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Vinyl Care & Dust Removal, How to make vinyl sound good??
ViPER1313
post May 4 2003, 20:11
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After reading the thread found here [ http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....t=7953&hl=vinyl ] I was blown away by the recording quality of the sandra.mpc sample. How do you get vinyl to sound so dust free and rich? All the vinyl that I have recorded has at least some dust crackling in the background, and some recordings sound extremely harsh (especially in the vocals - almost like clipping except there is no clipping going on.....) Do you use digital correction? Filtering? I use the following equipment -

Marantz TT1060 Turntable w/ unknown cartridge/needle (the cartridge/needle are replacements, less than 6 months old - I have no idea what brand / model they are, but they seem to be of decent quality.)

Marantz PM325 Receiver

SB-Live soundcard fed from phono -> receiver -> line-in (This is not the weak link I am concerned over - I know it has crappy quality recording, but I am worried about the record playback quality itself . I have also tried phono -> line-in directly and was not impressed with the quality at all.)

The cartridge seems to have good frequency response and be of decent quality, but I can not get rid of dust no matter what I try - I have a diskwasher and have tried a 1:5 alcohol/water solution, but the dust persists. Any tips?
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Pio2001
post May 4 2003, 23:31
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QUOTE
Do you do digital correction? Filtering?


No, no filtering or correction of any kind.
Before any playback, I wipe out all dust from the record with an antistatic brush made of carbon fiber. It's the best way to take care of records. On some records I have tried the Stanton brush with cleaning liquid, but I found it to increase background noise ! It must be suited for very dirty records...
I keep them stored vertically, in their sleeve+innersleeve, with an outside plastic sleeve to avoid dust. I've always wondered if thick innersleeves added background noise by lightly scratching the vinyl surface. I like the kind of innersleeves with an inside in polypropylene, the vinyl slips into them without a noise.

The noise on vinyls depends on the record. Some well made vinyls from the 80's, if brand new, can have no background noise at all, as Joseph described. Then it depends on the cartridge : some add background noise after several listenings (Stanton Trackmaster), some not (Grado ZC). 45 rpm are better than 33 rpm : less background noise, less wear-prone, better sound.
Other vinyls have clicks and background noise even when they are brand new.

Here are some examples :

A perfect brand new 33 rpm about 20 % of what you could buy (sorry, it's a bit clipped).
Here's what you can expect from a brand new LP most of the times (this is a quiet part of the music). By the way, this one simulates well the noise produced by that Stanton brush and cleaning liquid.
Here's what happens when you're out of luck Happened on maybe 10-20% of what you could buy.
A good 33 rpm that have been played about at least 30 to 50 times. (and it was bought second hand). Note the dynamics of this 1979 record.
Here's what you can usually expect from a second hand purchase but it varies very much, of course.
Two LPs with pressing defects 1 to 5 % of what was sold.

The linked samples are MPC standard, usually trascoded from other MPC standard. All < 1MB. Some are surrounded by digital silence. Some are 48 kHz. Beware of old Nullsoft gapless plugins making noises on 48 kHz wavs.
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vraxoin
post May 5 2003, 21:47
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The brushes from the Discwasher kits are designed to remove heavier surface grime, but they don't effectively sweep out particles caught deeper in the grooves and thus I would also second Pio2001's suggestion regarding a carbon fiber brush. I've been using the Hunt EDA brushes for years and they are very effective. A slightly less expensive carbon fiber brush which had also been recommended to me, but that I haven't used, is from Audioquest. Either of those will certainly outperform the Discwasher brush.

Also, you mentioned creating your own vinyl cleaning solution and I just wanted to make sure that you were using distilled water and not tap water which will usually do more to foul up your records than help. Plus, make sure that you use absolutely pure Isopropyl alcohol.

Finally, if you are having no luck and still want dead silent records, get one of these. biggrin.gif
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ViPER1313
post May 6 2003, 01:40
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Thanks for the advice! I think I need to buy a carbon fiber brush. I am still worried over the harsh sound that my setup gets on certain albums. I don't know if its the turntable, or just the record itself. Here are some samples of stuff that I've done - I would like someone's opinion on the harsh.mpc sample. This has happened on more than one album that I have recorded. Thanks again!

