring for my finger. I have spent so much time and money that I am scared even to think about how much in both cases.

    Once again, THANKS A LOT AGAIN TO EVERYONE. You are all amazing people. ;-)
     
  16. WestGrooving

    WestGrooving Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California, U.S.A
    c-eling likes this.
  17. Kevin j

    Kevin j Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle Area
    uh, based on that picture it looks like you've got a bunch of debris on your stylus.
     
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  18. Kevin j

    Kevin j Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle Area
    anyway, get a better turntable.
     
    Tullman likes this.
  19. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Just listened to the clip.

    #1, it's very difficult to diagnose problems like this over the internet. I think you can stop trying new styli and more new styli because I doubt that is the problem. You mentioned the headshell wires weren't changed - well, those things are fragile and that could be the problem, not to mention all the QC and sloppy manufacturing issues the LP120 is known for. Improper record cleaning could also be an issue.

    What you really need to do is start over with equipment you know is good, and a record you know is good. That means a different turntable, either new or vintage, that has been checked and set up at a shop or by a friend that knows what they are doing. That also means a record that is free from pressing flaws, and hasn't been cleaned with some sort of half-baked DIY method that could leave residue on the record that would create noise.

    Besides that, all your cables and connections need to be checked and even the mixer. Just because 1 or more channels on the mixer are working perfectly doesn't mean there is not a problem. As an example, a friend recently had a problem with the crossfade function on his mixer, even though everything else works fine.

    Until you get those things sorted you're likely to be running in circles and just getting more and more frustrated.
     
    nosliw likes this.
  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Agreed, though the pic is hard to make out clearly. If OP is dealing with dirty record or records that were cleaned improperly, debris is just going to keep building up on the stylus over and over.
     
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  21. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

  22. gov

    gov Active Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Get this:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JOO2EGK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_3hptAb37M6DP1

    Remove stylus and inspect. Compare to this:
    http://nooway.altervista.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/dirty-cartridge-stulys-needle-and-clean.png

    If it doesn’t look like the image on the right and looks closer to the image on the left, you a) need to clean your stylus and b) probably need to change the way you clean records or start cleaning records if you don’t already.

    I use one of these to great effect:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ERPWAK2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_gnptAbNRCGV4P
     
  23. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Yes, however possible the other cartridges are playing the same damaged records from the first cartridge. Because the noise is heard from all three, this may lead to an incorrect assumption it's not any of the cartridges. I am not 100% certain one of the styli is defective. I have never heard a dirty record sound as bad as this one. Has anyone here in this forum ever had a dirty record play this badly? Even hard water doesn't make noise like that, (it does but not even close to the severity in the sound clip) as my very early experiments with wet cleaning (before RCM's became popular) involved tap water, hard water.. not even close.

    To the OP:

    My advice, again, is stop playing records on this turntable, who knows which cartridge/ stylus is tearing up the groove? (I had overlooked multiple cartridges in my original post, sorry!)
    I have three questions which may help isolate the cause:
    1) Have you cleaned the records, and what is your regimen? What fluid are you using on the records?
    2) does the noise get worse with every play?
    3) does a new record play rather quietly, no static, but only hiss?

    If I am correct, (I may not be correct.. but let's find out) one of your styli is damaging your records, so you must test play (spot play) a known unplayed record you don't care about much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  24. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I have had plenty of dirty records sound bad, full of all kinds of noise. Enzyme Record Cleaner can make a night and day difference on dirty records, IME, when used in conjunction with a Vac-based RCM. That said, not going to fix groove wear and scratches from the previous owner, nor will it fix pressing defects from bad pressings.
     
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  25. Mugrug12

    Mugrug12 Member

    Location:
    San Francisco
    If you read the original post you will see-
    -it's not the cart or stylus since multiple
    Ones have been tried with same results
    -it's not the record because other ones have been tried.

    The sound is definitely just the right channel because I was using headphones when I played the sample. So I think it's either the pre amp or tonearm wire.

    Is there a warrenty? Neither of these two
    Problems are worth repairing maybe for this turntable but a warrenty would work since there's something wrong w the TT
     

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