Saturday, August 6, 2016

HiFi - Vinyl, care and cleaning and the MP3

In the last few weeks we have been playing our old records and converting them to 320kbps MP3s. Portable MP3 players and large SD Cards just have so many advantages, and having the collection online is good too. In most cases I'm making a single MP3 per album side, not cutting up the individual tracks as separate files.

Our vinyl record collecting stopped in 1983 when CDs came out. I just loved that CDs have NO clicks and pops.  Still do. But I also didn't go out and rebuy my collection on CDs so now, some 30 years later, I want to hear most of the stuff I haven't heard in a long time.  I am recording them into Reaper, doing some mild mastering, writing 24bit files, then convert with dbpoweramp.

I really looked after my records. Most albums have vinyl covers, and were always stored vertically. I never touch the vinyl track surfaces, and all that, but now, some still have clicks and pops. I can edit out the big ones in Audacity, but it is tedious. Some records I was gifted years ago don't even have their internal vinyl record sleeve and are noisey and disgusting.

I have the usual record cleaning brush, even a dust bug that I'm not using, and found these received records need more.  Much more. A solution of distilled water, Isopropyl Alcohol and a surface tension reducer (that doesn't seem to be readily available) is what is in the commercial cleaning solutions.  It looks like vacuuming the surface is required too, and you need a record label covering device to keep the solution off it.

All a bit tedious. I don't have a problem with the sound of CDs, but it seems CD prices are now rising, so replacing an old vinyl album that is still available with a CD isn't as attractive as it was.

The DIY Cleaning Solution and a DIY Cleaning Machine for reference.

I would think making a vacuum cleaner attachment with velvet and some tubing and doing it manually would suffice for the number of records I need to do.  We will see.

It is the Vinyl Album Artwork and sleeves that I miss, nothing to do with the sound quality.

..... a bit later....

We have tried just using  demineralized water and 10% Isopropyl mixture with a velvet pad without a vacuum, and found the result better than dirty, but a long way to go before good.  So probably need to try the vacuum next....

We can be contacted at Art & Technology.