Please pardon this much delayed reply but family matters got in the way. Reminds me of the Neil Young tune "man needs a maid".
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My apology for the confusion. My brain momentarily left the planet & I listed surfaces that can be safely cleaned with our original cleaning solution instead of only those which are pressed.
Generally speaking, quality pressing/molding of thermoplastics such as the lac exude & polyvinyl chloride usually requires the use a mould-release agent to allow the stamper/mould to cleanly separate from the formed surfaces. The release agent(s) can be applied to the mould/press or, as is the case with pressed phonograph discs, compounded into the matrix. These materials migrate to the disc surface during pressing & can act as a thermal barrier protecting the disc surface from the intense heat of the stamper. The end result of the latter is a microscopically fine film on the surface of the pressed disc.
I've seen references to early shellac pressings using salts of fatty acids, such as stearic acid as a release agent & EMI was using carnuba wax by 1908. Vinyl pressings have used a variety of waxes & oils compounded into the matrix. EMI used RCA's vinyl formula which also used stearic acid salts as release agents. replacing the hazardous lead salts of the 78 era with low toxicity barium & magnesium salts.
During the oil embargoes of the 60's & 70's, vinyl formulations varied from what had been the standard blend used for record production & in some cases the release agents changed as a result. For what it's worth, I've heard claims from 3 different sources that silicone-based release agents were added to the vinyl formulations during these embargoes.
Generally these various release agents are not chemically bound to the shellac/vinyl matrix, rather they are entrained within it; physically trapped and also held there by weak electrostatic interaction with other components of the matrix.
When I first heard about "lubricants" on the surface of vinyl pressings, my thought was "great!", it's going to reduce wear. More critical consideration says otherwise. In fact, nothing should interface the groove & stylus surfaces. Traces of these materials affect the overall quality of playback just as the residues left from household cleaning products do. Furthermore, most of these residuals can support biological growth. Simply put, thorough cleaning permits more accurate groove tracing & a longer life for the recording.
Feedback over the years has shown that these differences can usually be heard with a properly set up mid-fi system. Using a turntable with better speed control & isolation makes it easier to hear the changes.
Most importantly with more accurate groove tracing comes a higher standard for recorded sound.
On Jun 12, 2012, at 2:00 AM, Michael Biel wrote:
> From: H D Goldman <[log in to unmask]>
>> The common contaminant to all pressed disc recordings &
>> the most difficult to safely remove is the mold release wax.
> What is mold release wax? Is it something that is part of the mix of
> the material of the record? You include it in discussing all materials
> "[lacquer, acetate, Diamond Disc & vinyl]" which include discs which are
> not pressed. I have visited pressing plants using vinyl and styrene,
> and have seen films of many different eras of shellac and early vinyl
> pressing, and never once have I seen any hint of an application of any
> surface material in the record press other than inserting or injecting
> the record compound. The stampers are never coated with anything
> between pressings. The records all come off the press without any
> problem whatsoever, and often they are immediately sleeved.
>> It is also the most difficult material to safely & thoroughly
>> remove from the surface of a new phonograph record.
> So, what is mold release wax? Since there is no evidence that the
> stampers are coated, if it is part of the chemical makeup of the record,
> how could this be a removable surface coating?
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
>> This wax is poorly soluble in the pure, water-soluble, simple alcohols [methanol, ethanol, isopropanol & n-propanol]; less so when diluted with water. Bugs love this wax & while it is difficult for thoroughly cleaned disc surfaces [lacquer, acetate, Diamond Disc & vinyl] to support mold growth, once infestation is established by feeding on the mold release wax, all of these disc surfaces can be permanently damaged. For used discs a variety of contaminants including fingerprints & the micro dust from old sleeves increase the chance for mold growth.
> Generically speaking record cleaning is performed by sufficiently
> agitating a solution within the groove to safely & effectively wash the
> We've demonstrated for over 25 yrs. that it is possible to safely &
> thoroughly clean all of these surfaces with a blend of highly rinsable,
> broad-based surfactants that includes a small but critical amount of
> analytical reagent grade n-propanol. There is an audible difference when
> the alcohol is excluded.
