Is this the crate diggers best friend? Record Revirginizer goes a long way to restoring those rare record bargains from your local fair or op-shop.
As a recent convert to jump on the vinyl bandwagon, it didn't take long until my google searches starting returning results on record cleaning products and machines. There's literally millions of records out there ripe for the picking, but in the case of second-hand you really don't know what you'll get until you drop the needle on said purchase.
A cursory glance will reveal permanent damage in the form of scratches and smears, but what thirty-something year old secrets lay deep down in those grooves just screaming for the opportunity to pop and click at the new owner? Sadly this problem has caught this enthusiast out too many times already. There's always a chance of dirt and grit ground into the grooves inflicting serious pain on your expensive stylus as well.
Most record cleaners are often expensive, often using alcohol or chemical based liquids and detergents. Understandably, many purists shy away from anything that leaves residue on the surface of their cherished vinyl.
Enter 'Record Revirginizer', a viscous polymer liquid that is extremely soft and gentle, both chemically and physically, according to the Australian based manufacturers.
Developed with the assistance of James Cook University for professional archive restoration, Record Revirginizer has enjoyed early success since being featured on ABC's “The New Inventors” in 2010.
Specific details of the formula itself are absent as you would expect. However application is simple, simply pour approximately 15ml onto the record avoiding the label. Massage it into the record in a circular motion until you have complete coverage. Vinyl afficianados will love this moment of intimacy.
After 'revirginizing' quite a number of records you tend to develop your own techniques for best coverage. However a small boutique company, Tube Sound Audio, offers some unique products that aid the process. The 'Revirginizer Turntable' is just as the name suggests. A simple, clean surface allowing the turntable to spin as you apply the Revirginizer. This dramatically decreased our 'revirginizing' time, while at the same time we found we were using less Revirginizer liquid in the process.
So before you go revirginizing every record in sight and sprawling them across the dining table or kitchen bench, another product from Tube Sound Audio will keep you in the good books with other household members. The 'Stack Rack' is a simple but effective tool in the revirginizing process, allowing up to 10 records to be stacked during the drying process. Simply, but highly effective.
Once applied, the drying process is anywhere from 4 to 12 hours depending on the humidity and air-flow of the room. We found it convenient to simply leave records overnight, but easily peeled off the Revirginizer in as little as 4 hours. One tip is to use a small desktop fan to keep the air flowing across the treated records.
Removal of Revirginizer once dry is as simple as peeling it off in one simple process. A small tab of paper applied to the edge when applying Revirginizer will certainly help peeling once dry. Once peeled, you're left with a “skin” that has pulled any dirt or grit with it from deep in the grooves.
So does it work? I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of my father in law's record collection spanning thirty years. While some of the records will likely never see my turntable regardless of condition (ABBA and Leo Sayer to name a couple!), some great albums while in visually perfect condition certainly had their share of pops and clicks upon playback. In most cases, the revirginizing process complelely restored the albums to what I could only describe as mint condition. I say most cases, because a few records did certainly improve, but not quite to original condition. I suspect repeating the process again would actually be effective, however in fairness these records have seen better days.
Enthusiasts have long talked about the use of PVA glue and other similar substances to “restore” their vinyl. While in theory it has the same effect as Record Revirginizer, it simply was not designed for this purpose. Need an example? Watch this YouTube video. I don't know about you but in my short time collecting vinyl I already have a few rare, collectible or just expensive records that I wouldn't be willing to risk.
So does Record Revirginizer negate the need for a record cleaning machine? I don't think so personally. I would suggest that Revirginizer is the perfect solution for restoring collected vinyl records and it does that extremely well. Perhaps a combination with a cleaning machine for periodic cleaning in the future is the ultimate solution?
Record Revirginizer is available for $49.95 RRP for a 500ml bottle.