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mcstain

How much surface noise is normal?

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I've just set up my first vinyl rig. I have a Rega RP3 with an Ortofon Blue 2M (both lightly used). All of my records are brand new. I have not cleaned any of my records, just given them a few revolutions underneath a carbon fibre brush before play. There is definitely some surface noise on all of my records.. what I'm wondering is whether it is outside the normal amount of noise to expect from vinyl. Sometimes there is a light pop or crackle every 5-15 seconds, other times the album will be silent for a track or two. The pops and crackles don't bother me too much, but of course I'd like to minimise them. I have aligned the cartridge using a Rega Stevenson arc protractor, adjusted the counterweight so that the tonearm floats, tracking force measured at 1.82g on digital scales, anti-skate set to around 1 (a lot of people feel that the bias for the Rega arms should be under adjusted). I have tried a range of different values for the anti-skate, but this position seemed to work best.

 

I have experimented with a few different settings but this is where the pops and crackles seem to be minimised. Is it a case of fine-tuning these adjustments until the surface noises go away completely? Or do I just need to accept a certain amount of noise on vinyl? If so, what level of surface noise should I be aiming for? A few pops per track? 

 

There are also a few other things I could address.. the turntable is currently on a glass shelving unit (though it is the bottom shelf which is in contact with carpet). I am trying to find a piece of slate or wood that the turntable can sit on. The phono leads are too short for it to sit on the Ikea Lack table next to the TV unit. I know a lot of you clean your vinyl religiously, but I'm not that keen on cleaning my vinyl unless it's absolutely necessary.

 

Would it be worth getting the cartridge and turntable adjusted at a hi-fi shop? I'm 99% sure that I have everything roughly the way it should be.

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New is no guarantee of being quiet.

I found vacuum Record Cleaning Machine (RCM) to be effective.

Can be overly expensive if you don't have a great many records.

I have a PHK from Brazil.

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Vinyl is a physical storage medium so subject to a host of variables which will affect the amount of surface noise.

Things such as formulation of the vinyl, pressing practices, mould release materials, inner sleeve etc.

if you can, a pre play cleaning of your new discs will give the best long term outcome. Then a prepay brush each and every time.

I have a few albums from the sixties, such as a beautiful pressing of John Mayalls " Bare Wires" that, after hundreds of plays, remain almost silent.

I have recent pressings, that are noisy as hell, again with a range of causative factors.

Whatever you do, get your TT away from the carpeted floor. The static generated as you walk to the TT , and it's air current vortex, act as a great dust magnet. Cleaning will not attenuate the problem if this is repeated numerous time.

The trade off for having a bit of surface noise, is access to dynamic range that most usefully unleashes the music, in a ' naturalistic manner'.

ZM.

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^^

oh yeah, I missed that bit about being on the carpet.

Get that TT up, up, and away.

Also if you're not keen on cleaning your records maybe vinyl's not the thing for you.

You're going to have to clean the stylus frequently too.  It's not a hard task but your sound will soon be buggered if you don't.

Edited by E.Man

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I always use a velvet covered pad then carbon fibre brush before playing, and for the stylus either the gel blob or the white block

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You certainly have to get it off the floor !

You might also want to consider something like Permastat..........use once on each record

At one time,I used it on all my records but lately have only used it on LPs that exhibit a tendency to be "noisy"......and I find it helps.

ps..I have records that were treated in the mid '70s.....no damage and the effect (no static) is permanent (go figure !).........you can still clean the treated LPs with an RCM or brush as required.

Cheers

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No not permastat

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Some cartridges pickup a lot more noise than the others. If I remember right I thought my Ortofon Red was a quite bit noiser than a Audio Technicia I had at the time on my Rega.

Edited by rocky500

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Extending the leads can sometimes be a bad thing as the levels are very low and you might get some interference/hum, could be worth a try though.

Edited by rocky500

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