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A few vinyl questions from a newbie

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Noba, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. Noba

    Noba Active Member Thread Starter

    United Kingdom
    I apologise that some of these are easily googleable but I would really prefer some first hand opinions.

    Hi! Pretty new here and to records in general, even though they've become a favourite hobby of mine. I've bought myself an Audio Technica LP120, and have a selection of some electronic and game soundtrack records since those are my favourite, but I'm also looking into some bands that I enjoy. Onto the questions!

    First off, I'm a bit iffy on wetting my vinyl or using spray. With this in mind, what are the best methods for me to clean them? I have an ACC SEES anti static brush that I use to clean both the stylus and the record itself. Is there anything better I can do? I'm pretty adamant on not getting them wet as I don't have the confidence to prevent damage.

    Second, are Zerostats definitely worth it? I'm seriously considering buying one. They seem really good, but for £50 I'd like some reassurance.

    Third, is it normal for a record to become static filled AS you listen to it? As it spins and static is generated, is it normal to hear static even if it's static free at the start? Is an anti static stylus worth it in this regard?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and answering questions if you do!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2021
    caleb1138 likes this.
  2. Omarstringer

    Omarstringer No One You’d Know

    I buy a lot of dusty used vinyl usually in back of store or under racks and when i get home i make a distilled water concoction of Distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, and a couple drops of laundry detergent free and clear of fragrance or dyes. I never use this on my nicer albums. But it works well. Go to dollar store and buy one of those dish drying racks as well. Play some music while doing it.

    For nice and new vinyl i just try and keep dust and static free That begins with where you store your vinyl, plastic covers, and nice ant static inserts.

    There is so much on Google these days. Some good and some bad. Old records need to be cleaned well so you don't mess up your stylus.

    There's also a ton of excellent threads on here advising great ways to do it-- that's where i got mine. If the labels get wet don't fret too much. just dry. Also -- alcohol is not a good cleaner and only on small amounts

    I never liked the zerostat-- but to each their own. I'd buy a record cleaner but i actually enjoy cleaning them because then i can ID scratches and such that might tweak my stylus.
    fretter and Noba like this.
  3. Noba

    Noba Active Member Thread Starter

    United Kingdom
    Thanks for the reply! Yeah I agree with you that cleaning them is probably the best option, but considering how early I am into this (I own about 5, some of which have 2 or more records), I just don't trust myself that much not to mess it up. Right now I'm cleaning them before and after every use with the brush, and checking them closely for any dust or scratches (including hairlines) before I even think about setting the needle down. Most of my records come in those black paper sleeves with the soft clear paper on the inside, though I'm not sure if this is any good. I have been debating getting proper inner sleeves, but being from the UK I can't find anything that looks decent. I had to return a set of 50 before they arrived because I didn't notice a number of reviews saying they actually caused scratches.

    Quick edit for anyone reading as I am understandably unable to edit the original post at the top. I actually have a 120XUSB, the lack of an X was a typo. Sorry about that!
  4. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Lincoln, UK
    Welcome aboard the record playing threads ...

    for cleaning i use a Knosti Disco-Antistat ...mine is the version 2


    a review below

    Disco-Antistat Vinyl Cleaning Machine From Knosti - The Audiophile Man

    I actually have 2 of the baths (after reading a tip on here i bought the 2nd bath..you can buy them as 'spares') and have learned to use the fluid in the first bath and de-ironised water (a lot cheaper in the uk) in the 2nd bath as a rinse .. i give each record 10 turns each way in both baths and it makes a massive difference to me at little cost compared to record cleaning machines...i've been using these for the best part of 3 years with great results in making records that were way way staticy into playable records

    Oh i Disco AS all my records prior to 1st time playing them regardsless new or used..

    I also invested about 6 months ago in a Milty Zerostat and that has made improvements too i zap each side prior to play and after side 2 i zap that again before putting the record back in the sleeve and album cover.

    I also buy antistatic sleeves for all my records, i have found spincare to be good and reasonably priced on amazon uk .. i also bought some Nagaoka No 102 sleeves much more expensive didn't notice any difference between them and the Spincare ones at about 2/3rds price ..oh and both are kind to the records ..no scratches that i've seen or read about from either of these 2.


    you will find lots of ideas out there ....read lots see utube and enjoy your records
    Robert C, chrism1971, RS2099 and 4 others like this.
  5. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Zerostats work if used properly to dissipate a static charger -- multiple slow squeezes, record held in free air -- but they won't prevent a record from becoming charged again, possibly in short order. But they are a handy tool (as is a humidifier, and a record mat material that's not a susceptible to becoming charged as others are).

    Wet cleaning is fine -- and in fact often essential if you're buying used records or even just playing your own records for years and years. In fact, often works best when you get the records really wet with cleaning fluid so that it lifts and suspends the dust and dirt. No reason to be afraid of it. In fact, some people wash records by completely submerging them, label and all, in a cleaning solution and in a rinse. I won't submerge labels, but wet cleaning with substantial quantities of a fluid that contains a solvent and surfactant/detergent, plus a distilled water rinse can not only clean records but, at least for the moment, combats a static charge.