What I consider to be a good recording - From a 1979 B-52s record with a "High Fidelity" label on the front.

Harsh sound, especially in the vocals - From a 1965 Bob Dylan album.

Dusty sound - From a 1975 Wings album.

The first two albums were purchased within the past year at a used record store, and I have no idea as to their history, although they seem to be in decent condition. The Wings album is my fathers's, and was played regularly through its life span on various turntables. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Continuum
post May 6 2003, 06:56
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What do you think about playing wet? I recall to hear that it may damage the records permanently but increase the quality while playing. Is it true?
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Pio2001
post May 6 2003, 14:21
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Good.mpc sounds technically perfect, though I don't like the sound of the cartridge very much.
Dust.mpc is correct too.
Harsh.mpc is completely worn out. I experienced this kind of sound in various situations :

-On worn stylii, comparing a CD recording of a vinyl to a playback of the same vinyl on an audiophile turntable with an old stylus (Rega Planar 3 + Denon DL-110).
-On dusty stylii, when a vinyl is not clean, some dust and fibers accumulate on the tip, until it looks like a cloud of dust instead of a tip. My father has a record that spreads dust on tips, no matter the time we spend with the carbon brush with it. The cleaning liquid would be appropriate for this record.
-When the tracking force is too weak. However it's not exactly the same kind of sound. Too weak a tracking force suggests rather a "crackling" sound than a "fuzzy" sound, if you see what I mean. Like walking on rocks rather than sand...
-When the turntable/cartridge are not good enough, however, only hi-hat sounds are affected in this case. In your sample, all sounds are affected.
-When the record is worn out. I guess it's your case.

I don't know if a good turntable/cartridge set can make a difference reading worn records.
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2Bdecided
post May 6 2003, 15:24
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1 thing to add: dust.mpc has a loud LF tone/noise throughout, especially at the start.

Remember that 1 play on a really crappy record player will cause more damage or wear than 50 plays on a half-decent deck. Really. Why do you think there are so many 1950s and 1960s 45s which are grey/gray instead of black?

There is probably too little audio to judge, but your cartridge does sound rather bright. However, there are also cartridge/lead/amplifier interactions that can change the frequency response, so it might not be "just" the cartridge, especially if you've changed the leads for some reason. Whatever - don't be affraid to turn the tone control down or adjust the EQ if it persistently sounds wrong. Despite the purist claims, there's nothing wrong with using EQ to correct for poor equipment or recordings - it's using it to match poor taste that causes a problem. Of course, it's better to avoid poor equipment, records, and EQ - but sometimes you have no choice.


You've probably said (and I've probably asked) before, but what equipment to you use Pio?

I was comparing a Linn LP12 Sondek with a Sansui deck at the weekend (£100 vs £25 cartridges - I forget what they actually were); the Linn through a decent pre-amp, the Sansui through a very cheap DJ mixer. I was shocked at how little difference there was between them! Sure, the goopd pre-amp has much less BG noise, and the Linn produced a more solid central image. There were other small differences, but it took a very good record to reveal them. The Sansui cost <10% of the price (I guess), yet gave ~75% of the quality. Put a good record on the Linn, and an excellent record on the Sansui, and you could easily believe that the Sansui was the better deck!

I bought the Sansui years ago because I saw it in a junk shop, and it looked exceptionaly well made. £30 for the deck, £25 for a new cartridge. I'm very happy!

Cheers,
David.
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Lev
post May 6 2003, 15:30
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QUOTE
What do you think about playing wet? I recall to hear that it may damage the records permanently but increase the quality while playing. Is it true?


Cant possibly believe that it would increase quality whilst playing... Well, speaking as a club DJ, sometimes you end up with a massive build up of fluff and the only way to fix it without taking the needle off, cleaning it, and putting it back on is to drip some water onto it.

I also cant see that water would permanently damage records, either when playing, or not... I have been washing records in water for years, and they seem no worse than 'unwashed' ones.


