Magazine Archive

Home -> Magazines -> Issues -> Articles in this issue -> View

Clean Living

Now here's a thing. Records. Why are these fabulous items so central to your musical inspiration frequently drowned in more pops and crackle than a bowl of Rice Krispies? Dust and static, mate. There's more to disc dirt than you think.

Plain dust rarely damages the vinyl, but makes the stylus skip, and builds up on the cantilever (the bit connecting the stylus to the cartridge) so slowing its response.

Oil from the air and your mucky fingerprints holds the dust in the grooves, but has worse faults. As the tip of the stylus tracks through the sludge it produces a flash temperature of 600-800 deg C, and that's enough to convert the oil to a ceramic-like glaze, polluting the stylus. It's rough, abrasive and grinds away the high-frequency detail in the grooves. Finally, there's static which again holds the dust, but is most noticeable because it forms irregular patterns on the record. Small pockets of charge cause those irritating pops, and they can be 10,000 volts or more, positive or negative. Cleaners which claim to remove static are usually fibbing. What they actually do (usually with conductive carbon fibre brushes) is distribute the charge evenly across the entire surface of the disc - no more crackling hot spots. There is a pricey, professional answer called the Keith Monks machine which does genuinely remove static (along with oil and dust) by washing the records in distilled water and drawing the resultant fluid off with a vacuum pump.

For the rest of us there are commercially available cleaners normally using isopropyl alcohol, on brushes or cloths, to loosen oil and dust. So now you know.

More with this topic

Browse by Topic:

Tape, Vinyl, CD, DAT

Previous Article in this issue

What It All Means

Next article in this issue


Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.


Making Music - Oct 1986


Previous article in this issue:

> What It All Means

Next article in this issue:

> Reverberation

Help Support The Things You Love

mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.

If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!

Donations for June 2022
Issues donated this month: 0

New issues that have been donated or scanned for us this month.

Funds donated this month: £49.00

All donations and support are gratefully appreciated - thank you.

Magazines Needed - Can You Help?

Do you have any of these magazine issues?

> See all issues we need

If so, and you can donate, lend or scan them to help complete our archive, please get in touch via the Contribute page - thanks!

Please Contribute to mu:zines by supplying magazines, scanning or donating funds. Thanks!

Monetary donations go towards site running costs, and the occasional coffee for me if there's anything left over!

Small Print

Terms of usePrivacy