    But you need to make sure you're able to get the entire fluid solution and whatever dirt is suspended in it, off the record with no residue left behind. Depending on the fluid you're using, that may require rinsing with distilled water and/or drying with a vacuum machine to lift the dirt and solution and speed drying.

    If you're not going to wet clean, you can try to remove surface dust with a carbon fiber brush, but there's only so much you can do with dry cleaning.

    I haven't used Gruv Glide in 25 or 30 years but I recall liking it -- when used properly, small bursts of the solution on the pads and then the pads knock together to remove some of that, then a light wipe of the record; not sprayed directly on the record. I don't know if they've changed the forumla but it was a solvent plus anti-static and lubrication material and wipe with a Gruv Glide pad not only lifted turn and combated static but also seemed to maybe improve the riding sound of stylus/groove friction. I wound up being a bit of a pain, using the aerosol, and it seemed overpriced, so I just kind of drifted away from using it, but I remember thinking it was effective back then.
  6. GKH

    GKH Forum Resident

    Somerville, TN
    Noba likes this.
  7. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    I don't play LPs much, but when I do, all the neighbours hear it too.....

    But seriously, I always use the dust brush every time I put on an LP.
    Noba and GKH like this.
  8. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    If you wet- clean your records (old & new) with something like @Swann36 proposes above, it'll really help the static situation and you'll also be amazed at the amount of crud coming off of records.

    I'm always surprised when I see complaints about static from forum members in the UK... I'd think you'd more likely have issues with dampness due to the relatively mild climate... Here in Virginia, I run humidifiers in the winter and the AC\basement dehumidifier in the summer, but it's not unusual to get down in the teens in the winter and near 100 in the summer (Fahrenheit).

    Obviously, not the case in reality!
    Swann36 and Noba like this.
  9. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    High Noba.
    I have been cleaning records for most of my life.
    One thing. It's my practice to wash records under a warm water tap
    Using soap usually' Dove'
    It's plain soap. To I'd this, I use cotton wool and protect the label with a label .protector.
    When dry I place it on an old newspaper
    I.wipe in clockwise direction till.record looks as new.

    AFTER this, you can use a number of methods .
    The Disco antistat filled with alcohol/ distilled water say 30/70.
    And again with label protector record cleaned for 5 minutes and left to dry

    When dry use lint free cloth again, as previously described.
    Finally the use of 'Winyl' completes
    Records sound very much improved
    and are quiet.
    I am happy as a fellow UK resident to clean ,( free of charge) any particularly
    bad record and return it to you to hear for yourself.
    It's a long process. But definitely worth it
  10. Front Row

    Front Row Finding pleasure when annoying those with OCD.

    Chicago IL
    I have the Kirmuss that works well. The price might be an obstacle.
    Noba likes this.
  11. Nakamichi

    Nakamichi The iceage is coming....

    The specialist record cleaners are a ridiculous waste of money for something you can quite easily do by hand. If you really want to vacuum it you can use a Karcher window vac for a fraction of the price of the likes of okki nokki.

    As with anything, if you have money to burn, by all means get one.
    Noba, Rob6899 and Omarstringer like this.
  12. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Idaho, USA
    Noba likes this.
  13. Bogdanstanga

    Bogdanstanga Active Member

    New York
    Even if you’re a newbie, getting a safe cleaning solution will never damage your records.
    Unfortunately any dry cleaning method is good just for maintenance not for actually removing the dirt.
    The cleaning will not only remove the clicks and pops but it will noticeably improve the sound quality overall. I’ve had this happen with a wide variety of new and used records.
    Also not wet cleaning your records can damage your stylus and the record grooves as well.
    Wet cleaning also reduces a lot of the record static.
    So if you really care about getting the best listening experience and also preserving your collection and equipment you really can’t get around some type of wet cleaning...
    Noba likes this.
  14. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    Cleaning a filthy record is not the same as cleaning one with few contaminants. If you are wet cleaning a filthy record, you're just making mud. Mud isn't easy to remove with a single wet cleaning. So you might as well plan saving your fluid for a second cleaning. It just do a distilled water rinse on really dusty record the I clean them again. I use a vacuum RCM so rinse, clean, then rinse again as opposed to my normal procedure which is just clean then rinse. Alternately, you can rinse the record in the sink before you use your fluid following the manufacturers described method. If you rinse in the sink, the fluid is used to clean off the minerals from the tap water. The mud will have been mostly displaced from the running water from the faucet.
    Noba likes this.
  15. Noba

    Noba Active Member Thread Starter

    United Kingdom
    Thank you for the responses everyone! I'd reply to you all individually but I don't want to spam or make a super long post.

