Vinyl Record Care

Vinyl Record care – How to get the most out of your vinyl records

Forum discussion

Hardware related

1- clean your LPs preferrably using a record cleaning machine or at least
manually with a good brush and cleaning solution.


2- clean your LPs prior to their first play to remove mold release
compound. Use a special deep cleaner that removes mold release compound.
This will help prevent pops and clicks.

3- use a good support system for your turntable. Some suggestions are a
wall-mounted shelf, a good rack, and/or a rack with a specialty platform
such as a Neuance platform.
 
4. Use a better inner sleeve than those usually provided.
Nagaoka and Mobile Fidelity sleeves are reccommended.
Many people also prefer plain white rice paper sleeves.
 

5. Store your records tidily and vertically.
Partitions about a foot square are good.
 

6. Use a good turntable and cartridge/needle. Worn needles, or where there
is too much or too little weight resting on the record can all damage it. A regular
service of your TT is not a bad idea also, both for protecting them and for
getting the best sound quality out of them.
   

7. Don't leave finger prints on your records.
They leave greasy smudges and attract dust. Try and use the edges and the labels to hold
your records. Don't do what you see DJs doing!!
 

Thanks to Terry P for some of these tips. 
 
Vinyl Record care - How to get the most out of your vinyl records

Marvin Gaye – What’s going on?

Considered one of the best soul albums of all time, if not one of the best albums of all time, What’s going on as an album emerged as a concept after Marvin Gaye wrote the title track. Motown and Berry Gordy asked Marvin to come up with a whole album in the style.

A complete change from the upbeat popular music which he used to sing, What’s going on is a collage of sentimental musings about the earth, peace and love. And don’t forget the children. While it could have descended into pure schmalz it is saved by Marvin’s gorgeous vocal skills, and the classic music that underpins the lyrics.

And it has its funkier moments, such as in ‘Save the children’,’God is Love’, and ‘Mercy Mercy Me’, later covered by Robert Palmer. A beautiful funky rhythm is backed by soaring strings as well as the splendid vocal harmonies.

All these songs and the others on the album segue into one another so that the album really does stand as a whole and to listen to any one song is to miss the whole experience.

Side 2 does not reach up to the high standards set by side one but is worthwhile nevertheless.

I’m on my third copy of this album right now. I bought a cheap copy some years ago which I was never happy with the sound quality of. I replaced this a few months ago with the current 180grm issue with the gold stamp on the front. imagine my chagrin when checking the deadwax I discovered that it was from the same stamper as my previous copy. The actual vinyl was higher quality but the sound was the same and had a quite wooly bass.

Finally I picked up an early original American copy. This, while still not of audiophile quality, is a noticeable improvement on the previous two. Even though its quite a worn pressing its my favourite copy.

All of the above are gatefold issues with lyrics and a little piece penned by Marvin himself.

James Michener’s Favorite Music of Hawaii

Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s RCA Living Stereo were the ultimate in sound quality for the new stereo technology and represent as much a showcase for the new technology as for the music contained within.

For this release in 1959, the author, James Michener chose a selection of songs native to Hawaii. So what we get is quite a rag tag mix of music, from percussion led pieces to ballads by both choirs and soloists, male and female. It’s a nice varied collection and although the choirs in particular can sound a bit muddied the close miked soloists and percussion sound very agreeable to these ears. Its warm, impressive enough, and a joy to listen to.

Many of the classical Living Stero items are very highly sought after and have been re-releaesed by audiophile labels on both vinyl and sacd. I haven’t yet seen this title though.

Packaging is exemplary and the vinyl presssing itself impeccable although age has taken its toll slightly.

Glossary

This is intended to be a glossary of the terms commonly used on the site. Any suggestions please email me at vf@a1linux.com.

 

Dead wax

A term used to describe that section of the record between the label and the actualy playing surface of the record, ie. the actual grooves. Its a fairly flat section of vinyl but is important because it contains information. This information can be a message from the artist or the mastering engineer such as an expression or quote. It also contains information on the actual pressing itself, such as generation of master, mastering engineer, where the record was cut etc.

DMM

Direct Metal Mastering is a technology for cutting directly into a metal stamper which is then used to stamp vinyl records. It has advantages over the lacquer process, in that it eliminates the lacquer stage(see below) and can fit more length onto a vinyl LP. 

Lacquer

One of the stages in making a record is to use the sound to physically cut  the groove for a record. There are two methods used. The more traditional way is to use a lacquer. Lacquer is a soft waxy material which is easy to cut into. From this lacquer cast, the metal pressing plate is then produced which is actually used to stamp the records. The more modern alternative method is DMM.

Needle drop

A term used to describe the process of making a digital copy from a vinyl record. Usually onto cd. Came into use as term in the recording industry when original master were lost and the new master for a re-release or a compilation was made from taking a copy of a record. 

 

 

londonrecordshops

Hello there,

 

one of the sections on the site is going to be a database of record shops based in different places around the world.

They will appear in the Links section. 

I'd like to get a list of your favourite record shops in London, so if you have a suggestion please email me at

 

vf@a1linux.com

 

Thanks again

 

Richard 

New Order – True Faith

New Order always considered themselves a dance band and were huge proponents of 12″ records. Blue Monday being the best selling 12″ of all time(and because of the packaging it lost money on every copy apparently).

In 1987, when i was in my early teens they released this single with the driving rhythm that was completely infectious. The excellent, if strange, video married the percussion to two beings hitting each other.

Barney Sumner’s lyrics were always rubbish, but here they’re oblique enough not to be irritating, and the melody is so strong that with Peter Hook’s bass line it makes it one of the best tracks ever.

