– Record cleaning

It’s vacation time and so: record store time! Last week I’ve been to several record stores in Nijmegen and Amsterdam and I bought some 30+ Philips Minigroove records; a few 7 inch EP’s but mostly 10 & 12 inch albums. Jazz and classical music mainly, and a few oddities like the “Mighty Four Bronze Voices” 10 inch album, which features ‘famous carillons from Belgium and the Netherlands’ – not sure if I will ever play this one, but odd it is! All of these 30+ records have been added to the website, but without images as of yet.

Buying records involves a lot of work besides visiting record stores and finding all these goodies; the records need to be cleaned – both the vinyl and the covers. As these are all c. 60-70 year old records, a good cleaning sometimes works miracles. Here’s what I do.

Cleaning records
I clean most records with an ultrasonic record cleaner, the Nowdio (first image shown below). For 78rpm records and early 1950’s records I use the Pro-ject VC-S2 (second image below). The Pro-ject is also used for drying the records washed with the Nowdio cleaner – this solves the one disadvantage of that machine. The combination works perfectly.

The Nowdio ultrasonic record cleaner
The Pro-ject VC-S2

Record washing machines are expensive and the ultrasonic cleaners are often priced over €2500, which is not very attractive to most record buyers. It’s not very attractive to me either. The Nowdio costs little over €500, not cheap either, but definitely more affordable and it’s a great machine. Records can be washed with three at a time and a standard washing takes 5 minutes. The washing sure works miracles sometimes. I had records with tics or other distractions and much to my frustration I could not find the cause, nor was I able to solve the problem with the simple Knosti machine I used before (I still use that one for 45’s btw) but the Nowdio often appeared to be the solution needed. I have a John Coltrane album which was almost unplayable due to constant noise and previous cleanings didn’t help at all, but after an ultrasonic cleaning the LP played almost like new again. The effects can be hilarious and the cleaning results are often better than what can be achieved with the Pro-ject, which works with brushes. Of course (and too bad!), damages can’t be repaired, but the cleaning can’t be done much better, I guess.

Cleaning covers
One of the good things about Philips Minigroove record sleeves is that many of them are laminated. If they are, and if the lamination doesn’t come loose, it works really well to clean the laminated side with a wet towel and some tooth paste. Wipe it with just a wet towel afterwards and then dry it with a tissue – you’ll be surprised how good these covers will look again!

I find it time consuming to clean records, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s like taking care of our musical heritage, regardless if it’s a record by a well-know artist or a complete obscure record, like the carillons album, mentioned above.

Also check this post about the art of packing LP’s.

– General changes

General changes were made to the website. Tables were split where necessary to do justice to the several series used by Philips. Series are now divided in ‘standard’ and ‘dedicated’ series. Text has been added for explanations about what to expect on a page.