SH Spotlight Newbies getting started playing vinyl, please avoid mistracking & resulting groove damage!!!

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Dino

    Dino Forum Resident

    Kansas City - USA
    I remember reading about the 24 hour waiting period - between plays to avoid accelerated record wear - in magazine articles starting in the early 70s. It came up from time to time in different magazines. I don't remember the details as to why. I don't have any idea of it's validity. It was presented as if it was a fact though.
    cmcintyre and Linus like this.
  2. izgoblin

    izgoblin Forum Resident

    I don't know much about physics, but what I do know is this -- no way does heat take anywhere near 24 hours to dissipate on a vinyl record. Even after running a very hot oven at 400 degrees, the heat dissipates within 2 hours once the oven is opened to cooler air. If the record isn't heated, its grooves certainly aren't going to morph into new shape. And if the record got anywhere remotely NEAR that hot after playing, you'd be able to easily feel it!

    I played my Jake Holmes LP 3 times in a row right after cleaning, and the only effect I heard was that the small amount of clicks and pops that were there on first listen were now gone. Anyway, no need for two like records and systems; just take a record you really enjoy and play it a bunch in one day on a well-calibrated turntable. You'll find that it sounds every bit as good that 3rd or 4th time as it did on the first, if not better as per my example. :)
  3. cmcintyre

    cmcintyre Forum Resident

    There's a misunderstanding above - it's not suggested that it takes 24 hours (or anything remotely like it) for heat to dissipate, but rather two separate, but likely connected behaviours:

    Heat from friction - momentarily raises the temperature of the groove wall, and, in some cases ( higher friction due to higher tracking pressures) causes sufficient heat to soften the groove sufficiently to allow dust and muck in the grooves to actually get stuck to and become part of the grooves ( making the grooves greyish)


    Vinyl record grooves are elastic - (minutely) deforming and then returning to shape as the stylus passes through. It's the timeframe of all of the groove wall returning to original shape that the rest period is referring to. One of the links posted had commentary that there was a noticeable degradation each time the disc was played (in rapid succession). The language used to describe the differences suggests a critical listener using resolving equipment. Probably something most of us might not notice, but in the interest of record care a significant factor.

    This lessening in sound quality that is reported when playing a record repeatedly without rest is addition to any immediate damage caused by a stylus mistracking the groove and shaving parts of the groove off.
    Linus likes this.
  4. Ray29

    Ray29 Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY
    As a teenager I pulled back the needle to repeat a music passage 5-10 times over 20 minutes or so to learn how to play a guitar part. Cassettes were easier once they came along to figure out how to play a riff or whatnot. Anyway I still have all those old Zeppelin and other classic rock records and they sound or at least seem to be in fine shape whenever I revisit them. I always took great care of my LP's but many of them were most definitely played several times a day. So I disagree with that 24 hour rule. I am sure glad I never came across that article years back being the anal guy that I am. Just having it in my head now may alter my LP listening habits.
    Heckto35 and Mainline461 like this.
  5. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Senior Member

    New York
    Ray29 likes this.
  6. Beet

    Beet Forum Resident

    What is the opinion on the AT95E that comes with the U-Turn Orbit Basic?
  7. Mine is that the AT95E is the best brand-new cartridge that can be bought with the least amount of money.
  8. Richard Crawford

    Richard Crawford New Member

    So here is an interesting thing about tracking.

    Brand new record, Simply Eva, 45 RPM by Blix Street records. Track 1, side 1.

    I cleaned the record (last power cleaner), then rinsed with distilled water twice on vacuum machine. Then applied LAST preservative.

    On the first play of the first track, I got distortion and breakup so bad that it sounded like the mistracking sample that Steve posted a while back in this thread. It would only occur on the brief intense vocal segments of the recording.

    I am using a VPI Scout 1.1 with Ortofon's 2M Bronze, with proper VPI alignment, and only the tonearm wire as anti-skate.

    I then added significantly more anti-skate via the actual anti-skate device and, although there is still just a bit of distortion on some of the loud passages, it is MUCH better than before.

    I think this has taught me the value of having at least a little anti-skate engaged in order to help properly track. Does that sound right?

    I know you don't want to adjust anti-skate only for the extremely loud recordings though. While I am happy to have "fixed" the problem, I can't help but wonder if the whole record was maybe cut a bit too loud perhaps. Many of the other songs are fine, its mostly just that first one that really gave trouble. It was a rude awakening on a new vinyl purchase until I changed my anti-skate setup for sure.
  9. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Yes, it is a safe investment. Also, consider the Shure M35x as a great tracking flat and accurate cartridge, it has a conical .7 mil tip and more refined sound.
    389 Tripower likes this.
  10. All I want to know........

    What color were the L100 grills? It says a lot by what color one picked.
  11. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Also, the cheap elliptical of poor quality applies to all of those cheapie generic styli (Jico the main exception) for cartridges. Insist on genuine styli from the manufacturer of your cartridge for best results and best tracking when you need to replace a stylus. Insist on the performance you paid for.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
    Shak Cohen and The FRiNgE like this.
  12. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Yes, Leetac made, very poor Chuo Denshi ceramic cartridge, tracks 7-8 grams or more often. Very brutal on records.
  13. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    Have you tried setting VTF at the max of the recommended range for the cart? I would suggest doing that first before adding anti-skate.
  14. But conical is supposed to 'rest' on less surface of the grooves than the elliptical, this means more damage because the tracking force is supposed to be on less surface.

    Or this applies on the low budget category?