The B-side is not so bad either. Eschewing the usual habit of putting a dub remix on the flip, here we have a completely different non-album track, 1963, with ominous lyrics about an elder brother who goes on a murdering rampage.

The sound off these New Order 12″s is excellent and are unavailable on CD. Its not to hard to pick up 2nd hand. The cover art is minimal and striking and well deserving of a frame.

Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden

Spirit of Eden is one of those legendary albums. A complete change from their beginnings as Duran Duran contemporaries, about as far removed from standard rock/pop releases as you can get. Holed up in an abandoned church for 14 months their label were shocked with what emerged. The public were indifferent while critics raved for years afterwards.

Funereal in pace, and indeed in lyrical content, Mark Hollis was undergoing problems with heroin addiction at the time and this probably accounts for much of the mood. Tim Friese-Greene, while not an original member, had now formed, with Mark hollis, the driving force behind the band. He produced and played 4 of the 20 odd instruments(or vocals) mentioned on the record.

Listening to this at night with no distractions, the emotion of this record gets to you. Mark’s tortured voice conveys in fragments the despair of his life at the time.

The music is wholly made up of organic instruments. The synthesisers present on previous releases are completely absent. but we do have piano, harmonium, organ, dobro, mesican bass, double bass, trumpet, violin, shozygs, bassoon, oboe, clarinet, car anglais, as well as the standard guitar, bass, drums and the choir of Chelmsford cathedral.

Every track starts off very slowly and simply before building, not in speed but in presence, revealing a magnificence to the arrangments, with each of those instruments coming in at seemingly random moments. This record is all about atmosphere, not about catchy choruses.

There are times when, a drumbeat say, on Inheritance, kicks in and you salivate at the sheer natural beauty of the sound.

The recording is all analogue and without fault. The pressing is solid, but its getting difficult to find one of these in mint condition. This album and the ‘Laughing Stock’ followup are begging for the audiophile reissue treatment. They don’t need to be improved upon, they just need to be available.

U2 – Wide awake in America

U2 polarise opinion. While they’re one of the largest bands in the world people seem to either love or hate their music.

Audiophiles on the other hand seem to universally deride their albums. They all sound awful.

Well this mini album of four songs(there was a withdrawn release with an extra track) is probably the best sound you’re going to get from a U2 record. Rushed out in the aftermath of U2’s legendary appearance at Live Aid, it has two live tracks and two outtakes from around the time of the Unforgettable fire, a record which incidentally appeared as a Mobile Fidelity release.

The two live tracks are Bad and ‘A sort of homecoming’ which are even more epic than their album counterparts and sound great to these ears. The Edge’s guitar as always soars out across err Birmingham and Wembley in London. Not exactly America.

A sort of homecoming particularly is sung with passion and is worth the price of admission alone.

Flip over to side two and we get two b-sides, ‘Three sunrises’ and ‘ ‘love comes tumbling’.

The former(production helped by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois) is typical U2, impassioned vocals, piercing guitar licks and a steady drumbeat. As good as anything on ‘The Unforgettable Fire’.

‘Love comes tumbling’ is better. A slow song, filled with menace, as love disappears, leaving Bono on his own waving a lighter in the air in a darkened stadium.

Sound quality is good, probably better on the live tracks and pressing is not bad at all.

My gavourite U2 record.

Vivante in Liquidation

We have just learnt that Vivante, the UK based mail order supplier of audiophile software is no longer in business. This leaes Diversevinyl as the only UK mail order sspecialist for audiophile vinyl and buyers of hi-rez in a tricky situation. Vivante also had a small record label bt we are unsure as to what the situation is with them. Currently www.vivante.co.uk repoints you to the accessories mail order specialist, hiforsale.com. Vivante were founded in 2001. The team were regulars at hi-fi shows and we hope this is not the last from them and will let you know more as we find out any news.

Aretha Franklin – Aretha Now

How the hell can you go wrong with Aretha Franklin. She’s produced some of the best, some of the most foot stomping, the most head shaking incredible music of all time. Music to make you think, dance and sing. Music to make you shout and music to make you cry.

And this record has such songs in spades. Kicking off with the incredible threesome of Think(an ultimatum to a lover), the brilliant ‘I say a little prayer’, and your lovee is like a ‘see saw’. We get all the different aspects of being in a relationship just there.

And each one is a dancefloor gem.

For ‘Night time is the right time’ we get into real R&B territory, a steady slow beat gets your head rocking in typical blues fashion before we get romantic again in ‘You send me’. And how Aretha’s voice soars. And that’s only side one. Those five songs alone are enough to make this record a must have. But flip it over and there’s more.

Just a drumbeat and Aretha telling us straight that she don’t care what they think or say, cos you’re ‘a sweet sweet man’. ‘I take what i want’ is another horn filled declaration while while ‘Hello sunshine’ is a more relaxed tune, reminding me of a reggae beat in its loping style.

Handclaps make an entry on ‘A change’ and has a more relaxed bass line to the fore.

The album finisges off with ‘I can’t see myself leaving you’. A lovely piano and a nice beat and as always her soaring voice. Its a slower song to end the album and it sure lets us out in style.

Its a ssaturday night album. Everything here is going to have the dance floor crowded. And yet somehow with songs like ‘I say a little prayer’ and ‘You send me’ its a sunday morning album too.

Of all the songs, only ‘Think’ is an original track, jointly written, but that doesn’t matter because Aretha makes all these songs her own and we can’t imagine them being sung by anyone else.

Its a late 60’s recording and it shows in what seems a simple recording. The pressing as usual for 4mwb is perfect and extracts as much out of this recording as possible. Packaging is simple but with the original liner notes, like so many from the 60’s are a pleasure to read.