Clearaudio: the £3.5k cleaning device for those with the ultimate vinyl LP collection… do you clean yours?

From the Telegraph

As I looked around a local shop on Record Store Day last month, it occurred to me that an entire generation (or three) has no idea how to handle vinyl LPs. Lulled into a false sense of security by CDs, and later by downloads, they have no idea that a music storage format can be perishable.

Fingerprints are easily wiped off a CD, and most scratches – unless deep – will not render them unplayable. Downloads? If they’re backed up to the cloud, then there’s nothing that can ever truly eliminate them from one’s library. Vinyl LPs are another story entirely.

They are susceptible to three destructive forces: 1) dirt, the oil from fingerprints or anything else on the surface or in the grooves that the stylus (a.k.a. “the needle”) will play as if it was part of the record, 2) scratches that can make the stylus skip and 3) wear-and-tear. The latter, even if one’s turntable is set up perfectly and the stylus is kept clean to OCD levels, is simply a fact of life: a diamond tracking cross squiggles in a vinyl groove will wear it away a molecule at a time.

Once the handling has been addressed – don’t touch the grooves, store the LPs vertically so they don’t warp and always replace them in their sleeves – and the playback equipment is set up properly and maintained correctly, all that’s left is the hygiene.

If you’re old enough to remember “Dust Bugs”, carbon fibre brushes and other forms of housekeeping, you’re cognisant with the need to remove dust from the surface. But those grooves attract all manner of schmutz, and only a professional cleaner will do the trick.

Read more here

How do you clean your records? Have you got a novel method we should know about?

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