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ViPER1313
post May 6 2003, 16:40
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By: Pio2001 (Posted on May 6 2003 - 09:21 AM)
QUOTE
Harsh.mpc is completely worn out. I experienced this kind of sound in various situations

I think that I have come to this conclusion as well. I was listening to several other records last night, and none had that sort of problem - most sounded quite nice, except for the dust. As I said, I really had no history on that record - its strange though, because some tracks on it sound much better than others. I guess the person who owned it before had a set of favorite tracks rolleyes.gif .
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By: 2Bdecided (Posted on May 6 2003 - 10:24 AM)
QUOTE
1 thing to add: dust.mpc has a loud LF tone/noise throughout, especially at the start.

Yes, you are quite right. I have not been 100% able to track down the source of this hum yet. It is a combination of 2 resisters inside the PM325 that were fried and replaced (I did this myself - I fried them by accident, and the resister bands were burned off, so I had to guess between 10ohm, 100ohm, or 1000ohm parts - 1000 was way to high, and to my knowledge 10 ohm is the correct value, which is what I put in IIRC, but it could need a 1 ohm part sad.gif ) As it is now, the amp seems to be as good as new, although it lets out very small pop (like a piece of dust) about 2 sec after turning it off - this is obviously the capacitors draining through the resisters, because when using 1000 ohm parts, it was about a 10 second wait and the pop was much louder. The majority of the hum comes from the turntable itself, and increases as the tone arm moves towards the center of the album. The TT is grounded, but it is placed under an amplifier, and I think the arm is picking up some interference from the amp. Also, the connection from the amp to the sound card is analog and over 6 feet, obviously picking up interference along the way. I know how to fix all of this, its just not my top priority as of right now.
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By: 2Bdecided (Posted on May 6 2003 - 10:24 AM)
QUOTE
There is probably too little audio to judge, but your cartridge does sound rather bright. However, there are also cartridge/lead/amplifier interactions that can change the frequency response, so it might not be "just" the cartridge, especially if you've changed the leads for some reason. Whatever - don't be affraid to turn the tone control down or adjust the EQ if it persistently sounds wrong. Despite the purist claims, there's nothing wrong with using EQ to correct for poor equipment or recordings - it's using it to match poor taste that causes a problem. Of course, it's better to avoid poor equipment, records, and EQ - but sometimes you have no choice.

By: Pio2001 (Posted on May 6 2003 - 09:21 AM)
QUOTE
Good.mpc sounds technically perfect, though I don't like the sound of the cartridge very much.
Dust.mpc is correct too.

This is most likely due to the equalization done by myself - I personally like a "bright" sound with my music. Bass was probably set to +0db, midrange was set to +2db and treble was probably set to about +8db on the PM325, so everyone who likes a neutral sound would probably be disgusted by my samples rolleyes.gif . It could be the cartridge though, as I am sure that it is by no means "high end," although it will fit my needs for the time being.
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By: Continuum (Posted on May 6 2003 - 01:56 AM)
QUOTE
What do you think about playing wet? I recall to hear that it may damage the records permanently but increase the quality while playing. Is it true?

I would like to hear more opinions about this as well - does anyone know if this can increase quality? I don't see myself trying to play dripping wet albums anytime soon though tongue.gif . A good suggestion never-the-less (if it proves to be valid.)

This post has been edited by ViPER1313: Mar 19 2004, 17:56
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vraxoin
post May 6 2003, 18:34
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Regardless of EQ being used, the "good" sample sounds pretty good. It's a bit bright and thin sounding, but decent. Since you don't know what cartridge you have how was the tracking force set?

As for the hum issue, it is a known problem with some high-output MM cartridges. As the cartridge moves closer to the motor assembly it picks up the 60/50Hz electrical hum. Typically there is no fix for this other than to get a cartridge that has been tested and is known to reject the signal or somehow shield the motor assembly.

Regarding wet playback and other things, here is a page that you may find interesting: (I guess the site's now down, so it's Google Archived only)

How to Clean
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Pio2001
post May 6 2003, 19:29
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QUOTE
Bass was probably set to +0db, midrange was set to +2db and treble was probably set to about +8db on the PM325


The tone settings on the ampli should not affect the tape output that you must have used to record the records.

QUOTE
The Sansui cost <10% of the price (I guess), yet gave ~75% of the quality


I'm not surprised. I think too, that the cartridge plays the most important role in the sound. The stylus shape seems to have little influence. I posted long ago some samples comparing the spherical and the stereohedron ("super elliptical") stylii for the same cartridge. There was a bit more treble on the stereohedron one.

