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ARSCLIST  June 2014

ARSCLIST June 2014

Subject:

Re: The guy who cleans his 78s with spit.

From:

H D Goldman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:29:34 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (48 lines)

Hi Tom,

Yes, I should have elaborated but doubted there would be much interest in the details.  The story we learned through conversations with the British Museum decades ago was that the gentleman who was in the process of bringing the Keith-Monks to market, learned that an engineer at the Museum had wiped an early LP of with methanol [aka wood alcohol]  & "liked the look" & presumably the playback.  From this comment he chose to use methanol/water mixtures.

Methanol is a poison, responsible for the "Shakey Jake" syndrome seen during prohibition. When the KM came to the US methanol was replaced by isopropyl alcohol since using ethanol would have required paying extra taxes.  

As generally used for record cleaning, the typical Photo-flo/water blends even those with modest amounts of a water soluble simple alcohols [methanol, ethanol, isopropanol & n-propanol], mold/mildew levels can be significantly reduced but not thoroughly removed.  The highly focused vacuum of the KM machine is more effective in this regard.  Multi-year storage under adverse conditions of discs cleaned using a KM & several Photo-flo/water blends showed that the surfaces could often still support biological growth.  There is simply a limit to what the non-ionic surfactant in Photo-flo can effectively solubilize.  As I've said previously, there are simply limits in this application to what non-ionic surfactants can accomplish.  And that difference is audible on a properly set up "mid-fi" system.

Equally important were listening comparisons done with a variety of discs using the KM with alternate fluids.  With & w/o use of either or both the dispensing system & onboard applicator, applying a carefully formulated blend of highly water soluble surfactants & a small amount of n-propanol[nPA] always afforded audibly superior results.  The alcohol enhances the efficiency of the surfactants &  is more effective  than the other simple water soluble alcohol.  Careful formulation allowed us to identify a blend generally safe & thorough to shellac, acetate, vinyl, "cured" lacquers & Diamond Disc recordings.

The concentration of the common water soluble alcohols in water required to effect sterilization is approx. 70% by volume.  

Your comment wrt the ultrasonic cleaner [I'm assuming this is the recent incarnation of this approach] suggests that the cleaning is no better than your preferred method.  It does not answer the question of whether this is the most effective & affordable record cleaning system currently available.

Happy Listening,

Duane Goldman

On Jun 27, 2014, at 5:47 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi Duane:
> 
> Your posting is somewhat cryptic. Are you saying that a Photoflo/distilled water solution will not clean mold or are you claiming that it won't "clean" any stamped (moulded) disk, of any material? If so, I have found that to be incorrect, operating on the theory that VPI concentrate mixed with distilled water is essentially the same as a DIY Photoflo/water product (VPI claims no alcohol is in their cleaning solution). I tend to agree with you in that wetting solution itself will not clean records, the solution combined with the cleaning/brushing method and vacuum removal of solution and residue are a process to clean records, none operating independent of the others.
> 
> If you are saying that solutions not containing alcohol will not kill and detach mold in a groove, this might be true in and of itself, but the brushing and vacuuming tend to do the job unless there's very bad contamination, in my experience.
> 
> That said, I don't object to an LP (vinyl) cleaning solution that contains isoprop alcohol, in theory. I have long used isoprop in far less dillute solutions to clean various plastic and glass, as well as to remove splice glue residue on polyester-backed magnetic media. There are specific things that alcohol dissolves (shellac being one of them). Vinyl LP records are not on the list. Grease in a vinyl groove may well be best dissolved and removed with an alcohol-containing solution in conjunction with a mechanical cleaning and vacuuming system.
> 
> By the way, earlier this year I had the opportunity to do some listening on a house-priced LP system owned by a well-known audio journalist. He uses the ultrasonic record cleaner made by a Japanese company. We both could hear no difference in an LP that I brought played back first as I brought it (VPI cleaned) and then after a cycle in the ultrasonic cleaner. It played very quietly both times. It's also worth noting that, despite his claims that a "record demagnetizer" had altered the playback characteristics of some of his platters, none of mine that we put in the machine sounded any different (we tried old "golden era" platters as well as recent-issue platters).
> 
> -- Tom Fine
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "H D Goldman" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2014 7:25 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] The guy who cleans his 78s with spit.
> 
> 
>> This wetting  solution is incapable of thoroughly cleaning any moulded recording whether shellac, acetate, Diamond Disc or vinyl.  This can be recognized by anyone with a mid-fi system that is properly set up whether you remove fluids by vacuum or with pure cotton terry cloth rags and some micro-fiber fabrics.
>> 
>> When you take the time to learn the history of the Keith-Monks machine & how, in the US, we came to use of alcohol-water blends, most notably isopropyl alcohol/water mixtures with vacuum-based record cleaning machines, you'll understand that it had nothing to do with listening to unclean vs. clean recordings.  In fact our own efforts were the direct result of comments made by a small group of magazine reviewers during listening sessions in the early 1980s.
>> 
>> Duane Goldman
>> 
>> H D Goldman Lagniappe Chemicals Ltd.
>> PO Box 37066 St. Louis, MO 63141 USA
>> v/f 314 205 1388 [log in to unmask]

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