> With regards to use on Diamond Discs, Richard Warren, Curator of Yale's
> Historical Sound Recordings Collection has been using our standard
> product for years. He volunteered remarks at the ARSC meeting years ago
> in Nashville, that he obtained superior cleaning of Diamond Discs with
> our fluids & applicator, even with pressings from a period known for
> poor surfaces.
> All the discs used for the award winning "Lost Sounds" collection from
> the crew at Archeophone were cleaned with our system.
> As many of us like to make up our own cleaning concoctions, please note
> that household cleaning products rarely rinse clean from disc phonograph
> recordings; & I did say a small amount of a specific reagent grade
> alcohol. Methanol & isopropyl alcohol are not recommended, nor is
> denatured ethanol or your favorite vodka. While wetting agents can
> improve the ability of water to penetrate the groove, they do not
> inherently offer superior cleaning. Nonetheless, pairing wetting agents
> with highly focused vacuum -based fluid removal [i.e. Keith
> Monks/Loricraft] can improve performance. This same limitation was
> recently observed in comparing manual surfactant based cleaning to the
> use of a wetting solution in a well built device employing an ultrasonic
> Lastly, with respect to the re-birth of the Spin Clean device, I'm
> puzzled by one observation. Most of us don't reuse the water we bathe
> in, use to brush our teeth, wash dishes or clothes in, so why is it such
> a good idea for phonograph records? The record may be cleaner than it
> was but it is exposed to all the contaminants accumulating in the bath.
> The supplied cleaning fluid is less than thorough no matter how it's
> used, although a quick pass with a Keith Monks/Loricraft would be quite
> helpful. ; >)
> Unfortunately both the Spin Clean & the sonicator [more than 40X the
> price of the former] were reviewed by the same person & both given
> positive recommendation. In keeping with this sort of evaluation, I'm
> often reminded that a warm solution of urea & uric acid also gives
> reasonable results when applied to most disc recording.
> I mean no criticism of the preferences of others as our goals may
> differ. A properly setup mid-fi system can reveal the differences
> between clean & thoroughly cleaned discs. The enhanced resolution
> increases listening pleasure, makes it easier to evaluate recordings &
> equipment as well as setting a reference point for digital playback.
> We're currently evaluating alternate methods for cleaning fresh lacquers
> prior to plating with the aim of improved resolution & quieter
> Duane Goldman
> On Jun 10, 2012, at 2:48 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Mike, agree that arguments always arise, but it's important to mention NO ALCOHOL in whatever solution you use for shellac, right? Just in case someone doesn't know ...
>> BTW, now to wade into the inevitable argument ... I haven't tried it but it looks to me like the Spin-Clean would be a good low-cost solution for 78's
>> THAT SAID, if I were buying it, I would contact the company and ask them point-blank if they guarantee their solution is alcohol-free and safe for shellac before using it on your 78's.
>> The reason I like this machine is that it keeps the label dry but thoroughly soaks the groove area, and it's less sloppy than a slop-sink and sponge.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sunday, June 10, 2012 3:42 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] victor record conservation
>> From: Patrick Sumner <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To whom it may concern: wondering if someone knows how to clean vintage
>>> "Victor" records-a few have a green mold, most are just stored vertically in
>>> the area below the player. Also, would there be anyone in the Louisville,
>>> Ky area able to "check-out" the functions.many thanks, patrick
>> The "functions" of what????
>> There's very little in shellac records for mold to grow on. The problem
>> possibly is with the sleeves, and especially the cardboard of any
>> albums. It will probably clean off by cleaning them the usual way
>> (arguments always arise when record cleaning is mentioned) but the
>> sleeves and album covers will reinfect the cleaned records if they are
>> the problem. And the wood and varnish of the player might also be a
>> problem. The insides of the player need to be dried out, aired out, and
>> possibly sealed. You don't mention the vintage of either the player or
>> the records. Is it a wind-up and these are acoustical records, or is it
>> a modern console? Stored in a damp basement?
>> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]
> H D Goldman Lagniappe Chemicals Ltd.
> PO Box 37066 St. Louis, MO 63141 USA
> v/f 314 205 1388 [log in to unmask]
H D Goldman Lagniappe Chemicals Ltd.
PO Box 37066 St. Louis, MO 63141 USA
v/f 314 205 1388 [log in to unmask]