QUOTE
You've probably said (and I've probably asked) before, but what equipment to you use Pio?


I use a Technics SL-3100 turntable. No idea about the original price it was sold. I got it second hand for 213 euros. There were SL-1200 second hand too, for 183 euros, with it.
It's from the standard direct drive series of Technics. The famous SL-1200 being from the above series : direct drive with crystal clock. There is no mention of it in any catalog or website about Technics turntables...
The cartridge is a Stanton Trackmaster EL. Like the Technics SL-1200, that is sold about 460 euros, but with zero margin for the reseller, the Trackmaster cartrige saw its price vary much. I saw it for 221 euros on an old Gemini catalog, but its price has fallen down quickly. It must have been around 160 euros (I myself bought the Trackmaster AL around 160 euros itself, and the EL stylus 84 euros alone, but the prices were high at this time). Thus it is a high end DJ cartridge.
The amp is the phono option of the Arcam Diva A85, an audiophile ampli (1200 Ä). Some of the samples must have been recorded with the Cyrus One phono input, another audiophile ampli (488 euros). There is quite no audible differences between these phono inputs and another audiophile phono preamp that I tried long ago.
The ADC is a Sony DTC 55ES DAT deck. Then optical out, then Fostex opt/coax converter, then big coax cable, then Marian Marc 2 digital input.
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ViPER1313
post May 7 2003, 05:49
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QUOTE
The tone settings on the ampli should not affect the tape output that you must have used to record the records.


Now, don't kill me, but those samples were taken from the headphone output ph34r.gif . At the time, I liked being able to tune the EQ using the headphone out. So, yes, the EQ did affect the sound - I'm sure of it, as I tuned the EQ to how I liked the sound before I recorded the files tongue.gif . I am using the tape outputs as I type this to record "Peter Tosh - Equal Rights." Until I get a carbon fiber brush, there will still be a bit of dust, but I will upload another sample of "unequalized" sound when I get a chance, not that it really matters, but you can give a real evaluation of the sound if you feel inclined. Sorry for the confusion.

QUOTE
Regardless of EQ being used, the "good" sample sounds pretty good. It's a bit bright and thin sounding, but decent. Since you don't know what cartridge you have how was the tracking force set?

As for the hum issue, it is a known problem with some high-output MM cartridges. As the cartridge moves closer to the motor assembly it picks up the 60/50Hz electrical hum. Typically there is no fix for this other than to get a cartridge that has been tested and is known to reject the signal or somehow shield the motor assembly.

Regarding wet playback and other things, here is a page that you may find interesting: (I guess the site's now down, so it's Google Archived only)


Thanks for the info and feedback. That web page is a great resource. I guess wet playback is a poor idea after all sad.gif . Very interesting about the hum issue. Oh well... itís only truly noticeable in the track gaps or silent parts of songs, as in the dust.mpc sample. And it only affects the last track or so.

Edit: The tracking force was set using my best guesstimate. Not truely heavy, but not feather light either. Unless I am truely board one night, it will stay set like this B) .

This post has been edited by ViPER1313: May 7 2003, 05:54
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boojum
post May 7 2003, 06:03
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QUOTE (Continuum @ May 5 2003 - 09:56 PM)
What do you think about playing wet? I recall to hear that it may damage the records permanently but increase the quality while playing. Is it true?

My experience with this is to only do it with distilled water. Tap water will contain impurities which add to surface noise, and then you will be obliged to always play it wet. If you can track down an old ESL "Dust Bug" this is quite helpful. The Lenco version of this was also OK, but I always preferred the Dust Bug. YMMV. Soon you will understand completely why CD's are far better. B)


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ViPER1313
post May 7 2003, 06:51
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Here is a sample using the PM325's tape outputs to the line in on my SB-Live. The source was recorded at 44,100hz 16bit PCM in Goldwave, time corrected to 1.02x the original speed, and saved as a .wav file. The .wav file was recorded to Vorbis v1.0 -q6 , with no equalization done at the amp or computer level. Also, the weight on the turn-table's tone arm was increased ever so slightly over the last samples. Please ignore the dust. dry.gif

Note: MPC -q5 v1.14 didn't seem to like the dust in this clip - it made it sound washed out IMO, if that is possible. Vorbis was chosen instead to do the encoding job. Also, no normalization or replay gain has been performed on this clip at the .wav or .ogg level.

