After a fire at my shop some years ago, I'm still trying to salvage many
records that deteriorated from moisture - and I find a very old school
technique that has amazing results. Organic compounds in the shellac are
affected by moisture and freezing - it's not a good idea to store shellac
78s in improper conditions. In reviewing some of my original dubs from 30 or
so years ago, i'm aware that the records weren't perfect even before the
fire, but I have found a way to clean and improve the surfaces by using - of
all things- my Victrola Credenza.
I completely coat the playing surface of the record with my cleaning
solution (1 drop of Sunlight in about a cup of water). I place a new steel
needle in the gramophone at the start of the record, then play about 15 - 20
seconds of the record to grind the needle to the shape of the groove .
You can hear the hiss gradually increasing as the needle conforms to the
shape of the groove. this is usally about 1/2 inch into the playing surface.
I then return the reproducer to the beginning of the record and play a
second time, this time playing the complete record. I notice very little
hiss at this point, but when the needle reaches the unplayed portion of the
record, the hiss turns on like a switch.
By using the gramophone like a lathe, it makes even a very grey record shiny
I then place a bamboo needle in the gramophone, and again play wet. this
will polish the groove even more. Next, I dry the record and play again with
the bamboo needle, which further polishes the groove. I then use a dry nail
brush, spinning the disc on a very powerful 'Micro' transcription turntable
to activate the natural lubricants in the record.
Now, it's ready to record , and the results are spectacular. Most of the
hiss is gone, and the record sounds far better.
A note - I use the term 'hiss' advisedly - with 78s, what we call hiss is
more of a cumulative effect of a great number of clicks.
As such, I find that de-click application with minimum settings will remove
much of the remaining hiss, without any obvious intervention.
The worst thing is that gating effect, with sibilants popping out at you - .
Hope this technique will help with those rare, beaten up records - it wirks
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Stamler" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 5:04 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Disasters at Commercial Archives
> On 4/9/2015 2:12 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> TOTALLY AGREE WITH CLARK! And yes, I'm "shouting!" Find the best
>> possible source of the media you want to transfer. CLEAN IT with
>> knowledge and care. Play it with the right stylus, at the right speed
>> and with the right EQ curve (and often "right" is what sounds best
>> because there is very little concrete documentation of recording curves
>> especially in foreign markets and especially in non-studio recordings).
>> Transfer it at high resolution, then be conservative and tasteful with
>> your digital restoration tools. This all sounds logical and common sense
>> based. But listen to most of the CDs reissuing 78s and you hear that few
>> people follow these steps, few people have good taste with using
>> "restoration tools," and many people seem to think consumers either
>> can't hear garbage work or don't care because they expect terrible sound
>> from 78s.
> Or they think the public hates hiss and scratches so much that they're
> willing to put up with mangled music.
> A hearty amen to all the sentiments Clark & Tom expressed, except that I'd
> make a flat transfer and archive that.
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