Snap crackle and pop

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Richard--W, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've been learning a lot about collecting vintage vinyl from this forum. Soon I'll embark on a Frank Sinatra project, gathering the best editions of his Capitol LP's from the 1950s. Everyone talks about the benefits of this analog medium -- the warmth and presence and easy naturalism of the sound, etc. But no one mentions the downside. When one buys vintage vinyl, there is noise. Even a sealed copy of a 1955 pressing, when it is unsealed, can suffer from some degree of snap crackle and pop. Aren't you distracted by it? How do you get rid of it? Isn't it true you can't get rid of it completely? Isn't minimizing it (with a nice clean or sealed copy) the best one can expect?

  2. notesofachord

    notesofachord Where are the prawns?

    A record cleaning machine (or even just a Spin-Clean) can work wonders. Also, make sure that your stylus stays clean. A dip of the stylus into a Mr. Clean magic eraser or an Onzow Zerodust helps a lot. Then again, some used records will be noisy no matter what you do due to wear from previous owners (scratches and groove wear) or bad pressings escaping the plant when they shouldn't have.

    Unfortunately, that's just how it is. On the other hand, I have many records that could fool a blindfolded listener as to its source. It can be that quiet.

    Even the quietest record will likely have a random pop or two during the play of a side. If it's loud music, such as rock and roll, you'll likely not even notice it.
  3. PretzelLogic

    PretzelLogic Machine wrapped in butter.

    London, England
    It depends on many things. Using that specific album, to me that's how it's always sounded so I don't mind. My copy belonged to my late grandfather, and whatever surface noise is on there is part of the record itself and by extension his ownership. If I want a clean copy, I have a digital version, but it's never quite as satisfying.

    I equate it to wrinkles or scars on someone- it doesn't change who they are just because their features are imperfect, it shows uniqueness and experience.
  4. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    Well, noise is noise. If it's not a part of the original recording, then it's a minor distraction at best, otherwise a PITA in most other cases.

    First off, let me say that I'm a big analog/LP/vinyl devotee. Obtrusive noise from either a bad pressing or an old worn out, damaged LP is unacceptable to me. In rare cases I may hold onto such copies, but otherwise I get rid of them.

    If I can find a decent, relatively quiet copy of an older disc, I consider myself lucky. More so if I can get it at a reasonable or bargain price. But life's too short to get all worked up over hunting for pristine LPs. If I can stumble upon a clean copy of something I like, great. If not, I'm happy with a respectable digital copy.
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, you have a good attitude toward collecting. For the most part I'm content with CD's and with modern audiophile pressings of the few artists I listen to regularly. But in some cases the original LP is worth being persnickety about especially when the CD versions are all missing something. There is no digital transfer to match quality and aesthetic of sound in the original analog pressing of In the Wee Small Hours. Even later pressings are lacking something crucial. A MoFi edition was in the works but unfortunately got canceled.
  6. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    This thread should go well. At least many of the usual suspects should show up soon to disabuse you of the mistaken notion that no one talks about the downside of lps :laugh:
  7. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Brooklyn New York
    I used to think that most vinyl from the 1950's sucked but I discovered that my turntable sucked and the elliptical stylus I had really sucked. Once I got a better turntable, good cleaning regiment and conical styli I discovered how great these records truly are.
    bluejimbop and Defdum&blind like this.
  8. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Baja Virginia
    My two cents': pops and crackles aren't nearly as annoying as groove distortion. If the pressing sounds good to begin with, a little surface noise is only a minor distraction to me, unless it's noticeable during a quiet part or something like that.

    Cleaning records definitely helps (although the OP mentioned unopened records). I just use some microfiber cleaning cloths from Home Depot and some homemade cleaning fluid.
    GerryO, seed_drill, Murph and 3 others like this.
  9. Jim B.

    Jim B. Forum Resident

    Don't rule out the 'Alan Dell' 80's Sinatra albums, in some cases they are the best option and will be pretty quiet pressings.
    bluejimbop and CBackley like this.
  10. Marc Perman

    Marc Perman Forum Resident

    West of the Hudson
    Most discussions about new vinyl here include much handwringing about imperfections, continuous returns to Amazon, etc. I think collectors of vintage records are more tolerant of noise, though we’re always on the hunt for clean pressings.
  11. inaptitude

    inaptitude Forum Resident

    I for one have never really understood the search for the perfect sounding record. These globs of black glue are smushed between metal at millions of pounds of pressure, tossed into cardboard and shipped around the world to shops where they are jammed into overfilled bins for random strangers to flip through with their dirty, grubby hands. It doesn't strike me as the ideal industry to look for perfectly quiet, flat, flawless mass produced objects.

    For me, the occasional snap, crackle and pop reminds me that this is a physical object, made by machines and handled by people. It's one of the main reasons I've never bought an mp3 in my life.

