Vinyl clicks and pops

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ZloyeZlo, Jul 27, 2014.

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  1. ZloyeZlo

    ZloyeZlo New Member Thread Starter


    I have recently got into vinyl, getting a Pro-Ject carbon TT with Ortofon OM10 cartridge (Marantz PM5004 amp). I bought some brand new records and constantly hear slight pops and ticks.
    It's nothing too intrusive to the point that I cannot enjoy music, but I was wondering whether there is a way to minimise it, or I just have to readjust from the digital playback I am used to?

    Also, is there a reason to replace the cartridge that came with the TT (OM10), or my set up would not benefit from cartridge upgrade?

    Sorry if these questions sound simple or naive, but I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
  2. jlc76

    jlc76 Forum Resident

    Austin, TX, U.S.A.
    Some of it can be reduced by cleaning your vinyl, and the best solution is a vacuum based record cleaning machine like the VPI 16.5. If something like that is out of your budget, I've heard the spinclean is pretty good too. I wouldn't trade my VPI for the world though, it brought me the best vinyl playback for the money. No amount spent on stylii, cartridges, turntables, or phono stages will make a dirty record sound good. You can also try the glue method. All that being's vinyl, there is going to be some amount of surface noise and pops. It's just the nature of the medium. Sometimes you'll get a clean looking record and it'll sound like rice crispies, in those cases it's probably just a bad pressing or they used inferior vinyl. Some labels and eras are worse than others. Find a store with a great return policy and read up on these forums. Vinyl is not about convenience and there's some work involved but when you play a really good sounding record you'll know why people prefer it.
    Laibach, David Ellis, Shiver and 3 others like this.
  3. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    As was said..... some vinyl is just crap, I've got dead quiet ones and ones that pop and click even though they are clean.
    Vinyljunkie22, 2xUeL and paulewalnutz like this.
  4. ggergm

    ggergm the dead guy was handy

    Define "slight pops and ticks." If they occur mostly in the first or last minute of a side, that's not unusual. If you only hear them on quiet passages and between songs, again, that's normal. If they occur throughout a side and never go away, that's not right and you should do something about it. I'd exchange the record if it's new. Understand the retailer will probably have to eat it. If you do this more than once or twice, you may get static from them.
    jupiterboy likes this.
  5. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    Make sure the records are clean first, even new ones. Next, adjust and fiddle with your system and see what that does to what you're hearing. Isolate your turntable if possible, try using a different set of speakers just to use another standard, and so on. You should be able to eliminate most of what bugs you. I hope!
  6. Bolero

    Bolero Senior Member

    North America
    why do they make the dealers eat the cost of defective vinyl? it is not fair at all. the dealer should not be out of pocket for bad pressings

    in other indutstries, if you buy something new and it is defective, it is no problem returning/exchanging etc directly with the mfr

    I've had several bad new pressings/QC; at first I thought my dealer was giving me the gears, but I was amazed to find out it was true. that is crazy!!
    Ash76 likes this.
  7. Six String

    Six String Senior Member

    One of the things you get as you move up the analog food chain is quieter playback. Clean vinyl is a must but you also have accept an occasional pop. It can be caused by simple static on the record to actual contamination on the record.
    You should keep your stylus clean too by cleaning it in between records and of course clean your vinyl with an appropriate brush before playing it. This will help reduce the noise. Also if the pop is particularly loud it usually means there is something on the record. Note where this happens and stop the turntable and remove the record and look closely in the area where the pop occurs to see if there is anything "there" that would cause the noise. Sometimes there is a little something that can be easily cleaned off with a little extra effort. This will be more likely with a used record than a new one.

    What I mean by that first sentence is that if you decide to stick with records enough to upgrade your turntable you will notice that better equipment will yield better sound AND a lower noise floor.
    Vinyljunkie22 and Groovy like this.
  8. ggergm

    ggergm the dead guy was handy

    Record retailers used to be able to send anything back to the labels for credit. It hasn't been that way for a couple of decades. A record retailer can correct me but I believe returns were stopped sometime in the 1990s.

    Yes, it's not fair but it's the way it is.
  9. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    Amazon takes vinyl back for exchange or refund. All the big and small record stores are long gone (even before Amazon ).
  10. Ben Adams

    Ben Adams Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    This is simply false. Here in the Phoenix area alone there are at least seven record shops that I know of, carrying both new and used vinyl.
  11. imarcq

    imarcq Men are from Mars, I'm from Bromley...