    From my experience at the entry level category (around $70 - 120) if the allignment is correct then someone does not need to worry about groove wear.
    If there are still issues of distortion it is either a bad pressing, a damaged record, or a record with high amount of stored static electricity.
    It might be the static that distorts and not all carts have the same 'immunity' to static electricity.

    I remember in my teenage years i replaced a OM ortofon with a budget Stanton, on a Dual 505-2, tighten the screws at the same place where the previous cart was, then twisted the counterweight so that the cart does not skip and that was it.
    No measurements at all, i did not even use the gram lines on the counterweight because i was thinking that these thingies were meant for when someone wants to be more accurate with a more expensive cartridge.
    In other words i had no idea on cartrigde alignment.
    So i played my records everyday for at least 5 years with the same stylus, now most of these records that are still in my collection play without any issue at all and when i clean them they sound like new.

    My point is that it is not very easy to damage record grooves with a properly alligned cartridge and that distortion can sometimes be misleading because it may not be mechanical.
    A record that is full of dust or static is more likely to cause distortion than a clean one.
  15. Same here, i recently got Electrelane - The Power Out, liked it so much that it played all afternoon, maybe more than 5 times, then i kept on playing more than once everyday for at least a week, it's surface and the glare from the inside of the grooves has remained the same.
  16. marcb

    marcb Senior Member

    DC area
    You can easily cause groovewear with a properly aligned cart that has, for instance, too much or too little tracking force.

    In my experience, the vast, vast majority of distortion/mistracking issues are due to operator error (improper set-up, no or poor cleaning, etc) or eqpt issues (tonearm/cart compliance mismatches, etc), not the LP itself.

    And I would say, from reading posts on these forums over the years, that the majority of vinyl users either don't know how to set-up a turntable - or think they do, but don't know how to do it properly.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  17. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Agree 100% ! However this can be confused by any number of variables. There is not just one singular cause for groove damage and distortion.

    For example, someone could properly line up a cartridge, then make a gross error in the tracking force, maybe 3 grams (or unknown value) for a cart that tracks at 1.25 grams. Records are played multiple times without any noticed damage. So, person then concludes (erroneously) that heavy tracking above recommendations does not harm a record. That's like saying it's ok to fly a passenger jet at Mach 1, just because a fighter jet can do it. A record cut very hot with lots of hf content may be damaged more easily vs a record much easier to track. So, it is unwise to draw any blanket statement regarding wear and what caused it. It is equally unwise to conclude that heavier tracking does not cause damage, only because someone didn't notice it (maybe correct that the records survived in certain cases)

    Does that mean we should continue to ignore all the warnings?

    Groove damage occurs for any number of reasons, dirt and abrasion, physical distortion of the walls, scoring of the groove walls, (digging in) or gouging which creates extrusions of uplifted vinyl, not to mention overheating and melt damage.
  18. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Static can be a problem and be audible. I have seen this only once in my lifetime, a Yamaha table with a Pickering cartridge. It snapped loudly from the record itself, and audible also through the speakers. (not good for the amp)

    Dirt is the more common problem. Adhered dust is the result of a static charge, and a direct cause of groove wear. Friction and abrasion lead to accelerated stylus wear, and groove wear, distortion and poor sound.

    If known the record is dusty and has a static charge, the distortion we hear is entirely from dust and/or wear in the groove, and not directly caused by a static charge!
  19. Klassik

    Klassik Guerilla BeatLOLogist

    United Kingdom

    Holy Rod! FINALLY an explanation for why the first stereo record I ever heard on my uncle's brand new Garrard system sounded like no other stereo experience since especially those with the same record and system after he gave it to me about five years later.
    I must admit this had me buzzled.

    Merci, Monsieur!
    McLover likes this.
  20. Can there be a case where the record is clean and without groove wear but full of static, to produce distortion not in the form of static pops but in the form of igd and hiss?

    When i removed all pvc covers from my records i noticed less static overall, i would say that the static lessened over time and the sound was better, more solid almost without any static pops.Some igd also completely vanished from those records that i was thinking to be of medium quality.
    So i guess that pvc was easily charged and somehow also keeping the records in a constant static condition.

    But i also started using pistol and rcm after i got rid of the pvc.
  21. mbrownp1

    mbrownp1 Forum Resident

    For the love of God...they AREN'T "vinyls"!!!!!!!!!!
    Shak Cohen and robtodd like this.
  22. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Maybe the static was audible, conceivably "micro discharges" due to friction. I think the jury is out on this one, just my opinion. It's also possible that playing your record reduced the noise, especially after cleaning on a record cleaning machine. I've had this happen quite often, but other records clean up beautifully on the first play after cleaning. The stylus is able to "kick aside" loose particles, which then deposit in a debris field at the bottom of the groove... where the stylus does not track. Even a new record may play more quietly on the second play and thereafter, provided there is no additional dust on the record.
  23. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Yes, God listens to vinyl, and never called them "vinyls". God does not sin.
  24. Richard Crawford

    Richard Crawford New Member

    Yea, the VTF is at 1.9 grams. That is VPI's recommendation , generally, to set the VTF at 0.1 gram over the max for the cart, and use that along with the resistance of the tonearm wire as anti-skate. So with that default setup, it distorts, unless I add more anti-skate via the dedicated anti-skate device.

    Either the record was cut too hot, or this cart can't handle it, those are the theories I currently offer, but other records sound great. Actually this one does too except that one part.
  25. augustwest

    augustwest Forum Resident

    los angeles, ca
    Ah, the joys of vinyl.
    lukpac likes this.

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