    Now if the record sounds like rice crispies.....
    Man at C&A, bluejimbop, pez and 10 others like this.
  12. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    I will never, ever, begrudge anyone's search for good vinyl. And I'm not going to argue against analog warmth.
    If my personal barrier to musical enjoyment, which has always been surface noise, can be easily overcome with a pristine, well-mastered digital version, so that I can enjoy an album so sublime in it's quietude as In The Wee Small Hours, then I'm opting for that every time. It may not make that much of a difference with a raucous rock n' roll record, but with this special album I just don't want to be distracted.
  13. feinstei9415

    feinstei9415 Forum Resident

    South Bend, IN
    You can also cut down on a lot of the noise if you play a mono record such as this one in mono mode on your stereo system (if it's so equipped with a "Mono" switch)...
  14. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    so many complaints about vinyl anymore, yet the vinyl-ites still stand by it.

    never ever had a snap, crackle or pop on a CD, never ever.
  15. Preston

    Preston Forum Resident

    KCMO Metro USA
    Excellent point. Another way of saying this is that the record will sound noisier UNLESS it is played back in mono.
    CBackley and sjaca like this.
  16. Mr_Vinyl

    Mr_Vinyl Forum Resident

    I'm one of the people who can't tolerate ticks an pops. If it's a new record, I'll return it. If it's used, I usually listen to the lead-in grooves or the silence in between tracks to get a good idea before purchasing them. However, it depends on what you mean by vintage records. I have many LP's (33rpm)that were reissued from the 78rpm era, so those were recorded with inherent crackles. These I don't mind, as long as there aren't any ''new'' crackles that were added on top of the mono ones. The noise in the 78rpm era recordings almost seem to be part of the music, and is far more preferable than the noise reduction techniques that they applied for the cd's that were devoid of air and ambience.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  17. Digital-G

    Digital-G Forum Resident

    Dayton, OH
    I've heard a lot of people here say that they "listen through the noise". Well, I can't. And don't. It's always been distracting for me. Vinyl isn't for me and this was one my main objections about it, even before the digital age. I guess it comes down to two things: How quiet can you get vinyl to sound and how distracting will the remaining noise be to you?
  18. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Forum Resident

    New York
    Don't mind some low noise, a low pop or two. No more!! After thoroughly cleaning the record if the record sounds like Jiffy pop popcorn it will be disposed of immediately.
    BDC and Crimson jon like this.
  19. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Baja Virginia
    Lucky you. I've bought a fair number of CDs with minor audio defects and they're usually more annoying than on vinyl (although they're much more rare).
    Drifter likes this.
  20. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Some used to call it "transient noise". Momentary snaps etc are easy for the human brain to filter, to listen through as if they are transparent and hear only the music. To me, it is the more serious universal groove damage or noise from poor quality materials that causes constant distortion or scuffing/scraping sound that is a serious problem.

    Toward the end of the first vinyl era, several companies made processors to eliminate snaps crackles and pops. One was very popular, mostly because it cost maybe 50% of the other one - now I am forgetting the name of that one. The more expensive was the Burwen TNE (Transient Noise Eliminator), and I bought one. It was supposed to be inserted between the pre-amp and the power amp (with a bypass button). It did work, snaps and pops were eliminated. But it seemed to produce a somewhat less natural sound. My friends all agreed that we preferred the pops to the systems that eliminated pops. The Burwen has sat boxed up in my attic now for maybe 25 years.

    But I have taken severely worn out and damaged 78 RPMs and done synched A/B sound comparisons with CD editions, even CD transfers that may have been done by highly regarded people. Despite all of the noise, pops, groove damage, and possibly poor surface layer materials on the 78 - I and many friends found that the voice, the instruments on the 78 sound far more natural, more present in the room than from the CD.

    The brain is a far better sound processor than any technology.
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  21. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    Those with large collections of CDRs, whether rare unreleased material or copies of CDs/LPs, are likely to become seriously upset when they find digital noise (typically what I call "chatter") on their CDRs. It will happen. CDRs use organic chemical dyes that are altered by the laser in the original "burning process" to become new compounds with different spectral properties. Virtually all organic compounds degrade, and the music will degrade.

    Back those up if they still play. Many may not, especially those more than 10 years old.
  22. Luvtemps

    Luvtemps Forum Resident

    When you buy used vinyl that's the risk,some don't have a scratch while another will be beat up,that's just the way it is.
    bluejimbop likes this.
  23. Tribute

    Tribute Forum Resident

    I do like to find vintage vinyl with covers in far better condition than that one. Quite often (though we all know NOT always) the condition of the cover is a good indicator of the playback condition of the record, as it correlates with how often or how poorly the record was handled
  24. Trace

    Trace Senior Member

    Washington State
    Yeah, record collecting/listening isn't for everyone!
  25. Panama Hotel

    Panama Hotel Forum Resident

    Amazingly enough, over in the Audio Hardware section I read about a recently invented digital black box that apparently does an exceptional job of removing impulse noise from vinyl without noticeable effects on the music content. However, they (two different models) do cost several thousand dollars apiece.

    Analog purists are guaranteed to be aghast about this. But I'm open to auditioning it (even if I can't presently afford it.)
    clhboa and bluejimbop like this.

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