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The effect of cleaning and playing (some of) your LPs

Started by Steve Crook, May 02, 2023, 02:38:17 PM

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Steve Crook

An utterly unscientific look at the measurable effects of cleaning LPs.

This is a double album, second hand, in good visual condition though with some surface dust. It was wiped clean with a carbon fibre brush then given two cycles through an ultrasonic cleaner, then played clicks removed, ultrasonically cleaned again played and click removal repeated.

Click settings were level 2, percussion prot. max and brass prot. max and four passes.

I did the reclean because after the first playthrough of side 1 the stylus tip had a little hat of dirt on it.

The figures illustrate my general experience over around 600 albums cleaned and recorded. Some albums respond well to a cleaning/playing/cleaning cycle. Most, it makes no difference.

Thoughts anyone?

   Pass 1 - 1297 clicks found      Pass 1 - 1451 clicks found   
   Pass 2 - 33 clicks found      Pass 2 - 73 clicks found   
   Pass 3 - 2 clicks found      Pass 3 - 8 clicks found   
   Pass 4 - 0 clicks found      Pass 4 - 4 clicks found   
   1709 potential clicks found in 1:00.2, of which (approximately):      1906 potential clicks found in 1:00.6, of which (approximately):   
       1332 repaired          1536 repaired   
       369 ignored (PP - percussion protection)          363 ignored (PP - percussion protection)   
       8 ignored (BP - brass protection)          7 ignored (BP - brass protection)   
   Pass 1 - 3015 clicks found      Pass 1 - 2544 clicks found   
   Pass 2 - 150 clicks found      Pass 2 - 99 clicks found   
   Pass 3 - 18 clicks found      Pass 3 - 8 clicks found   
   Pass 4 - 0 clicks found      Pass 4 - 3 clicks found   
   3774 potential clicks found in 1:07.1, of which (approximately):      3245 potential clicks found in 1:07.2, of which (approximately):   
       3183 repaired          2654 repaired   
       590 ignored (PP - percussion protection)          590 ignored (PP - percussion protection)   
       1 ignored (BP - brass protection)          1 ignored (BP - brass protection)   
   Pass 1 - 3705 clicks found      Pass 1 - 3399 clicks found   
   Pass 2 - 132 clicks found      Pass 2 - 137 clicks found   
   Pass 3 - 9 clicks found      Pass 3 - 9 clicks found   
   Pass 4 - 0 clicks found      Pass 4 - 0 clicks found   
   4777 potential clicks found in 0:58.3, of which (approximately):      4498 potential clicks found in 0:58.8, of which (approximately):   
       3846 repaired          3545 repaired   
       916 ignored (PP - percussion protection)          933 ignored (PP - percussion protection)   
       15 ignored (BP - brass protection)          20 ignored (BP - brass protection)   
   Pass 1 - 3937 clicks found      Pass 1 - 3729 clicks found   
   Pass 2 - 115 clicks found      Pass 2 - 127 clicks found   
   Pass 3 - 3 clicks found      Pass 3 - 3 clicks found   
   Pass 4 - 0 clicks found      Pass 4 - 1 clicks found   
   5090 potential clicks found in 1:00.3, of which (approximately):      4909 potential clicks found in 1:00.1, of which (approximately):   
       4055 repaired          3860 repaired   
       1005 ignored (PP - percussion protection)          1013 ignored (PP - percussion protection)   
       30 ignored (BP - brass protection)          36 ignored (BP - brass protection)   

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)


Looking at those figures, (most of) your LPs must be in good condition so I wouldn't expect VinylStudio's click scanner to achieve much.

One thing I would say though is to stick to one pass.  Subsequent passes don't generally take out any additional clicks and tend to do more percussion damage that the first one.

Steve Crook

Interesting to learn about the effect of further passes. I'd originally started with 1 pass, then experimented and found that for really clean LPs (sub 1k clicks per side) the extra passes rarely found more than a total of double digit numbers of clicks. However when presented with some of the S/H stuff where 5k per side wasn't unusual the extra passes appeared to catch more genuine clicks. But then I've got maximum percussion and brass protection switched on.

Incidentally that's a point. I'd started at level 4, brass on and percussion halfway. But having listened to lower click detection settings it was clear that for the most part 2 and max percussion was good enough.

Generally my records are in very good condition, and I'd get 0.7k-2k clicks per side, and I rarely step above level 2 to remove almost all the obvious stuff. Then I concentrate on the quiet sections of tracks where the noise is most intrusive and do manual click removal. Occasionally I find VS has been too conservative at these settings.

Occasionally I get a tricky album, but mostly I can clean them in less than 20mins.

The end result are recordings that're noiseless and very hard/impossible to distinguish from LP over hifi and are also quiet enough for headphone listening. I've A/B'd a few recordings. Both switching on/off corrections and also comparing against the LP.