    I know that brushing is only good for removing surface static and debris, so maybe I should get into wet cleaning them. To start with, would wiping them down with a spray be a good start for someone who doesn't want to straight up stick them under a tap? I don't want to lose the label. I am also considering using the disco-antistat or one of the similar products as people have suggested. These seem promising for my concerns.

    I have one more question which I might as well ask here. Currently I'm using the built in amp on the turntable, but I know that probably isn't the best option. Can anyone recommend some amplifiers that are around £150? The less the better of course but I know this budget is pushing it. One thing to note is that I prefer Bluetooth headphones as I have a tendency to move around doing things while listening to my music. I'm currently sporting a pair of HD 4.50s from Sennheiser which I honestly love, I have no problems with them and they sound great for being Bluetooth. Having it on the amp would be nice to bypass my adapter, but if it doesn't have Bluetooth then that's not an issue.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  16. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    Another recommendation for the Knosti Disco-Antistat . I used ionisesd water, which removes static and can remain static free for weeks. The cleaning fluid I used is now discontinued, I also found even new record will sound better after a clean.

    I had a Zerostat gun and wouldn't recommend it, as static can return after playing both sides.
    Noba likes this.
  17. Noba

    Noba Active Member Thread Starter

    United Kingdom
    I don't really mind using the Zerostat before and after each play. I see it as the same maintenance required as a brush, which is to brush each side before and after a play. One question, is ionised/distilled water definitely a requirement?
  18. WDeranged

    WDeranged New Member

    The Sony STRDH190 is a great amp at that price point. Though, while it supports bluetooth input I don't think it supports headphones, you'd need to use the adapter. Can't overstate how much amp you're getting for the money though. The next best option is Yamaha and they're closer to £400.
  19. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    You don’t want to be running records under the tap, you need a small spray bottle that will get the grooves but not the label.

    If you find an empty spray bottle and fill it up 1/5 of the way up with isopropyl alcohol, then top it up with distilled water. Add 1 small drop of dish detergent and you’re good. Use a clean microfibre or very soft cotton cloth (I prefer soft cotton as it soaks up the water more quickly).

    Practice on a tatty record first if you’re worried about causing damage.
    jesterthejedi and Noba like this.
  20. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    Yes, your bottle of solution is going to be sat around for months, if you’re using tap water there are lots of impurities and the solution will turn bad over time.
    Lowrider75 and Noba like this.
  21. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    Both of those methods remove salts from tap water, so I'd say it's essential otherwise those salts can be left in the grooves and I never had the need for a brush after cleaning, so you'd be denied your maintanence.
    Noba likes this.
  22. Noba

    Noba Active Member Thread Starter

    United Kingdom
    Yeah I don't really understand why people suggest it. It just seems like it'll cause damage. I'm likely going to be buying one of the spinning "machines" and a solution. I was mainly asking about the water because my family is already iffy on the money I spend on my music hobby, and having a 1 litre bottle of distilled water around is bound to get some questions even if it's a few quid haha
  23. GKH

    GKH Forum Resident

    Somerville, TN
    To elaborate a bit further; for many years and now, I use the Spin Clean system with distilled water w/ their solution. I then dry using a waffle weave microfiber cloth. And, I always use a stylus brush prior to playing each side of the record, brushing gently towards me as the tonearm floats - never secured to the rest.

    Also; I recently purchased the Phoenix Cleaning System from Sleeve City. About $30.00. I've used this for records that I've purchased pre-owned from Discogs, etc,,,. Works nicely. First, however, all my records new and used get run through my Spin Clean. Always.
    All my records are stored in MoFi Inner Sleeves and Sleeve City Outer Sleeves. It's a system that works for me. Everyone has their own methods. :cool:

    Deluxe Phoenix Record Cleaning Kit for Vinyl

    I've also used the Onzow ZeroDust (gel stylus cleaner) for a few years. But; I see that Tom at Sleeve City has his own Gel Stylus Cleaner now. Knowing him personally, he's pretty much a no nonsense guy. I think, I will buy one for $12.95 to see how it compares.

    Sleeve City Gel Stylus Cleaner
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    Noba likes this.
  24. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Having been through a number of cleaning systems from DIY to Spin Clean to a Vac-based RCM, I'd suggest skipping over the first two options if you can put together ~$150-200 for a manual RCM. Several options on the market today - Record Doctor, Squeaky Clean, KAB EV-1, Vinyl Bug, probably more I'm not aware of.
    nosliw, Noba, Radio and 1 other person like this.
  25. WDeranged

    WDeranged New Member

    I recently tried the spin clean. A big problem I had was with 180g vinyl. They really get wedged in there, the pads grip with so much force that turning the disc was rather difficult. In fact one of the discs I cleaned came out with some new clicks. I suspect they're perfectly fine for most records but I've ordered a Knosti Disco Antistat. It looks like a better design to me, and it's half the price of the Spin Clean.
    Noba likes this.

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