Peter Tosh Record Sample
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2Bdecided
post May 7 2003, 11:32
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That one sounds fine to me. I'd just do some gentle de-clicking and burn it to a CD for safe keeping. Might even just put it straight onto CD - depends how well the chosen declicker coped with the dust vs hi hats.

Cheers,
David.
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Continuum
post May 7 2003, 18:48
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QUOTE (vraxoin @ May 6 2003 - 07:34 PM)
Regarding wet playback and other things, here is a page that you may find interesting: (I guess the site's now down, so it's Google Archived only)

How to Clean

From the link:
QUOTE
Playing records 'wet'.
a) DON'T! - during playback the stylus and groove does in fact heat up a bit, and this is essential for the vinyl to be able to flex when the stylus can't really follow the groove. IF you cool the pickup by using the Lencoclean wet play back device, then mistracking (it always happens, cutting heads always can and will cut more than any pickup can track on playback) will lead to a chipping type damage of the groove wall that is irreversible instead of the usual recoverable bending.

Could someone elaborate on this? I find it hard to understand and harder to believe. The second explanation he gives sounds more reasonable to me.
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Continuum
post May 7 2003, 18:54
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QUOTE (boojum @ May 7 2003 - 07:03 AM)
Soon you will understand completely why CD's are far better.    B)

Because of the handling? Or do you have another reason in mind?

I always play my CDs wet, though. And there is no hint that the CDs are permanently damaged in the process. I had to exchange the player a few times, but this must have had other reasons. wink.gif
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nmpaulcp
post May 20 2003, 01:05
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I start with products from www.lastfactory.com (some good info there on vinyl deterioration), Then create wave files using the following: Denon table model#DP-47F a bit old but sounds great with a Ortofon OM-40 Cartridge. I run the sound through a Audigy 1 with no Creative software installed just drivers. I then use a program called DCART32 from www.enhancedaudio.com.
I use a bit of transient noise filtering if needed but minimal. The final product is burned using Feurio! software on Fugi Media(TY's).The results are outstanding! biggrin.gif
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Shamray
post Apr 6 2011, 09:29
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QUOTE (nmpaulcp @ May 20 2003, 01:05) *
I start with products from www.lastfactory.com (some good info there on vinyl deterioration), Then create wave files using the following: Denon table model#DP-47F a bit old but sounds great with a Ortofon OM-40 Cartridge. I run the sound through a Audigy 1 with no Creative software installed just drivers. I then use a program called DCART32 from www.enhancedaudio.com.
I use a bit of transient noise filtering if needed but minimal. The final product is burned using Feurio! software on Fugi Media(TY's).The results are outstanding! biggrin.gif

I cant install this software! can anybody help me?
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DVDdoug
post Apr 6 2011, 18:20
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What software? DCART32? Does the documentation say it's supposed to run on you particular operating system? (That post is 8 years old!)

This page has several software recomendations for cleaning-up digitized vinyl recordings. I'm sure you'll fine something that works for you.

BTW - I use Wave Repair ($30 USD). It works great in the manual mode (on most defects), but it's very time consuming.
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cyberdux
post Apr 7 2011, 02:13
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For dust and grime removal:

Vaccuum LP cleaners

VPI
Keith Monks
Nitty Gritty

Often more than one pass is worthwhile.

For stylus cleaning, the vibrating brush Audio Technica (cannot remember the model number sorry)

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cliveb
post Apr 7 2011, 08:53
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QUOTE (cyberdux @ Apr 7 2011, 02:13) *
Vaccuum LP cleaners

VPI
Keith Monks
Nitty Gritty

Add the Moth RCM to the list.

Incidentally, the Keith Monks machine is certainly the best of the bunch, but it is not a realistic option for the home user - it costs thousands.
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Apesbrain
post Apr 7 2011, 17:38
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This is a great site for an assortment of relatively inexpensive vinyl cleaning products:

http://www.sleevetown.com/vinyl-cleaning.shtml

Check out the "GEM Dandy Hydraulic Record Cleaning Apparatus".
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