    Sydney, Australia
    Maybe try another cartridge and see if it helps a bit? I find that the Shure M97xE is a bit more forgiving as far as surface noise goes. I did some needledrop comparisons with another member here using the exact SAME record via post. I think his was an Audio Technica, and the Shure didn't pick up anywhere near the same noise as his did. But the sound was very different, so it's something you have to consider overall.
    PaulE and Robert C like this.
  12. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    I should have indicated location. All the big and small record stores on Long Island are long gone. There are a couple of mostly used shops in Nassau and Western Suffolk but my experience with them has been poor (and not worth driving an hour or more to visit). Very very limited new vinyl in stock. Only buying opportunity here is thrift stores but once again selection and condition leave a lot to be desired.

    I am pleased to find that Phoenix is a paragon of civilization.
  13. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    United States
    I've been to just about all of them, too.
  14. So, you have to decide between static from your vinyl or static from your dealer... ;)
    2trackmind, APH, Alan2 and 2 others like this.
  15. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    To insure that static isn't the issue either buy a zero stat gun for $100 or go the free route and wipe your records before play with a USED Bounce brand clothes dryer fabric softener cloth. I usually take two, fold them over a couple of times and wipe against the record while it's spinning, either manually or using the motor. All the static is removed and the cloth does not scratch the record. Just be sure to never use a cloth that hasn't been through the dryer, fresh out of the box they're hard and loaded with chemicals.
    Bolero likes this.
  16. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Arizona desert
    Do you use a carbon fiber brush before each play?
    Coricama likes this.
  17. Bolero

    Bolero Senior Member

    North America
    that's a good tip, I will try that

    I have a zero-stat gun as well. but I kind of feel like a dork using it.

    like i have reached the uber levels of audio geekdom. I only use it when no one else is around & the curtains are closed

    it even looks like a cheap Flash Gordon toy :D
  18. magoo6

    magoo6 Forum Resident

    Invest in at the least the Spin-Clean, but if you can go as far as The Okki-Nokki machine that will do the job better. Recheck your cartridge set up, if you don't have a good alignment protractor get hold of one.

    Experiment with a different mat, in my case I find the Funk Firm Achromat works very well both sonically & in keeping static pops down, but read around, there are plenty of alternatives. And its worth trying out different cartridges, an elliptical stylus will pick up less detail than a fine line, but will (imho) also be kinder on surface noise. The Denon 103 is excellent in this respect, as well as sounding great it keeps surface noise down.

    And lastly, invest in some anti static high quality inner sleeves, the poor quality over tight ones often supplied with brand new vinyl are responsible for a deal of surface damage. Clean your LP's before the first play, they arrive with anti mould agents that need removing before they attach to your needle!

    It's well worth the effort thou, hang in there :)
  19. E.Baba

    E.Baba Forum Resident

    Om 10 is a fine starting point. If you want to upgrade you can just change the stylus to a 'Stylus 20'. It's an easy pull out push in job.
    2xUeL and Shak Cohen like this.
  20. MrRom92

    MrRom92 Forum Supermodel

    Long Island, NY

    You're kidding, right? There are plenty of record stores here, most of which are no more than a 10-15 minute drive away, and the furthest of which are no more than 30 minutes away from any point on nassau county. 2 of which specialize in very high end properly graded vintage vinyl and cater to an audiophile crowd, and two of which in particular specialize in new vinyl from all labels and new releases. Then there are always thrift stores and more suburban family garage sales than you can shake a stick at. LI is the furthest thing from a vinyl desolate wasteland.
    Muzyck and Ben Adams like this.
  21. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    1. Clean the vinyl.
    2. Use a milty static gun.
  22. James_S888

    James_S888 Forum Resident

    1. Clean the vinyl.
    2. Use a milty static gun.
  23. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 Forum Diplomat.

    Liverpool, England
    As posted by others clean the record, even a brand new one, prior to playing,

    I use a Spin a Clean, but the Okki Nokki RCM is superb.

    Use an antistatic brush before and after each side.

    Keep the stylus clean.

    Above all enjoy.
  24. dconsmack

    dconsmack Forum Resident

    Las Vegas, NV USA
    Every single record ever made will produce at least some audible ticks and or clicks. Pops should not happen with new vinyl (but unfortunately sometimes will). Cleaning records with a record vacuum once and then brushing with a double-row carbon fiber brush before each play will help minimize noise. Using a cartridge with a flat treble response will help make the noise be less audible (such as the budget level Shure M97xE or an audiophile grade Dynavector 17D3). Avoid cartridges that have a treble response >+3dB above 10,000 Hz.
  25. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    No, I am not kidding, I live in Eastern Suffolk. No store specializing in new vinyl out here. With the price of gas and the value I place on my time I prefer to shop online. If someone were to open a well run shop within 20 minutes of my home I would be a customer.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
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